I know, I know. I’ve been slacking hard on this blog. This semester kicked my butt hard even though I pulled a 3.5 GPA. But this semester and continuing on I’ll be more consistent in posting about movies, music and games. Anyway, let’s do this!
I love top 10 lists. Any and all I’ll read, critique and compare with my own. With this year’s movies, especially, we have had so many stellar movies arrive in our cinemas that have brought in massive audiences and sent critics ravings. It was a good year for any fan of the moving picture.
All top 10 lists are purely subjective in taste and for the fact that there is an immense amount of release that haven’t been seen by the large percentage of the public. So, to disclaim this top 10 I’ll list the movies I have seen which didn’t make the top 10, but not discounting their quality: The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, The Woman in Black, John Carter, Hunger Games, Brave, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Dredd, The Grey, 21 Jump Street, Lawless, Goon, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Premium Rush, The Hobbit, Argo, Safety Not Guaranteed, Lincoln, Man on a Ledge, Lockout, and Rise of the Guardians.
10. Chronicle- I’ve only seen this re-imagined superhero tragedy once, but it’s sitting on my shelf ready to be watched again. With all these movies that made my top 10, Chronicle made a lasting impression on me. When walking into the theater to watch this found footage picture, I wasn’t expecting what I was about to get. A serious and fun walk through the eyes of troubled teenager cursed with telekinetic powers. The action was gripping, story is thrilling and all came from a first time director. Josh Trank, I’ll be looking for more from you.
9. The Avengers- With all the hype surrounding this movie I went hot and cold with my impressions. Humbling myself and watching it a second and third time I realized that what Whedon set out to accomplish was done masterfully. It’s not small feat to bring together such diverse characters to have chemistry and a workable story intertwined within them. Avengers is fan-service, yes, but it’s well-done fan service that demands re-watching with a large popcorn and drink.
8. Wreck-It Ralph- Video games and movies have scarcely found common ground. But not for Disney Animation who blew all animation to the side this year. The story follows an arcade “villain,” Ralph to redeem himself to prove that “bad guys” can be the good guys too. Wreck-It Ralph creates a vivid and fun world for our characters to interact with. Wreck-It Ralph succeeds at all front. Sure, it’s a kids’ movie, but it’s the best done kids’ movie (that I’ve seen) this year. I can’t wait to own this gem.
7. The Dark Knight Rises- It’s quite an accomplishment for a movie to be a tad disappointing but still find a spot for a year in review list. Mine and everyone’s expectations were sky high for the conclusion of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Bane is no Joker, and Catwoman is no Two-Face, but we should put it up to it’s own merits. The story may be hard to follow, but seeing it for the second time makes the full circle of the mythos of Batman come full circle to create a stirring and satisfying conclusion to a modern epic.
6. Seven Psychopaths- I reviewed this trailer when it reached the Internet months ago purely because of its quirkiness and absurdity. When I saw this is in the theater I got that and more. Psychopaths is an insane thrill ride of meta-mess which leaves the viewer thinking about how everything fits together so nicely, or not so nicely. Sam Rockwell puts on a captivating performance and Christopher Walken has never been funnier. Gruesome, violent and hilarious are the brushstrokes which Martin McDonagh writes and directs with in this classic Kaufmann-like self-indulgent laugh fest.
5. Django Unchained- If you know me, you’ll know that I am in love with (most of) the works of Quentin Tarantino. I wasn’t going to solidify my top 10 without seeing his latest; as I was fully expecting this to take the top spot. And up until the climax and conclusion, it might have been. The first two-thirds was a sight to behold; blood, dark humor and quick draw action splattered the screen. But the last act of the screenplay could have been smarter and better executed. I’m on the fence with my feelings about Django Unchained which is why it found its way to the middle of my list.
4. Life of Pi- At first glance of the trailers Life of Pi may appear to be a dialogue less tale of a boy and his tiger stranded at sea. Oh, how wrong it was. Lee’s adaption of the popular “unfilmable” novel had me intrigued through out the full two hours. The cinematography was stunning as it seemed more like moving work of art than a movie. But the narrative was always moving in one way or the other. The end leaves and open question to the audience for all interpretation to be had. I didn’t expect to be blown away, but I was.
3. Cabin in the Woods- Had to watch this one twice in theaters and once so far at home. Whedon, again, has struck gold with this meta take on the entire horror genre by turning it completely on its head. This extremely overlooked picture answers the ever-important question as to why the people in horror movies are so stupid within their environment. If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and watch and have a great time doing so.
2. Perks of Being a Wallflower- I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t see this incredible film earlier. Perks is the perfect high school melodramatic movie about outsiders and what it’s like to be on the brink of adulthood. The subject matter spans from homosexuality to suicide, but writer/director Chbosky handles these matters with such great care and taste as he was the one it is based on. Every single young actor is perfectly cast and performed incredibly convincingly that tears are pulled from their ducts of the viewer. You really can’t ask more from a movie than this.
1. Looper- The best way to end a great year of movies is to watch the best one of the year. That’s what my wife and I did for New Year’s Eve. I’ve been anticipating Looper since the first leaks of story creeped online and it did not disappoint. There isn’t a set good guy/ bad guy to cheer for or root against. All intentions are noble to a certain point. Director Rian Johnson takes the notion of time-travel being a neat and tidy thing that can be explained simply is thrown to the wind so the story can work well. Levitt plays an impeccable Willis, and Willis plays his own self but with a strong core of nobleness in his actions. Johnson creates a narrative type of screenplay which shifts between future, present and even alternate realities to weave this clever narrative together in a tight, self-sustained way. Awfully overlooked and demands to be re-watched.
There it is! I hope you’re not too mad I left out other heavy hitters but these are the films I haven’t been able to see yet but want to: Les Miserables, Sleepwalk With Me, Haywire, Bernie, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Hitchcock, Zero Dark Thirty, Cloud Atlas, Robot and Frank, Secret World of Arrietty, Jeff Who Lives at Home, The Master, Skyfall, Killer Joe, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Sound of My Voice. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit these in the near future and have my thoughts up on this blog.
Here is to 2012 and a just as good 2013!