If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Finally! It is time for me to look back at the past year's releases and pick out those that stood out the most, and were my picks for 2012. It turned out to be a far more interesting year for movies than I'm expecting anyone would have previously assumed, with many of Hollywood's smaller releases turning out to be the stand out choices. We also saw some fine blockbusters and record-breakers, and of course the usual disappointments. So, kind of like any year from that point of view, but there's plenty even for me to look through.
I have not seen every movie from 2012, and indeed have missed out on seeing several important titles. This has been due to both time constraints from when I could go to the cinema, funds, and Irish release dates differing from those in America. Because of that, many films like "Wreck it Ralph" will be considered 2013 films, and others like "The Artist" fall into 2012. That may make things confusing for some people especially in America who read this, but I will try to be as comprehensive as I can with the movies I have seen. Also remember, these are just my choices, they will differ from everyone elses and are nothing more than my general opinion.
And now, on to the awards! But before getting to the Top Ten, let's look at some other very worthy mentions.
Best Comedy - Goon + A very Harold and Kumar Christmas
I found these two just impossible to separate, so they share this year's award. But both shared to some extent that same energy and pace that made the laughs so enjoyable right from the beginning. Seann William Scott's rise to fame as an enforcer in a local Ice Hockey team was wonderfully portrayed, and his slightly slow minded actions made for some loveable comedy. A very Harold and Kumar Christmas on the other hand, went completely balls-out in the vulgarity and insanity, but was written so well that almost everything gets at least a giggle from the audience. Both films were surprising finds from 2012, and proved that raunchy comedy is not dead by any stretch of the imagination. And although Goon plays more as a drama at some points, it is still a worthy winner here. *throws the trophy into the pit* Now, fight for your accolade movies!
(my bet is on the Wafflebot to win)
Best Animated Movie - Arthur Christmas
What's this, another Christmas-themed movie winning in this list? Yep, Aardman Studio's festive flick is that good, and sadly there was only Brave to compare this with since I missed out on seeing the likes of Frankonweenie, Rise of the Guardians and Hotel Transylvania. That said however, this is a fine achievement by the studio and cast, by bringing genuine charm and fun back to a movie theme that had been suffering from much mediocrity in recent years. Behind the marvellous animation you'll find a cracking story and characters to enjoy, taking a spin on the myth of Santa that put simply, works on every level. From kids to parents, and animation fans alike, all will find entertainment here, and it is set to become a modern Christmas classic.
Best Rental - The Amazing Spiderman
Ohh boy... am I going to get a backlash from this choice. But hear me out, because this movie is the very definition of a great choice to rent out and see at home. Despite the issues I had with Marc Webb's adaptation of the Spidey universe, it is still a reasonably good superhero film that few people would call "bad". And it is the perfect choice as it will provide plenty of discussion afterwards between you and your friends, there's a lot of ways to interpret the storyline and everyone will find something to latch onto. The change in theme will work for some people, and it has enough pace to keep you interested in seeing where it will go. Check this one out on Blu Ray, and see what you think.
Best Drama - The Descendants
I wonder how many people out there have forgotten about this little gem? George Clooney made a great impression for me here in this movie about a father struggling to cope with parenting issues after he discovers that his wife had been in an affair, but only learns of this after she falls into a coma. The performances are absolutely astounding all across the board, even from the younger actors, while the cinematography of Hawaii takes your breath away. Filled with a wonderfully woven story, comedy, and twists that always keep you wondering, this is the kind of drama I always wish to see more of. In fact, the only reason this isn't on my Top Ten, is because of the strong list of films already on it. Very much worth checking out.
Most Boring Film - War Horse
Yeah... Steven Spielberg may have tried to sell this to us as some masterful war epic focussing on the companionship between a boy and his horse during World War I, but is anything but that. I wanted to like this movie but it constantly fell back on an underwritten script, over-emotional music and visuals, and a story that just wasn't that interesting. Sure, it has one or two moments of interest, but in a film this long you'll be so deep in slumber that you won't even notice them. Neither artistic nor emotional, this is one to skip except as a cure for chronic Insomnia.
Worst Film - Chernobyl Diaries
Fuck everything about this travesty to the name of horror and the found-footage genre. There is not a single element in this tale of a group's "extreme" travel into the desolated town that even merits as being "meh". The acting, the jump scares, the effects, the plot... it is beyond even the badness of the likes of The Darkest Hour, which I can call okay in comparison to this. Now that I have said my piece about it, forget it ever exists and let it turn to dust at the bottom of the bargain bin in your local petrol station.
Most Surprising Film - The Hunger Games
Honestly, I remember going into this film with a lot of apprehension, worried that it wouldn't live up to the novels and be quickly consigned to the long list of failed attempts at movie trilogies. (take a momentary pause in memory of The Golden Compass...) And yet... it turned out to be a very faithful representation, for the most part. There are a few tweaks that felt a bit weak, and it sometimes lacked the threat that was ever present on the book, but I found myself enjoying it much more than I had expected. The world that was generated felt exceptionally accurate, the performances were brought through very well, and it was nice to have a survival thriller that for once slowed down the pace to focus on the character development. Katniss's thoughts needed to be portrayed on screen better, but the success of this entry bodes well for the series. Fingers crossed...
And now, for the main event, my Top Ten of 2012. This was a much harder list to pin down that I was expecting, but everything here gets my seal of approval as being one of the year's outstanding films. And here they are;
10 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
9 - The Dark Knight Rises
8 - Killer Joe
7 - Chronicle
6 - Cabin in the Woods
5 - Argo
4 - The Avengers Assemble
3 - The Raid
2 (Runner up) - Life of Pi
What can I say? The top two films are both masterpieces in both cinema, and in art. Each with their own unique visual style both in aesthetics and storytelling, and with characters you can't help but falling for. It was very hard to separate these two, especially when Life of Pi recently just blew me away with the final sequence. But The Artist captured everything that we love and hold dear about movies, the reason why they are such a compelling and wonderful medium of pure art. I think it will be one of those rare modern Oscar winners that will stand the test of time, and be long remembered and cherished. It just about claims the number one spot, and very well deserved too.
Well, that’s my list, which even if you have problems with it, will have at least a number of movies that we can all agree on. Thank you very much for reading this, and checking out my reviews over the past year too. Hopefully there will be many more great films in 2013, but for now, see you next time! ^__^