8 Movies I Loved in 2011

8. Attack the Block

Someone finally figured out that Huge Spectacle does not equal Good Alien Invasion Movie. What’s more: this is actually a Great Alien Invasion Movie with awesome, inventive monster designs and characters I cared about. Making the characters likable was a special feat since the film tries hard (and succeeds) to make the audience hate them at first.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

My only problem with this movie is that it means there’ll be no more Harry Potter movies. A fine end to a great series.

6. Hanna

Not just an action movie about a girl-assassin. I love how artfully it was shot and how the butt-kicking is alternated with quiet character moments as Hanna adjusts to life around people for the first time.

5. Crazy Stupid Love

Not only made me laugh and turned me into a Ryan Gosling fan; it made me think about relationships and commitment in a new way. The most underrated movie of the year.

4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I made sure I was good and pumped up for this movie by watching every Planet of the Apes movie and TV show ever made, but that could have backfired had Rise not lived up to expectations. It did a lot more than that though. It may just be the best Planet of the Apes movie yet.

3. The Muppets

I’m a muppet of a man.

2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Though I kind of quit posting about it, I never gave up my dive into old Sherlock Holmes movies this past Fall. I made it through six of the Basil Rathbone films, watched The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, sat through half of the 1922 John Barrymore silent film, and finally saw Season One of the Benedict Cumberbatch series. What I learned from all that was to be really patient with people’s taking different spins on Holmes. Which is to say that Guy Ritchie’s is not Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes, but I enjoy him in the same way I enjoy Tony Stark and Jack Sparrow (which is to say: considerably). And now that I’m used to him, I very much liked watching him run around Europe trying to stop Moriarty from killing Watson and taking over the world.

1. The Adventures of Tintin

The best Indiana Jones movie since Raiders of the Lost Ark, the best dog since Benji, the best 3D since Avatar, the best motion-capture since ever, and the best pirate battle since…well, ever too, I guess. Sorry, Gore Verbinski.

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