Alex's Top Ten Movies of 2011
Top Ten Movies of 2011
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

This is another movie that, like Paranormal Activity, I enjoyed my time with it at the theater because I loved the audience experience. For the last Harry Potter, the midnight showing was the only way to go. I enjoyed the film just as much as the previous Potters. The third is still the best but this was a good ending to a series that a generation grew up with. What made me put it on my list is because of the feeling I got being in that theater. The excitement that everyone had going into the film. Grown adults and kids simultaneously crying at the deaths of characters. The feeling that I wasn't at a movie, I was at an event.

9. Paranormal Activity 3

While not the strongest movies, I have certain affection for the Paranormal Activity series. I already mentioned my love of found footage films. One reason I like seeing the PA movies is to see how they play with the camera. From the security tape concession of the second flick to the fan cam of the third, I think it's interesting to see the new ideas they come up with. I admit I don't know how they can keep innovating with the eventual upcoming sequels. I do get into the fiction of the movies and the sisters' crazy family history of demons. Also, I only see each of the PA movies once. In a packed theater around Halloween. I think that is the only way to see these films. The audience experience is what it's all about here. Even if every jump scare doesn't scare you, someone in the audience is guaranteed to be. And that's the majority of the fun.

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This makes the list because it's the only movie in 2011 that has the phrase "of the" in the title twice. Once every couple years you will find a movie that surprises you with just how thoroughly entertaining a even a seemingly stupid premise can be. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a solid movie, with a plot just strong enough for you to accept and with some very impressive action sequences. It has just the right amount of emotion and action that all of the greatest popcorn films have.

7. Hobo with a Shotgun

Like The Trollhunter, Hobo with a Shotgun is another exercise in fun at the movies. With gore and swearing and sex all cranked up to 12, this movie is absolutely ridiculous in every way you want it to be. Rutger Hauer plays the titular Hobo who really just wants to get off the streets by buying a lawn mower so he can get money without being punched in the face. It starts at 11, ends at 12 and never lets up in between. A fantastic movie if you like your films fast, furious, and ridiculous.

6. The Trollhunter

I think found footage films are a fascinating subgenre. I usually try and catch all the important ones that come out. My love of giant creature movies and found footage put this on my must see list as soon as I heard about it. Being a Swedish movie lent an extra sense of validity to the found footage, I could almost swear I could go out and hunt down a troll myself. They go the exact extra mile you want them too, as they dive into the physiology of the trolls and how the government goes about covering them up. The Trollhunter is a super fun movie that takes itself just seriously enough that it makes it that much more fun.

5. Attack the Block

The kids and aliens movies really had quite a time in 2011. Attack the Block and Super 8 are a great example of how movies can take the same basic idea and turn it into two very different films. Attack the Block was a much more action oriented take on the idea of kids and aliens. My favorite thing about the movie is the design of the aliens. Their fur is blacker than black and their teeth look like they just bit into a glow stick. The sound they make is made of nightmares as well"¦and I love it.

4. Rango

Absolutely my favorite animated film of the year. It didn't feel like a children's movie because it was never meant to be one and that's to its benefit. Among all the references to westerns there is something very unique to Rango. Wonderful performances come through both the characters' voices and their animations. This was done by simply filming the actors acting the scenes out on a sound stage. This possibly obvious, but rarely done way of animating added up to a fantastically realized animated film.

3. Super 8

All of us have a love of at least one thing that J.J. Abrams had a part in creating., from Lost to Fringe to Alias to the newest Star Trek, etc. So I was looking forward to Super 8 for a long time. I got into the mystery of the teasers and trailers and was excited for a science fiction/action movie. When I got out of the theater and was much more touched by the story of young Joe that's when I realized how much I enjoyed Super 8.

2. Drive

From the first moment of Drive, I got the feeling that this movie was made using older sensibilities. The characters emote almost more with actions than words, this was held against the movie by many people, but I don't think the movie would have benefited from people explaining how they were feeling or what they were going to do. Bonus Round: Watch the movie again with the thought that maybe the Driver is autistic.

1. Hugo

My top spot goes to Hugo. It didn't fly as far under my radar as it did with others, but I was still surprised when I got to sit down to it. Martin Scorsese basically laid out a school for all other filmmakers on how to do 3D properly. It was a touching story that Scorsese obviously had great admiration for. I don't want to say too much so that you don't have unreasonable expectations going into the film, so I think you should just go see it. And be ready to remember why you loved movies to begin with.
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