2011 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Thursday, July 7, 2022

2011 Leaman Awards

*Last Updated 10/10/2022  

2011 Films Seen: 88
Number of Films with A or A+ Grade: 2
Key Films Still to See: A Better Life, Real Steel, A Separation

Brief Summary: n/a


Not a "best of" list or a "favorite" list - but a list of the films and sequences (action, drama, comedy, & musical) that I think represent the best the year had to offer. So think of it as a strange mixture of favorite, best, and defining. Once you get to the top ten films, it definitely becomes more defined as a Top Ten list of the year. The number one film is my favorite of the year. 

Honorable Mentions: Bridesmaids, Buck, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sucker Punch, Winnie the Pooh

25. War Horse (B)
24. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (B)
23. The Adventures of Tintin (B)
22. Jackass 3.5 (B)
21. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (B)
20. X-Men: First Class (B)
19. Battle Los Angeles (B+)
18. The Help (B+)
17. Hugo (B+)
16. The Interrupters (B+)
15. Kung Fu Panda 2 (B+)
14. Super 8 (B+)
13. Lincoln Lawyer (B+)
12. Young Adult (B+)
11. Rango (B+)
THE TOP TEN
10. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (B+)
9. Fast Five (B+)
8. Contagion (B+)
7. Moneyball (B+)
6. The Descendants (A-)

5. Source Code (A-)

4. Margin Call (A-)

3. 13 Assassins (A-)

2. Warrior (A)

1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (A+)


FAVORITE ACTION SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Fighting 'The Chaplain' in the Underground Market" -Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
  • "Village Battle: Donnie Yen vs. Kara Hui" -Dragon
  • "House Battle Finale: Yen vs. his Father" -Dragon
  • "Boosting Cars from a Train Goes Awry" -Fast Five
  • "Finale: From Hibachi to the Sentinel Offices" -The Green Hornet
  • "Statham vs Owen: Fist Fight in the Hospital" -Killer Elite
  • "Ip Man vs Tin Chi and Friends Semi-Finale" -The Legend is Born: Ip Man
  • "Canyon Chase: Moles on Bats Go After the Water Caravan" -Rango
  • "Girls Fighting in the Great War Trenches for the Map" -Sucker Punch
The Great:
  • "Finale: Samurai vs. Lord Naritsugo in Ochiai" -13 Assassins
  • "Chase Thru Baggar: Grabbing the Three Scrolls" -The Adventures of Tintin
  • "Burg Khalifa: Breaking into the Server Room" -Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
  • "Chicago Finale: Jumps, Aerial Attacks, Falling Buildings, and More!" -Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Best: "Rio Finale: Vault Heist Spills Into Streets" -Fast Five
Commentary:  In order to get enough money to clear there names and win their freedom, Dom's crew decides to hit the vault of Rio's biggest drug dealer. It has been a team effort to build up to this so far with everyone playing some role to get the plan together. The heist sequence, which takes up around twenty minutes or so of the film, begins with Hobbs' armored vehicle bursting into the police station basement followed by Brian and Dom's converted police cars. The armored car punches a hole in the wall and Hobbs sets down some covering fire as Dom & Brian hook the vault up by wenches to their police cars. This is the essential gimmick of the entire following chase - Dom and Brian dragging an entire vault around through the streets of Rio and what an awesome gimmick it is! If you just accept that the cars are strong enough to pull this object around and that the object is strong enough to waste anything in its path then the following sequence is pure action bliss. As Dom/Brian cut through the city the vault swerves left and right destroying everything in its path whether that's curbs, planters, cars, or whole building fronts. The destruction is simply delightful. The Rio cops/gangsters try to corner the two and this allows for some nice shenanigans where the two can use the vault as a weapon against the cop cars. In one sequence they split apart and let the vault slide between them slamming into the cars in front of them. In another beat the two split across a large roadway and let the vault/cables just destroy everything down the center. In another clever beat, Roman and Han show up in two other cop cars and begin taking out cop cars from within their swarm leading to even more incredible destruction. The whole time this chase is being done practically, on the streets, with real cars, real destruction. The camera is catching everything perfectly as well. No stylization needed here - just show us everything as it should be, hit the closeups, give us a dynamic camera to enhance stunts, and pop out for helicopter shots to give us geography and scale. This is executed just tremendously. The final phase moves from the city to a bridge over a waterway...I mean how are they going to hide this vault from everyone right? Dom releases Brian to drive away and then stops, turns around, fires up the NOS and heads straight for cops/gangsters following. He weaves in and out of them using the vault as a kind of bludgeon weapon knocking cars off left and right in just an amazing sight. The final gangster car starts firing a gatling gun at Dom and he does a circle to turn around and swings the whole vault across the bridge and sweeps everyone off it in an incredible stunt. This is an all-time great sequence and one of the reasons I love cinema.


FAVORITE DRAMATIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "The Decision to Stay Behind and Recon with the Whole Unit" –Battle Los Angeles
  • "Alien Craft Spots the Bus and Stantz Takes it Out" –Battle Los Angeles
  • "Discovering Old Photo's on His Wife's Camera" –Contagion
  • "Clooney Talks with His Wife Alone" –The Descendants
  • "Watching Grandpa with His Daughter Alone" –The Descendants
  • "Harriet is Reunited with Her Uncle" –The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • "A Montage of Snape Behind the Scenes" –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • "Roulet Takes the Stand and Lies About Being Innocent" –Lincoln Lawyer
  • “Selling the Traders on an All-Out Liquidation” -Margin Call
  • "Trading for Rincon" –Moneyball
  • "New Standards: Getting on Base" -Moneyball
  • "The Giant Beanstalk Grows Into the Sky" –Puss in Boots
  • "Reichenbach Falls Finale: Sherlock vs. Moriarty" -Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • "Calling his Father from the Train" –Source Code
  • "Watching Cristina Die on the Ground" –Source Code
  • "Air Force Train Crash and Pile-Up" –Super 8
  • "Letting go of his mother's chain" –Super 8
  • "Telling the Karla Story" -Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • "Discovering Young Magneto's Gift Through Pain and Anger" –X-Men: First Class
  • "Discovering Nazi's in Argentina" –X-Men: First Class
  • "Getting the Field Plowed" –War Horse
  • "Argument on the Lawn of the Baby Naming Ceremony" –Young Adult
  • "Reinforcing a Fault Over Coffee" –Young Adult
The Great:
  • "Realizing you Hit a Homerun" –Moneyball 
  • "Montage Finale: Loose Ends Wrap Up & Smiley Takes Control" -Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Best: "Final Submission & Embrace" –Warrior
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE COMEDIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
Not a category I kept good track of - One of the toughest TBH
The Very Good:
  • "Wisdom Before Youth Chase & Fight" -Johnny English Reborn
The Great:
  • n/a
The Best: "Trying on Dresses Ends Horribly" -Bridesmaids
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE MUSICAL SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*No Musicals Seen This Year
The Very Good:
  • n/a 
The Great:
  • n/a 
The Best: n/a 

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:
  • Tomas Alfredson Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Duncan Jones Source Code
  • Gavin O'Connor Warrior
  • Alexander Payne The Descendants
  • Jason Reitman Young Adults
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE FILM ENSEMBLE
Nominees:
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Margin Call
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Warrior
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE MALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Niels Arestrup War Horse
  • Kenneth Branagh My Week with Marilyn
  • George Clooney The Descendants
  • Joel Edgerton Warrior
  • Tom Hardy Warrior
  • Ben Kinglsey Hugo
  • Kevin Spacey Margin Call
  • Nick Nolte Warrior
  • Gary Oldman Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Andy Serkis The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Koji Yakusho 13 Assassins 
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE FEMALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Berenice Bejo The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain The Help
  • Viola Davis The Help
  • Rooney Mara The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Melissa McCarthy Bridesmaids
  • Octavia Spencer The Help
  • Meryl Streep The Iron Lady
  • Charlize Theron Young Adult
  • Kristen Wiig Bridesmaids
  • Michelle Williams My Week with Marilyn
  • Shailene Woodley The Descendants
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE SCREENPLAY
(original or adapted)
Nominees:
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Margin Call
  • Moneyball
  • Rango
  • Source Code
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Warrior
  • Young Adult
Commentary: n/a


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
  • Buck
  • Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
  • The Interrupters
Commentary: n/a


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees:
  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango
  • Winnie the Pooh
Commentary: Rango is a quirky animated Western comedy that is able to be a lot of things at once without ever losing sight of being a satisfying "Western" tale. The main character is a chameleon, played by Johnny Depp, who calls himself Rango and enjoys drama and tall tales. Rango ultimately finds himself in a stereotypical Western town where he accidentally stumbles himself into being Sheriff and is thrust into the middle of a crime mystery about missing water. The whole thing is beautifully animated and despite its quirks and numerous callouts to other movies - tells a pretty straight forward story. As good as it is, there is something about its niche humor and specific sensibilities that doesn't fully click with me and I imagine keeps many viewers at a distance too. Still, this is the best animated film in a fairly strong year as well as the best animated Western film of all-time as well.
BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees:
  • Contagion
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Tree of Life
  • Warrior
Commentary: n/a


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:
  • Contagion
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Tree of Life
  • Warrior
Commentary: n/a


BEST ART DIRECTION
Nominees:
  • 13 Assassins
  • Dragon
  • Hugo
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • War Horse
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Young Adult
Commentary: n/a


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees:
  • Immortals
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Sucker Punch
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • X-Men: First Class
Commentary: n/a


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees:
  • Adventures of Tintin
  • Contagion
  • The Descendants
  • Super 8
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Commentary: n/a


BEST SOUND DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Fast Five
  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
  • Rango
  • Super 8
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Commentary: n/a


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees:
  • 13 Assassins
  • Anonymous
  • The Conspirator
  • The Descendants
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Commentary: n/a


BEST MAKE-UP & HAIR DESIGN
Nominees:
  • 13 Assassins
  • Anonymous
  • Contagion
  • The Green Lantern
  • The Iron lady
Commentary: n/a

BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE

Nominees:
  • Bridesmaids
  • Jackass 3.5
  • Sucker Punch 
Commentary: n/a


MOST SURPRISING FILM
Nominees:
  • Fast Five
  • Lincoln Lawyer
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • X-Men: First Class
Commentary: n/a


MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM
Nominees:
  • The Artist
  • Drive
  • Hanna
  • Scream 4
  • Tree of Life
Commentary: n/a


MOST UNDERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • Battle Los Angeles
  • Dragon
  • Source Code
  • Warrior 
Commentary: n/a


MOST OVERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • The Artist
  • Drive
  • The Muppets
  • Scream 4
  • Tree of Life
Commentary: n/a


WORST FILM
Nominees:
  • Abduction
  • Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Priest
  • Scream 4
Commentary: n/a


BEST COMPILATION OF WORK
Nominees:
  • Michael Fassbender: A Dangerous Method, Haywire, Shame, X-Men: First Class
Commentary: n/a


ERIC BANA AWARD
*Given for the best performance in a bad film (See 2004's Troy)
Nominees:
  • Helen Mirren The Debt
  • Saoirse Ronan Hanna
Commentary: n/a


"I shall accomplish your task...with magnificence" -13 Assassins

THE END!

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