As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.


Best Horror Movies 2011

It seems like every year I find myself disappointed in the horror offerings of the preceding twelve months. Especially if you think of widely released theatrical flicks, few of which ever make the lists. If it weren’t for DVDs and VODs, I don’t even know if I could in good conscience pretend that 10 (or 11) horror films were good. That said, I did manage to find some enjoyment in theaters and at home this year, but it wasn’t the easiest task in the world. In a good year, it’ll be hard to eliminate films from the list, but when it comes to horror most years, its scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with a full list. Quickly, in terms of eligibility, I write my lists a little differently than many others – for me, a film has to be widely available in this year, either in theaters or DVD or VOD. So films that only show at festivals generally aren’t eligible for my lists until they’re released on DVD. For example, Ti West’s The Innkeepers has made several lists, but it’s not widely available until 12/30 so most people won’t see it until 2012, so that’s that.


James Franco and Anne Hathaway

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:



Franklin Leonard’s Black List has become something of a cultural phenomenon, and for good reason. Every year he compiles the list, a compendium of the best scripts that are floating around Hollywood but not getting produced, and creates a media stir by publishing them. This, in turn, makes studio heads give the scripts another look, and many times put the projects into production. Every year the Black List is one of the main ways that we get movies made that aren’t sequels, remakes, or film versions of consumer products that have brand recognition but no inherent storytelling potential; so I am in full support of giving it all the publicity possible. How are titles chosen for the list? According to the list itself, “The Black List was compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2011 and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year.” Topping the list this year, with 133 votes, is a script by Graham Moore called The Imitation Game (a script Warner Bros has the rights to, and that Leonardo DiCaprio has been rumored to be circling). It’s the life story of Alan Turing, who was the British cryptographer that cracked the German Enigma Code in WWII, and who committed suicide later in life after being prosecuted for homosexuality. Those 133 votes make The Imitation Game the big winner, […]



Last night I found myself in the sweaty-smoke of Rick’s Cafe Americain in Morocco. A few feet away, a busty belly dancer balanced a tray of fire on her head and smiled as she gyrated her hips to a far away tune. The sounds of big band music soon erupted, and I wasn’t shocked at all to see gambling going on in the back of the room. Then, a topless human clock counted down to midnight. That last part isn’t from Casablanca, but it is from the Casablanca-themed bash where I spent the oh-so-important bridging minutes between the old year and the new. Whether you had a wilder night or just stayed inside to celebrate (or fell asleep as the transition floated over head), it is our sincere hope here at FSR that 2011 is insanely wonderful for you. You, dear reader, have been an integral part in making our 2010 so huge, and we hope to keep filling your brain with fun, insightful, original content and more Dark Knight Rises rumors on slow news days. We raise a glass of champagne (which is still shockingly easy to do this morning) to the new year, its infinite and pure possibilities, and to you.


The Dark Knight Again

The sequel to The Dark Knight should be coming to theaters in 2011. Prepare for a viral website to hit the web in twenty minutes or so.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
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