I see a lot of movies, and I am quite an opinionated person, so naturally I make a countdown of the best films in my head. Like most years, 2012 has flown by, but unlike most years, 2012 has been saturated with good films. This is a list of my favorite films of the past 12 months may not be the finest films of the year, not the most beautiful nor the best written, they are ones that I, personally, enjoyed. It was difficult narrowing it down to 20, but hopefully worthwhile. I will hope to keep the descriptions and the opinions fairly brief, whilst they increase as the list increases. Apologies if they are not full elaborated, but I shall try my best.
With the Twilight franchise coming to a close, ‘Twi-Harders’ (I still can’t take that name seriously) had to find something else to sink their teeth into, a voilà- The Hunger Games. Although not based on blood-sucking supernatural beings (vampires to everyone else), it is still fantasy. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where children must fight to the death in a televised blood bath, the story follows a young and unwilling competitor, Katniss. Basically, it has ‘teen’ written all over it. Not that this is necessarily bad, it is interesting, captivating, although not totally unusual, it is still a good film. However, being a bit of an action-geek I was hoping for more of the actual fight to be included, instead I was greeted with unnecessary make-over scenes and training that left me slightly bored. However, a great opening to what will be the next big franchise.
19. 21 Jump Street
I love Jonah Hill, although my overall opinion on Channing Tatum is neutral, I was convinced that I would enjoy the film, and I wasn’t disappointed. Despite the fact that it was practically just another cop film that Hollywood was throwing up, but it just didn’t feel like one, and that is a good thing. Hats off to the screenwriter Micheal Bacall, the script was humorous and the characters were surprisingly well developed. I mean, sometimes this film really is spit-your-drink kind of funny, and usually, I am not a huge fan of either Comedies, or ‘American Humor’ (I mean that in the sincerest way, I just prefer dry-humor)
18. Cabin in the Woods
As Much as I like Slasher movies, I never though that one would make it onto a list like this (ignoring Psycho being my 5th favorite horror film, although that isn’t typical slasher). Crammed with pretty much every horror movie stereotype and overused trick, the film is still really good. Despite my hate for genre-mixing horror-wise, especially with comedy, I just ignored these bits and enjoyed the film. Plus I do love a twist. It is exciting, exhilarating and adrenaline-filled.
Chronicle could have so easily have gone down the whole ‘typical superhero’ route, the whole ‘innocent teenager discovers they have superpowers and uses them for the good of the people’ kind of thing. Chronicle seems like a more accurate account of what a teenager would really do if they discovered a superpower. This film is far from traditional and is exciting in a whole new way. Chronicle shows that you can make a first-person movie without it looking like a cheap horror clobbered together.
16. The Amazing Spider-Man
I know that this new Spider-Man felt a bit like they were making it for the sake of it, and I know that it is CGI heaven (or really hell), it was enjoyable. I guess this film just goes to show that you can re-boot a franchise and still rake in the trillions like The Amazing Spider-Man did. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone shared chemistry that is very rare to see in Hollywood’s franchises, and I guess the script was quite good.
15. Perks of being a Wallflower
The brilliantly cast coming-of-age drama is either amazingly overrated or underrated, (it makes sense in my head). The emotions entwined within Perks of Being a Wallflowers are probably the most poignant that 2012 has spat out. Each actor gives a honest and raw rendition that is way beyond a coming-of-age movie.
14. The Bourne Legacy
Hollywood’s attempt at getting the Bourne franchise out there again, however, with a certain twist… without Jason Bourne. You would think a new film being entered into a large franchise would at least use the same character, or even mention him….at least once? Well, the cast are certainly strong and well rendered. For me, Bourne films are a bit like the Die Hard films, yes they may be cliche in some parts, but they are damn good films. I mean, who doesn’t love a good car chase, a good shooting scene and Jeremy Renner riding a motorbike? I am full aware that this doesn’t boast the best script, nor the most stunning cinematography, or even a* acting, but it isn’t it wrong to expect that of a Bourne film? I enjoyed it, and fair do’s to Jeremy Renner, I look forward to more upcoming ‘bourne-spin-off’ movies.
Some may be confused to why the big awards winner is so lowly ranked on my list, and no, it doesn’t actually have anything to do with my hate towards Ben Affleck (it may do a bit). Firstly, what I enjoyed about Argo was the racing and tense last 30 minutes of the movie when the 6 ‘innocent’ hostages were attempting to escape, and I suppose that kind of tension is what Hollywood is good for. Alan Arkin does provide scene-stealing and delicious performances. I have to admit, the film was exhilarating and that is why it has made it onto my list, and certainly not in a bad place to be. Now, I feel like I have to justify why it is in this particular place, and not further down. This is my political side getting involved, and I know that it shouldn’t when I am supposedly writing reviews, but the film was far to dramatic and fabricated for my liking, I also do not like Affleck’s directing. What bugs me as well is how heavily propaganda it is, especially for something that was initially done by the Canadians not the Americans. I feel like the film was too directed at pleasing the audience, in return giving the history a hazed and fabricated story. I shall stop ranting now, basically, if you want to go see a tense and enjoyable film, it is great, if you want an accurate approach to the events, this film definitely isn’t for you.
For such a hated film, I really enjoyed it. I suppose that I went in with the mind-set that it wouldn’t be that great, and was greeted with great effects, a original story-line and fantastic acting. It marked a glorious return for Ridley Scott and was sort-of-similar sort-of-not to alien. Although it received quite mixed reviews due to its perception that it had a link to Alien, without it having much of a link, I thought it was completely captivating. I think not heavily linking it to Alien was a great move; it allowed Scott to play around with it a bit, without recreating a modern version of the sci-fi-horror phenomenon. What he do have is a well-rendered sci-fi flick that really does have multiple layers. Despite riddled with nasty plot-holes, I came out of the cinema entertained and scratching my head. If that doesn’t win you over, just go for Michael Fassbender, he is terrific as David- the neurotic and experimental android servant, everyone loves Michael Fassbender, don’t they?
This years ‘The Matrix’ if that isn’t too strong of a statement to make. This is head-scratching-entertainment at its finest. The ‘what-if’ aspect of it is incredibly fun. The plot is smart, fully realized and certainly keeps you on your toes (well, on the edge of your seat at least). Just as you are safe and feel comfortable with the plot-line, Rian Johnson throws another twist at you. You can really tell you have made it in the film industry when you make a good time-travel movie. The future is realistic, and not too much of a change from today, which really does give the film that extra boost. Smart, inventive, innovative, pensive and stirring, Looper really is a must see.
(here is a previous review I wrote about Looper in case you are interested Looper Review)
Well, that concludes that part of the Top 20 films of 2012, and I shall hopefully be posting the 2nd part soon enough. Feel free to agree, disagree or bang your head on the wall with rage.