Sunday, April 5, 2015

MrMovieETC's TOP 10 FILMS of 2012

Greetings, and welcome to Week 2 of my Top 10 movie countdown for the last 30 years!

2012 brings another list that I could have easily shrugged off for the sake of pure laziness due to having already created a list in January of 2013 on my YouTube channel ( However, 2012 also brought a full slate of tough decisions and I thought it only right to give the list a fresh look and see if I would have honestly kept it the same, or if some changes were in order.

After scratching down all the films I enjoyed from that year, I began the process of narrowing down as anyone would, and I found that, yes, indeed it was a little different. The influences include the obvious introduction of films that I didn't see right away that I felt deserved a place, and films that were previously on the list that did not quite hold up to their original placement after multiple viewings. All in all, I feel that I like this Top 10 above the original and was happy to have taken the time to restructure.

The new 2012 Top 10 is as follows!:


I had heard about "The Raid" throughout the majority of its release, however I did not pay it close attention due to the frustration from having recently viewed "Dredd" and brushed it off as one was a copy of the other and I don't need to see both. "Dredd", on one hand, was a fun popcorn flick and was greatly unappreciated with the type of visual style it flaunted; "The Raid", on the other, kind of kicks the Judge's ass - it's really not fair. The claustrophobia of the close hand-to-hand combat from "The Raid" is some of the best I have seen since the Bruce Lee heydays, and it adds buckets of brutality to make the viewers hurt in places they didn't know they could, and for that, not only does this film deserve to be in the Top 10 of the year, but one of the best choreographed action flicks in a year that was loaded with big budget action flicks. Big seal of approval on this one!


Picture a live action version of "Big Hero 6" before the Disney platform had been set in motion, and instead of whiz kids turning themselves and a care-taking robot into superheroes, it's a retired jewel thief that trains his care-taking robot into assisting with a few "jobs" to relive his glory days. Also, keep in mind that this film is damn good and well worth tracking down. Frank Langella is spectacular as the film's main lead and thief in question. Truthfully, it's his vessel all the way as the supporting cast only drops in from time to time when the plot needs them to. Whether or not you buy into a robot developing concern for his human counterpart through A.I. will determine a lot if you end caring for this film or not, but sometimes a good story and a little sci-fi go a long ways.


Speaking of sci-fi, "Looper" might be one of the best I've seen in recent years and still has yet to be topped. I'm not saying it's the best ever made, and of course the film has those pesky time travel loopholes that need to be allowed to slide, yet it is a product of what can be done with genuinely good film making and dedicated actors willing to sell it. "Looper" succeeds in all of the above. Bruce Willis gives an *actual* performance for the first time in God knows how long, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a heck of a job being a young Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt gets to reveal her inner asskicker. Oh yeah, and a little boy using his kinetic mind abilities to make bad guys explode - yes, that's also worth the price admission.


I assume I wouldn't blame some hopefuls for this film to feel a little disappointed as Disney did make it seem like many of the classic video game characters would be making a splash in "Wreck-It Ralph". It's not that they weren't there, they just weren't important for the most part. Although, while I admittedly would not blame them for feeling let down, that is not to say I necessarily understand why; I mean, how anyone would expect a cohesive story to be built around multiple video game characters from vastly different platforms and worlds is beyond me. Giving the film its due credit, it does manage to squeeze plenty of diverse characters into a story that is true to Disney - full of action, heart, and humor. Top that with fine voice offerings from John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jane Lynch, and the finished result is, in my opinion, still the best non-Pixar release from Disney in the 2010's.


I felt the only necessary reason to include this film in the Top 10 was for having some of the most awe-inspiring visual effects that I've seen since I can't even remember when. Only on extremely rare occasion do I seek out to see a movie in 3D and "Life of Pi" was one of those. Honestly, the scene where the luminescent humpback whale leaps out of the ocean nearly brought a tear to my nerdtastic eye. Nevertheless, I would not consider a film for the Top 10 based solely on eye candy. If that were true, all the Underworld movies and anything with Emily Blunt would make the list every time. No, "Life of Pi" is also lifted by a spirited on-screen rendition of Pi by Suraj Sharma, because as with "Robot & Frank", the story is all his and couldn't be upheld without a convincing lead. The story works just fine, though it may not be as deeply thought-provoking as it may think itself to be. I would be lying if I wasn't initially concerned with Ang Lee at the helm; not that I have anything against him, and he's made some great movies, though I also can't pretend "Hulk" never happened. Anyone can make a mistake, though, and "Life of Pi" adequately redeems.


For all the Wes Anderson purists that to this day worship the ground that "Rushmore!" walks on, I may catch some flack for saying this, but oh well: In my mind, "Moonrise Kingdom" is hands down the best Anderson film to date. While the characters have the same quirkiness that one comes to expect, I felt they were utilized the best in this project, and the plot about young misfits using love to conquer their worlds was engaging beginning to end. In my summary of "Looper", I mentioned that it felt good seeing Bruce Willis put some stock into his character. As it turns out, 2012 was a great year for him as I'm sure Anderson would not have brought him on the set if he was going to merely "phone it in". Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward make their on-screen debut as the two young leads. I'm not sure if I'll be seeing them again in this capacity anytime soon, but they were certainly suitable for what this film asked of them. It's a great watch that I plan to revisit soon.


Yes, I know it's the weakest in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Yes, I know the message of the plot unravels a little more with each viewing. Yes, I know Christian Bale's "Batman" voice is somewhat obnoxious. Yes, I know one had to strain their ears occasionally to understand Bane. Yes, I knew it wasn't going to reach the heights of its predecessor, and if you honestly thought so, then you might have to Riddle Me That because I have no idea how the hell it could have. What I also know is that it was one of my favorite blockbusters of that summer, I thought Hans Zimmer laid a fine, suspenseful score, and with all the ways it could have screwed up big time, I felt "Rises" had a respectful finish to an otherwise outstanding trilogy that raised the Dark Knight from its own ashes. The popular joke is that this was the Batman movie without Batman, and while it's true that Batman didn't make nearly as many appearances, I was under the impression that was sort of the point and it was supposed to be more about Bruce Wayne - the man beneath the mask. Who knows? In the cinematic world, and especially in the comic cinematic world, there will always be conflicting viewpoints. What matters most to me is I enjoyed "The Dark Knight Rises" and fail to see where that will cease to be the case anytime soon.


Ben Affleck may not *yet* be on my list of favorite directors but he's definitely making his case, and I would love nothing more than to see him keep swinging for the fences and knocking it out of the park, because so far, he's a perfect 3 for 3. While "Argo" may not rely as much on action as did "The Town", he creates a fantastic ensemble of characters and actors for this film based on true events, and after watching this movie a time or two, one would almost think he's been mastering suspense for years. The main downside to a story such as this, especially one about a hostage situation in hostile foreign territory, is that it can be slightly predictable and that's where the main challenge for Affleck would lie. That being case, as aforementioned, he still managed to completely draw every baited breath from the audience as they grip whatever their seat of choice is for dear life. I don't know if Affleck will be able to keep a perfect streak running, but "Argo" does not leave much for skepticism.


Needless to say, MARVEL has had me on its hook since the first "Iron Man", so for a studio to finally take the leap of faith and make a live action version of this superhero combo against lofty expectations, it could have easily been a detrimental disaster that would have laid MARVEL Studios under a stone that read "Here Lies..." The sci-fi genre also seems to put a lot of faith in Joss Whedon, and while there's nothing that stands out that he was completely undeserving of such praise, his visions have not always connected ("Firefly"), so to say that "The Avengers" would be an automatic success because Whedon was behind the lens would be naive to a degree. That being said, Whedon may have taken a somewhat safe path, although in the end, it was the right path because he did "The Avengers" justice and then some. He could have easily made it boil over with convolution, yet instead he took already well-developed characters and let them do what they do best for 2 hours. "The Avengers" gave pure dazzling entertainment that satisfied but left just enough hunger for Phase 2.

And now, my Top Film from 2012:






After looking this list over about every way I could possibly look it, there was still no contest for the #1 spot; "Django Unchained" was my original pick for the top slot, and so it shall remain. Paying homage to the spaghetti westerns of the past, Tarantino brings his trademark flair to a 3-hour epic with a cast of greats that could not be contended with in 2012. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson all bring their A+ games that make said 3 hours feel like 90 minutes of over-the-top action violence, gore, and black comedy that has made Tarantino famous. I could honestly go on for pages about "Django", breaking down each scene and what I loved about it. Instead, I'll spare you the full afternoon and just tell you to go see it. Though, if you haven't already, I'm not sure I can really help you at this point.

See you next week for my Top 10 of 2011!

No comments:

Post a Comment