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NOTE: KIDNAPPED and I SAW THE DEVIL made my Top 10 of last year.

Looking back at the slate of genre films we got in 2011; on a whole, I can't say that what the Studios churned out blew me away. Of course there were exceptions... but funnily enough, some of the big budget Hollywood flicks I did dig were films that were critically panned and hated on by the masses. If there was ever a year where I deserved to have a picture of myself in the dictionary next to the word "minority", 2011 would be it, cause I wound up there a lot! Maybe it's because, I am often able to forgive a flawed narrative line, if the flick kicks ass with its audio/visual aesthetics or/and its exploitation goodies. Or maybe it's cause I have no shame in enjoying a imperfect film that provides me with a f*ck load of FUN. Who knows, who cares!

Xavier Gens went back to his indie roots with The Divide!

With that, thank Mitra that the Indie and Foreign scene kicked in once again to better my movie-going year and give me some superior jolts. Now I didn't get to see everything, cause well, I have a freaking life and need to get laid too. Two films I really wanted to see but didn't get the chance to were Darren Bousman's 11-11-11 and Martha Marcy May Marlene. Maybe they would have made my TOP 10, maybe not. Too f-ing late now. As per every end of the year, I went on a marathon in late November/early December, tapping movies that I had missed to see if they would make my list or not. If they did, I'd write a review for them; if not, I didn't bother. So nope, I MELT WITH YOU (3 on 4), COLD FISH (3 ON 4), MELANCHOLIA (2.5 on 4). A BOUT PORTANT (3 on 4), 13 ASSASSINS (2.5 on 4), TREE OF LIFE (I have no idea what I'd rate it, still don't know how I feel about the thing), ANOTHER EARTH (2.5) and  BELLFLOWER (2 on 4) didn't make my 2011 top list.

The red headed stepchild of 2011...Conan! I loved ya dawg!

PS: I cheated big time this year and reviewed the sports drama WARRIOR. To be honest, it had no business on AITH (even by REEL ACTION standards, where the review appeared) but I loved the movie so much that I needed to support it. It will obviously not be in my GENRE TOP 10, but I had to mention it.  All right, am done rambling! Here are the 10 genre flicks that really did it for me in 2011! Am not saying they are the BEST of 2011. Personally I don't see how anybody can claim that with a straight face being that if you show one movie to 50 people, you will get different opinions across the board. So how does one define THE BEST? Exactly. We're all individuals, with our own perceptions of things and our own personal tastes. It still blows my mind that some folks out there can't "grasp" that concept yet. So all I am saying is that these are the flicks I (yeah, just little whole me) got the most out of in 2011 for varied. Here we go!

10 - Conan
> Buy This Film
The black sheep of 2011! Conan! What can I say other than... I LOVED IT! Action driven, oozing of testosterone, sporting a F-U attitude and a unapologetic violent streak that resulted in stand out action scenes. On top of that the gore was plentiful and Jason Momoa owned all as he channeled the Conan found in the comics (which I am devouring now of late). Yup! This new Conan had me by the throat! Not a movie for pussies!
9 - Battle Los Angeles
> Buy This Film
I love military themed films, adore action, explosions and the sound of gun fire almost matches the sound of a girl cumming in terms of being one of my favs. Yes I am that guy, I have ZERO shame in it and I f*cking loved this movie! Action packed with an engaging score by Brian Tyler and a cast that was able all around. Aaron Eckhart was so badass here that they should’ve named the movie BATTLE ECKHART! BATTLE LOS ANGELES was War of the Worlds meets Call of Duty on testosterone enhancers!
8 - Bereavement
> Buy This Film
With MALEVOLENCE, I always thought that Stevan Mena should have become another James Wan or Darren Bousman in terms of stature in the modern Hollywood genre scene. I sure hope that BEREAVEMENT will boost him up there, cause in my opinion that’s where he f*cking belongs. BEREAVEMENT was an unsettling, dark, boundary testing and oppressive ride with stand out actors (Rickaby, List and Biehn owned it), some sexiness (thank you Alexandra Daddario), brilliant cinematography and a finale that will take a leak in your Rum and Coke.
7 - Retreat
> Buy This Film
First thing I spat out to my bud when I came out of this screening was: “Feels good to see a great movie”. And by great, I mean one with a well rounded screenplay, layered characters, stand-out performances, remarkable imagery, turns that I couldn't telegraph and tension galore.
6 - Attack the Block
> Buy This Film
It's Monster Squad meets Critters in the hood! Once again, I get a horror fix with punch from outside the Hollywood system! This is starting to become a pattern. ATTACK THE BLOCK put me off at first but as it rolled on, I got into its characters, its odd (to my Canuck ass) yet freaking cool slang heavy dialogue and with time connected to its sense of humor. It also displayed a solid teen cast (John Boyega should become a star), some scene robbers (Nick Frost and Jumayn Hunter murdered me), unique creatures designs (that were practical at that) and enough chase/monster shenanigans to hit the spot.
5 - The Divide
Not an easy watch but a fulfilling one none the less. Nihilistic, with an endearing rebellious attitude, un-apologetic violence, a stand out cast who gave it their all, kinetic visuals, an excellent score and a boldness to go to them somber places, bend them over and nail them dry. My kind of movie!
4 - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The moody imagery, the stellar acting (Mara in particular owned it hardcore), the engaging storyline, the easy pace, the stylish camera movements and the rocking soundtrack all contributed in me having a sour theater going, Holiday Season, good time.
3 - A Lonely Place to Die
> Buy This Film
The kind of picture I would like to see come out on the big screen in North America at least twice a year. A talented cast, an imposing setting, high tension, a body count to be reckoned with, twist and turns I didn't see coming and a visual style that simply blew me away. They should show this movie in action/thriller film school, cause this is how it's done freaking right!
2 - Super 8
> Buy This Film
SUPER 8 was a thick piece of pie with all of the yummy toppings on hand! Am talking an awesomely acted coming of age story, an "ahhh inducing" love story, a tantalizing mystery, a credible period piece (Cold War baby), a comedy, a sci-fi effort and a horror film; all driven by endearing characters and gripping relationships. It's been a while since a movie fulfilled me this much on so many levels at the same time, so thanks to all involved for this "full" experience!
1 - Drive
> Buy This Film
Had the initial premise of an action film, the visuals of an art film mixed in with a retro crime drama, the brutality of a Grindhouse party, the creative chess moves of an auteur piece and the heart of a classic like Romeo and Juliet if shot in the 80's. It used music to its advantage like no other has in a long time and all of its elements came together gracefully to make one hell of a rewarding package! Ryan Gosling was the definition of cool come to life as the man with no name and little words and so was Carey Mulligan and the rest of the stand out cast. During this watch, I was on edge, I was riled up, I was back-handed, I was entranced, I was smiling and I was moved. Thank you to all involved for this wonderful piece of cinema.


BLACK DEATH:  The real deal! A well written, though provoking and gripping piece of horror cinema. The acting was stellar (when in doubt.. Bean... pass it on), the characters endearing, the brutality cranked up to booya whilst the narrative kept my noggin going in overtime.

SOURCE CODE: Hitchcock meets K. Dick, by way of Twilight Zone and Quantum Leap. Put that in your bong and smoke it! It sported a furious pace, was well written, acted to a T (I raise my glass to Gyllenhaal, Monaghan & Farmiga... cheers!) with striking visuals and enough plot twists to keep me going. 

DRIVE ANGRY:  This year’s PIRANHA 3D! A B-Movie with a budget! It was a wild throwback to the 70's and the 80’s if I’ve ever clocked one as it echoed films like RACE WITH THE DEVIL, THE WRAITH and more so HIGHWAY TO HELL in its “out there” subject matter, heavy metal music charged soundtrack, tacky one liners, bucket load of gore and bouncing hooters M.O. 


RED RIDING HOOD: Dull, corny, all over the place, safe, dry and with grating dialogue to boot. The film pretended to be romantic, a genre effort, a challenging mystery and a bold take on a classic fairy tale. But that was the problem; it pretended to be so many things but didn't go for any of them with enough, smarts, focus, depth, genuineness or courage for any of it to matter. Result; it wound up being a big pile of poseur drivel that never gelled as a whole.

THE ROOMMATE: It put the term "generic" to shame! If you watch the trailer you’ve seen the damn movie! Even paced and banal; this beeyatch had no soul, no guts, no scares, no suspense, no depth, no thrills and no balls i.e. a thriller for little girls and pussies. SINGLE WHITE FEMALE for a new generation this was NOT; at least that flick went somewhere with its narrative; THE ROOMMATE just slept walked through the motions, as if on auto pilot and never ventured beyond the surface. If you’ve never watched a thriller in your life; this one is for you!

DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK: My numero uno cinematic let-down of the year. Although the initial premise had promise, the cast was tight, the effects money and the direction able; the flick asked me to suspend disbelief to a ludicrous degree, its grown ups so thick, it was maddening and the thing was filled with so many dumb moves to serve the plot that I overdosed on them. I wound up scoffing at the flick for treating me like an idiot (which I am BTW, but that is besides the point) and by the time the last block kicked in, I was laughing at the movie and just didn't care anymore... I wanted it to end.


© 2004 John Fallon All Rights Reserved