2011 Year in Review

The Best Movie Trailers of 2011

They say it’s hard to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to world of cinema and movie marketing (and the plethora of films that hit theaters each weekend), it’s hard not to use a film’s three-minute long trailer to judge whether or not it will be something you’ll be interested in seeing (and with movie prices on the up and up, it’s hard to go in blind these days). The illustrious Jack Giroux and Allison Loring rounded up the top 11 trailers released over the past year. They’re both for films that came out in 2011 and either lived up to or fell short of their promise and for films due to be released next year that have begun teasing us early. Plus a few honorable mentions because Jack and I aren’t super great at math (we’re writers, and I’m pretty sure you can only be good at one or the other). From horror to action to comedy (and much discussion about the merits of underwear – you’ll see), our picks spanned the genres proving that it does not matter what type of film you are promoting, just whether or not you are able to grab people’s attention. Listed in no particular order, let us know in the comments if you agree, disagree or if there was a trailer you loved that we missed on our list.

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The Junkies: The Awards to End All Awards

When we at Junkfood Cinema heard that we had somehow again avoided outright cancellation, clearly an oversight on the part of hectically busy and woefully unobservant management, we decided to celebrate with another installment of the Junkfood Cinema Awards, affectionately known (read “irresponsibly abbreviated”) as The Junkies. Since this was our sophomore effort, we really wanted to flaunt our year-long incompetence with plenty of pomp and circumstance. We therefore hired a big time Hollywood director, one who had similarly proven his commitment to terrible films, to produce a garish, way-too-expensive, online awards ceremony. But then we had to fire him over some incredibly unsavory comments he made; something about rehearsals being for fatties. So instead, we’re just going to do the exact same crap we did last year. Enjoy.

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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.

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Year in Review: The Best Scores and Soundtracks of 2011

It has been quite the year in film, but even more so when it came to the music in those films. We got scores that pushed the envelope, soundtracks that were full of nostalgia and orchestration that could easily fit in to the 1930s. It was an eclectic year that introduced us to new talent while also reestablishing the music from existing ones. Normally when the year comes to close, I look back on the various soundtracks and scores from the films that came out and I can easily hone in on a handful that most stood out to me. 2011 was not that kind of year. With even more artists becoming composers (The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx), impressive composers coming to the forefront (Cliff Martinez with his scores for The Lincoln Lawyer, Contagion and Drive, two of which made this list) and childhood favorites back on the big screen (The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh), there was a huge pool of talent and good music to choose from. And although it makes my task of rounding up the top picks more difficult, it also means films are getting filled with more and more good music – a trend I hope (and expect) will continue in 2012. But on to this year’s picks!

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The ever-insightful Andrew O’Hehir has already called 2011 “Hollywood’s no good, very bad year,” in response to the lowest domestic box office take in three years, and that’s definitely one way to judge how things are going. Beyond the business side, an area that fans are probably less interested in, there’s the idea of quality – the concept of whether movies lived up to their hype and their expectations. Every year, we do a list of the most anticipated movies coming in the following 365 days (our 2012 edition should be live soon), and every year, I like to return to that list to see how the flicks fared. It’s a small way of testing whether our dreams came true or they flopped. The Most Anticipated of 2011 included successes like Source Code, Hanna, and Harry Potter 8. It also included disappointments like Green Lantern and Sucker Punch, and movies that didn’t even end up coming out (I’m looking at you, Cabin in the Woods). I’ve been (probably rightfully) criticized for essentially condemning entire decades, but if you’re like me, you can’t resist the urge to figure out if the collective pile of 300+ movies that come out in a year, taken as a singular entity, came out above the water mark or below it. Most of the time, it’s a feeling. Whether I can register an intense amount of impressive moments and movies. Whether I was surprised or brought to my feet. And whether the steaming pile’s odor is […]

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The Worst Films of 2011

There are two things you don’t want to watch getting made – sausage and the official Film School Rejects’s year-end worst-of list. Hideous, dirty, bloody, illegal stuff; many animals die in the process (disclaimer – no animals were harmed in the making of this list). It’s a fool’s errand, a losing battle, a terrible way to dig up the past pains of the year’s biggest flops – reverse therapy for cinephiles. But damn if the results aren’t hilarious. For this year’s Worst Films of 2011 list, our own Kevin Carr and myself teamed up to pick the most wretched of the wretched, the worst of the worst, the Adam Sandler films we’re all struggling to forget. There were many emails and even more tears. I doubt we’ll ever be able to look each other in the eye again. By the time Sir Carr and I were done volleying bad films back and forth at each other via the electronic mail system like a game of cinematic badminton that absolutely no one was capable of winning (and, really, how does one win badminton?), we were far too exhausted to even attempt to number the following twenty-two films in any kind of order. No matter, they’re all bad. We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to take to the comments to call what you think is the worst (and what we’ve, quite unforgivably, left off).

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