It had to be done. Personally, there seems to be an over-saturation of these lists every year (Best of this, what will be the best in 2012, blah, blah, blah). Although yours truly tried to think of angles to attack the act, or stigma, of top ten lists, I guess this time of year, they actually do serve a purpose. Plus, with this year in particular, many lists will vary – as we’ve already seen – within the critical mass.

So, if people were to ask – and they have – what 2011 movies I were to endorse? Here’s 15 flicks that thoroughly entertained this guy. And as an added bonus: if disturbing and devious kids interest you such as Damien from The Omen, you need to view We Need to Talk About Kevin just for the charismatic evil the titular character displays. Not a great movie, but wow!

(Note: My top 3 will be ranked at the end. Click on title for full review)

The Adjustment Bureau

A five-star review in March? Yeah, rarely happens. But this one roped me in and I never wanted to be untied. The Adjustment Bureau had a thought. A complete thought. Many movies today rely on gimmicks or just gloss over an intriguing premise. TAB probed their challenging script, and provided enough suspense to keep me involved where I would have been fine with adding on another hour of running time to this flick.


This is becoming a critical darling and there’s a slight chance that this could be nominated in the Best Picture categories at the numerous award shows (most that do not really matter) which are about to take place over the next couple months. A radical blend of interpersonal drama and blood thirsty action with a side of all-in performances from the cast, has enabled this to be a must watch.

Happy Feet Two

Not going to sit here and piss on your leg while telling you it’s raining, but Happy Feet Two was my favorite animated film by far. My criteria for animated flicks is very old-school (90’s style); so seeing a mixture of comedy, heart-warming characters, a visually vibrant atmosphere, and a thoughtful story usually does the trick.


Horror is my bag folks. Now being a horror fan, at any given moment I could be subjecting myself to watching the worst movie ever made. Hours of wasted time has been accumulated for watching any horror movie out there. With that said, Insidious can borrow my time, uh, anytime.

The Help

True story: I was invited to a DVD release party the same night this press screening was scheduled. Brought along a friend, who also wanted to get to the party, and I told him that if this turns out bad – after we heard the running time (140 minutes) – just nudge me and we’ll head to the party; for there was another screening later that week. Well, there was no nudge, we missed the party, and it didn’t bother us one bit.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

You may not know what is going on and you may not get all the answers you were hoping for by the time this wraps up. But this flick will stick with you. Elizabeth Olsen defines acting and the rest of the cast ain’t too shabby either.


One of the most provocative films out there that everyone can relate to. It’s not flashy, but it is solid through and through. Sorely underrated by critics and moviegoers. And you know I’m right haha.

The Way

Emilio Estevez, who directs this piece, arranges a classy and flawless storytelling aesthetic that you can get lost in. Yeah, the guy who wrote and directed 1990’s Men at Work has come a long way my friends.


Forget Blair Witch. Forget Paranormal Activity. Forget any found footage film that attempts to have thrills using a supernatural storyline…Trollhunter is now the standard in this genre. Seek it out!


Enter a familiar world and watch it get amplified tenfold. For those yearning for something on the same wave-length of American Psycho; ladies and genitals (pun intended – read the review), welcome Michael Fassbender…all of him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

I recall leaning over to a friend of mine – who is a major Potterhead – and telling her, “This is so awesome.” And that’s coming from someone who was critical in how director David Yates handled Part 1. After giving it another look recently, I still had that same in awe type feeling watching it, but realized there were some minor mechanical flaws. Did I oversell it in my review? Perhaps. Either way, this flick had my eyes open wide; and even if Emma Watson, wearing lingerie, were to tap me on the shoulder, asking me to follow her to a secluded room while this was rolling; I would have brushed her off until the credits rolled. (And that’s why we invented the pause button).

X-Men: First Class

When I submitted my year-end votes for my critic association, which are then gathered up by the studios for their Oscar campaigning, this re-imagined prequel if you will, was in my top three. Easily the best comic-book adaption of all-time, only playing second-fiddle to The Dark Knight (after another viewing or two, this may flip-flop on my end). It’s one of the rare summer films this year that nearly encompassed everything one wants when going to the movies.

And now for the top 3 of 2011 in my always humble opinion…

3. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Easily one of the best directing jobs seen in the last decade. An action movie everyone can appreciate. Friends who have asked the question that kicked off this article/list; my answer is to get to the theater immediately. Technically sound and full of high-octane sequences, Tom Cruise reminds us why he was the box office king not too long ago.

2. The Descendants

Anytime someone can tap into real-life situations and efficiently work in an engaging story just does it for me. George Clooney is at the peak of his career and with the writing and directing talents of Alexander Payne, he literally flips the script at the strangest of times, yet pulls it off to the point you want to stand up and applaud his efforts. This is one of the more rewarding cinematic experiences one will take-in.

1. Moneyball

I hate baseball. Despise it. Yet somehow, everyone involved in this found a way to not only keep my interest, but motivate me to write countless rants on people’s Facebook’s who do not think this is the best movie of the year. No joke, after a few days of seeing this, I really knew not much could challenge this in my book come voting time.

Now my obligatory work here is done. I did what I’m supposed to do and didn’t question the status quo. But something’s missing…

Oh yeah, if you have any type of heart, you have to see The Muppets, too!

By Joe Belcastro – Member of the Florida Film Critics Circle

Kermit The Frog

By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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