Verdict: 5 / 5
The task of selecting the top films of the 2012 has proven to be a difficult one, especially when considering the amount of big blockbuster pictures, remakes, reboots, independent films, B-grades and stinkers that needs sifting through.
Reminiscing back on 2012, it’s easy to deduce that it has been an exceptional year at the movies. Movie-goers have been spoilt rotten with big-budget productions like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-man, The Hobbit, Life of Pi and a host of others who have raked in their fair share of record-breaking profits. It’s also been a great year for filmmakers, many who have delivered some of their best work in years – Ben Affleck (Argo), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Denzel Washington (Flight), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper), etc. But on the other end of the stick, Hollywood’s cookie cutter approach has delivered some atrocious attempts at cashing in on undeserved reboots (Total Recall), unoriginal scripts (Alex Cross, Battleship), and awful sequels (Taken 2). Amongst this list were also a number of disappointments (Men in Black 3, Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Wrath of the Titans) and movies that surprised us (The Amazing Spider-man, Skyfall, Magic Mike and Cabin in the Woods).
|2||The Dark Knight Rises||$1,081,041,287|
|4||Ice Age: Continental Drift||$875,115,339|
|5||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2||$796,879,776|
|6||The Amazing Spider-Man||$752,216,557|
|7||Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted||$742,110,251|
|8||The Hunger Games||$686,533,290|
|9||Men in Black 3||$624,026,776|
|10||The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey||$600,508,000|
Whether you’re an avid film-goer, a critic or simply enjoy the casual DSTV viewing, there is a good chance that you’ve had a few memorable movie experiences throughout this year. While many of you have already gathered your rocks for stoning, it is important to remember that Top 10 lists are always subjective – of course! The following picks were MY PERSONAL favourite films of the year. What qualifies me to compile a list like this you might ask? I hope that my experience as a movie critic for the last six years, my viewing of over five hundred unique movies a year, and my experience as a scriptwriter and director would count in my favour here. So without further ado, here is my list of top 10 films of 2012…
10. Skyfall (tie)
After the modern reinvention of Bond in 2006’s universally acclaimed Casino Royale and the misstep of 2008’s mediocre Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, the twenty-third film in the series, finds a good balance between the contemporary and the traditional story. Presented as the “resurrection” of the character, with rubber-faced Daniel Craig donning the suit once again, 007 hasn’t been this dazzling in a long time. Just when you think that a character that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary might be out of date, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) steps in and reminds us exactly why James Bond has stood the test of time, putting to rest any ideas of retirement for the series. After five decades, 007 is alive and kicking, and in fact might outlive us all.
10. Looper (tie)
“I don’t want to talk about time-travel s**t,” Bruce Willis yells at Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who both bear a strange a resemblance. “Because if we start, we’re going to be here all day, making diagrams with straws.” That’s usually the case with movies that occupy themselves with time travel. But just a few minutes into Rian Johnson’s pretzel-twisted Looper, which relies on story rather than logic, and it’s easy to rate it as one of the best movies of 2012, and one of the smartest sci-fi thrillers in years.
9. Beasts of the Southern Wild
First time director Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild explores a post-Katrina New Orleans. It’s the powerful story of survival and hardship. If nothing else, the film, which borders on being a documentary of sorts, will charm its way into your heart and force you to feel compassion for the characters. Few films can boast having the rare qualities incorporated into Beasts of The Southern Wild. You can’t help but be moved by Hushpuppy and her daddy, Wink.
8. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
One of the most underseen movies of the year, The Perks of Being A Wallflower is a great coming-of-age film, filled with unforgettable characters and heartfelt moments. Although set in the early 1990s, writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s autobiographical film still feels relevant and powerful. Emma Watson stands out between a cast of talented young actors to deliver an Oscar worthy performance. If you haven’t seen it yet… you should.
7. The Grey
Nature can be incredibly unforgiving and harsh – the Alaskan wilderness even more so. Liam Neeson stars as an experienced hunter in the thriller, The Grey, an old-fashioned man versus beast survival tale that has him going against the biting cold and a pack of merciless, blood-hungry wolves. It’s an unsettling tale, as bitter and beautiful as its icy landscapes. But hidden beneath its frosty exterior lies a deeper story of a man overcoming man’s most dangerous enemy; himself.
6. Silver Linings Playbook
Out of nowhere Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence deliver Oscar worthy performances as a manically depressed couple struggling with loss in Silver Linings Playbook. Writer-director David O. Russell of The Fighter fame manages to deliver a film that is funny, sad and sweet, all at the same time. With a little help from Robert De Niro in one of his most memorable performances in years, Silver Linings Playbook creeps its way into the top 10 movies I’ve seen in 2012. what a beautiful film!
5. End of Watch
David Ayer’s End of Watch proves to be a buddy-cop-flick like no other. Using the lost footage technique, the film offers the most realistic and terrifying look at life on the streets for the men in blue. David Ayer is no stranger to the genre either, he has helmed the highly successful Training Day and Street Kings. This is his best effort yet and it’s filled with visceral thrills and genuine pathos. I was deeply moved!
4. Moonrise Kingdom
It’s a Wes Anderson film. That’s probably the only description needed to explain Moonrise Kingdom, which is ripe with the Oscar nominated director’s unique signature style and themes. Those familiar with his works would know what to expect – an usual folk soundtrack, dry humour, poignant and eccentric characters, flawless camera work, cinematic grandeur, and of course, Bill Murray. You have no option but to marvel at the world Anderson creates in Moonrise Kingdom, an unadulterated delight.
Flight seems the most mismarketed movie of the year. While many of us might believe the film to be about a pilot miraculously landing a plane (which it is) Flight finds its feet as a drama about a man struggling with his alcohol addiction. Denzel pulls all the stops to deliver a heartbreaking performance.
2. Life of Pi
Is there a God? Life of Pi is a film that steps out of the norm to prove that not only does He exist but He cares for us deeply. Ang Lee returns to form to deliver one of the most beautiful movies you will ever see – both visually and in terms of storyline. It’s a perfect movie filled with enough charm, wit and visuals to leave you breathless. Life of Pi has proven to be the best use of 3D I have come across so far. This is pure brilliance, that deserves to be celebrated.
From the very first opening moments of Argo I knew it was going to be something special. I wasn’t disappointed, it was. Argo proves that Ben Affleck, while decent as an actor, despite a rocky filmography, is one of Hollywood’s best directors. Argo does what all films based upon true stories should: it retells the truth with conviction in the most entertaining way possible. There are few films this good. Believe the hype!
A few worthy mentions…
Biggest Disappointment… John Carter
Biggest Disappointment still worth seeing… Brave
Best Sequel… Skyfall
Worst Sequel… Taken 2 / Ghost Rider 2
Surprising Sequel… Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
Best Reboot… Dredd / Amazing Spider-man
Worst Reboot… Total Recall
Best Ending… The Cabin in the Woods
Worst Ending… Seeking A Friend For The End of The World
Most Confusing Ending… The Dark Knight Rises
Worst Comeback… Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 2)
Best Comeback… Denzel Washington (Flight)
Biggest Flop… Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Worst Movie… Madea’s Witness Protection / A Thousand Words
Best 3D Movie… Life of Pi
Worst 3D Movie… Wrath of Titans
Most Offensive Movie… Ted
Best Surprisingly Good Movie… Magic Mike
Best Documentary… Marley / Searching for Sugar Man
Best Horror… Cabin in The Woods
Worst Screenwriting… Battleship
Funniest Movie… 21 Jump Street
Best Action Movie… The Raid: Redemption
Favourite Character… Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
Best Coming-Of-Age Movie… The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Best Romantic Comedy Movie… Safety Not Guaranteed
Best Science Fiction… Prometheus / Looper
Worst Death… Charlize Theron (Prometheus)
Most Entertaining… The Avengers
Best Comic Book Movie… The Dark Knight Rises
Most Epic Movie Moment… Bane breaking Batmans back (The Dark Knight Rises)
Weirdest Movie… Holy Motors
Most Hyped… The Dark Knight Rises
Most Over-hyped… Cloud Atlas
Movies we haven’t seen but know will rock… Django Unchained, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, The Master
What was the film that made the absolute least money this year you may ask? Playback starring Christian Slater. The horror movie was only screened for a week at one movie theater, raking in a total gross of $264. That’s approximately 33 ticket sales. Ouch!