My top 5 movies of 2011

It’s the end of the year, so you know what time it is? That’s right, it’s time for my 3rd annual top 5 movie blog post.

Looking back to 2009 I was a big fan of comedies, as all of my choices gave a good laugh or two. In 2010 I’m sure I watched funny movies, but I moved on to more dramatic/thriller kind of movies for my top 5 picks. After watching 37 movies this year, let’s see what top picks are. When you’re done scrolling let me know your favourites:

5. 50/50

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, 50/50 is based on a true story of writer Will Reisler who blends the seriousness of a life-threatening cancer story, with comedy.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2It was a long journey but the story of Harry Potter was finally settled, and they couldn’t have finished it in a better way. I found as the cast got older and the storyline became darker, the movies became more entertaining.

3. Bridesmaids

BridesmaidsI hadn’t really seen a comedy that made me laugh til it hurt since The Hangover, but I was expecting Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and a great cast would at least compete for the title – and it matched it.

2. The Help

The HelpAs I mentioned in my review earlier this year, I was worried the movie version of The Help, wouldn’t live up to the book version – thankfully it did, and then some. This is a great story to open up the discussion of race relations, but also one with strong female characters played by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and (though on the evil side of strong) Bryce Dallas Howard.

1. Super 8

Super 8When I first saw the previews for Super 8 I wasn’t all that excited to see it, but once I watched it I couldn’t take my eyes off the movie, and it shot to the top of my list. I’ve seen a few people saying this J.J. Abrams directed movie is an homage to producer Steven Spielberg’s films like E.T. for the most part, but I could also feel a hint of Hook and Jurassic Park – simply for the use of the children.

That’s all she wrote for Harry and the gang

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2It’s strange to think with the recent release of Deathly Hallows part 2 that it’s all over.

I’ll admit when Harry Potter started becoming popular I wasn’t a fan.Then one day I decided to watch the first movie .. and then the second.. next thing I knew I began reading the books and waiting for the next ones to come out.

While movies can never live up to the imagination of books, for me this series has done a great job of at least getting close. With the final installment, I was originally upset they planned to split it in to two pieces, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wouldn’t do the book justice by trying to squeeze as much as it could into the movie.

Speaking of the movie, part 2 started off right where the last one left off. Voldemort had Hogwarts to himself with Professor Snape as Headmaster, taking the place of recently killed Dumbledore. He had just retrieved the Elder wand and was making his final preparations to finally do away with Harry Potter once and for all. Harry was also in the midst of finding the final Horcruxes to cripple Voldemort.

My highlights…

It was as if the hunt for the pieces of Voldemort were secondary for me. I was drawn to the much-troubled characters of Malfoy and Snape who, as we’ve seen throughout the last couple films, appear to have been going through struggles with their allegiance to Voldemort. They were characters who I didn’t like at the beginning, but grew to cheer for, even though I kind of knew they’d fail – my favourite kind of character in any story.

As Harry watched Snape’s past unfold, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the guy. It was unfortunate it had to happen when it did, but good that Harry could see where Snape was coming from, and why he did the things he did.

Another character that stood out to me the most was Neville. Over the years, he’d matured a lot, and of course played a big role in the story. He was a wizard you never would’ve thought would amount to anything, but given the adverse times he became everyone’s lifeline and de facto leader without Potter guiding them along.

Visually…

This one was a step above the rest, as they have all improved on the previous ones. It continued the trend of becoming much more darker, which has coincided with Voldemort’s rise to power. The battle scenes were great, and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Lord of the Rings, even though it was on a much smaller scale.

My low-light…

My biggest qualm with the movie, and many will probably disagree with me here, was the jump at the end. In theory it was a great idea, but using the same actors didn’t do the idea justice. I felt it took away from the entire story and was a bit disappointed leaving the theatre with that as the ending.

Finally…

While it’s sad to see the franchise end, this is definitely one that’ll be passed down and in thirty years we’ll be buying the <insert format of the day here> Platinum Edition version. That’s the sign of a great series, so for all you Harry Potter haters out there (and I know there are many), you’ll eventually cave and wonder why you never watched when it first aired.

Oh yeah.. as for my rating, I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 a 4.5/5.

The Harry Potter franchise adds another gem

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsThe seventh movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) brings its ‘A game’. In this one, Harry and the gang prepare for their final battle with Voldemort, who’s built up his army of followers again, and is making his final moves to kill Harry.

Throughout the movie, we see minimal adult involvement in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s adventures. The first step in cutting ties with grown ups is at the beginning where we see Hermione and Harry¬† breaking off ties to their families. For Hermione it’s a bit harder than for Harry who never got along with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin. Next, they’re transported by the witches and wizards we’ve come to know over the last while, and they’re housed in Ron’s parents house for a bit. After that, the three of them are fending for themselves.

The acting by the adults was always good, but I think in this one we truly see an improvement from the three main characters. Before it seemed as if they were overacting at some points, but perhaps with more experience and just growing up, they’ve let themselves become the characters more and it showed.

When it comes to the length of the movie, about 2h 20min, I was happy they decided to break it up into two. I know it was probably a money making ploy, but it also means the story in the book can be told without sacrificing too much detail, as we’ve seen many times with book to movie adaptations. I’ve always appreciated how much these films have stuck with the books, so I wouldn’t expect them to butcher this one to fit it in to a regular movie.

Overall I was really impressed with the first part in the final chapter of Harry’s saga. I give it a 4.5/5. If you you’ve seen the movie, how does my review compare to your opinion?

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