Best Summer Movie: Bridesmaids > The Hangover- Many people thought this movie was gonna be a simple chick flick. When I told my friends this movie was amazing, they gave me weird looks, scratched their heads and refused to believe it. This movie involves love, friendship, nominating Fight Club as a Bachelorette party option and pooping in public.
Breakout Star: All of the kids from Super 8- The story was great but it was the acting that made this movie excellent. Remember the bad acting from Spider-Man 1? I do! Tobey and Kristen have a lot to learn from these kids.
Biggest Disappointment: Captain America- I think Disney is to blame for this. The acting sucked, the story was meh. Seriously, Bucky's "death" was soooooo anti-climatic. After watching this movie, I am a little worried about the Avengers movie. Either, it's going to be amazing or suck hard.
Best Surprise: Fast Five- Yes, it's with the original cast. I know Gabriel will roll his eyes but this was such an exciting action movie. The whole movie was intense and the fight scene between The Rock and Vin Diesel was legen....wait for it dary. By the way (Spoiler alert!!!!), Gabriel Rodriguez is alive and stealing cars overseas.
Best Actor: David Hyde Pierce in The Perfect Host. Remember those fond memories of Pierce as Niles? This movie and his character will rid you of all of them. Pierce plays a criminal who is psychotic, intelligent, devious, cunning and add a multi-personality disorder to the character.
Best Actress: Jodie Foster- She was absolutely brilliant in The Beaver. I can't believe, I just admitted that. Before this movie, I was never a fan because she always played the same character in every movie (Panic Room, The Brave One, and Flightplan (Hey Gabriel, remember that time you forced me to see that movie???) ). Critics believed that Mel Gibson stole the movie with his performance as a depressed husband and father. A lot of Hollywood critics firmly believed that this movie would rejuvenate his career but it didn't. Instead, this movie made me realize the acting capabilities of Jodie Foster. She did a tremendous job finding her inner June Cleaver and Martha Kent.
Best Movie of the Year: I've never been a fan of the first generation of Marvel movies. The X-Men and Spider-Man movies didn't do it for me. The second generation has been amazing. It includes Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, and X-Men: First Class. My movie of the year is X-Men: First class. I went into the theater being bummed out about Xavier's recruitment class. Although, I came out of the theater with a smile. Banshee and Havok were fun characters and the banter between all the young characters was so enjoyable. Watching the rise and fall of Xavier/Magneto's friendship was not to be missed. Also, it was tough to watch Hank McCoy's heart get broken into a million pieces. Hollywood doesn't always make the right decisions when it strays from the comic book storylines but this time, they got it right.
Best Summer Movie: Thor. While not exactly a best picture nominee, this was a pretty good movie; especially in the category of summer movies, where you get a lot of popcorn movies with huge explosions. We didn't really get that from Kenneth Branagh's Thor (I don't think anyone really expected a big budget, action packed summer movie from Shakespeare's Henry V, Hamlet, Benedick and Iago). We got a pretty damn good character piece about one of the most beloved Marvel characters ever. It far exceeded the other comic book movies this year, with the exception of the surprisingly competent X-Men: First Class which was just as good.
Breakout Star: Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method, Shame). This is a no brainer to me. Michael Fassbender has done some incredible performances in the last few years and 2011 really solidified him as a leading man. He's had really strong performances in Inglorious Basterds and Hunger in the last few years and I can't wait to see his awesomeness continue in 2012 with Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Biggest Disappointment: There were a couple of movies that should have been a lot better than they were. Captain America, Green Lantern and The Thing all underperformed for me. None of these were awful movies but they really had a lot of unachieved potential. I love Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer is a classic, Jumanji is incomparable, and who can argue with Honey I Shrunk the Kids) but he definetly makes some bad movies. While Cap didn't quite get to being qualified as a "bad movie" it came dangerously close. It was saved by good performances by Chris Evans and the always awesome Hugo Weaving. Green Lantern is an example of another underachieving director. Martin Campbell has made a couple of solid Bond flicks and I actually loved Vertical Limit but Green Lantern was just uninspired. The Thing really didn't do anything different from the original John Carpenter classic, but it lacked the surprises and unbridled masculinity of Kurt Russell. However, my biggest disappointment this year was actor-extraordinaire Pete Postlethwaite dying. He's an incredible actor whose small but memorable performances in incredible movies (Inception, The Usual Suspects, The Town, The Lost World, Dragonheart and even Romeo + Juliet) helped shape some of these classics.
Biggest Surprise: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I don't think a lot of people expected this movie to be as good as it was. It had the handicap of having a lesser Planet of the Apes movie (Tim Burton's) occur so recently. But this was just a really solid flick. James Franco was as good as ever and it turned in excellent supporting performances from John Lithgow and Tom Felton (pretty good year for Draco Malfoy himself, too). I can't say enough good things about Andy Serkis' performance also. That being said....
Best Actor: Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). It'd be easy to say Brad Pitt in Moneyball for this category, becuase he was undeniably excellent. But Andy Serkis is one of the most talented and underappreciated actors. He deserved an Oscar nod for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the early 2000s and I really hope he gets one for his performance as Caesar in the reboot of the Planet of the Apes series. Motion capture can require a lot more of its actors and I think Zoe Saldana deserved a nod for Avatar. Not to mention Serkis really stole the show away from some highly respected actors (James Franco, John Lithgow, Brian Cox).
Best Actress: Elle Fanning (Super 8). She was really fantastic in this movie. I pretty much like anything JJ Abrams has ever done and Super 8 is no exception. In a movie that had some pretty good performances from Emmy winner Kyle Chandler (for Friday Night Lights this year) and Ron Eldard (and Bruce Greenwood in a motion capture role as the monster), the kids really ran away with this movie. Least among them being Elle Fanning. She was equally likable and believable in this role and has all the makings of a great leading lady.
Best Movie of the Year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. As a serious Harry Potter geek I gotta say the conclusion to the franchise couldn't have satisfied more. I've watched these characters (and actors) grow up just as I did while reading the books. So, for me, a lot was riding on this last movie. David Yates couldn't have made a better finale for this epic franchise. It was action-packed, well acted and touching. I really couldn't have asked for more.