Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Ten Favorite Movies of 2012

It seemed like 2012 was an odd year for movies, at least for me. I was going back through all my blog entries to jog my memory on what I had seen, and to a lesser extent, what I hadn't seen. There wasn't a lot that I saw that really stuck with me in the first half of the year, there was some, but not a lot. So this year seemed really backloaded in the second half of the year. On top of that there were some disappointments and what not along the way, but such is life. While my top ten list is hardly surprising (not a lot of sleepers here) they were the ones I enjoyed the most in 2012. Two things: 1) I, obviously haven't seen everything that came out this year and 2) of course, these are just my personal favorites and not the BEST movies of the year.

With that in mind, here we go:

10) The Dark Knight Rises

 Haters gonna hate, right? When this first came out people were like "Whoa! This is great!" Fans and critics alike seemed to enjoy it. But then as time went on the tide of opinion started to turn. So I said, let me rematch this and see what I think. In it's original run in the theater I saw it twice. And when I watched it again, I can see that it definitely has flaws, I'm not saying it doesn't I'm just saying that even with all its warts it was still really good and really entertaining to me. Is it The Dark Knight? No. But I still think it was a solid end to Christopher Nolan's trilogy. And now Nolan is free to do...well, whatever he wants. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

9) The Avengers
This Joss Whedon fella is something, huh? I think he's gonna go far. One of the many things I liked about The Avengers, a movie, for all intents and purposes should not have worked, besides the fact that it might be the most pure fun I had at the movies this year, is Joss Whedon's script. Seriously when they are flying around on their, uh, their Helo-Base or whatever and there was no city-destroying fighting going on, it could very well have been a workplace office/dramedy that you were watching with guys, and ladies, in capes and masks.

8) Argo
Sure, Ben Affleck took liberties (in more than one way considering he is supposed to be playing a Hispanic man) but man, was this story just begging to be put up on the big screen? It had everything, including a super suspenseful last half hour, which is pretty tough to pull off when one already knows the ending.

7) Silver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell showing that if you take convention and tweak it a little bit, you can have a crowd-pleasing romantic dramedy without it being terrible or pandering. Of course, some of that comes down to the cast, particularly Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

6) The Raid: Redemption
Nothing can ever top Die Hard, yet, as far as classic action movies go. But The Raid: Redemption is like Die Hard on meth. I can see how some people might find this wearying after a little while, but I found it so nuts and so exciting that it never bored me. Showcasing the martial art of Pencak Silat it truly is a non stop action movie the likes of which I personally had not seen before.

Seriously, that's not false advertising, the whole movie is like that. It's unreal. Also features the illest rookie cop of all time.

5) Cabin In The Woods
And here's the other Joss Whedon entry. The less you know going into this, of course, the better...believe me when I say it goes in a crazy, unexpected, amazing direction. Also helped by the Richard Jenkins rule in that he makes anything he is in about 20% better.

4) Zero Dark Thirty
As much about the procedural of finding the world's number one terrorist, as it is a look into what exact it takes to do that and the toll it can take on a person. In a weird sort of way, it is the anti-action movie where there is no real, clear ra-ra moment, and that even in triumph life will keep moving on.

3) Moonrise Kingdom
This goes without saying, but if you hate Wes Anderson, just steer clear of this one. Because this might be the MOST Wes Anderson of Wes Anderson movies. And there isn't anything in here that hasn't cropped up in other parts of his other movies. I dunno: maybe it's the young love at it's heart. But I do know the feeling I get is that it is his best live action movie since The Royal Tennenbaums.

2) Looper
Oh man. A futuristic, sci-fi action adventure movie that also involves telepaths and takes place mostly on a farm. It also is wrapped up in big ideas and big emotions. Just genuinely great stuff.

Rian Johnson might have made the movie music find of the year with this song by a duo from the 60's, Chuck & Mac, called Powerful Love which plays over the end credits. Holy crap is it good. He found it by accident while he was doing the movie, and it works SO well. Might be the movie music find of the year.

1) Django Unchained
No surprise here really.

Honorable Mentions:
-Sleepwalk With Me
-Seven Psychopaths
-21 Jump Street


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