So it is once again that time of the year when everyone wants to shout out their opinion on which should be named the ten best movies of the year. If you think this blog is any different to all those rants you are mistaken; we will undeniably nominate ten movies as The Movie Watch’s “Top Ten of 2012”, as we have done in the past. But never the less we do hope our list will be somewhat enlightening in terms of tastes and options. And once again we do not intend to rank our choices in terms of elitist taste; these are just some movies we highly recommend you don’t miss, and probably best you catch before awards season.
With no further ado, these are The Movie Watch’s Top Ten of 2012 in no particular order, other than alphabetical. Some have not been reviewed, we have been lazy this last few months, but reviews will come up ASAP. Anyway, here is our list:
Hands down the best “movie”. Argo is a legitimate movie, plain and simple. Despite it trying its best to stick to the depiction of true events, it is also a straight forward thriller in the low brow entertaining sense. More importantly, it has a premise that we belive it is based on true events only because it is so preposterous no Hollywood screenwriter could have come up with it.
Beasts of The Southern Wild
If there is a more powerful, and adorable, performance out there than Quvenzhane Wallis’ lease point me in its direction. There has never been a six year old capable of capturing our hearts, and raw emotion, as Miss Wallis has done. Her performance, and this film, are what filmmaking should be about. Their relative, low budget and indy status might cost them the spotlight during awards season. Yet, here is to hopping most see over the glitz and spotlight to discover this heart breaking toy about life in The Bathtub.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Simpler, and 100 times more lighthearted that anything on this list, yet The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is capable of bringing cheer and good feelings to anyone with in a mile radius of wherever it is playing. This is the feel good film of the year, and I might not have included it on this list had it not been for the fact that it became increasingly enjoyable after the second and third watch.
Cabin in the Woods
A film so meta it pokes fun at other meta parodies. This might not be a great film, but it is a great experiment in movie going savvyness. Who would have thought that the reason all teen-horror flicks are the same, is because a secret organization of “scientists” is following a ritual to prevent the world from ending? Cabin in the Woods is a good comedy, a brilliant commentary on the lack of freedom writers have while writing formula, and an OK horror story. All from the mind of Joss Whedon who also managed to assemble The Avengers. More than any other filmmaker, Whedon has proven that the age of the nerds is here to stay.
Love it or hate it, we love it. The truth is that a film like Cloud Atlas comes once in a generation; we will not see as different from the rest in 20 years. Perhaps for the best. This is truly an original and awe inspiring movie, that mixes six different story lines. Amazingly had they been separate films it is likely half out of those six would have still found themselves into lists like these. The novel was deemed unfilmable, and for many this was not a success. Yet, the attempt to do so should be considered a feet of admiration, especially today when few risk to venture out of the formula confront zone. Not surprisingly this ended up as an independently financed film.
With perhaps the most terrifying opening scene on this list, Flight is almost a horror story; it certainly is for the main character, Whip Whitaker. This is the story about a personal struggle over vice and addiction like no other. The film features one of Denzel Washington’s best performances, and that alone would make it a must watch. But it is also, Robert Zemeckis’ long awaited return to live action. I still don’t understand why Zemeckis would think he can replace a performance like these with motion capture; it is impossible.
Like Argo, this film is legitimately based on a true story. But unlike Argo, The Impossible is a harrowing film, with the goal to hit you in the guts and squeeze some tears out. Yes, it is a manipulative film - the director, Juan Antonio Bayona, previously worked on The Orphanage knows how to bring out emotion in his audience. Under anyone else's hands The Impossible would have been a tacky feel good movie, Bayona places us in the midsts of the tragedy and makes us suffer along side the characters. This is true compassion.
Life of Pi
Another supposedly unfilmable book, that was successfully adapted into a visual masterpiece. Ang Lee out does himself here, and manages to actually find a good use for 3D. The medium has been overused and abused by studios to juice out a few extra bucks out of movie goes. Despite the “acceptable” 3D in films like Avatar, Sanctum, and How to Train Your Dragon it still felt like an unnecessary addition. Not here, Ang Lee breathes life into the film with it. Furthermore, the CGI tiger “Richard Parker” is once again proof that an award for “off-screen performance” should be given to animators, puppeteers, and voice actors. It is a true art form when taken to this level.
Guess this is another love it or hated, and one I know most people don’t agree with me. But if stripped from the annoying connection of it being an Alien pseudo-prequel perhaps set in the Blade Runner universe, Prometheus is a legit sci-horror film. Yes the characters behave somewhat stupidly - running in a straight line from a two dimensional object - but you forget all horror movies do the same. Here at least they had some semblance of brainage. And while the human characters might not be too bring, no other character on this list is as interesting as David. I’m still rooting for Ridley Scott to squish out another of these if the establishment lets him.
OK this one is cheating a bit. Technically, this was a 2011 film but it didn’t come out in this hemisphere until spring 2012 - and because of that it will be featured in the upcoming award season. Regardless of when it came out, it is a must watch. Much more of a feel good film than anything listed above, and still touching enough to deserve a spot as one of the year’s best. This film is incredibly easy to enjoy. It is a story that has been told many times before; the life of a stuffy old millionaire is enriched by a young man from the ghettos and vice versa. But once again it is prove that even if a story has been told before it can be told again in a different and perhaps more efficient manner.
This is the best we can do to make a conclusive list. But other great movies from this year we would recommend include, but are not limited to: The Avengers, Bernie, Chronicle, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, In Time, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, The Paperboy, The Perk of Being a Wallflower, Rise of the Guardians, To Rome With Love, Ted, Seven Psychopaths, and Wreck it Ralph. We have yet to see Django Unchained and Les Miserables but, most possibly, we can assume they belong on this list.
Anyways. Happy New Years, and my 2013 bring you all awesome times.