2011 Movie Mini-Review Roundup: Captain America, A Dangerous Method, Mission Impossible 4, My Week With Marilyn, Young Adult

I am nearly caught up with the movies I wanted to see from last year. Here are some mini-reviews of the handful of 2011 releases I saw in April:

Captain America: The First Avenger [2011]
Captain America: The First Avenger [2011, Joe Johnston]
Captain America’s origin film is pretty much paint-by-numbers superhero fluff. A handful of quality performances, led by Chris Evans as Cap, can’t save this from plodding along and resorting to the same tired action moments. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for the movie or maybe I’m just not the right demographic, but this didn’t do anything for me. A shame, too, because I really enjoyed Iron Man (and to a lesser extent, its sequel). Captain America has made me lose most interest in The Avengers. 5/10

A Dangerous Method [2011]
A Dangerous Method [2011, David Cronenberg]
Students and followers of psychology (particularly psychoanalysis) will get the most out of this disappointing Cronenberg effort. Michael Fassbender was on a roll in 2011 and delivers a strong performance as Carl Jung, as does Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud. The examination of their friendship and mutual respect is intriguing, but the film suffers badly whenever the overacting Keira Knightley is on screen. As such, a potentially interesting subject becomes tedious as the script never really goes anywhere. The highlight of the film is Vincent Cassel’s small role as the cocky, free-wheeling Otto Gross. Again, this film is one perhaps best reserved for psych majors. 6/10

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol [2011]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [2011, Brad Bird]
Brad Bird’s live-action debut is a riveting affair with at least one unforgettable scene (climbing on the side of the Burj Dubai is just insane). Tom Cruise proves he still has “it” as secret agent Ethan Hunt, who along with the surprisingly formidable team of Simon Pegg and Paula Patton is sent on a mission to stop a nuclear launch. The villains (led by the unfortunately misused Michael Nyqvist) are a bland and uninspiring bunch, but the movie itself is still a fun ride with plenty of action and cool gadgets. Arguably better than it had any right to be. 7/10

My Week With Marilyn [2011]
My Week With Marilyn [2011, Simon Curtis]
Starry-eyed Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) weasels his way into a movie production job and gets to spend a week on set with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). All of Monroe’s idiosyncrasies are on display here, and the legendary actress is played expertly by the always captivating Williams. The film itself is entertaining enough, but unfortunately starts to dabble in tired cliches during the third act. A solid, albeit forgettable endeavor. 7/10

Young Adult [2011]
Young Adult [2011, Jason Reitman]
Charlize Theron is brilliant as a thirty-something young adult fiction writer who still acts like a teenager. With her main goal being to seduce her ex-boyfriend (who is now happily married with children), she is not exactly the most likable character. Regardless, it is hard to look away from this dark comedy, even as it sometimes gets uncomfortable. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody make a great pair, and this movie is further proof of this. Special mention must be made of Patton Oswalt and Patrick Wilson, both of who deliver strong performances in their supporting roles. One of last year’s more underrated films. 8.5/10

Did you see any of these movies? Did any of them stand out to you?

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26 thoughts on “2011 Movie Mini-Review Roundup: Captain America, A Dangerous Method, Mission Impossible 4, My Week With Marilyn, Young Adult

  1. ruth says:

    What a bummer that you didn’t like Capt. America, but ah well, hopefully you’d still enjoy The Avengers 🙂 I’m not that interested in ‘A Dangerous Method’ despite the two male cast, and I’m definitely not a Psych major, ahah.

    • Eric says:

      I’ll give The Avengers a shot, especially since it has received a staggering amount of positive reviews (already 8.9 on IMDB and 94% RT!). It’s just too bad that Captain America was so dull.

      You aren’t missing much with A Dangerous Method.

  2. dirtywithclass says:

    I didn’t have a problem with Keira in A Dangerous Method, but i still don’t think anyone who is not a psych major could get much out of it. The movie overall felt very dry to me and the characters didn’t really draw me in. And as for my Week with Marilyn, i feel like the didn’t movie didn’t know whether it wanted to be charming or gritty, and suffered as a result. I found GHost protocol and Captain America fine, tho i preferred Ghost Protocol a bit more

    • Eric says:

      Hey DWC, thanks for stopping by and commenting! You’re absolutely right about My Week With Marilyn — it almost felt like two movies. The first half’s whimsical nature was fun and light-hearted, but once it got into the relationship between the two leads it got too cliched for my liking. Not a bad film, but it could have been more.

  3. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    I’m beginning to think that you and me have a very similar taste in movie. I rated My Week With Marilyn a little lower but my words and yours cross when you point the cliches and the forgettability of the film as a whole.
    I’m also glad you enjoyed Young Adult as I did. It wasn’t perfect but it was different, intriguing and with a very very good cast, not only Charlize but the very surprising Patton Ostwalt.

    • Eric says:

      I think you’re onto something, Niels 🙂 Young Adult really was one of last year’s more underrated films. At this point, Jason Reitman can do no wrong in my book. I wasn’t too surprised by Patton Oswalt’s great performance — he was also terrific in the leading role of 2009’s Big Fan. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.

  4. Pete says:

    Not a fan of Knightley. Glad you mentioned her performance. It is my main concern with ADM. Really want to see Young Adult especially after recently writing about Juno.

  5. Scott Lawlor (@FrontRoomCinema) says:

    HAHAH I fooking hated Dangerous Method just because of Knightley, I dislike her intensely and she pretty much ruins anything she is in. In my opinion…. it is all about her teeth and inability to shut her lips over them.

    I am chuffed you enjoyed Young Adult, it is a good one for sure!

    • Eric says:

      Hahaha glad I am not alone on disliking Knightley. Funny you should mention that — my girlfriend also has a problem with her never shutting her mouth on screen. It boggles my mind that she has a fairly big fanbase, too.

  6. maroon5gurl88 says:

    Loved Young Adult despite how many people hated it, glad you liked it! Had similar thoughts on Dangerous Method. For a film boasting that title, those two leading men, and directed by David Cronenberg…they should have called it the Not So Dangerous Method (but Close).

  7. Chris says:

    Not many liked A Dangerous Method, there was something lacking, maybe there was not enough conflict between Jung and Freud to warrant many of the scenes.

    Glad you enjoyed Young Adult and I agree it’s underrated. The story is a little dark, though I love the script by Diablo Cody.

    • Eric says:

      I think Diablo Cody gets ragged on too much these days. I haven’t seen Jennifer’s Body so I can’t vouch for that, but I really enjoyed Juno and Young Adult. Looking forward to her next project, whatever that may be.

  8. Nostra says:

    Saw almost all of them (My Week with Marilyn being the exception) and agree with you on most (I rated them slightly higher or lower). Didn’t like Captain America either and also thought that A Dangerous Method didn’t seem to go anywhere.

    • Eric says:

      Cool, sounds like we are in the same boat then. I was looking forward to seeing all of these movies, but Young Adult was the only one that I really connected with.

  9. Jaina says:

    I wasn’t a big fan of Capt. America either. Like you said, it’s very much a paint it by numbers comic book film. Which is a shame. Thought Chris Evans was a great bit of casting along with Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving.

    Also, didn’t get the love that MI4 is getting. It was fine, I just didn’t enjoy it as the rest of the world did. I remember being a little bored!

    • Eric says:

      With Captain America, it seemed like they had everything in place to make a good movie. It’s a shame it turned out so dull.

      I wasn’t as smitten as most with MI4, but it was good fun and it kept me interested on a long plane ride. That’s all I could ask for at the time. 🙂

  10. sati says:

    Gld you liked Young Adult it’s such a wonderful film and Charlize was fantastic in it. I didn’t like Captain America either, Evans was great but the film was quite boring and messy.

    • Eric says:

      Hi Sati, thanks for the comment! It’s too bad Young Adult didn’t get a greater response, but I know a lot of people had trouble relating to Charlize’s character. I’m a sucker for a good dark comedy, and that one really hit the spot for me.

      Well said about Captain America. I don’t get how a big superhero blockbuster like that could be such a bore. Hopefully The Avengers is better.

  11. John says:

    I didn’t care much for Young Adult, primarilly because of Charlize Theron’s character. The awkward moments were almost unbearable to watch, but that’s kind of the point, eh?

    • Eric says:

      Yeah, there are definitely some uncomfortable moments in that movie. But that’s the way I like my comedies… nice and dark. 😀

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