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Manny The Movie Guy

MannytheMovieGuy
Description: Manny The Movie Guy — Fun film critic and celebrity interviewer — internet blogging sensation known for rating his films with kisses "Every film deserves a kiss, even if it's just half a kiss"

Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2011! We Also Have the Worst, and the Best Performances! Check Out the Good, the Bad, the Ugly of Summer at the Movies!

The arrival of Labor Day weekend signals the end of our summer at the movies. We are now officially saying goodbye to a season of blockbusters. Let’s take a look back at the best movies Hollywood had to offer last summer. Here’s my list of the Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2011.

Click Read More for the complete Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2011, plus Best Performances, AND THE WORST FILMS!

10. “Attack the Block” – From the producers of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” this criminally underseen alien invasion movie must belong in your must-see list! This stylish and entertaining yarn even has something to say about racism and social structure. Trust me, you will love this out-of-this-world movie!

9. “Thor” – Director Kenneth Branagh infused this Marvel superhero movie with enough Shakespearean sensibilities thus creating one of the best comic book superhero films to date. Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the Nordic god and Tom Hiddleston is memorable as Thor’s nemesis, Loki. Even Anthony Hopkins was game to take on the role of the powerful Odin. The script written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne was punctuated with enough gravitas that took the audience on a thunderous ride.

8. “The Tree of Life” – This transcendental meditation about life as we know it is brilliantly executed by writer/director Terrence Malick. Like a true master, Malick created a film that confounded some, but inspired many. This visual treat, starring Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain, deservingly won the Palme D’Or at the recently held Cannes Film Festival. Watching the film is almost a spiritual experience.

7. “The Debt” – When critics use the words riveting and gripping to describe a movie, they might as well be talking about “The Debt.” Director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) working from a script co-written by Matthew Vaughn, created a tension-filled movie in the vein of the great Alan Pakula films of the 70s. Based on the 2007 Israeli film “Ha-Hov,” “The Debt” is blessed with great performances, especially by Jessica Chastain who shares the same character with Helen Mirren. This is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat cinematic experience.

6. “Bridesmaids” – I’m still laughing thinking about this smart, funny, and surprisingly touching movie. Kristen Wiig proved that she could spearhead a movie that would become the highest grossing female R-rated comedy of all time, but my heart was stolen by Melissa McCarthy who starred as Megan, the sexed-up bridesmaid.

5. “X-Men: First Class” – Hats off to director Matthew Vaughn! The helmer of “Kick-Ass,” “Stardust,” and “Layer Cake” gave us one of the most intriguing “X-Men” movies yet. Playing with the philosophical and psychological concept of good and bad, Vaughn created a prequel that was steeped in “X-Men” mythology but was also thoroughly engrossing and entertaining.

4. “Midnight in Paris” – Welcome back Woody Allen! The film became the auteur’s biggest hit and why not? It was also one of his best in quite a long time. The golden age of Paris was explored with Owen Wilson playing a time-traveling scriptwriter. The result was an enchanting trip inside the magical heart of Paris.

3. “Super 8” – Director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg teamed up for this excellent coming-of-age film told using the canvass of movie zombies, a rampaging alien, and the world of super 8mm cameras. Abrams showcased his great storytelling skills aided by a bunch of gifted child actors headed by Elle Fanning. It’s a nostalgic filmmaking exercise that perfectly mixed the notions of sci-fi, monster, and family drama movies.

2. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – This sci-fi film renewed my faith in Hollywood sequels, remakes, and prequels. While it’s not a perfect movie, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” did something short of miraculous. We all knew where the movie was heading, but somehow, the film felt fresh and exciting. Big credit goes to director Rupert Wyatt for creating a cerebral popcorn film.

1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – The last film in the popular Harry Potter franchise gave us a satisfying conclusion. We laughed, we cried, and we felt vindicated for standing by our favorite boy wizard for the last 10 years. J.K. Rowling’s saga on the boy who lived will forever have eternal life in cinema history.

Runner-Ups:

“A Better Life” – We now officially forgive Chris Weitz for making “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” This is an affecting film about the love of a father to his son told against the backdrop of immigration issues. Definitely one of the most moving films of the year.

“The Guard” – Brendan Gleeson is a delight in this movie as he dukes it out with the equally-efficient Don Cheadle. It’s a laugh-out-loud and smart, albeit crass comedy about murders and blackmails.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” – Yes, I want to see another sequel besides the upcoming “The Avengers.” This origin movie made us interested to take another peak at the adventures of Steve Rogers and his alter-ego, Captain America, the world’s first avenger.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” – Made like a French farce, this film singlehandedly restored my faith in Steve Carell as a competent actor. He had able help with Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. The film brilliantly and hilariously expound on its thesis – that love can be crazy and stupid.

“Kung Fu Panda 2” – Po (Jack Black) returned with an identity crisis – who is he and why is his father a goose? Director Jennifer Yuh, the first woman to direct an animated film for a major studio, created a visual feast for our eyes! Those reds! Those golds!

Knock-Out Performances:

Jessica Chastain – Can we please honor Miss Chastain with an Oscar, pretty please? The fantastic actress, who I lovingly refer to as America’s answer to Cate Blanchett, gave us three wonderful performances in “The Tree of Life,” “The Help,” and “The Debt.” Watch “The Debt” to truly marvel at Chastain’s wonderful command of her subdued acting – you can literally read emotions just by staring at her beautifully regal face!

Viola Davis – Speaking of “The Help,” Viola Davis raised this otherwise predictable yarn about racism into a master class in acting! Watch the film just for her performance alone.

Dominic Cooper – “The Devil’s Double” is a bit melodramatic, but watch how Dominic Cooper embodied both the roles of Uday Hussein and his double, Latif Yahia. It’s simply miraculous!

Andy Serkis – I joined the bandwagon during the “Lord of the Rings” days to award Andy Serkis for his brilliant performance as Gollum. Then he wowed us as Kong in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong,” and now, I don’t think “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” would work without Serkis’ contribution. He gave Cesar heart and soul, which made the character’s narrative arc so gut-wrenching! Serkis is truly the world’s foremost performance capture artist!

Melissa McCarthy – The rest of her friends in “Bridesmaids” are fantastic, but she was the one I remembered months after watching the super-funny movie!

Worst Movies of Summer 2011:

1. “Larry Crowne” – How could the great duo of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts let us down? The film was lifeless and joyless. It’s a predictable romantic comedy romp masquerading as a social commentary about our economy and how it affects everyday people.

2. “The Change-Up” – Word to Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds – Body switch comedies belonged to the 80s! And really? Urinating in magical fountains? Really?

3. “Zookeeper” – Kevin James, we loved you as a mall cop, but NOT a zookeeper! Try a different gig next time. Maybe an actor?

4. “The Smurfs” – This smurfing movie is so smurfingly annoying which led me to say smurf you!

5. “Priest” – No amount of prayers could have saved this film. Paul Bettany used to be cool, but he’d created an act of blasphemy by making us forget his nearly memorable role as the self-flagellating priest, Silas, in “The Da Vinci Code” with this head-scratching character as Priest in, yup, “Priest.

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