TROUBLE CITY

The Year So Far: 2011 (Part Deux)

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The first update has arrived!  I have managed to view 4 new films since the last entry and what follows are my thoughts. Henry's Crime - This was worth a look, but I doubt I will ever go out of my way to watch it again.  I don't care what anyone says; I have always been a fan of Keanu Reeves.  I liked him here.  Hell, I liked his supporting cast (Vera Farmiga, Fisher Stevens, and James motherfuckin' Caan!).  The problem is that they just didn't have an interesting script to back them up.  I like the ideas present, but the execution is very lackluster.

The Beaver - I wanted to love this.  The cast is stellar (Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence) and the concept is a hoot.  It just never completely gelled for me.  It's certainly worth a look, but don't go in expecting a great film.  I know those behind the scenes were hoping this would be Mel's comeback film, but watching it I can see why it wasn't.  The film is quite dark and isn't your typical commercial comedy.  This is a good thing, but I can easily see why it didn't platform into a wider release.  Gibson gives a great performance, but if he is looking for something to shoot him back to stardom then this isn't the type of film that will do it.  Personally, I don't think the man really cares...................and that's fine by me.  Like I said, it's worth a look.

Take Me Home Tonight - My wife had this come in from Netflix and I decided to watch it with her.  I figured it would be a decent time-passer.  I actually ended up enjoying it.  Topher Grace, Dan Fogler, Anna Faris, Teresa Palmer, and the great Michael Biehn make up the cast here.  Nothing spectacular, but I had fun with it.  Besides, it was nice seeing Biehn in a good-sized supporting role within a film that actually garnered a theatrical release earlier in the year.  Hell, it is awesome to have the man show up on this list in a couple of films that I actually liked.  That's no dig on Biehn, just the unfortunate trajectory that his career took for awhile.  Things seem to be looking up for the man these days, which is awesome.  Anyway, this will make a nice Netflix Instant viewing when it inevitably becomes available on down the line.

The Thing - I was both excited and wary of seeing this.  I am a MASSIVE fan of John Carpenter and his version of The Thing is pretty much my all-time favorite film.  I tempered my expectations going in.  After all, exactly what can live up to your favorite film, especially when it is a follow-up?  Well, fellow Chewers, I enjoyed it.  It is a flawed film.  Better choices could have been made in terms of some plot points, some of the CGI is a bit wonky, and it certainly isn't anywhere near as suspenseful as Carpenter' effort.  That said, I still had fun.  Many have complained about the cast, but I thought everyone performed quite well and I had no problem differentiating between characters.  Most follow-ups or remakes of Carpenter's work in recent years have been horrible.  The Fog remake is an absolute piece of shit.  Rob Zombie's Halloween has some interesting concepts at work, but they fail to form an actual good film.  His sequel fared a whole lot better, with Zombie managing to fully inject his own style and ideas into the property.  It might not be a great film, but I kinda dig it.  The remake of Assault On Precinct 13 is pretty solid, but nowhere near the quality of the original.  I would place this film alongside that one, although I think this is of a higher quality.  We have yet to see a "definitive" remake of a Carpenter film.  While there are plenty in the works at the moment, I'm not so sure we are any closer to getting one.

Anyway, below lies the updated list.  A few films have shifted spots, but not in any drastic ways.

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1. Drive

2. Insidious

3. Rango

4. X-Men: First Class

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

6. Super

7. Red Hill

8. Fast Five

9. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

10. Warrior

11. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

13. Thor

14. I Am Number Four

15. Drive Angry

16. The Thing

17. The Lincoln Lawyer

18. Bridesmaids

19. Scream IV

20. Bereavement

21. The Mechanic

22. The Green Hornet

23. Death Race II

24. Buried

25. Green Lantern

26. Priest

27. Sucker Punch

28. Battle: Los Angeles

29. What's Your Number?

30. Paul

31. Your Highness

32. Take Me Home Tonight

33. Arthur

34. Conan the Barbarian

35. Red Riding Hood

36. The Beaver

37. I Love You, Phillip Morris

38. Bad Teacher

39. Unknown

40. Henry's Crime

41. The Resident

42. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

43. Gnomeo & Juliet

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Feel free to agree with or eviscerate me, be it in the forums or below.