Most Underrated & Overrated Movies of 2011
We count down the unfairly judged and the too highly praised films of the year.
5) The Rite
Exorcism-based movies are dime a dozen in Hollywood and they’re usually pretty generic. When ‘The Rite’ came out earlier this year, it was critically pounded for being dull and lacking but I honestly don’t see any of that. When you watch the film, it’s actually a very effectively made dramatic thriller that’s actually pretty damn spooky at times. It’s atmospheric and has one of the creepiest performances of the year in the form of Anthony Hopkins terrifying the living crap out of you. Sure, it’s not terribly original and the finale might be a bit of a stretch for some. But it’s a very good film that got unfairly batched along with other shitty horror movies.
4) Never Let Me Go
I’m always baffled by the complete lack of awareness of what might be one of the finest films made in the last two years. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a drama with sci-fi undertones that stars Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley in a visually splendid masterpiece that emotionally connects with you and has a great story to tell. It never really got a wide release that it should have and critics have been lukewarm to it at best, but it’s a fantastic film with great performances and a ending that will surely break your heart and not leave you for quite some time.
3) Battle: Los Angeles
Admittedly, the alien invasion sub-genre is as tired as it can get right now yet Hollywood continues to churn out movies by the dozen. But ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ was an actually enjoyable film which took a different tonal approach to the genre by literally making it a gritty war movie that just happened to have aliens as the opponents. The approach worked and the film was not only heavy on effects but actually had some emotional points and moments of good acting even though it lacked character development and had an overuse of shaky cam. But critics rained upon the movie harsahly even though it’s the best the genre has offered in the last two years at least (‘District 9′ is not an alien invasion movie). If you want to see utter shit for real, you need to go no further than last year’s ‘Skyline’. Credit where credit is due – this one tried and mostly succeeded in being what it aimed to be but I guess that’s not enough.
Though Joseph Gordon Levitt will be seen in ‘Batman’ next year and was in the heartfelt ‘50/50’ this year, his most mesmerizing work sadly almost always remains overlooked. One such case is ‘Hesher’ which was a great film released this year with Levitt playing a rebellious metal-head who collides into a greiving suburban family. The movie was hardly in theaters and despite its star-cast is largely unknown. But it features excellent performances across the board and a dark story which is funny and dramatic at the same time. A gem that never got the appreciation it deserved.
The performance of this film may be the prime reason why big-budget action directors decide to stay in that genre and never take any form of risk. Rolland Emmerich is known for his disaster movies like ‘2012’ and ‘Day After Tomorrow’ but decided to then do a smaller budgeted passion project about the authenticity of Shakespeare. And the result is a well-acted and fascinating film that’s definitely not perfect but ends up being a gripping watch right until the end. Sadly, Sony Pictures dumped the movie into a limited release at the last minute and critics never took it as seriously as it deserved to be taken. Maybe if it was called ‘The King’s Speech’.
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