17 Movies I Liked Okay in 2011

37. The Eagle

The more I think about it, the lower on the list I think I should have put this. I love an historical action film and the Roman Empire had some great visual style, but I’m remembering that the story here didn’t make any sense. That’s the problem with making this list at the end of the year; I forget stuff like that. Still, my recollection isn’t that I disliked it, so the visuals and action must have been pretty good? Maybe I just blocked out the worst parts. I dunno; you tell me. I’m certainly not watching it again to find out.

36. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

An intriguing drama with some great actors, but very, very slooowww.

35. Sucker Punch

Awesome visuals and set-pieces; confusing message about female empowerment. Hell, just confusing in general.

34. Beastly

Beauty and the Beast for the Twilight crowd. And me, apparently. Not exactly original, but I’m a huge sucker for that particular fairy tale and Beastly hit the right beats to make it work for me. Vanessa Hudgens doesn’t give me a ton of reasons to believe Alex Pettyfer would fall that hard for her, but he’s great in it and sells the attraction anyway.

33. Drive Angry

Great grindhouse schlock. Didn’t exactly make me love Nicholas Cage all over again, but it’s my favorite thing he’s done in years.

32. Conan the Barbarian

I’ve seen the Schwarzenegger Conan movies countless times, but I don’t hold the first one in as high regard as most fans do. In fact, I like Conan the Destroyer a lot better. Which is to say that my standard for this movie was pretty low and it met my expectations just fine. It’s not a great movie and it’s not everything a Conan movie should be, but compared to the rest of the sword-and-sorcery movie genre that exists in reality and not an ideal world, it’s toward the top of that pile.

31. Our Idiot Brother

I loves me some Paul Rudd, but this is not his best movie. It’s funny in parts, but the message is overly simple: that uptight women need to chillax like the bros.

30. The Adjustment Bureau

A good thriller marred by a rushed ending. Still, I love Matt Damon and I totally bought the romance between him and Emily Blunt.

29. Moneyball

I also love Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill (and Philip Seymour Hoffman, but he’s wasted in this movie). The game-changing formula that this movie is based on is fascinating; I just never got a great feel for what the movie is trying to say about it. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? A little of both? If it’s a little of both, why does it matter enough to make a movie about it? The film works a little better as a drama about Brad Pitt’s character, but even then I’m left unsure what it’s trying to say and I’ve spent some time thinking about it.

28. The Green Hornet

I probably would have hated this movie had I been a Green Hornet fan, but I’m not and I don’t mind its light-hearted approach. I allow myself one Seth Rogen movie a year so’s not to get burned out and I enjoyed this one. Kind of wish I’d held out for 50-50, but oh well. This was fun, if dumb.

27. Fast Five

Speaking of dumb fun, Fast Five could have squandered the opportunity of putting Vin Diesel and The Rock in the same movie together. The cynical me actually expected it. But it didn’t. Not only did it make the most of their screen time together, it built a storytelling engine that will easily (and interestingly) power this series for the next few movies. On the other hand, them dragging that safe down the street at the end was helladumb.

26. The Mechanic

I only have vague memories of the Charles Bronson original version, but what I do remember was handled more to my liking in this one. I know that’s cryptic, but I’m mostly talking about the last five minutes of both movies. Anyway, a better-than-average Jason Statham vehicle, improved by the presence of Ben Foster.

25. Source Code

Nice scifi story. It didn’t stick with me like a great movie should (maybe ’cause I figured out what was going on too early?), but it kept my attention and I rooted for Jake Gyllenhaal to figure out a way to save and end up with Michelle Monaghan’s dead character.

24. Bridesmaids

Very funny and I like the meta-message it sent about gender equality in Hollywood films. I didn’t buy into the romance like I was supposed to (mostly because I didn’t like Kristin Wiig’s character much), but it was still a funny movie with actresses I love and some nice heart.

23. Arthur

My friends who’ve seen the original tell me that I’m not supposed to like this, but – like with Green Hornet – I have the luxury of getting to judge it purely on its ability to make me laugh. Which it did. And the relationship between Russell Brand and Helen Mirren was awesome and touching.

22. Friends With Benefits

An almost perfect romantic comedy foiled only by a resolution as cheesy as those in the other romantic comedies it mocks. Between this and Bad Teacher though, I’m right on board the Justin Timberlake Is Awesome train now. I was already there with Mila Kunis, whom I’ve loved since That ’70s Show.

21. Real Steel

Unambitious, but it does what it does – tell a sentimental story about a man’s redemption, both to himself and to his son – really well.

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Art Show: Where do all the Croco-People go?

Love at First Sight

By Mattias Adolfsson. This is just a detail. Click the link to see the whole thing.

Aquaman

By Dave Barking.

Namor vs. Shagreen

The artist is keeping anonymous, but he or she blogs at Marvel Flipside.

Rusty Recon on Gear Island

By Jeremy Vanhoozer.


Typee

By Mead Schaeffer. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Treetop

By Lorenzo Etherington.

Tarzan

By Burne Hogarth. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Judy of the Jungle

By Alex Schomburg. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Noble Beasts

By Berni Wrightson. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

By Tony Semedo.

Crab Men

By Larry Todd. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Croco-People

By Kelly Freas. [Pulp of the Day]

By Mattias Adolfsson.

By Patrick Schoenmaker. Click the link to see the whole thing. Two whole things, actually.

The Bridge of Light

By Edd Cartier. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Art Show: Grrrreat!

HMS Hornblower

By Mattias Adolfsson.

Floating

By Sulamith Wulfing. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Atomic Commandos in Action!

Possibly by Ogden Whitney. [Admiral Cal]

The Adventure You Will Never Forget!

By George Akimoto. [Admiral Cal]

Meet Me Underwater

By Lew Bridcoe.[Art Jumble]

A Pirate’s Life for Me

By Selina Fenech. [Never Sea Land]

Aquaman

By Pat Gleason. [The Aquaman Shrine]

Land Ho!

By Jeremy Vanhoozer

Back to the Boat, And Quickly!.

Also by Jeremy Vanhoozer, obviously. He says that these are from something he’s “starting to fool around with,” so I hope that means there’s a comic or some other kind of story coming. The files are named Gear Island, which sounds absolutely fantastic.

Happy New Year!

By Gene Gonzales.

The Girl of the Lost City

Artist Unknown. [Cows in Art Class]

Tarzan

By HM Stoops. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Judy of the Jungle

By Alex Schomburg. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Not that Creepy, but who needs it to be?

By Frank Frazetta. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Tigers

By Andry Rajoelina. [Art Jumble]

Jungla

By Pierre Alary.

A Time So Brief

By  Julie Bell. [Shanna the She-Devil Blogger]

Let’s you and him fight

By Ken Smith. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Art Show: Strange Visitor from Another Planet

Superman

By Evan Shaner. I occasionally have a hard time remembering what I like about Superman, but this picture brings it all back. I love the determination on his face mixed with the little smile. He’s about to save a life or lives, but he’s having fun doing it. Not because he’s careless about the responsibility, but because he truly enjoys his job. This is so much more meaningful to me than images that show him off in the distance, detached from humanity. [ComicTwart]

Northstar

By Ted Naifeh.

Alpha Flight’s Night Out

By Ryan Alexander-Tanner. I love Sasquatch’s expression as he’s not sure what to do with a depressed Puck. Meanwhile, Mac earns his name. [Drawbridge]

Sasquatch

By Gavin Spence. I’ve been looking through some old files recently and found this by my pal Gav who’s also one of the artists on Cownt Tales.

Joy-Rider Spider

By Caanan Grall.

Discover the Thrill of Space and Time

By Justin White. [Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: Click the link to find out also what happens to T-Rexes who play with finger traps.]

Western Robot

Artist Unknown. [Brother Cal has found several great robot paintings.]

Destructor

Let’s ease back into this, shall we?

Just one link today and that’s to Sean T Collins and Matt Wiegle’s Destructor, a new webcomic about a (presumably) killer robot. The first story, “Destructor Comes to Croc-Town,” has our hardware hero encountering some reptilian rapscallions to violent results. Collins and Wiegle are just getting started, but as you can tell from the sample above, it looks great and has a terrifically fun feel to it. I’m looking forward to a lot more of this.