Top 10 Films of 2012
The second thing I must notify you all of are the films I unfortunately did not make it to, those being: Lincoln, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and so far, Zero Dark Thirty. The last film in that list is currently playing at my cinema, but I'm unsure of whether I'll have the opportunity to see it. If I do, chances are I might end up revising this list a little bit.
And if I am lucky enough to see any of those others (particularly Argo), again, the stars point to this list being revised, However, with the films I DID manage to see this year, here are my top ten.
1. Les Miserables - Ever since I heard about it in October, I've been putting up with everybody raving about this musical I'd never heard of before. Whenever this happens, I truly begin to despise whatever they're raving about (I still haven't played more than a demo of Skyward Sword). Les Miserables was no exception, but this past week it turned out several of my friends were making plans to see the film, so I hopped on in. For a movie that's virtually all wide shots and closeups it was spectacular, and almost two full days later I still can't get the characters, the songs, the story, or anything else out of my head. Not that I want to. I have never once cried during a movie, but Les Miserables brought me extremely close to ending that streak at several points. Fantine, Young Cosette, Jean Valjean, Eponine, Gavroche, and even the Bishop all pushed me to the verge. This film is simply superb - when I am that emotionally hooked into a film, and it is at the forefront of my mind days after viewing it, how can I say no?
2. Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino served up another masterpiece with this. The highlight of the entire film was Christopher Waltz as Dr. King Schultz - I can't get enough of this guy. His introduction into the film when he frees Django was one of my favourite scenes in the entire film. Don't let me get started about the mob scene with the bags over their heads. I've always loved the "old west" sort of setting, and Django Unchained does nothing to change that. Jamie Foxx, Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson all served up wonderfully cunning portrayals in a four man game of chess in Candieland. I'll leave this off here, because I can do nothing but repeat my review of the film here, and all I had to give was praise.
3. Skyfall - I've seen the first 45 minutes of 2006's Casino Royale, but other than that, my James Bond experience was non-existent until Skyfall. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction into the series. Daniel Craig will probably be the one I identify as Bond for years to come. Skyfall gives us Silva, and even for a Bond-newbie like me, I immediately recognized him as one of the greatest Bond villains ever. Silva is joyfully twisted and creepy, and when he and Bond come face to face, the banter between the two of them is priceless. The title sequence, partnered with Adele's masterpiece Skyfall (the song) was amazing, and really drew me into the movie. Of course, I could not go without mentioning the opening chase sequence. The entire film is full of tension that is relieved and built up to perfection, and best of all, I loved recognizing references they made to Bond's past and being able to notice when they did things differently (such as showing us some of Bond's past), despite having never seen a Bond film.
4. Brave - Aside from maybe The Dark Knight Rises, Brave seems like it was the coolest film to hate this year. Is Brave the best Pixar film? No, perhaps not (and yes, I will finish that list, it is coming) but that doesn't mean it cannot be an extremely well done film regardless. Merida's relationship with her mother is very touching, and I loved seeing that they both wanted to fix their relationship, and made efforts to fix it, before the incident that causes Merida to seek outside assistance. The Witch was very fun to watch, as she tried to warn Merida about the consequences of the potion (her warnings of course falling on deaf ears) while simultaneously not really caring about the situation one way or the other at all. Towards the end of the film Merida's father did feel a tad out of character, but overall this is a majestic film, and proves that Pixar isn't done making us go "wow" yet.
5. The Hunger Games - After watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I was in a state of depression regarding movies based upon books. I just couldn't understand how you could change everything so much, and it still infuriates me that everyone loved the movie. However, The Hunger Games did everything right in that regard. There are some mildly annoying changes (why they changed how Katniss received her mockingjay pin is beyond me), but at the same time, other changes they made actually improved the movie, and made me almost wish the book had included them somehow (every single scene featuring Seneca Crane as the head game maker). The Hunger Games is the perfect start to the trilogy, and I look forward to seeing where they take it from here.
6. Looper - A time travel flick that isn't a time travel flick. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors, and this film is no exception. He and Bruce Willis play the parts perfectly, and the concept of hunting your own future was one that I couldn't pass up. Although I didn't think that Bruce Willis tearing through the looper workplace and killing everybody was really necessary, I did really enjoy the concept and I hope to see more movies like this in the future.
7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - I promise not to talk about how much I hated the ending (everything was perfect until they HAD to go down the cliche "keep the audience in suspense" route, ugh). However, overall I really enjoyed my return to Middle Earth. I do wish I could actually find a copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to read, but for now the films will do. The Hobbit takes you on a whimsical adventure with a company of dwarves that are all fantastic (it's a shame you don't get to know many of them, except the brooding hero of the bunch), and the game of riddles between Gollum and Bilbo is exceptional. For fans of the earlier trilogy or the books, you must see this movie.
8. Wreck-it Ralph - When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was cautiously hopeful. A movie starring a video game character, with cameos from real video game characters? All about life in a video game? It sounded like it was too good to be true. However, Wreck-it Ralph is very charming, and even manages to make several cliches feel fresh again. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and though I would have liked to have seen some more video game worlds (and possibly some real video game worlds, like we saw Pac-Man's), the villain was very entertaining and the romantic subplot with Fix-it Felix was very funny.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man - It felt too soon for a Spider-Man reboot, but I'm glad we got this in the end rather than Spider-Man 4. The Amazing Spider-Man goes over many different plot points that we've already seen in the original trilogy (the death of Uncle Ben, a friendly scientist goes bad and then redeems himself), but it was all done better than the Raimi Trilogy. I often felt during those movies - even when I was younger - that the acting was often stilted and awkward. There was some of the awkwardness in this movie, but the difference here is that it's supposed to be there. The Amazing Spider-Man managed to simultaneously feel both fresh and familiar, and I'm eager to see where they take it from here.
10. Life of Pi - A visual masterpiece, Life of Pi was a movie I simply couldn't tear my eyes off of. The ocean is always alive in this movie, and every animal within it appears as though they are real and alive. The sinking of the ship in the beginning was done to perfection, and the relationship between the tiger and the boy is very interesting to watch as it develops. There is a sense of magic surrounding this film, as hope is lost and gained out on the sea. When the film ends and we are presented with an alternate tale, and then asked which we would believe, it's an interesting glance into your own character. Cynical or magical? It's a choice you make.