Friday, January 11, 2013

Josh's Top 10 of 2012

2012 has come to a close. It actually came to a close a week ago, I just haven't written this yet. I still have two films left to see (Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook) but I figured that I would put my list out there because I don't want to publish this in February. First I'll give you a list of the films that I saw this year:

John Carter                                              The Dark Knight Rises
The Hunger Games                                   Frankenweenie
The Lorax                                                Argo
The Avengers                                           The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Men in Black 3                                         Wreck-It Ralph
Snow White and the Huntsman                 Skyfall
Madagascar 3                                          Life of Pi
Prometheus                                              Lincoln
Brave                                                      The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Amazing Spider-Man                        Hitchcock
Ice Age: Continental Drift                         The Impossible

So in total, I saw 22 films this year and thought that it was a rather disappointing year for me despite a few great films. There were ten films that I can say were the best and here is my list of the top ten of 2012:


10. PROMETHEUS


An intriguing sci-fi adventure that has some of the best special effects of the year, Prometheus is an intense film that is short in terms of many things but after listening to so many podcasts dissecting the film, I come to like it even though I pretty much knew everything about the film before watching it. The best performance here is Michael Fassebender as David. He gives a chilling portrayal of a scary and somewhat evil android. The film also delivers some memorable sequences including a disturbing cesarean and a gross scene at the end that sets up the inevitable sequel. I think that Prometheus is a decent film in its own right but as part of a saga it will be even better.


9. THE IMPOSSIBLE


One of the most disturbing, visceral films that I have ever experienced. I figured that I would get a good, uplifting disaster movie but what I got was a film that will stay with movie for a long time; a haunting gruesome film that you don't just watch, you experience. The film pushes the boundaries of the PG-13 rating and doesn't hold back in its stark and brutal content. I had never really seen a film about a real life disaster that was so intense, so gruesome. The Impossible definitely caught me off guard. I went out of the film exhausted, because it is a film that remains intense and disturbing until the final frame. I didn't review it and I won't review it because I'm not sure I know how to. The Impossible is not the best film of the year but it is the most affecting experience.



8. THE HUNGER GAMES


A faithful and entertaining adaptation of one of the best YA books in years, The Hunger Games has started a franchise that is only going to get better. The Hunger Games franchise didn't exactly start with a bang but it was still good enough for me to really like it and get very excited for the next film. The cast has to be one of the best ensembles of the year. Like Harry Potter gathered all the great British actors, the Hunger Games looks like it might gather a group of great American actors. My only problem with the film is that it is never exactly exciting and has a lot of bland and boring special effects. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is even less action oriented but they can make it have a lot more action. I still was a very good adaptation of the book and exciting me for the next.


7. LINCOLN


A film that I admire more than I like. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is a very good movie that contains spectacular acting and dialogue and is certainly one of the best made pictures of the year. Daniel Day Lewis is a surefire Oscar winner for his great performance as Lincoln but Tommy Lee Jones might be even better as unbending abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. It also contains what is possibly the best scene of the year when Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) and Stevens fire off line after line at each other in some of the wittiest dialogue of the year. It also humanizes Lincoln in a way that no film ever has. But my one problem with it was that it didn't stick with me like the other great movies this year. It's great but forgettable. But it's got some of the best performances of the year so it is definitely worth a watch (or several watches).


6. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER


An affecting and entertaining teen drama, The Perks of Being A Wallflower is something that goes back to the great John Hughes movies of the 1980's. The Perks of Being A Wallflower was a film that I really liked but it frustrated me at times. It would get really entertaining but then it would get kind of boring and it would make me upset. And at first the acting was pretty bad. But in the end, the film does a great job of making you love and care about these characters and it does it in an entertaing and fun way. And I loved the way that it would change from dark to light really fast and vice versa. Also, the acting is very good. Logan Lerman is fantastic, Emma Watson is ok and Ezra Miller is great in a performance that should have been nominated for an Oscar. He creates a symphatetic gay character, one that I haven't seen in a mainstream movie in a long time. Overall, a well made and entertaining film.


5. WRECK-IT RALPH


Hands down, the best animated movie of the year, Wreck-It Ralph is the only animated film this year that is fun for both adults and kids and will hold up as a classic. The thing that struck me about Wreck-It Ralph was just how fun it was. There was so much color and so much action that I love in animated movies. And it creates a full universe that isn't seen in many animated movies nowadays. Madagascar 3 also had some of these qualities but it wasn't nearly as clever as Wreck-It Ralph was. Wreck-It Ralph was such a clever homage to video games that you actually feel that you are in the world. And the voice cast is good as well. I had a few complaints about the film but they are secondary to the pure enjoyment that I got from watching it.


4. THE AVENGERS


One of the best superhero movies of all time, The Avengers is an infinitely watchable and fun film from Marvel which established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the film world. Everyone in the film gives a great performance and Joss Whedon is masterful here, giving numerous characters enough screen time for everyone to be satisfied. Robert Downey Jr. gives another great performance as Iron Man, Chris Evans is good, Chris Hemsworth is good, Samuel L. Jackson is good but the standout is Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. The Hulk is alive finally and Ruffalo's performance is just awesome. They finally got him right. And The Avengers also has one of the smartest scripts ever for a superhero movie, with tons of one liners and smart dialogue that brings these characters to life. But most of all, it is just pure entertainment. A summer popcorn blockbuster that will remain a classic for years and continue to entertain.


3. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES


A spectacular conclusion to the greatest film trilogy of all time, The Dark Knight Rises is full of just pure action film awesomeness. The first hour is slow but it spends a lot of necessary time building the plot and makes it so that the second and third hours are awesome. The Dark Knight Rises is constantly awesome and full of action. Once again, The Dark Knight Rises has awesome cinematography and a score that will remain a classic forever. And just like all Christopher Nolan films, it feels real and like something that could happen in real life and is steeped in reality. It also has a nice mixture of special effects and practical effects, a first for a Christopher Nolan film. A lot of people felt that the villain in this film would never live up to Heath Ledger's in The Dark Knight but Tom Hardy came really close as Bane. He gives a great performance without even moving his mouth. All in all, The Dark Knight Rises was a worthy and awesome conclusion to The Dark Knight Trilogy. I still haven't decided if this film is quite as good as The Dark Knight but I know that it is not an easy decision.


2. SKYFALL


The best James Bond movie of all time is Skyfall. I've seen most of the classic Bond films and I can determine that Skyfall is the best. It seems like a carbon copy of The Dark Knight at times but is that a bad thing? And it is pretty much the first film since The Dark Knight to do that style and feel the right way. Skyfall also feels like classic Bond, it has all the great action and a great villain along with the original score from Dr. No. Everything about this film is right. Javier Bardem is the best villain in a Bond film since Auric Goldfinger and gives a creepily charismatic performance. And Daniel Craig is quite good again as Bond, and for the first time he seems a bit light hearted. The film moves at a rather brisk pace and builds toward a second half that is full of action. The last thirty minutes at Skyfall mansion is the best action set piece of the year. Also, it is awesome and fantastic as a standalone film but it also provides the set up for great Bond films to come. The reappearance of Q, along with a new Moneypenny and M makes me ridiculously excited for the next film. The cinematography is also the best of the year.


1. ARGO


The best made film of the year, Argo is a masterwork of film. Relentlessly exciting and always funny, Argo is the best movie of the year. It's a shame that this film didn't get more recognition at the Oscars because this truly is a great film. It is not an easy thing to do to make a film that is exciting without firing a bullet and is built on just good old fashioned tension. It is also the smartest script of the year. It does a great job of balancing the action and the humor and not making the humor over power the film like it could have. All of this would be impossible without Chris Terrio's fantastic script and Ben Affleck's fantastic direction (the worst snub of the year at the Oscars). The acting is also very good. Bryan Cranston is extremely good and so is John Goodman, but the standout is Alan Arkin. He makes the Hollywood section the best thing this year followed by the last thirty minutes of this film and the last thirty minutes of Skyfall. The first twenty minutes of Argo is also great. Oh, what the heck, everything is great!


Well that's it for this year. Argo and Skyfall were really close and both worth watching over and over again. Argo is going to a classic for years to come, Skyfall is going to be considered the best Bond film and The Dark Knight Rises completes a fantastic trilogy. And they were lots of other decent films too. I guess, despite my earlier thoughts, this was a pretty good year at the movies.

Image Credits: Variety, Joblo, Screen Rant, Hollywood Reporter, Slash Film, 

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