Wow, it's taken a while to get going with Movies in 2011. Halfway through I decided to start putting the dates I saw them, so people have a better frame of reference for how soon or (more usually the case) how late I saw them. Anyway, here are the first 17 movies to cross my path in 2011. Enjoy!

Charlie St. Cloud - Grade: B-. I was actually really excited to see this movie, even though it was Efron (not an oogling, drooling fan). The trailers made it look soooo good. The movie itself was alright. I was not super emotionally invested, so it didn't hit me super hard, but it wasn't completely flat either. There were a couple points where I thought they were going to ruin a good story with some crazy Sixth Sense-esque twist. Which would have upset me AND been really cool. Bottom line: it wasn't bad. Not great, but wasn't bad.

The Mothman Prophecies - Grade: C. Wow. This movie was NOT what I was expecting to be at all. I am so glad that my friend A was over to watch with me. This movie was kind of scary! I don't know that I would have wanted to watch it alone. The plot was kind of weird and I wasn't such a fan of the end. But not terrible. Wasn't really impressed, just scared, which was alright in its own right.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Grade: B+. Arguably, this movie was better than Prince Caspian, but I didn't think it was as good as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I definitely don't like the way they keep changing the book just to give Tilda Swinton face time. I like Edmund more and more each movie that comes out. Lucy was hard to swallow though. There were parts you could tell that Georgie Henley was forcing herself to believe herself. That came through and totally took me out of being able to immerse myself in the movie. By far, the best part of this movie is Will Poulter. Hands down, no arguing. LOVED him in Son of Rambow and loved him in this. The kid is just a great actor.

Black Swan - Grade: D. Yech. So many people loved this movie. So you'll probably disagree, and you'll probably hate, but I'm fine with that. This movie was a hot mess. And there was WAY, WAY, WAY too much vag and girl parts. GROSSED to the max. I missed the crazy brilliance of it all. The story was good, but parts were unclear and confusing. My favorite part though was when Turtle screamed OUT LOUD in the theater. That was hilarious. When it was over, I was left wanting more. Dunno. Maybe I saw a different movie than everyone else, but I didn't like it.

Legends of the Fall - Grade: D. This came highly recommended from Turtle. The story was insanity. Brothers going to war and all falling in love with the same girl. The movie was full of poor choices, and I questioned more than once, "Why would x do that? Ridiculous. He/she wouldn't make that decision." The movie was confusing in many places, especially with regards to the character of Tristan. They covered way too much, way too quickly for us to invest in him as a main character.

Fight the Future (X-Files) - Grade: B. Alot of critical acclaim surrounding this movie. How hard for Chris Carter to make something that appealed to die-hard fans while being able to create something for an audience unfamiliar with any of the show. Then the added challenge of picking up the end of Season 5, and segueing into Season 6. The Season 6 opener was also painstakingly difficult, as Carter had to develop an episode the continued the series from Season 5 with the knowledge that not everyone would have seen the movie. Geez. Alot of people said that the movie could not be treated as such, and that really, it should be more viewed as a two-hour episode of the show. I can agree with that. Turtle and I watched all 202 episodes in the first half of 2011. We put the movie in between Season 5 ad 6 as it was designed. I love the X-Files, so really there can be no wrong for me. The movie helped explained alot of the Mythology behind X-Files, which was helpful for Turtle who was always wanting all the pieces to fall into place so she could understand everything. I highly recommend The X-Files to everyone willing to believe. I WANT TO BELIEVE.

I am Number Four - Grade: B-. So after seeing this movie, I learned that a) it is supposedly the first of a trilogy, and b) it is based on a series of books. So. I need to get the books. I didn't know a whole lot about this movie going into it, so I was kind of excited to be swept away in the story. The plot was definitely interesting and got me hooked. But as a stand-alone, I did not feel fulfilled at the end. Again, this raises the issue - will it be a trilogy? If so, maybe I will like the first movie more later. But when it was done, there were still a million unanswered questions for me. There was so much that was never explained. The special effects were great, the concept original, and the actors all excellent. But there was so much left undone that I was just... I guess now I know how people felt after watching The Lord of the Rings (though I can't remember now if it was the first or second that just...ended), without knowing anything of the story beforehand. We'll see how my opinion changes as the other movies come out.

Source Code - Grade: A-. I really, really liked this movie. Until the end. And then they twisted it just a little bit farther than necessary. I was happy with it, thought it was super interesting, exciting, and well acted, and then it was going to end and I was going to be fine. But then they had to add that last little twist. It was gratuitous if you ask me, and ruined an otherwise wonderful movie. The concept was definitely cool though. And no one can wrong with Gyllenhaal.

Conviction - Grade: B. First off, this is a true story, which is just incredible. Second, I saw trailers for this and immediately thought it looked good enough to see; so when the opportunity presented itself, I naturally accepted. I have always loved Hilary Swank, and this was a movie about fighting for your family. Which is paramount for me. I would do anything for the ones I love. But then there were problems. The legal portrayals were all wrong for one - trust me, I work in the industry. I know how court proceedings go. Second, Hilary and Sam Rockwell did not connect on the level that siblings should. I tried so hard to believe them and believe their emotion and it just didn't work for me. I've been saying that alot recently - I wonder if I'm desensitized? Unable to feel? I don't think so, but it's crossed my mind.

Water for Elephants (April 22) - Grade: C-. I was wholly unprepared for the screen adaption of this book I love. One of the things I absolutely loved about the book was how real and gritty it was. I fully expected this to be portrayed truthfully on screen - part of why I was so all about seeing this movie. But it wasn't. The movie adaptation was entirely romanticized and a love story. Which was so disappointing to me, because the value I placed in this book I placed in its real feel and honesty toward life as it was under the Big Top. And the movie was none of that. Not to mention puke-face Pattison played the male lead. *Gag* I tried with all my might to disassociate him from his past films (none of which I saw, so it wasn't *that* hard). Overall, though, I was totally disappointed by this movie. As is almost always true: Stick to the book.

Red Riding Hood (April 27) - Grade: A-. Saw this movie on my "holiday break" for Administrative Professional's Day. I'd missed seeing it with all my friends because of work, so this seemed fitting that I got to see it on company time. The movie was totally WEREWOLVES the game on the big screen. Being a huge fan of that party game, and having played over 100 times, I watched the movie in the same way I play the game. Absolutely everyone the movie threw suspicion on, I immediately ruled out as the Wolf. I had narrowed it down to two people by the time they did the "reveal." The one thing that was wrong with this movie was the END. If her boy becomes a wolf, then she needs to become a wolf too, and they go off and be wolves together. That's how you do a love story like this.

The King's Speech (May 8): Grade: A-. I really liked this movie. I believe it deserving of the hype and the awards. I deeply identified with King George VI, having to struggle with something within oneself viewed to be irksome, frustrating, and impeding that is inherent. His struggle was deeply personal for me and by the end of the movie, I found myself racked with emotion; heaving sobs that are not often evinced or provoked. To me, much of his impediment was not from fear of failure, or the past, but of being great. How many of us harbor this fear, while refusing to give it place by acknowledgment? How many of us are held back not by shortcoming, but by fear of being astonishingly brilliant? I may be party to this same anxiety in some areas of my life, and so as King George VI succeeded, I was awash with envy, success, pride, and happiness. I liked that the movie was able to draw so much from me. However, I wish it had done so with more characters than just Colin Firth. His performance was breath-taking, convincing, and exceptional. None of the other characters showed such depth, emotion, and commitment, and for that I was a little disappointed.

Battle of Los Angeles (May 14) - Grade: F. Not to be confused with Battle: Los Angeles. Wait, what? Yeah, that's right. Some idiots made a movie with pretty much the EXACT same title, at the same time, about the same thing. SERIOUSLY so upset. Cuz I *thought* I was watching Battle: Los Angeles, but no. I didn't think there could be a worse movie than 2012 or Legion, but this was. It was an abomination to film-making. The actors were awful, the special effects were from the 80's, it was so bad I was actually ANGRY when I found out I'd seen the wrong movie. And I watched the whole thing! It may have been trying to be CAMP, but even if it was, it failed at that too. Just abysmal.

SALT (May 14) - Grade: B. Movie 2 on my weekend marathon. (I discovered Netflix via Turtle *grin*). This one actually wasn't all that bad. I've never been a huge fan of Jolie, but I don't hate her. I liked her in WANTED. It reminded me alot of Bourne/Bond, but with it's own plot. The whole trained-as-a-kid, forgot-who-you-were was kind of a lame plot point, but eh. It was pretty good, all things considered.

Kick-Ass (May 14) - Grade: A-. I'd never really considered seeing this movie since it had Aaron Johnson at its head (whom I confused for Michael Cera (who I *don't* like (not him, but generally the type of movies he is in; although I loved Scott Pilgrim)). So I figured it was in that genre of films like Superbad that I have no interest in seeing. I was pleasantly surprised, however. The movie is definitely campy, but does so in an ethical way. I thought Chloe Moretz was wonderful, and now I am even more intrigued to see Let Me In, since she stars alongside Kodi Smit-McPhee, who I loved in The Road. It was bloody and violent, but that was to be expected for something like this, so I rolled with it. Not really a kid movie, lol

Sucker-Punch (May 15) - Grade: A. Okay, now before you say anything, I'm going to start out defending this movie. A lot, a lot, a lot of people hated this movie. It sucked, it was awful, the plot was everywhere, it was campy, and just bad. But I am not those people. I super LOVED this movie. I thought it was EPIC. I thought the plot was brilliant, I loved the messages throughout, the cinematography was breath-taking. I thought this movie deserved way more credit than it was given. I love the Inception-like layers and the intricacies in the plot, that left many people confused and lost. I loved how seamlessly fantasy and reality blurred. I loved the way they used imaginative battles/struggles to get small victories in real life. I felt like this movie said SO much in so little time about life, love, and the way we cope/deal with the things that are thrown at us. I absolutely loved this movie.

Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 29th) - Grade: B+. Not the biggest Jack Black fan out there. But I enjoyed the first one, so I went to see the second at the prompting of some friends. And I was not disappointed. The movie was funny in all the right places, the plot was creative and fun, and the villain was very ingeniously crafted.

Of these 17 movies, I'd have to say my favorite was Sucker-Punch. That movie just connected with me on all the right levels, in all the right ways. Absolutely loved it. Stay tuned for more Movies in 2011! Also coming soon: the first book reviews of 2011! Thrilling!


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