So 2011 is drawing to a close, and it would be completely wrong if I wasn’t generic and did a review of the year.
Remember these are just opinions, but do comment if you think I’m way off the mark.
As I can’t choose one favourite in some categories, I will just do a favourites list.
FILMS OF THE YEAR:
Rise of the Planet Of The Apes –
I am sure I have stated endlessly on Twitter (@tweetsbypaul btw) how much I enjoyed this film when I went to see it in the summer. The best part was that I wasn’t really expecting very much. I had seen the old films and TV series years ago, but found them watchable without ever making me sit up and take notice (albeit I was 7 years old or something).
But this film really gives an origin, and a credible one, to the whole mythology surrounding Caesar and co. Plus we have Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) playing the infamous ‘head’ ape, and he really revels in the role, and by the end Caesar can be considered alot more human than some of his rivals.
The real question is; what do you call the sequel?
The Inbetweeners Movie –
Despite a fantastic trailer and all the hype, I was a tad skeptical about seeing this film. The third series of the show was decent without ever attempting to surpass the previous two and the worry was that the writers had ran out of ideas; how wrong I was!
From the first few minutes where Jay is caught masturbating with a snorkel mask on, it is the ultimate lads holiday movie. Forgot Kevin and Perry, this is the real deal. Plus if you have ever been on a lads holiday abroad before, you pick up on little things which make you laugh at first and smile in the aftermath. It’s crude and cringeworthy at times, but that’s the show at its best.
Having had the DVD over Christmas, I am definitely looking forward to watching it again on the small screen soon.
This film caught me completely off guard, as it was impulse rent in August. It’s set the rough council estates of London but instead of being gritty and serious it puts another spin on the ‘scene’ with hilarious results. Most of the characters are larger than life, including Tyrone (pictured above), who runs the neighbourhood with an iron fist.
It tells the story of Kenneth, a young lad who thinks he is something he is not, and after getting fired from his job in a pseudo-Sainsburys goes on a mission to prove he is ‘the man’.
It’s a very topsy turvy plot, the fact I was laughing so much kind of took me out of the film until the final act where all the dots are joined together.
Best TV Shows
Since the success of An Idiot Abroad a couple of years ago, Sky seemed to have upped their game when it comes to sitcoms and new shows. Trollied came along is basically The Office in a supermarket, but I think that says enough about how good the show is. A set of diverse and characters who are totally believable, roll on series 2!
This was another show which kind of slipped under the radar before gaining a cult following as it progressed. It mixed the teen angst with the fact the world may be coming to an end perfectly. It told the story of Paul, an outcast who finds out by sheer coincidence that he can help prevent the end of the world by stopping dead people known as ‘The Fades’. It mixes horror, drama and the odd bit of comedy, with some excellent performances. Campaigns have already been set up online to help ensure another series, on the evidence of series one it would be crime if it didn’t materialise.
Notable mentions – An Idiot Abroad 2, Modern Family Series 3, The Big C Series 2.
Best Books of the Year
Barry McGuigan Cyclone: My Story
Very few people in the UK boxing fraternity command as much respect as Barry McGuigan. It was a masterstroke of Sky to finally bring him into the fold at the back end of 2010 for commentary and analysis, and his knowledge of the game is excellent.
His book pulls no punches and goes deeper into the personal tragedies he has had, as well as some of his greatest triumphs in the ring. I am firm believer that the best kind of books are written by people who have something different to say, it this is certainly the case here. From his humble upbringings to learn the art of boxing, it really covers everything you would want to know about the man.
Shaun Ryder: Twisting My Melon – The Autobiography
Having read so much and watched so much about the Madchester scene of the late 80s and early 90s, it seems a miracle in itself that this book ever got written.
Shaun Ryder and the Happy Mondays lived a very turbulent and rock ‘n’ roll existence, and here Shaun tells his side of the story warts and all. Some of the stories have to read to be believed, such as when he and Bez almost got gunned down in Harlem by some drug lords, the rest you can read for yourselves.
The miraculous thing, is the recovery he has made from drug addict to a functioning married man with children. We have his opinions on all the major players in Manchester during its boom period, with the rise and fall of the Hacienda and house music as well as ecstacy.
If you’re a fan of that scene I cannot recommend the book enough.
Best Album Of The Year
Foster The People – Torches
After the release of ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ in 2010 it has taken a long time for the debut album of Foster The People to hit the shelves, safe to say it was worth the wait.
Comparisons with MGMT are a bit wide of the mark for me, as their sound is bit more indie rather than the dance vibe from MGMT certainly on their first album.
The best indication of a good album, is that you can play it all the way through without skipping a trick, and this is the only album I have been able to do this with in 2011.
From the opener ‘Helena Beat’ to the fitting finale of ‘Warrant’ the album sucks you into their world of uplifting and melodic songs, you could reel them off as potential singles in their own right.
The acid test of course, is for them to show this is not just a flash in the pan for the second album and beyond.
Things to look forward to in 2012 – The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus (however you say it), return of the Stone Roses (could go either way to be fair), The Expendables 2, The Hobbit, The Muppets Movie (don’t act you’re not thinking it too), The Amazing Spiderman, the end of the ghastly Twilight series, Piranha 3DD (unfortunately straight to DVD).