2011 Best and Worst

2011 goes down as the year cinema was at a crossroads.  While the independent sector produced some excellent films, commercially the industry was all over the place.  Glutted with endless 3-D movies, mindless blockbusters and poorly conceived stories, the once thriving machine from Hollywood finds itself tarnishing its once rosy reputation.  The local industry went great guns with films like Red Dog – proving Australia can make films for broad audiences and garner critical praise – something hopefully to be built upon.


So as the year draws to a close find out which films deserve their moment in the sun and those deserving of time in the dark…..……




10.  True Grit


9.    Thor


8.    The Ides of March


7.    Red Dog


6.    X-Men: First Class


5.    The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest


4.    Super 8


3.    Rise of the Planet of the Apes


2.    Drive


1.       Black Swan


What I said then:  “At times disturbing, surreal and uncomfortable viewing, Black Swan is an endlessly fascinating film.  Aronofsky should be pleased his latest striking directorial effort continues his agitation from mainstream film-making – something always deserving of applause.”


What I say now:  The best movies are often ones uncompromising in their story-telling of which Black Swan does.  A visually amazing and well scripted movie, this was by far the most memorable production in a generally unremarkable cinematic year.


Honourable Mentions:

Rabbit Hole, The Hunter, The Debt, Unstoppable, The Fighter, Hereafter, Unknown.




10.          Sanctum


9.            Cars 2


8.            The Dilemma


7.            Spy Kids 4


6.            Abduction


5.            The Cup


4.            Paranormal Activity 3


3.            New Year’s Eve


2.            I Am Number 4


1.               Mr. Popper’s Penguins


What I said then:  “Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a terrible movie only suitable for punishing naughty children. Woefully acted, dull and poorly scripted, Jim Carrey’s latest does him no favours and proves even former box office champions can find themselves out in the cold.”


What I say now:  One of the worst children’s movies in recent years, Mr. Popper’s Penguins distinguishes itself as being one of the final nails in Carrey’s career coffin.


Dishonourable Mentions:

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, Burlesque, The Green Hornet, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Beautiful Lies, Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens, Fright Night, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.


And so another year of movie-going draws to a close.  Thanks for reading over the last 12 months and for the comments.  May everyone have a happy and enjoyable holiday and see you all back again next year for another year of cinematic critiques!









Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Having grown up watching the Peter Graves starring Mission Impossible TV series, it’s taken awhile for the movie version to grow on me.  That it has is down to some fast plotting and great stunt-work the original could only dream of having.  This fourth impossible mission continues this ethos as it flits across the globe in breathless style. With Tom Cruise again the star, the franchise shows no sign of slowing down with each high octane sequence as dazzling as the next.


While on an undercover assignment in Moscow, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are caught in an explosion destroying the Kremlin.  Falsely accused and marked as criminals, his team are disavowed by the United States.  On the run with help from fellow agents William (Jeremy Renner), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton), they attempt to track down the master-mind behind the atrocity and stop their plans for nuclear Armageddon.


Although heavily borrowing choice moments from the James Bond films, ‘Mission 4’ adds enough of its own flavour to stand out.  Much of the success can be attributed to a generally satisfying screenplay and Brad Bird’s astute direction which maintains interest.  While dragging occasionally, it firmly keeps its focus on the dynamics of the team and how one false move can put any plan in jeopardy.  The small cast allows for more character development and you genuinely begin to care what happens – making the action sequences more involving.


Another great aspect is its use of locations. Whilst looking suitably exotic they play an important part in the story instead of being a pointless scenery changer.  These compliment the awesome action scenes as their unusual settings and buildings effectively heighten the tension of those sequences.  Thankfully this pensive atmosphere extends to the general story even if the heroes are a little too reliant on hardware than their wits to out-smart their enemies.


Those who enjoyed the previous instalments should like this latest outing.  Working as a slice of popcorn entertainment, ‘Mission 4’ continues seeing this spin-off from the TV show carve its own active niche in spectacular style.


Rating out of 10:  7