Posts Tagged ‘Best movies 2012’

It was the year of prequels & sequels, some more sequel than the other. It was the year of reboots, resurrections & rebirths, some unsuccessful, some more so. It was the year when the earth was saved & the earth was destroyed. It was the year when aliens visited (nay, invaded) the earth & earthlings visited other worlds. It was the year when directors returned to their roots (& made you wonder why). It was the year when vampires were created, awakened & destroyed. It was the year when super spies undertook shady activities & shady characters undertook super activities. It was the year when aging stars “tried” to rock their way through music & bash their way through action, while aged stars bashed their way successfully & got presidential. It was the year when a movie involving a stoned teddy bear proved to be more fun than a party involving stoned teenagers. It was the year where you traveled through time or did you?. It was the year when kids behaved like adults & adults behaved like kids

Finally, it was also the year where bad guys (again) committed the cardinal sin of kidnapping the wife & daughter of the man who trained Batman & Obi-Wan Kenobi, played Zeus & Aslan, and fights wolves with bare hands

Personally for me, it was a year where my watch list just kept on expanding, I went through a 2 month phase without watching any movies, caught a few movies that I probably should not have, missed a few I should not have among others, averaged a new movie a week in theatres while in the US (what relief is it to not pre-book movies on Wednesdays). I ended up watching movies that were pure fun, pure crap, interesting (sometimes all in the same movie as well). To come up with a best of the year is a particularly challenging task, especially given the year we had, all the movies missed & most of the movies in the list below were solid imdb 8s/9s for me. In light of all that, rather than calling them just best of the year, I would call them movies that had an impact (positive) on me, either in terms of fun, made me think & contemplate, made me give a major fist bump at the climax or generally made me laugh & wonder. In alphabetical order, the movies of the year

1)      21 Jump Street: Among the best comedies of the year, 21 Jump Street comprised of an unlikely pairing of Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum, cops owing to their youthful (baby-faced) looks, sent back to high school to uncover a drug operation & find the dealers & suppliers. A role reversal of sorts for the 2 as back in school, it’s now the nerds who are the cool things while jocks are looked down upon & how each takes their roles too seriously. A foul mouthed hilarious performance by Ice Cube, a delightful cameo by a star and terrific chemistry between Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill with not a single dull moment make this one of the genuinely chuckle-worthy movies of the year

21 Jump Street

2)      Headhunters: In this age where CGI effects & action set pieces pretty much rule the roost, it is refreshing to see a thriller that relies on a strong plot & a strong sense of dread & suspense to keep things moving. Headhunters, belonging to the Swedish crime thriller genre, has Roger Brown, a niche recruiter for companies, who has a lucrative side business as an art thief, who steals from the candidates he recommends to jobs until he crosses the wrong man, Clas Greve. What follows is a cat & mouse chase and a menacing turn from the enigmatic & charismatic Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Clas Greve.  Murders, betrayals & intrigue are served in heavy doses as the movie rushes towards its gripping climax

Headhunters

3)      Looper: Too often in science fiction movies involving the future & time travel, too much importance is given to the nature of time travel & technology placing them at the center of the movie. In Looper, time travel is merely an enabler to set up the story which involves Bruce Willis forced to travel back 30 years in time to face death at the hands of his younger self played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, a process called closing the loop, a process used by mob to kill people in the future. Bruce Willis however has other plans & has traveled back in time to prevent the future from happening. A thrilling ride ensues as both characters try to escape from the mob that is after them while their destiny leads them inevitably towards each other. A niftily directed movie, Looper is a clever movie anchored by great performances by Bruce Willis, JGL & Emily Blunt. While JGL’s make up to look like Bruce Willis is distracting initially, the mannerisms of Bruce Willis that JGL imitates, right up to the talk & the way they cock their head is quite something to watch

Looper

4)      Moonrise Kingdom: A pair of younger underage misfit minor lovers runaway together causing an upheaval in the 1960 New England town, Moonrise Kingdom is a delightfully charming & quirky tale of young love & the reactions they provoke across the board. Wes Anderson infuses his movie with a delightful color palette while treating his precocious lovers with gravitas. A seemingly light hearted romp is anything but that. Scratch the surface & Moonrise Kingdom is in fact a look at how certain kids are misunderstood owing to their non-conformance to societal standards, standards set by adults, who break societal rules per their convenience. Sterling performances by the lead pair of Jared Gilman & Kara Hayward & admirably supported by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray & Frances McDormand, Moonrise Kingdom is one hell of a charming movie

Moonrise Kingdom

5)      Safety Not Guaranteed: Exploring a newspaper ad about a man seeking partners for time travel, a reporter & a couple of interns land up to determine if the man is a fraud or not. Arising from this set of circumstances is this truly special movie which on one side is a look at the motivations of people wanting to time travel while on the other end is an exploration into the fact that going back to your roots, to the place you spent your most memorable parts of your life & attempting to rekindle it, is time travel of sorts. Aubrey Plaza, keeping in line with her past efforts, stars as a summer intern who quite does not fit in anywhere. Mark Duplass essays the challenging role of portraying a character who either might be the inventor of the time machine or the biggest fraud out there. This is a movie that keep us guessing right throughout. Delightfully snarky, charming, offbeat & optimistic, Safety Not Guaranteed makes you root for each character, be it Aubrey Plaza or Mark Duplass or the shifty slacking reporter or the shy Indian intern who takes up the reporting internship for diversity needed for grad school application

SNG

6)      The Avengers: Possibly the entertainer of the year, Joss Whedon achieved the impossible. He brought together a set of disparate characters in an entirely fun filled action packed romp that takes great care to keep things moving or blowing things up while at the same time ensuring some character development, bonding, storming takes place when characters butt heads (literally in some cases). While really stands out is how one thing leads to the other in the movie, while the movie is skin deep as best. This was probably the movie that we needed to see atleast one half of the heroes we want united on the big screen. Grand on scale, ideas, technology & geekiness, it’s a fun filled romp

Avengers Big

7)      The Cabin in the Woods: Horror movie of the year, this is in reality not a horror movie at all. Motivated by the disturbing trend in horror movies towards torture hack & slash porn, Whedon & Goddard create what is the cleverest & the sharpest movie of the year. Or as they call it, a loving hate letter to the horror genre. This is a movie that is not what it appears is very evident from the first frame. However, just when you think you have gotten what lies beneath the movie, comes another yank of the carpet. Ambitious in idea, scale & execution, The Cabin in the Woods is as wicked as its title is generic. Delightfully clever & cruelly cute, The Cabin the Woods stands out among the releases of 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

8)      The Dark Knight Rises: An ending to Nolan’s remarkable journey with Batman, the movie does suffer in comparison with its predecessors. Ultimately, what makes the movie stand out is the fact that it is the culmination of a journey. And in a way, it comes full circle. Whatever happens in the movie, the feeling that you get towards the end of the movie, is something that has to be experienced to be believed. Ambitious (even if it does not take it all the way), depressing (a statement of our times), this is a proper summer blockbuster movie

TDKR

9)      The Grey: For a movie whose trailers promised men being chased by wolves & Liam Neeson fighting them barehanded in the cold Alaskan environment, The Grey is misleading. It is a deeply introspective movie on survival, group dynamics, grief, isolation & terror. Liam Neeson delivers a subtly nuanced performance on a suicidal wolf hunter who realizes his survival instincts are stronger than his grief. Battling the conditions, hunted by a pack of killer wolves, The Grey stays in your mind for a long time with an ending that is deeply satisfying

The Grey

10)   Wreck-it Ralph: Possibly the best animated movie of the year, Wreck-it Ralph is a joy ride through the game of video games. However, the heart of the movie is an exploration of what it means to be a hero. Terrific action, animation, humor, voice acting & detailed game worlds, this is a movie filled with tons of inside jokes & especially for those folks who grew up playing games on the Nintendo consoles, tons of recognizable characters. An animated movie that focuses on character development & the plot over the gimmicks, Wreck-it Ralph is the movie of the year with the greatest heart.

Wreck-It-Ralph

Honorable mentions:

1)      Ted: A movie on a teddy bear that smokes, dopes & indulges in general debauchery, why wouldn’t this movie be fun. A weak & uneven third act prevents the movie from being a classic

2)      The Raid Redemption: Easily the action movie of the year. Features a one man (at times, two) army rampaging through a building as part of a police raid gone wrong. Fast-paced, brutal, violent & no-holds barred, it is fist thumping, head-breaking, knuckle-busting action at its best

Well, not all movies can be hunky dory & be good. With great expectation, there is also chance of great disappointment & 2012 featured some movies that would adorn the walls of all time clunkers effortlessly. Some of these movies had simply pathetic story telling (or no story at all), high expectations, misleading trailers, disinterested or just-going-through-the-motions actors looking for a paycheck or hamming it up big time (Yes, Nic Cage, I am looking at you) or a combination of all of the above.

The Facepalm movies of 2012

Baby Facepalm

Epic Facepalm

1)      Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

2)      Underworld: Awakening

3)      Resident Evil: Retribution

4)      Project X

5)      The Wrath of Titans

Dishonorable Mentions: Dark Shadows, Battleship

2012 movies missed out that could potentially have landed in the best movies list:

Paranorman, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Seven Psychopaths, Flight, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Chronicle & Hotel Transylvania

Next Post: The 2012 Beanbag Critic Awards

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