2012 was a great year for movies, I am not speaking economically, although it was a great money making year for movies, I mean critically. This year was absolutely amazing, especially if you compare it to last year which was a miserable year for movies; I barely even enjoyed all of the movies up for Academy Awards last year. This year, any one of the nominated movies for Best Picture could have won Best Picture, if released last year.
2012 was full of beautifully crafted original ideas like Moonrise Kingdom and Amour, movies based on true events that took our breath away like Lincoln, Argoand Flight, Sequels that give a better name to sequels like Skyfalland The Dark Knight Rises and even a couple of remakes that were pretty great like Dredd and 21 Jump Street.
Obviously 2012 had its fair share of duds, I’m looking at you Twilight and Battleship, but overall I am very, very happy with 2012 in Film. Last year it was the Indie movies and the ones that flew under the radar that made 2011 worthwhile. In 2012, many of the movies I loved are box office hits and largely known movies, because this year Hollywood brought its A-game.
In 2012 I watched over 80 movies, close to 180 hours of movie watching, and I still couldn’t see every movie I wanted to because unfortunately I wanted to get this list out well in advance of the Academy Awards, I was hoping to get it out before The Golden Globes but that obviously didn’t happen, because I am not a professional movie critic and I don’t get paid to write see movies or write reviews.
In 2011 my list included 10 movies that I loved from 2011, this year my list will have 20 movies on it in order for me to express my deep love for Cinema 2012, and here are The best movies of 2012:
20. The Dark Knight Rises
How do you top The Dark Knight? One of the best movies of the last decade (maybe more), you don’t try and top, you just can’t. TDKR isn’t better than The Dark Knight, it couldn’t possibly be better, but it definitely holds its own, it has spectacular action and an emotional story that gives a wonderful closing to Christopher Nolan’s great trilogy. The actors give it their all and more, new to Gotham City are Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman, Tom Hardy as Bane and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, all three do some of their best acting, especially Tom Hardy! Even the regular cast seem to step it up a notch, Michael Caine for one. The Dark Knight Rises was met with some criticism, but only because of the incredibly high standards set by its predecessor, but no matter what this is a fulfilling closing to one of the best trilogies ever made.
19. End of Watch
One of 2012’s little movies that could, this cop drama made it on Roger Ebert’s top 12 movies of 2012 and for good reason. Bromance movies have had an upsurge in the last few years, but comedies have generally ruled the Bromance market (I Love you, Man, Ted, etc.) but End of Watch Ends that trend and offers up one of the best dramatic Bromance’s in recent years, and End of Watch isn’t without it’s bits of humor. I’ve never been a huge fan of the film’s stars Jake Gyllenhaal or Michael Pena, I actually like Michael Pena more, ever since 2004’s Crash, but End of Watch has such an incredible commitment to these characters that it’s hard not to understand every move they make, end enjoy them. End of Watch is electrifying and awesome!
18. Seven Psychopaths
I actually almost made this list without seeing Seven Psychopaths because I hadn’t heard that much about it, I thought it was one of those movies I could miss, but obviously I was mistaken. Psychopaths just offers up such awesome, hilarious characters played by some of my favorite actors who are generally underrated. Seven Psychopaths is original, funny, clever and violent, which is definitely my cup of tea.
17. The Grey
Doesn’t the plot of The Grey seem a little overdone? A group of survivors of a horrific plane crash have to survive in a harsh environment, led by an experienced leader with a will to survive. Yep, sounds familiar, even last years The Way Back could be described that way, but The Grey adds the right amounts of emotional story and background, greatly drawn out characters and thrilling action, oh and it has wolves and Liam Neeson, It’s just great.
16. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
This might be the movie I receive the most flack for including on this list, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of the worlds and my most anticipated movies of 2012, When Peter Jackson decided to split it into three movies it worried me but I still kept my excitement, and I can understand peoples disappointment in the slower pace of The Hobbit but I loved it. I think Peter Jackson stayed true to J.R.R Tolkien, he is telling the story the way The Lord of the Rings should have been told. For me, The Hobbit felt like coming home, it was just so wonderful to be immersed into Tolkien’s Middle Earth again, seeing Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, Elrond, Galadriel and (even) Gollum once more was awesome!
15. The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon may have wowed us with The Avengers this year, but this little project, he’s had finished since 2009 was the real gem, one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a very long time. I’ve recommended this movie to a lot of people and they have all responded with the same thing “Wow!” Cabin in the Woods plays out like a generally regular horror movie for the first hour but there are definitely things going on that are mysterious and hard to understand, the last half an hour are like an action packed, horror filled punch to the gut that (for once) had me at a loss for words.
14. Wreck-It Ralph
For the last decade or so it’s Pixar that has wowed me and made It into my lists but this year I have to give Disney the credit it deserves, and rightfully so, Non-Pixar Disney has done well in the last few years if you really think about it, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, the Princess and the Frog and Bolt. To be honest though it took Wreck-it Ralph to shake me back to my senses that Disney hasn’t really stopped making good movies. Wreck-it Ralph is sweet, exciting and incredibly original, has great voice talents, and a ton of exciting video game references for the long time video game fan (like me)!
13. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Perks of Being a Wallflower is another movie on my list that is driven by awesome characters and acting, but I found The Perks of Being a Wallflower to be genuinely heartfelt, and it wonderfully depicted the lives of high school misfits. The Perks of Being a Wallflower hits home, it’s real and beautiful.
Unfortunately Prometheus wasn’t given all the love it deserved this year, maybe because people were expecting more, I don’t know, I’ll never understand the peoples hate for Prometheus, to me Prometheus is a visually exciting movie with loads of excitement, thrills, mystery and innovation. Even the actors gave it their all, because they knew they were starring in something spectacular, Michael Fassbander was exceptionally great as the android David.
It was my parents who urged me to watch Lawless, and how could I not watch it? It boasted two of my favorite rising stars, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain! Lawless is extremely authentic, completely immersing you in this dangerous world. Tom Hardy, Shia Lebouf, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman and especially Guy Pearce’s acting helps you believe the authenticity of this great story.
Science Fiction movies, especially ones like this, don’t get enough credit. They occasionally make the money they deserve but they rarely get the awards, which is one reason my faith in the Awards circuit is generally low. Looper has originality coming out of every crack and crevice, it’s Bruce Willis’ best movie since Sin City, Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves that all the hype around him isn’t just fan girl crushes, and Emily Blunt even gives her best performance I have ever seen from her. I’ve watched Looper several times now because it’s something that deserves being immersed more than once, the last scenes are something that will be dissected for many years to come.
9. Silver Linings Playbook
I should have had more faith in Silver Linings playbook, especially since David O. Russell had just released The Fighter in 2010 and I loved it. David O. Russell has a way of making a story that doesn’t look like that great of a story on paper become something awesome. I enjoy Bradley Cooper but never thought I would actually enjoy his performance like I did his performance in Silver Linings Playbook, and Jennifer Lawrence has very, very quickly become one of my favorite actresses. Silver Linings Playbook makes what would have been a boring Rom-Com into an endearing story about dealing with mental illness’, family and love.
8. Les Misérables
Les Misérables, I’ve seen the play twice in my life and I’ve grown up listening to the music and loving the story thanks to my Aunt and family, and why not? It’s an incredible story. Les Misérables has probably been the most discussed movie of 2012, besides Zero Dark Thirty. Why? Because I think Tom Hooper, who directed 2010’s incredible The King’s Speech, has tackled a huge project that is near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts. Critics and fans have picked apart every inch of Les Misérables, from camera angles, acting, to each actors singing and much, much more. I think Tom Hooper did an incredible job, he took on a huge project and did it extremely well, the sets, the acting, the singing, and everything made this movie a hit to me. Les Misérables boasts awesome acting performances from every actor, but it’s the singing that everyone’s looking at, because this is the first time we’ve seen a lot of these actors show of their vocal talent. Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Russell Crowe (Javert), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Samantha Barks (Eponine), Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) and Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) were the standouts for me, but everyone has their own opinions, and Les Misérables has definitely shown me that.
7. The Impossible
The Impossible was on my radar this awards season, but it wasn’t high on my list of must-sees, but as you can grasp, I’m glad I saw it. The true story of a family trying to find each other after being separated during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami is incredibly heart wrenching, for me, The Impossible is this year’s Titanic, compared to its emotional and epic scale. The whole movie is tied together perfectly by the incredible acting talents of Naomi Watts. Also, Watts’ acting companion, 15 year old newcomer Tom Holland, who plays the eldest son, is fantastic. Ewan McGregor is pretty great as well.
Last year Spielberg entertained us with War Horse, which for me was just alright, and I don’t even think he was really into it because he was busy with Lincoln, rightfully so. Lincoln is the epic masterpiece that needed his tender love and care, Lincoln is ultimately possible due to its star Daniel Day-Lewis, who immerses himself in this presidential role. The rest of the cast is quite amazing, Especially Tommy Lee Jones, who’s funny and bitter, also great is Sally Fields and Hal Halbrooks. Lincoln also succeeds thanks to the authenticity, he sheer beauty of the world and the characters is exciting enough, but the story itself, the story of Lincoln trying to abolish slavery in a world where racism was extremely common and normal, is interesting and worthwhile.
5. Life of Pi
Life of Pi is magnificently stunning, and that’s what you will hear from everyone, because it is, but maybe I’m the only one in the world who hasn’t gotten around to reading the book because I also found the story to be incredibly touching. At the end of the day, the movie will always be remembered for its incredible special effects, which are great, definitely rivaling Avatars. I commend Ang Lee, his adaptation is spectacular, and everything a movie should be!
Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were good movies, proving Daniel Craig was a great Bond, but the movies weren’t amazing, then all of a sudden Bond number 23 (Skyfall) started running into problems, people were worried that it would never be made, I started to lose hope that if it was ever made that it wouldn’t even be worth seeing, luckily I was proven wrong. Director Sam Mendes kicks it into high gear, giving us what could be the best Bond movie yet, Skyfall is action packed, and the whole movie is a slick, thrilling, perfect example of cinematic gold! Judi Dench and Daniel Craig are splendid in their roles and Javier Bardem once again plays a menacingly grand bad guy!
3. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino wowed with Inglourious Basterds, one of my favorite movies, and I never suspected he could come anywhere close to making a movie as good as that but the man did it. Django Unchained is violent, greatly acted and wonderfully filmed, I wish Tarantino made movies more often because I can’t get enough of his impeccable style.
Argo was the movie everyone wouldn’t shut up about, I saw it fairly early in its release but I still had a feeling that everyone had hyped it up to the point where I wouldn’t enjoy it, but even with all of the hype and excitement I was astounded by Argo, and like Ben Affleck did with Gone Baby, Gone and The Town, he put his heart and soul in the project, making a movie that will be remembered forever as one of the greats, a movie that captures that thing called “Movie Magic”.
1. Zero Dark Thirty
In my head, Zero Dark Thirty has a huge, long list as to why it’s my favorite movie of 2012, it’s like the director, Kathryn Bigelow, and writer (Mark Boal), took everything we loved about their last movie (2008’s The Hurt Locker) and kicked it into high gear. Zero dark Thirty is just an incredible, tense, and intense Thrill ride that will have you literally digging your nails into your couch/chair/pet/friend as you watch. I left the theatre and I couldn’t stop saying the word “wow”…
Honestly, each and every one of these movies could have made it on my list, and most of them were at one point, unfortunately I’m kicking myself for even making my list 20 movies long…
Beasts of the Southern Wild This is 40
The Hunger Games The Sessions
Seeking a Friend for the end of the World Hitchcock
Ted The Avengers
Moonrise Kingdom Bernie