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Heroes of the East

Film discussion and banter

    2012: A first look back and current top 10 of that year


    Posts : 401
    Join date : 2011-02-16
    Location : Modesto, CA

    2012: A first look back and current top 10 of that year Empty 2012: A first look back and current top 10 of that year

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:24 pm

    It ended up being a memorable year. I increased my theater appearances and saw the most films in a year ever (503) though most of those were not 2012 movies. But I did concentrate more on the current year than I had since 2008. The good aspect of watching more current films is that it is easier to talk (and write) about them overall. Non-cinephiles seem to concentrate more on what is new than say obscure silent films from Douglas Fairbanks. The bad part of this is that many of these films will not stand the test of time and will not be as enriching as if you just concentrated on films by directors John Ford or Tsai Ming-liang. But since I love film I am happy if I can find at least one outstanding performance, one plot I had not seen before, good cinematography, a good soundtrack or score, a memorable fight scene or heck some dialogue you can quote later. And luckily there was plenty of worthy material to be found.

    I had a few firsts in the theater in 2012. It was the first time I saw a documentary in the theater with Searching for Sugar Man. It was the first time I got the whole theater to myself with Brave. Early on in the year I was inundated with evil and vile paper bags for Fandango along with an Elton John Pepsi commercial I saw Ad Nauseum. But as I got used to the commercials I started looking forward to, well I never got used to those Satanist anthropomorphic barf bags and I was glad to not see them the last half of the year. I do feel trepidatious fear that they will return (shudder) one unsuspecting movie visit. But I do digress; otherwise it was a fun year even when films like The Watch was not.

    As has been in many recent years the box office was dominated with sequels and potential franchises. I was disappointed with the fourth Bourne film and Taken 2; I wasn’t expecting much from Wrath of the Titans and got what I was expecting. The end of the Madagascar was decent as was the fourth Ice Age, but both were a fall from previous films in the series. But I was completely surprised on how much I liked The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises was better than I expected though I know many felt a little let down considered how popular the previous installment was.

    There were some great documentaries. Two of my favorites were Searching for Sugar Man and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Both played with the facts, but both are in my top 20. The worst one I saw was Ric Meyer’s Films of Fury which did not play with the facts but completely ignored them.

    As usual I am quite behind on newer non-English films so 2012 was no different. I have been quite disappointed with the Mainland films from China and it continues in 2012 with Wu Dang, Flying Swords at Dragon Gate and my least favorite film of the year Legendary Amazons (or how not to redo a martial arts classic). However I was surprised on how much I liked the martial arts steampunk film Tai Chi Zero as well as Indonesian insane silat film The Raid and I have yet to see award winners and nominees like Holy Motors, Amour, and countless others that I will see in the years to come.

    The non-sequel animated films were surprisingly strong. While Pixar’s Brave was not as solid as previous years I still liked it, even more the second time. The Pirates! was one of the more unique films in this category and Aardman Animations continues to be a cinematic force no matter what the box office says (you blinkered bastards). But I also quite enjoyed Hotel Transylvania and Wreck-It Ralph as well.

    There were good and bad from every imaginable genre and sub-genre that I did not previously mention. I was quite impressed by the “found footage” film Chronicle and solid “indie” films like Safety Not Guaranteed. There was an underrated comeback action film from Mel Gibson in Get the Gringo, an endearing Disney film in The Odd Life of Timothy Green and much more. So it was a successful year to me and I know I have much more to watch.

    Actor Awards:
    Denzel Washington in Flight: So far my favorite performance of the year.
    Liam Neeson in The Grey: I will probably be stoned to death with your smart phones for this pick, but his existentialist performance was one of my favorites of the year.
    Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows: A performance that really outshines the film.
    Tom Wilkinson in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Another excellent performance in this quite underrated movie.
    Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook: The only performance that reminded me of me.

    Almost made the cut: Richard Gere in Arbitrage, John Cusack in The Raven, Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch.

    Actress Awards:
    Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook: appealing performance of a flawed character.
    Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: I am always impressed by her performances.
    Noomi Rapace in Prometheus: Strong presence throughout.
    Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed: Deadpan style worked well here.

    Supporting Actor Awards:
    Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook: I have not seen this good of performance from him in years. I thought he should have won the Academy Award though I have yet to see Christoph Waltz Django Unchained.
    Bruce Willis in Moonrise Kingdom: An understated and very effective heartbreaking performance.
    Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths: I tend to identify with loner and psychopathic characters. I am not sure why.
    Bill Nighy in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: He exemplifies what it means to me to be an actor. He is not showy, just human.
    Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises: I still quote him. I am a Hardy fan though.

    Almost made the cut: Guy Pearce in Lawless (try getting your hair like his), Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers, Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages; Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike; Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers.

    Supporting Actress Awards:
    Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook: I was hoping she was going to win the Academy Award though I have yet to see Les Miserables.
    Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: fabulous curmudgeon.
    Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman: I was rooting for her.
    Charlize Theron in Prometheus: I was rooting for her.

    Here are my top 10 films. I am going to give some reasons why so I can at least explain before I am eviscerated by your sharp and sarcastic acidic wit.

    1) Moonrise Kingdom (2012: Wes Anderson): Enchanting tale of growing up. Some of my favorite supporting performances of the year came from Bruce Willis and Edward Norton. Anderson’s films exist between an ethereal plane of nostalgia and melancholy. This is one of his most charming.

    2) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012: John Madden): One off the more underrated films of the year. It came out early so that did not help its case in the Academy’s eyes though it did have a couple of Golden Globe nomination (Best Picture for a comedy or musical, Best Actress for Judi Dench). Read the link for more love.

    3) Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011: David Gelb): One of the few films where after I watched the DVD I ended up listening to the commentary right away. Check out my review on my unabashed feelings towards the film.

    4) Silver Linings Playbook (2012: David O. Russell): Once in a while I find myself drawn to characters that remind me of me. Usually they are dysfunctional but charismatic. The two leads here are fantastic, but DeNiro’s supporting role is just as good as the dad who is just as crazy as the son, but doesn’t have the certificate that the son does.

    5) The Avengers (2012: Joss Whedon): This will probably be a bigger surprise (or not if you have read the 2012 thread) than all the rest. I saw it a few times just to make sure the feelings were still there and I was just not overly giddy by the comatose amount of caffeine imbibed during the theatrical visit. It is popcorn fare, but glorious comic book exploitations that made me giddy in the theater and the small screen. I liked it more than most of the films in the series with the exception of the first Iron Man. I was surprised how much better of a villain Tom Hiddleson was here then he was in Thor. I am a Robert Downey Jr. fan so his performance here helped. But the team play from all the characters and the balanced script that allowed them to shine was quite helpful in making this a worldwide blockbuster. I will see this again.

    6) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012: Peter Jackson): Will this get more recognition after the third film? I thought it was a fun and brilliant adaptation of The Hobbit and other source material from Tolkien. It is such an immense and expansive universe that I was filled with wonderment throughout the film. The pace was slow for some, but that just gave me more time to look at all corners of the screen. I am looking forward to getting the BD/DVD.

    7) The Grey (2012: Joe Carnahan): One of my more unpopular choices. But I thought this existentialist survivor tale was not only better than expected but featured one of the great performances of last year from Liam Neeson. Luckily a few critics/reviewers like Roger Ebert and George Allen (neither in their top 10 though) liked it as well. Also check the link for more blather.

    Cool Seven Psychopaths (2012: Michael McDonagh): I was hoping to get an additional viewing of this to figure out where I place it in my top 10 before the deadline, but no such luck. Luckily I got to see this in the theater. It’s a well crafted film where the more I thought about it the more I liked it. I do not quite hold it in as high esteem as In Bruges, but McDonagh is not affected by the sophomore curse. Christopher Walken is awesome, and so is Sam Rockwell.

    9) Life of Pi (2012: Ang Lee): A beautiful film to watch in the theater. It is among the best cinematography in the past several years. I thought the ending should have been more ambiguous, but it is a fascinating tale of Pi’s life affirmation through a horrible ordeal.

    10) Argo (2012: Ben Affleck): While some of it is historically inaccurate, Affleck showed that his direction is generally better than his acting. The style and pace worked to great effect. The supporting performances from Goodman and Alan Arkin were superb. This won Academy Award’s Best Picture and Ebert named it his top film of the year. Will this film be in my next version of the 2012 top ten movies?

    Random Awards:
    Best Comic Book film: The Avengers
    Best Martial Arts film: The Raid: Redemption
    Most Underrated: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    Best Documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
    Best Animated Film: The Pirates!
    Best Found Footage Film: Chronicle
    Most Laughs: 21 Jump Street
    Best Laugh from an OK film: [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnDvBlvTtfU"]Here Comes the Boom Vomit Scene[/url], second is That’s My Boy gun scene.
    Best Supporting Actor in a mediocre film: Vanilla Ice in That’s My Boy.

    Blind List (notable films I have not seen and want to see before we do this list part II; own is in bold):
    Act Of Valor, Amour, The Angel’s Share, Bernie, Cabin in the Woods, The Campaign, Cloud Atlas, Dark Horse, Django Unchained, Dredd, Frankenweinee, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Haywire, Hitchcock, Holy Motors, The Imposter, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Killer Joe, Killing Them Softly, A Late Quartet, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Oslo, Rise of the Guardians, Ruby Sparks, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Salt of Life, Savages, The Secret World of Arriety, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World, The Sessions, Sinister, Sleep Tight, Take This Waltz, Trouble With The Curve, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Wild Bill, You’ve Been Trumped, Zero Dark Thirty

    All my 2012 watchings

      Current date/time is Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:02 am