Top 10 Best and Worst Movies of 2011

At long last, it has come to this. The movies that inspired me, excited me, reaffirmed my faith in the power of cinema, got me pissed, made me gag and made me want to kick my laptop screen in disgust at what I’ve just seen. In other words, this is MY top 10 best and worst movies of 2011.

 

WORST MOVIES OF 2011

10.  THE SMURFS –

Admittedly, I didn’t even watch the entire film. I stopped after 15 minutes to do some housework. And that was just when Sofia Vergara (HOT!!) began talking to Neil Patrick Harris, the ‘star’ of this bullshit. What I did see was a pathetic attempt to capture the essence of the classic cartoon TV series which this bullshit is based on. But I don’t even have to watch the rest of this film to say these following words:- “SMURF Raja Gosnell for SMURFING up another classic SMURFING cartoon show (like if butt-SMURFING “Scooby Doo” wasn’t bad enough), SMURF the SMURFERS who wrote this SMURF, SMURF the SMURFERS who helped make this piece of SMURF, and SMURF the SMURFING Smurfs! I bury those cock-a-roaches!”

 

9.  DRIVE ANGRY

Nicolas Cage had not one, but THREE bad movies under his belt for 2011 – “Season of the Witch”, Trespass” and…..this shit. The story makes no logical sense, as Nicolas Cage escapes from the bowels of hell to save a baby from being sacrificed by a cult of devil-worshipping rednecks. Riiiiight. What made this film so bad is that it isn’t sure whether to be serious or not. It’s almost as if the director really intended to make a bad film. Which he did. He should be proud of himself….whoever the fuck he is. The only saving grace in this film is the action scenes which, while exciting to look at, still doesn’t change the fact that you could be watching “The Rock” or “Face/Off” (which starred Nicolas Cage when he actually MATTERED) instead of this crap.

 

8. SHARK NIGHT

At first, “Shark Night” feels like a SyFy Original Movie about teens being killed by ridiculously fake-looking sharks that jump high into the air and somehow manage to catch their prey before they return to the water. But then it’s revealed nearing the end that the fake-looking sharks were actually released into the water by some guys who ENJOY recording people being eaten alive by fake-looking sharks. So now the film turns from a SyFy Original Movie into a SyFy Exploitation Movie. And you know what’s more insulting than the bad acting, cheesy effects and the fake-looking sharks? The PG-13 rating. In short, this is a dumbed-down film that seeks to dumb its viewer down even further. Do yourself a favour and watch “Jaws”. Even the shitty sequels are better than “Shark Night”!

 

7. SUCKER PUNCH

Speaking of “exploitation”, here’s a film that exploits its female stars – and the people watching it. Zack Synder made three of the best films of the past decade: “Dawn of the Dead”, “300” and “Watchmen”. In “Sucker Punch”, Zack finally got the chance to WRITE and direct a film. In a nutshell, it’s about a group of girls in a mental institution who dress in skimpy Cosplay outfits, and dance in front of old MALE perverts….while IMAGINING themselves in a weird fantasy world where they must find the key (literally and non-literally) to get out of the institution. While the visuals are AWESOME, the story is HORRIBLE…..and CONFUSING….and downright SEXIST. The result is a film that insults the viewer’s intelligence while masquerading itself as a story of female empowerment. Great job, Zack! 😦

 

6. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1

Vampire marries girl IN DAYLIGHT, vampire fucks girl and destroys the bed, girl gets pregnant, shirtless douchebag who turns to a werewolf makes a big deal about it, other werewolves make a bigger deal about it, and some other confusing shit takes place until the girl finally gives birth to the baby. The story in this so-called “epic” could have been told in ONE HOUR! Instead, I had to suffer through more than one hour of blank stares, lifeless dialogue and a slow, prodding plot that goes nowhere.  The only saving grace about this film is that there’s one more film before the “saga” finally ends. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even a film franchise about a vampire and a werewolf fighting for ONE girl (when there’s so much OTHER girls to choose from – Anna Kendrick, anyone?) was not meant to last forever.

 

5. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

Everything that I hated in the second film (mind-numbing action, convoluted plot, annoying characters etc.) multiplied by 3.  That’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”! At least Megan Fox wasn’t in it, so that was a good thing at least.

 

4. CONAN THE BARBARIAN

I actually had high hopes for this film. I loved the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger film and stupidly felt that this version would be a superb tribute to the original film. What I got was an ‘epic’ about a muscle-bound asshole who grunts, roars, decapitates, chops, stabs and fucks his way through the shitty, undeveloped plot of the film. This was an epic alright…..an EPIC FAIL!

 

3. SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

From the director of “El Mariachi”, “Sin City” and “Machete” comes this TERRIBLE excuse for a family film. If you’re looking for scat, vomit, flatulence and, of course, the wasted talents of Jessica Alba, Joel McHale and Jeremy Piven, look no further than “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World”. Speaking of time, you’ll definitely be looking at your watch while you look at this shit. This was a major disappointment for the successful Spy Kids franchise, and a low point in the career of director Robert Rodriguez.

 

2. ABDUCTION

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the WORST ACTION FILM OF 2011. Made intentionally for girls who love to drool over Taylor Lautner’s chest, this painful exercise in action film-making involves our favourite werewolf from “Twilight” being chased by the CIA and a group of “European” secret agents. Taylor proves that he has skills when it comes to the fight scenes, but his acting is just so painful to watch. Even the other actors in the film appear to be in pain, from Alfred Molina (Doc Ock of “Spiderman 2”) to Sigourney Weaver (who says the WORST line of the film – “I hate balloons!”). And to think this is from John Singleton, the man who directed “Boyz N The Hood” and “Higher Learning”. Shame on you, John! Shame on you.

 

And now, my pick for THE NO. 1 WORST FILM of 2011.

 

1. BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

I remember going into the cinema to watch “Battle: Los Angeles”, thinking that this would be such a great movie. I also remember groaning at the cliched dialogue, shaking my head in disgust at the Marines who acted like pussies every time something or someone ran past them, commending the aliens for hiding on the rooftops of buildings while the Marines shot wildly at NOTHING,  laughing my ass off when the leader of the Marines ordered his men to shoot anything that wasn’t human (when in the next scene, a dog wandered onto the street), was near-blinded by the choppy editing and shaky-cam action sequences, and thinking “WHAT THE FUCK?!” when I saw R&B superstar Ne-Yo playing a Marine in the film. I walked out of the cinema saying to myself: “This is the worst film of the year”. At the end of 2011, I’m still correct.

 

 

BEST MOVIES OF 2011

10.  CRAZY, STUPID LOVE

With a relatable story about love and heartbreak, and great performances throughout – even from Ryan Gosling (the man who women lust for and guys envy the shit out of), this was a surprisingly charming film that I admittedly enjoyed a lot more than I expected.

 

9.  50/50

No, it’s not a double album from rapper 50 Cent. It’s a touching comic drama about a man struggling to beat spinal cancer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, Seth Rogen supplies the humour to the film, and Anna Kendrick and Angelica Houston deliver great performances as the two women concerned over the health and well-being of Joseph’s character. I predict that this film will win some Academy Award, probably for Best Actor. You never know!

 

8.  DRIVE

Ryan Gosling proves once again that he can really act in this uber-cool, ultra-violent neo-noir film. With superb cinematography, great acting, and a very engaging story, “Drive” is a film that is already considered to be an art-house classic. And there’s a scene involving Ryan, a girl and a killer in an elevator which is arguably one of the BEST SCENES I’ve ever seen in a movie all year!

 

7.  MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL

The best entry in the “Mission Impossible” series – PERIOD! With cool gadgets, intense action and a really decent story throughout, “M.I.4” is one of the year’s best action flicks. And it’s yet another film which tries its hardest to make Tom Cruise appear taller than he REALLY is.

 

6.  13 ASSASSINS

From the land of the rising sun comes one of the best samurai films in years! The heroes are bad-asses, the villain is a twisted son of a bitch, and the stakes are high when it comes to killing this son of a bitch, as well as his 300-man army. Let’s hope that Hollywood doesn’t rape …. I mean, remake this film for American audiences!

 

5.  FAST FIVE

This was the tune-up that the 10-year old “Fast and Furious” franchise needed. It’s loud, it’s fast-paced, it’s mindless …. and it’s downright FUN! Hate on it as much as you want after you see it, but you can’t help but agree – “Fast Five” is PRETTY FUCKING ENTERTAINING! Come on, ADMIT IT!

 

4.  RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

The apes took over, and human audiences responded with thunderous applause. This is yet another successful franchise reboot in a monotonous cycle of franchise reboots. Andy Serkis (the human actor who plays Gollum in “LOTR”) delivers an amazing performance as the highly intelligent ape Caesar, who rallies a group of apes to rebel against their human tormentors. This was a surprisingly decent film, and a huge leap forward from the previous, and TERRIBLE, “Planet of the Apes” film.

 

3.  X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

This was the kick in the ass (get it? Kick-Ass? As in the director of Kick-Ass, who made this film? Not funny, huh? Umm, I thought so) that the X-Men franchise needed. This was a mature, well-written story that delved deep into the origin of the mutant superhero team without a sappy love story (“Spider-Man 3”, anyone?) or a cameo by comic-book mogul Stan Lee. And it had superb performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the friends-turned-rivals Professor Xavier and Magneto. This is clearly the best superhero movie of 2011. Sorry, Thor. And Captain America. And you too, Green Lantern.

 

2. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

Talk about ending a franchise on a high note! The build-up that I’ve been anticipating since David Yates directed “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” finally reaches its maximum point in this film. Questions are answered, spells are cast, and ordinary wizards become heroes. It took 10 years to reach to this conclusion, and I have to say that I was very much satisfied.

 

And now, my pick for THE NO. 1 BEST FILM of 2011.

 

1. WARRIOR

Yeah, I said it! “WARRIOR” is the No. 1 best movie that I’ve seen for 2011. Why did I pick a film about mixed martial arts that uses the tried-and-true “Rocky” formula of determination and victory under impossible odds? Because it does it SO WELL! And also because it’s a REALLY GREAT MOVIE! The fight scenes were well-choreographed, the story was emotional and powerful, and the performances were amazing. Speaking of performances, Nick Nolte definitely deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His performance in the film is nothing short of spectacular. In a year of robots, wizards, fast cars, smurfs, sparkling vampires, human centipedes and sissified Marines, “Warrior” stood out to me the most. It inspired me, it moved me, and it reminded me what great films are capable of doing. Do yourself a favour and see this film already. You won’t regret it.

– Matthew

Top 10 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2011

As the year draws to a close, it is time for me to look back at the albums that made 2011 a great year for my preferred choice of music,  hip hop. Unlike other “best hip hop albums of 2011” lists that are online right now, I’ve decided to put in mixtapes into my list.  And not because they’re free….but then again, how the hell could I pass up on FREE MUSIC? But the quality of some of these mixtapes actually excel most of the mainstream and commercial albums that are being bought right now. Ironically enough, it’s a mixtape that made it to No. 1 in my list.

Now before I begin, please keep in mind that I’ve listened to a lot of shit that passes as rap music this year. So if your favourite album isn’t there on the list, then it’s one of three reasons: (a) I haven’t listened to it yet due to lack of time; (b) I heard it but didn’t really like it at all; and (c) I know that I’ll hate it, so I simply didn’t listen to the fucking album!

But this right here is the BEST that I’ve heard this year. Some of these titles may not fit your taste but what can I say? They constitute what I believe to be REAL hip hop, and not the Rap & Bullshit (get it, R&B) that passes for it. And they’re highly recommended by yours truly.

What blew my mind, and my ears, this year? Let’s see, shall we?

 

10. CHILDISH GAMBINO – CAMP

You know the random black dude from “Community” ? Donald Glover? Did you know that he can rap? No? Well, he does actually. And he CAN! And he proved he can in his first studio album “Camp”. Listeners may argue that he comes across too whiny when it comes to his very troubled past. Others may argue that he’s just another Drake-wannabe who croons his choruses. I say, in an industry full of fake-ass rappers, he’s one of the few newcomers that isn’t afraid to bare his soul to the world. And he’s a really decent lyricist, by the way. With a fusion of gospel, hip hop and electronic music to back him up, Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino….yes, the name is really weird. The history of the name is kinda funny though) delivers with this surprisingly impressive album.

 

9. BIG K.R.I.T. – RETURN OF 4EVA

The first mixtape on the list so far. After the success of last year’s “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here”, the Mississippi-born lyricist returns with his superior sophomore album. With his Southern drawl, beats reminiscent of the good ol’ days of Outkast and Organized Noise, and topics which range from cars to girls to his career as a rapper, “Return of 4Eva” is yet another rap album from the Dirty South that will eventually become a classic.

 

8. DANNY BROWN – XXX

Yes, he wears skinny jeans. Yes, he has a fucked-up hairdo. But don’t let that stop you from listening to Danny Brown. He is arguably one of the most unique rappers in the game today. And his album “XXX” accentuates that.  With a style that switches from a gruff voice and hard-hitting wordplay to a ridiculously high-pitched voice accompanied by hilariously over-the-top rhymes, and topics ranging from drug addiction and poverty to inebriation and oral sex (yes, there’s a jaw-dropping song dedicated to fellatio), “XXX” feels as if two rappers are performing on one album. But in actuality, it’s a look into the duality of Danny Brown – his wild side and his serious side. The title “XXX” is both a representation of the explicit approach to his lyricism and the fact that he’s 30 years old. It’s both serious and funny; gritty and infectious. And you WILL find yourself listening to this over and over. Believe me, you will!

 

7. JAY-Z & KANYE WEST (The Throne) – WATCH THE THRONE

My first and ONLY commercial album on this list. Based on the strength of “The Throne’s” highly addictive first single “Otis”, I was compelled to listen to the album. I didn’t quite feel it the first time I listened to it, but after a couple more listens, I had to admit that “Watch the Throne” is a really good album. Sure, the beats are an acquired taste, and sure Kanye West is still in his “Twisted Fantasy” phase, and sure Jay-Z doesn’t have much to say in his career except that he has more money than me or you. But deep down, it is what it is – two of the most talked-about individuals in the rap game doing what they do best. And for what it’s worth, it works.

 

6. COMMON – THE DREAMER/THE BELIEVER

For every not-so-good album the Chicago emcee brings out (“Electric Circus”, “Universal Mind Control”), Common returns with a brilliant, classic-status album (“Like Water for Chocolate”, “Be”). And “The Dreamer/The Believer” comes close, if not entirely, to the classic-status that we expect from him. His range of topics loses focus from the profound theme of the album’s title, but his lyricism is still impressive after an impressive career of less than 20 years. Oh, and his friend No I.D. produced ALL the tracks on the album. And he takes a subliminal shot at Drake in the fucking awesome track “Sweet”. It’s no classic, but it’s still one of Common’s most consistent works.

 

5. KENDRICK LAMAR – SECTION.80

Speaking of “believe”, 23-year old Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar made me believe that West Coast hip hop is still relevant today. With his powerful album “Section .80”, Kendrick delivers some very impressive lyricism over some very creative beats. His topics range from braggadocio (the brilliant “Rigarmortis”) to the drug-fueled Reagan Era of the 80s (the laid-back “A.D.H.D.”) to being a revolutionary in a fucked-up world (the powerful “HiiiPoWeR”). Despite a couple of tracks that totally miss the mark, “Section .80” is definitely worth a listen. Besides, other popular hip hop sites have listed it among their favourite albums of the year as well. Seriously! IT’S THAT GOOD!

 

4. RANDOM AXE

Take a Detroit producer, a Detroit rapper, and one of the most underrated New York emcees in the game, mix them together in a bowl and you get…. Random Axe. Producer Black Milk teams up with Guilty Simpson and Sean Price to make one of the most addictive rap albums of the year! The lyrics are hard, the beats are dope and for a 41-minute album, I guarantee that you’ll be listening to it over and over and over again (like I did). And just for the record, “Chewbacca” fucking knocks!  The song, that is. Confused? Check out the video 🙂

 

3. DEE-1 – I HOPE THEY HEAR ME, VOL. 2

He started off rapping, then he became a teacher. Then after 2 years, he quit teaching to pursue his dream of being a rapper. The result? His first studio album – “David and Goliath” which spawned the BRILLIANT single “Jay, 50 and Weezy”. What does this have to do with his latest mixtape? Well, that song actually appears in the playlist, and it’s still relevant today as it was 2 years ago. Compared to the ‘rapping over beats’ formula of “I Hope they Hear Me, Vol.1”, this sequel boasts new beats and deeper, thoughtful lyrics. But it still has the signature sincerity from Dee-1 that makes him a powerful and positive force in the underground rap game.  He’s one of the rare rappers today that doesn’t rely on shock value or explicit lyrics to get his point across. Dee-1 deserves a wider audience, and “I Hope they Hear Me Vol. 2”  is definitely worth checking out. And it’s free on his website. So do yourself a favour, and GET THE ALBUM ALREADY! I’ll wait.

 

2. THE ROOTS – Undun

“Undun” is such an amazing album. It tells the story of the fictional hustler Redford Stevens, who is gunned down outside his home. The story itself begins with his death and goes back in reverse-chronological order to show the circumstances and mindset that led to his downfall. Even if you don’t realize that “Undun” is a concept album and that it’s about a guy who isn’t real, it is still very captivating.  The legendary hip hop band The Roots blend hip hop, neo-soul and hard-hitting lyrics to create their dark, cautionary tale. And for a short running time of 38 minutes, it’ll be stuck in your heads for hours after you hear it. Which is a good thing, when you really think about it.

 

I REALLY wanted to place “Undun” into the Number 1 spot, which is ironic since the album came out early this December. But I HAVE to place this album… or should I say, mixtape…. which came out on May 10th in that position.

 

1. ELZHI – ELMATIC

When Detroit rapper Elzhi decided to do a tribute album to Queensbridge rapper Nas’ timeless debut album “Illmatic” (and release it online for FREE), I was confused, then perplexed, then intrigued. When “Elmatic” (‘El’ for Elzhi in case you weren’t following) did come out, I downloaded it immediately. From the opening synthesizers which simulated the sound of “Subway Theme” that opened “Illmatic’s” first track, I was immediately drawn into the album. When Elzhi’s first verse kicked in (“Yo, it’s Elmatic/Shouts out to the homie Nas, son/ Words from the wise one/ Make both your eyes run”), my jaw hit the floor. Those 2 bars alone, matched with the live instrumentals (yes, I said it! LIVE INSTRUMENTALS!) of  Will Sessions in that first track, were just a taste of the awesomeness that is “Elmatic”

All of the original “Illmatic” tracks – with the exception of the less-then-stellar “One Time 4 Your Mind” – are re-visited and re-created in this album. Only the two bonus tracks at the end are original, in which Elzhi teams up with legendary producer Pete Rock. But throughout the album itself, Elzhi delivers verse after verse of sharp, intelligent lyricism that shows that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the Detroit rap scene. Will Sessions re-creates the sound of “Illmatic” into a moody, jazzy style that is guaranteed to have your heads bumping throughout the entire album.  The idea itself of recreating one of rap’s greatest achievements is a huge challenge that can lead to career suicide. (Imagine if Rick Ross re-did Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die”. Matter of fact, don’t imagine that shit!). It takes someone with the talent, and balls, to pull it off. Elzhi stood up to the challenge and brought the confidence, wisdom and heart that made “Illmatic” a classic in the first place.  The end result is an album (or mixtape, whichever you prefer) that doesn’t completely match the classic status of “Illmatic” but becomes a classic on its own. In short, “Elmatic” is the BEST RAP ALBUM I’ve heard this year – period!

As I mentioned before, it’s free….so please, for the love of God, GET THIS ALBUM. And while you’re at it, try to locate the instrumental CD by Will Sessions. The beats are REALLY, REALLY GOOD!

So what’s your top 10 best hip hop albums of 2011? Leave a comment and let me know. In the meantime, enjoy the video to the best track on”Elmatic”.

– Matthew

See this movie – The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets

Ah yes, December is here! Christmas is near…. and Thanksgiving is no more. Speaking of Thanksgiving, after 3 months of lame excuses as to why I shouldn’t go to the local movie theater (the major excuse being the fucking lack of GREAT MOVIES in theaters in the first place), I returned to my second home – the local movie theater. Being Thanksgiving weekend, I had to pick one of the following films to spend my hard-earned money on: “The Muppets”, “Immortals”, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” (shudders) and “Jack and Jill” (heavens to Betsy!) Take a wild guess what I saw….. : D

“The Muppets” marks the return of the most popular and well-known group of puppet characters to the big screen. They were created by the late, great Jim Henson in 1954. They made their television debut in “Sam and Friends”, and it was this series that unleashed the pop culture ICON that is Kermit. Interestingly enough, Kermit began as a lizard-like muppet which evolved into Kermit the Frog.  When the show ended in 1961,  Kermit disappeared from the limelight. Rumour has it that he went back to his Florida swamp home, cheated on and split with his wife of 8 years, and owed the IRS $4,000,000 in back taxes. Long story short, he was a broke motherfucker!

But it was in 1969 that he returned to television with the iconic children’s show “Sesame Street”.  With the help of a drug-addicted Cookie Monster, closeted homosexuals Ernie and Bert, a retarded-ass Big Bird and an ORANGE Oscar the Grouch (I shit you not!), he became an overnight celebrity. In 1976, he branched out into prime-time. The result was the AWESOME musical comedy series “The Muppet Show”. New Muppets with multiple talents and unique personalities were introduced to the world such as the daredevil Gonzo the Great, the stand-up comedian Fozzy Bear, and of course Kermit’s eventual love interest Miss Piggy.

They made their first appearance on the big screen with the classic film “The Muppet Movie”. From then until now, they starred in 7 films, released music albums and even had their own cartoon series – “Muppet Babies” (REMEMBER THAT SHIT?!)  Things were going great until the release of the TV movie “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz”. Honestly, from what I remember, the movie didn’t suck – even though it starred Ashanti (remember her?) as Dorothy. What I remember clearly was the appearance of Quentin Tarantino (I shit you not!).  The point is, the Muppet group disappeared for some weird reason. Long-time Muppet fans cringed in agony when they saw “Sesame Street” reduced to unappealing filler, followed by “Elmo’s World”, a segment dedicated to the world’s most ANNOYING Muppet!

Which brings us to “The Muppets”, the latest film from Walt Disney Studios. When I first saw the trailer for this film, my first thought was: “It’s about fucking time!”. This new decade needed another Muppet movie. The trick, of course, is to make it appeal to both die-hard fans of the original Muppet movies and TV series,  and a new, younger audience whose idea of a great children’s show involves a talking sponge. Did it succeed? Let’s see….

PLOT

Walter, a puppet (not to be confused with ‘muppet’. Yes, I know it sounds dumb, but when you see the film, you’ll understand), is a longtime fan of the Muppets, ever since “The Muppet Show” came on the air. His brother is a human named Gary who has a girlfriend with really cute eyes named Mary. Gary plans to spend a vacation in L.A. with Mary to celebrate their 10th anniversary of being boyfriend and girlfriend (only in the movies, people! Let’s get a move on!).  Anyhoo, Walter sees this trip as an opportunity for him to go to the Muppet Theater, where “The Muppet Show” was shot. When they arrive, it’s a run-down tourist attraction. And to make matters worse, the theater is about to be sold to Tex Richman (BEST NAME EVER!), an oil magnate who wants to get the oil that is apparently underneath the theater. The only way to save the theater is if 10 million dollars can be raised in order to purchase the theater back. Walter comes up with an idea – find the Muppets and get them together to stage a reunion concert/telethon. One by one, the Muppets reunite, and the energy that they shared onstage, and the friendship that they shared with each other, returns. But the clock is ticking. They have one shot to raise the money. Will they succeed, or will they become a distant memory?

CHARACTERS

Walter – Peter Linz

Gary – Jason Segel (star of everyone’s favourite sitcom – ‘How I met your Mother’)

Mary – Amy Adams (I swear to God, she really has cute eyes!)

Tex Richman – Chris Cooper (scene-stealer)

Kermit the Frog – a frog

Miss Piggy – a pig

Fozzy Bear – a bear

Animal – an ANIMAL!!!!

Gonzo the Great – a…..I don’t know what the fuck he is.

MY THOUGHTS: What makes this film work is not the fact that they’re technically resurrecting an old franchise (which Hollywood has been obsessed with for the past few years), but that they poke fun at the silliness of it all. From the hilarious Broadway-parody musical numbers (yes, “The Muppets” is a musical comedy, folks)  to characters breaking the 4th wall, the material in “The Muppets” is intentionally and cleverly not taken seriously. I mean, it’s a film about Muppets, for chrissake. But don’t think that this film isn’t good.

The story is surprisingly engaging and well-thought-of, which is what’s expected in a family film. The characters, both human and muppet, are appealing.  And speaking of muppets, their personalities are still there. Kermit’s self-doubt to re-affirmation phases, Miss Piggy’s independence, Fozzy’s bad jokes, Gonzo’s fetish for chickens….it’s all there. As I mentioned above, Chris Cooper is a scene-stealer. His performance as Tex Richman is both intentionally cliched and downright hilarious. He even has a brief musical number that had ME in stitches! Speaking of musical numbers, the performances by both human and muppet are superb. It evokes a sense of nostalgia for the original Muppet films, and musicals as a whole. And the film’s underlying theme of discovering one’s talent is both endearing and touching. Long story short, this was a fun, highly entertaining and ultimately enjoyable film. My expectations were high when I went to see it, and I must say, it DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

SHOULD I SEE THIS FILM? HELL YES!  Unless singing puppets that make random references to pop culture isn’t your thing, then you should DEFINITELY see this film. Bring your friends. Bring your family. Bring your children who have no clue who Kermit is, but know the hand seals from “Naruto” by heart! Bring your grandmother who probably watched “Sam and Friends” back in the 50s, but isn’t aware that clips of the show can be found on YouTube. Come to think of it, she probably doesn’t even know what YouTube is. But anyways, this film is well worth your time and money. This may very well be one of the best movies I’ve seen for 2011. Yes, it’s THAT GOOD.

Speaking of which, I plan to post a list by the end of 2011 focusing on the top 10 best, and worst, films I’ve seen for this year. I’ll try my best to see the films that I’ve missed out on, good and bad. I mightn’t be able to post all the reviews for the films on the list before New Year’s, but I’ll try my best. Wish me luck.

MY RATING – 4 out of 5 stars (See this movie”)

– Matthew