Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ten Great Movies in 2012

2012 was an amazing year for movies. It was a dream-come-true for super hero fans, James Bond aficionados and Hobbit-Heads, among others. The Avengers assembled, Batman rose and Abraham Lincoln had two films made about his life. (Only one, however, documented his vampire slaying exploits.) Joseph Gordon Levitt became a household name thanks to rising with the Dark Knight and looping with Bruce Willis. We saw everything from the Hunger Games craze to the successful reboot of the Spiderman franchise. Plus, we got to take a shower with Alfred Hitchcock!

I have not yet seen every movie that I want to see from 2012, but here are ten movies that made 2012 for me.

The Avengers:
My favorite movie of the year and the triumphant culmination of the Marvel superhero films. It features great action, amazing effects, lots of laughs and the best portrayal of the Hulk ever. Plus, the two most crowd-pleasing moments in superhero movie history, both featuring the big, green guy. The most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.

Ted:
The funniest movie of the year. Mark Wahlberg is the unsung hero of this flick. His acting against an animated bear is convincing and hilarious. Ted is worth the price of admission in Flash Gordon references alone.

Django Unchained:
Quentin Tarantino nails the Western with his usual flair.  Fox, Waltz, Jackson & DiCaprio are magnificent. Typical Tarantino: great dialog, music, wit, violence and maybe just a few minutes too long. You will leave with a smile on your face.

Silver Linings Playbook:
This one took me by surprise. The story of a man with mental illness, coming home to his family, and the equally conflicted woman who comes into his life. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and the rest of the cast create a funny and thoughtful movie, with a slight edge, that will make you laugh and think. Come for the Philadelphia Eagles references, stay for the dancing. 

The Dark Knight Rises:
The rousing conclusion to Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun. Anne Hathaway stole the movie for me as Catwoman and the last hour is some of the best Batman action ever filmed…. Capped with the best movie ending of the year.

The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey:
Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth. It’s more fun and lighter in tone than The Lord of the Rings movies, just like the novel, but just as grand. Lot’s of action and laughs. The movie suffers a bit from Jacksons penchant for going long and the fact that they are making three films from one book. However, you will love Bilbo Baggins and the scene with Gollum is not to be missed.

Skyfall:
I have not cared much for James Bond since Roger Moore stepped down. I thought Daniel Craig was a great choice as the new 007, but his first two films, like Chinese food, left me hungry again after about 20 minutes. Skyfall is the most straightforward Bond movie in years and a great springboard for future films. Javier Bardem plays a captivating villain who is quite a departure from his role in No Country for Old Men.

Chronicle:
The superhero genre finally meets the found-footage craze. The results are surprisingly good. At a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making a discovery in an underground cavern. Things start off great and get dark real quick. Sure, there are a few forced moments where characters implausibly keep filming. You just have to roll with it. This one is worth a look.

The Cabin in the Woods:
A love letter to horror fans and Joss Whedon fans alike. It looks like a typical horror flick, with all of the clich├ęs intact, until it all gets turned upside down. Nothing is what it seems. This movie is a blast; funny and original. Just don’t miss the last 30 minutes. That’s where the magic happens.

The Expendables 2:
The biggest guilty pleasure of the year. It’s pure, escapist fun. The Expendables 2 is much more entertaining and satisfying than part one. Great moments from Arnold, Willis and Chuck Norris are the icing on this explosive cake. Bring on The Expendables 3!

There were many others I enjoyed that I did not mention here. Like I said, it was a great year for movies. What were some of your favorites?

Now if you'll excuse me, I still have a lot of 2012 movies on my to-do list, including; 
Argo, Savages, Zero Dark Thirty, Le Mis, Sinister, Moonrise Kingdom, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, Wreck-It Ralph, Para-Norman, Rock of Ages, Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas, The Dictator and The Campaign.

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