Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top 12 films of 2012: The Honorable Mentions

            So, we are well into 2013, and almost everyone has given their top films of 2012. So, I might as well get to it. Now, because 2012 was quite a good year for movies (and because I’m a cheater), I’m going to have my list be the top twelve films of 2012.
            Some films that I did not see, and therefore, cannot be on any list are Silver Linings Playbook, Safety not Guaranteed, Prometheus, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Sessions, Rise of the Guardians, The Master, Armour, Moonrise Kingdom, Jack and Jill, John Carter, and The Oogieloves in Big Balloon Adventure.

Spoilers ahead. Obviously.

Honorable Mentions

Wreck-It Ralph
There’s really not much wrong with this movie. Ralph is a solid, solid movie that does the whole inside a video game thing well (loved how it explained first person rail shooters). The movie thankfully doesn’t get too crazy or pandering with its cameos (M. Bison gets a speaking role? Hooray!), has well developed characters, good voice acting (Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch being most notable for me), and a surprisingly high amount of emotion. Oh, and I can't forget the puns. Those deliciously dumb but awesome candy puns. The Oreo joke had me laughing harder then anyone else in the theater. If I had to point out a negative, it’s that the film ultimately plays things a bit too safe. In the end, Ralph barely misses being on my list. Also, Paperman rocked.  

The Avengers
If I was making a list of the most fun and/or entertaining movies of 2012, then this would surely be on that list. If I was making a list of which movies in 2012 gave me the best theater experiences, then this would be on the list. Alas, my list is none of the above. Make no mistake, The Avengers is a fun, fun movie that is pretty much everything I want in a summer blockbuster. In addition, I do appreciate the way many of the shots in the final action scene look like they’re right from a comic book (ie the famous shot of Hulk punching the leviathan. I could easily see that being a two page spread). That being said, the movie has too many problems, such as having a less than stellar opening, and having some of the most facepalm worthy mind control in a while. Still, I’m able to forgive these problems pretty easily, as this movie was just too fun.

The Dark Knight Rises
Let’s get one thing straight: The Dark Knight Rises was a good, solid movie that unfortunately, had to go up against both unrealistically high expectations and overly partisan interpretations of the movie*. It came as no surprise that TDKR could not live up to said expectations. Still, there is a lot to like about the movie. Really solid performances all around (with the exception of a certain death scene), some really good action set pieces, and a story that overall did a nice job completing the story that started in Begins. Yes, the movie’s too long, the villains go out poorly, and the whole Robin thing was kind of eh, but this was not a bad movie. It just wasn’t good enough to make it on my list. (On a side note, I do wish the people who talked about how the movie was a slam against the occupy movement would have paid attention to a.) Bane’s speech about purposely creating a false hope for Gotham, and b.) noticed that many of the rioters were the freed inmates). Also, I don’t care what anyone else thinks: I liked this version of Bane. Admittedly, I missed the luchador mask, but Tom Hardy still did a great job giving the character a lot of physical presence. Plus, it’s pretty damn fun to try to do his voice.  

*And of course, there’s the real life event that kind of tarnished people’s enthusiasm for the movie. I’m not going to touch that here.

Life of Pi
If Life of Pi had only been the middle section (a.k.a. I’m on a boat…with a tiger), then it probably would have made my list. Ang Le and Claudio Miranda did a wonderful job at capturing both the beauty of Pi’s surroundings, and the feeling of pure isolation of Pi’s predicament. The movie handled 3d in an intelligent way, and there are images in the film that are some of the year’s best, such as the shot of the sinking ship from an underwater view, or one of the many overhead shots of the boat on the water. It’s too bad that such beauty had to be sandwiched between two slices of meeehhhhh. The first act, just like in the book, just isn’t that engaging. As for the end, I think that the story tried to go too far. Other people have already pointed out that the overall messages of the story are kind of shallow (Believe in the story with the animals because it’s more fun and will make you feel better! God exists because God allows you to escape the harsh realities of your situation!)You want to tell me a story that will make me believe in god? Great. Tell me a story of miraculous survival in the face of impossible odds. Spare me the not-as-deep-as-you-think philosophy about religion and spirituality. But, again, the film is beautiful to watch.

Cabin in the Woods     
This was a fun movie, with some clever satire of the horror/slasher movie genre. I do accept the theory that in addition to spoofing slasher films, Cabin was also spoofing movies in general, and audience expectations. (In short, the ancient ones are the audience, who get irritated and pissed whenever a movie differs from the formula that we expect to see. Because of this, we, the audience, have forced writers (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) to constrain their own creativity. Meanwhile, the accountants usually get to decide what will be the most “entertaining” for the audience. And so forth). The last fifteen minutes have some of the most wildly entertaining carnage I saw in 2012, and the movie certainly is responsible for some of the best kills of 2012. So why is this not on my top twelve list?

The big red button.


I know, I know, I shouldn’t get too hung up over plot holes, but months later, I still haven’t been able to figure out why an organization that has made the art of murder into a procedural process would do something so dumb.

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