Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Films of 2011 (Korean and Otherwise)


This year was not a good year for watching new films because I just didn't watch many.  And most of what I saw were blockbusters.  So, I decided to just list all the 2011 movies that I watched using a 1 to 5 rating scale with 1 being crap, and 5 being super awesome, and with some notes here and there for each movie.

First, I will list the Korean movies that I saw this year, which was only 2!  I'm usually late on watching Korean movies but this year I was even worse than usual about it.  Honestly, there wasn't many that caught my attention.  However, on the list to watch are: ...Children, Detective K, My Way, The Front Line, The Day He Arrives, The Cat, Sunny, End of Animal, and The Crucible.

1. War of the Arrows () (4/5) - Lots of arrow shooting in this one.  Takes place in 1636 when the Manchus invaded Korea for the second time during the Joseon era.  There's more anti-Japanese sentiment over here, than Chinese, but make no mistake, the Chinese (in particular, the Manchus, who later became known as the Manchurians) did some horrible things to the Koreans.  Displacing folks, murder, and rape.  All of this is shown in the movie (more or less).  A bit of a wake up call on just how brutal foreign intruders can be.  However, the focus is more on family here, and how this guy who is a master at archery, is able to defeat foreign intruders to get his family back.  There's a chase scene here that reminds me of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, but the Apocalypto version is better....but maybe only just slightly.  Pretty cool movie that has some interesting historical background to it.  It was the biggest box office hit in Korea this year.  

2. White: Melody of the Curse (화이트: 저주의 멜로디) (3/5) - K-Pop horror film.  There are some really chilly scenes in this one.  Like, real hair-raising ones.  It's like a black metal horror film about the competitive world of the K-Pop music industry.  It just really seemed nihilistic, with all the manipulations and mind games that the ghost was doing to the girls.  That combined with all the competition happening in the girl group (girl groups name: Pink Dolls.  You know some producer is kicking himself for not coming up with that name first).  I'm gonna do a proper review of this one soon, but, man, there's some freaky stuff in it, even if it is derivative with the Asian ghost thing.  It's also extremely confusing (like most K-Horror), which is why it got dropped down to a 3 instead of a 5.  Kinda stupid too.  Man, there's some freaky stuff in it, though.  Features Ham Eun-jeong of T-ara!

And here's the rest:

1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (5/5) -  Love Harry Potter.
2. Rango (3/5) - Kinda boring, but pretty good.
3. The Hangover 2 (3/5) - Better than what the "critics" said, but still not as good as the first.
4. Insidious (5/5) - Great horror film with very little blood.  I like horror.  This is worth your time.
5. Real Steal (4/5) - Way better than I expected.  Reminds me of Rocky, but with robots.
6. Captain America (3/5) - Watched it in 3D, and that was a waste of money.  Decent super hero movie, though.
7. Limitless (3/5) - Also better than I expected.  The ending wasn't good, though.
8. Kung Fu Panda 2 (3/5) - I loved the first one, so there was no way that this was going to be better.  Pretty good, though.
9. Source Code (3/5) - Good thriller.
10. Horrible Bosses (3/5) - Funny, even though it had that dude from It's Only Sunny in Philadelphia.
11. Cowboys & Aliens (2/5) - The alien angle ruined the movie.  This is a movie that I thought should never have existed.
12. Forks Over Knives (3/5) - Documentary/propaganda about becoming a vegan because eating meat isn't very good for you.  I agree with most of it, and I like it that they actually don't call themselves vegan.  They just don't eat meat.  It is convincing, but it's more convincing in a way that says 'just stop eating so much damn meat.'
13. Attack the Block (5/5) - Maybe my favorite film of the year.  Aliens come to Earth, and teen gangstas in London battle with them.  Maybe you could say the same thing against this one as I did against Cowboys & Aliens.  The difference is that this one is fun, on a low budget.  And Cowboys & Aliens is just stupid, and a waste of time, and Jon Favareau lost all my respect.  Not that he cares.  I wouldn't.

Next is the best music of 2011.

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