Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top 12 (and 5 worst) Films of 2012

I know I've neglected my blog recently, but I'm trying to rebuild it. Starting with this post.

There were so many great movies this year that I've expanded the usual Top 10 list to 12. Huge jump, I know.

Honorable Mentions: Celeste and Jesse Forever, Killer Joe, Ted, The Avengers, Chronicle, Haywire, ParaNorman, Pitch Perfect

12. Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis aside, maybe I wasn't feeling this movie as much as everyone else seems to be.  I really enjoyed how they focused on one particular story instead of jumping around to other parts of Lincoln's life, but some parts just weren't gelling for me.

11. Bernie - Jack Black's best role to date. Might not be saying much career-wise, but his performance in this movie is outstanding. Bernie is a very funny and somehow compelling dark comedy about the death of a terrible old woman.

10. Silver Linings Playbook - While the film itself might be a little too Hollywood, every performance is unbelievable. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence turned in their best showings of their careers, Jacki Weaver continues to be a great character actress and Robert De Niro returned to form. If he doesn't win the Oscar, I'll be upset.

9. The Cabin in the Woods - What a mindf--k of a movie. I can't say much about this horror movie, but I can say that it's not a conventional horror movie. And Joss Whedon is the man.

8. Flight - This is one of those films that I kept thinking about for a while before coming to a conclusion: It's fantastic. Denzel Washington plays such a flawed person that's hard to root for, even though you know you should. It has the viewer make their own ethical choice.

7. The Dark Knight Rises - The final chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was a fitting end for the Caped Crusader. Sure it dragged a bit, but all of the characters kept me involved throughout. Also, Michael Caine gives a speech to Christian Bale that will go down as one of the best scenes in the series.

6. Django Unchained - Apparently I'm in the minority here, but this isn't better than Inglourious Basterds. That being said, this is a great film. A revenge flick that keeps the jokes comin'. What more can you ask for from Quentin Tarantino?

5. Moonrise Kingdom - Critics' choice for Wes Anderson's best film since Rushmore. Personally, it's his best flick since The Life Aquatic. The unknown kids played the leads to perfection, and Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are great in their supporting roles.

4. Argo - It still boggles my mind how Ben Affleck was not nominated for Best Director. This thriller has everything from edge-of-your-seat action to laugh-out-loud comedy. Affleck does a serviceable job as the lead, but it's Alan Arkin who steals the show every time he's on screen.

3. Skyfall - Two of Daniel Craig's Bond films are two of my top 3 Bond films of all time. And Skyfall takes the No. 1 spot on that list. Javier Bardem plays a terrific villain, but what I love most about these movies is how we get to learn about who James Bond was before he become 007.

2. Looper - I'm a sucker for time travel movies, and this one took the genre to another level for me. Obviously the theme is that "everything is connected," but how the characters arrive at this moral is fantastic. This should have been nominated for a Screenplay Oscar. Plus, it has one of the creepiest torture scenes on film.

1. Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow is a master at keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Despite knowing how the film ends, she actually makes you wonder "Are they gonna get him?" Even the scenes where Maya is stuck at the office keep you involved and intrigued. Also, Jessica Chastain should be a lock for Best Actress.

Now, the Bottom 5:

5. This Means War - There are no likable characters in this. They are either conniving, narcissistic or just a flat-out terrible person. That being said, I did laugh at this more than I should have.

4. Magic Mike - I love Steven Soderbergh, but this is one of his worst. This film cannot decide what type of movie it wants to be. Is it a light-hearted comedy that's a little risque, or is it a tension-filled drama that borders on tragic? Who knows. More importantly, who cares.

3. American Reunion - The third spot on this list begins a trend of me being horribly disappointed. The trailers for this gave me hope. But all of that was dashed shortly after the opening title sequence. Dull storylines and even duller jokes make you miss the 1999 original. Then again, anything's better than American Wedding.

2. Promised Land - Matt Damon. John Krasinski. Frances McDormand. Controversial subject matter. Political undertones. All the ingredients for a compelling film are there, but this is an all-around disaster. The storyline failed almost immediately, and none of the characters are worth their screen time. This movie should not be on anyone's "Must See" list.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - First things first, this is not the worst movie in my Bottom 5. But it takes the No. 1 spot because it was a massive disappointment. Peter Jackson spent so much time working on the sets and graphics that he forgot character development altogether. I know there are supposed to be a dozen or so dwarves that go with Bilbo on his journey but without character development, don't ask me to care when any of them are in peril.

Thoughts? Feel free to post your favorite films.