Well, I’m waaaaayyyy behind the ball on this one and I still haven’t seen quite a few of 2012’s supposed best and brightest, but based off of what I have seen these are my Top 10 films from the past year. As a reminder, these are not necessarily my picks for the BEST movies of the year, but my FAVORITE movies of the year. That doesn’t mean that quality isn’t a huge factor, but overall enjoyment also plays a huge role in why I picked these films.
For a full list of my ratings/reviews for 2012, look here.
Who would have thought that Ben Afleck could have gone from starring in Gigli to becoming one of the most respected new directors in Hollywood within less than a decade? Picking up from the success of his last film, The Town, Afleck tackles a very sensitive time in our country’s modern history with Argo, delving into an incredible true story that wasn’t even public information until fairly recently. It takes some license with the amount of suspense in the final scenes of the film, but overall Argo is an impressively well-crafted and faithful adaptation of it’s source events.
After the huge success of the Iron Man movies as well as the moderate success of Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk, it was inevitable that The Avengers would soon hit theaters and make massive amounts of money. What wasn’t certain was whether or not geek-favorite Joss Whedon would be able to not only balance such a large ensemble of epic heroes, but to do it in a way that made it pleasing to fanboys and general audiences alike. Over $1.5 Billion in global box office earnings later, it’s clear that he did just that. As a result, The Avengers arguably stands as the most entertaining movie of 2012.
Cabin in the Woods may have only made a small fraction of Whedon’s other 2012 release, but as a movie that’s central plot twists made it damn near impossible to market, that’s hardly surprising. It’s no easy task to describe the movie to somebody who hasn’t seen it for risk of giving away some of the best reveals of the film, which is a shame because those twists make it one of the most original and memorable films of the year. If you haven’t seen it but are a fan of anything else Whedon’s ever done, take my word for it that Cabin in the Woods is well worth your time.
What demographic will Tarantino give revenge fantasies to next? Whoever it is, judging by the outright amazingness and profitability of Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds, it will probably be amazing. Django Unchained is a perfect example of this generation’s Tarantino, combining a dark sense of fun with some amazing performances by Foxx, Waltz and DiCaprio to easily stand alongside Tarantino’s best work.
First of all, I do admit that no, The Dark Knight Rises is not as good as The Dark Knight. That being said, in its own ways it is pretty goddamn close, and for a comparison to what is probably my favorite movie of all time, that’s not too shabby. Bringing and epic scale to the already dark and compelling world of Gotham City, Christopher Nolan shows once again that he is the king of combining Blockbuster status with quality film making, a feat which he will hopefully be able to repeat in his producing role of Man of Steel this summer. It’ll be a long time before I feel as giddy with realized excitement as I was after the midnight premier of this film.
While the hipster in me always wants to root for unpopular choices, there are very few ways that I can deny that Daniel Day Lewis absolutely deserves this year’s Oscar for Best Actor. Staying almost too true to historical realism for it’s own good, Lincoln features a set of dynamite performances from it’s impressively huge cast as well as some excellent writing from Screenwriter Tony Kushner. Steven Spielberg once again reminds us who wrote the book on modern film making, taking his usual aptitude for balancing drama and levity and using it to write a cinematic love letter to one of our nation’s greatest presidents.
Deadpan, eccentric, quirky, heartfelt. These are words that could describe nearly any one of Wes Anderson’s compulsively Indie films, but none more so than his 2012 crown jewel, Moonrise Kingdom. It’s also truly amazing that with such a large cast of skilled actors and actresses playing against type, the two standout performaces of the film come from it’s lead newcomers, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The tone of the film is quintessential Anderson, so if that isn’t for you then you might not be as swayed as 94% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but I at least was completely taken with this simple yet moving love story.
My pick for the Most Moving film of 2012, Perks of Being a Wallflower came straight out of left field for me. I had never read the book, and the only person I knew anything about before seeing the film was Harry Potter alum and uber-crush of 90% of the world’s occupants, Emma Watson. Expecting a stereotypical sappy coming-of-age story, I was taken completely off guard by an incredibly well-acted, emotionally wrenching story of friendship, longing and loneliness. The fact that the film was written and directed by the author of the book it is based off of makes me wonder why that combination isn’t used more often.
Do I really have to say anything at all? I suppose I do. I’m what you might call a young’un, and as a result my first real experience with James Bond game in Daniel Craig’s debut, Casino Royale. Despite the shortcomings of Quantum of Solace, that film remains my favorite bond movie to this day. While is currently tied for the #2 spot with Goldfinger, Skyfall is an incredibly satisfying way to celebrate 50 years of 007, and heralds a continuation of a new golden era for the character. Between amazingly shot action sequences, beautiful cinematography and one of the best Bond villains ever to grace the screen, Skyfall is easily one of my favorite films of 2012.
Three years after taking home the first female win for Best Director ever (away from former hubby James Cameron nonetheless) for her heart-pounding Iraq War thriller, The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow proves once again with Zero Dark Thirty that she is this generation’s master of suspense. Bolstered by what in my opinion is an oscar deserving performance from Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty grabs it’s audience and never lets go, whether the scene takes place in a briefing room or the depths of Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
Well, there you have them, my favorite movies of 2012. I will announce my top 3 and your top three within a week’s time, so please vote your your three favorites down below! I will also soon be coming out with a compiled list of my blogging peers’ top 10 film lists and which movies popped up most commonly on them, so keep an eye out for that!