Monday, January 27, 2014

Top 10 movies of 2012 ... yes, I said 2012

I just wouldn't feel right presenting my top 10 of 2013 if I didn't put a tidy bow on 2012, which because of laziness, I never got around to.


(10) The Hunger Games - I thought this was faithful enough to the book, while understanding that you can't put everything on the page on the screen.  The best thing about the movie is the main character, wonderfully played by Jennifer Lawrence.  Woody Harrelson is also very good.


(9)  The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey- Not as good a movie as any of the LOTR movies, but it is of admittedly lighter material. Martin Freeman is well-cast as Bilbo and I think Peter Jackson does a good job of capturing the humor and roughness of the dwarves.  We saw this in the high-frame-rate 3D and it was an interesting experience ... almost hyper-real.



(8) The Dark Knight Rises - The previous film, with Heath Ledger, is probably better.  But this one, has plenty of acting talent, most notably Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy.  I think it wraps up the trilogy well.  The plot twist is well-done.




(7) Looper - I'm a sucker for time-travel movies because of the way they twist your noodle.  Causality, timelines, the nature of existence ... all good stuff.  This stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (also of Dark Knight) and Bruce Willis and the always stunning Emily Blunt.



(6) Prometheus - A flawed movie.  But also beautifully shot.  It succeeds when director Ridley Scott lets the scenes breathe and show off the vastness and loneliness of space.  A good cast highlighted by Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and Michael Fassbender as a truly creepy robot.  I will forgive more in sci-fi movies because they frequently delve into bigger themes.  In this case - where do we come from and why are we here.


(5) The Avengers - Director Joss Whedon makes a movie that works because of his trademark dialogue and humor and a plot that allows each of the characters to develop.  Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk is an improvement over the previous actors who have been in that role but the true standout is Tom Hiddleston as Loki.  Because of his wonderful British charm, you can't help but root for the villain.


(4) Skyfall - This is the best of the new Bond films.  An origins movie of sorts, delving into a bit of 007's past.  The cinematography by my all-time fave Roger Deakins is incredible.  Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) deftly weaves nods to the past Bond films into a new narrative that sets up well for future films.


(3) Argo - A deserving Best Picture Oscar for a an entertaining movie.  Ben Affleck continues to show that he will be a director worth following in the future.


(2) Lincoln - If there is a better actor working today than Daniel Day-Lewis, I'd be amazed.  He so completely immerses himself in every role that you can't imagine another person playing that role.  I was most impressed with the script of this movie and how it made the minutiae of political wheeling and dealing into suspenseful (and funny) theater.


(1) Life of Pi -Well, you can color me surprised that my favorite movie of the year ended up being one that is largely about the nature of faith.  Why that works for me is because it was visually stunning and ultimately it is about any kind of faith ... not necessarily religious.

Honorable Mention: Wreck-It Ralph,  Bobby Fischer Against the World, Frankenweenie, The Muppets, The Master, Room 237, Lorax

My 2013 list will be up by Wednesday.



7 comments:

CyberKitten said...

I surprised myself by liking The Hunger Games mostly, as you say, for the outstanding Jennifer Lawrence. I enjoyed part 2 even more. The first book is pretty good too considering its aimed at the YA market.

I thought Hobbit Part 1 was reasonable if a little over stretched. I found Part 2 frankly boring.

Didn't see Dark Knight so can't comment.

I liked the idea of Looper to begin with but thought that the overall execution was terrible. The ending made no sense at all.

I actually loathed Prometheus big time! It promised so much but delivered so little, and what little it did deliver was very muddled..

Didn't see Avengers but am strangely looking forward to the new Captain America movie. Go figure!

LOVED Skyfall from beginning to end. One of the best films of the year.

Didn't see Argo so can't comment.

I can see why American audiences liked Lincoln so much but I found it all rather dull and an effort to get through. Agreed Day-Lewis is an amazing actor and totally becomes his role but even that wasn't enough for me I'm afraid.

Didn't see Pi because I'd previously read the book and really didn't like it. The whole unreliable narrator stuff really annoys me!

Oh, I'm looking forward to your 2013 list!

dbackdad said...

He-he. I can certainly understand the Looper confusion. Have you ever seen Primer, another weird time travel one? It's even more confusing.

I completely get people's problems with Prometheus. I'm certainly not blind to them. It's just one of those things that I like in spite of itself. My mind rationally sees the problems, but I still enjoy watching it.

Have you seen the first Captain America movie (or either Thor movie)? I liked them all to varying degrees.

My wife and son were completely with you on Lincoln. They have no clue why I liked it. Welcome to my life.

"Unreliable narrator" -- I've never heard that term before, but it is completely apt.

CyberKitten said...

dbackdad said: He-he. I can certainly understand the Looper confusion. Have you ever seen Primer, another weird time travel one? It's even more confusing.

I think it was just written by someone with no understanding of Temporal Mechanics. The ending would have completely negated the whole film. Haven't heard of Primer.

dbackdad said: I completely get people's problems with Prometheus.

I thought it was very well made which made it all the worse for me. It could have been a great film but turned out to be a mess.

dbackdad said: Have you seen the first Captain America movie (or either Thor movie)?

Yes to both - which is unusual as I really don't like super-hero films. Which makes my interest in the new film all the more surprising to me and my friends.

dbackdad said: My wife and son were completely with you on Lincoln. They have no clue why I liked it. Welcome to my life.

Oh, I get that all the time! [lol]

dbackdad said: "Unreliable narrator" -- I've never heard that term before, but it is completely apt.

I hate the whole idea. If you're going to tell a story, just tell the story.... [grinds teeth]

William Stachour said...

Man, I'm behind! I used to have a feedreader that kept me up to speed with the few remaining blogs I read, but that died a year or so ago and now the new posts show up as just a little red number in the upper right corner of my browser. Easy to forget.

I haven't kept up with movies as much this year (though this is last year's list, and I think I put one up... somewhere.

I was intrigued by Looper, and really liked The Avengers (my general lack of interest in comic-book-based stories notwithstanding); I think this is Joss Whedon's doing! Loved Skyfall. And Lincoln and Life of Pi would definitely be on my list!

dbackdad said...

Hell, I'm not that great about reading my own blog, let alone someone else's.

I really need to get up more book reviews here. I'm reading more than ever, but am just not as good about posting stuff on them as CK is.

William Stachour said...

Somewhere down in my bone marrow I kind of feel like I've written down most of my ideas somewhere in the preceding 1000 posts. I feel like I'm repeating myself. That's OK. But I suppose it's a fact of life that my "grand productive days" (from Barton Fink) of blogging are behind me. Alas, life goes on. Still fun to catch up on what others have been doing!

CyberKitten said...

dbackdad said: I really need to get up more book reviews here. I'm reading more than ever, but am just not as good about posting stuff on them as CK is.

It helps not having a life.... [lol]