December 31, 2012. Seems like the prefect time to add my ten favorite movies from 2012 into the heap of Top Ten lists that are circulating out there.
First up, the honorable mentions. These are movies that were, at one time, on the Top Ten list, but were eventually bumped down the list and out of the prestigious category. So a tip of the hat to:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Cabin in the Woods
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Safety Not Guaranteed
and though it wasn’t on the Top Ten list at any time, I still enjoyed Wanderlust, Hysteria and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. You find the full list of rankings of every movie I watched in 2012 here.
Now then, on to the Top Ten:
10.) Seven Psychopaths
At one time, this movie was in the #1 slot, even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to last there with a slate of films that were set to arrive in theaters in the final months of the year. I enjoyed the self-effacing storyline pieced together by writer/director Martin McDonaugh and the performances by Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken sealed the deal for me. I didn’t find Colin Farrell or Woody Harrelson particularly good, but, at the same time, they didn’t drag the film down at all. First watch was hilarious (mainly because I was with a bunch of film buffs). Second time around, not as funny, mainly cuz I knew the punchlines and saw it in a regular theater with common folk. Still, a solid effort and a solid film.
9.) Moonrise Kingdom
You pile Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton into your movie (as supporting characters no less) and I’m more than likely going to not only watch the movie, but probably enjoy it. Additionally, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked any of Wes Anderson’s films. Darjeeling Limited may be the minor exception. Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed everything he’s made.
Welcome back Bond! Though it could have been trimmed a bit in the editing room, James Bourne kicked butt! Saw this movie three times in theaters and would gladly watch it again. Great supporting performances from Judi Dench and Javier Bardem.
7.) Silver Linings Playbook
There’s something about the chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Even days after watching it, their performances still linger in my head. De Niro is great as well and it’s certainly nice to see him doing a quality film and Chris Tucker, man, Chris Tucker may only appear in a handful of scenes but boy does he steal them. Rush Hour 4 needs to happen now!
Yes, you could shoot holes through the plot six ways to Sunday, but in the end, this film was just so much damn fun!
5.) Zero Dark Thirty
Ok. When the best actress Oscar nominees are announced on January 10, let’s just send Jessica Chastain the trophy and a basket of flowers that same morning. not only does she carry this movie, but her performance is a thorough transformation of character portrayed with such subtle brilliance. Supporting performances from Kyle Chandler and Jason Clarke also stand out.
4.) Killer Joe
The excellent NC-17 movie that nobody saw. Matthew McConaughey is just viciously brilliant and the film ends with a brilliantly disturbing sustained sequence that will forever link Gina Gershon and fried chicken together in my mind. That may not make much sense, but watch this movie and you’ll understand.
3.) The Raid: Redemption
Balls to the wall, full-tilt action. This is the martial arts action movie for people (including myself) who can’t stand that cheesy, acrobatic wire-fighting shit. The concept is simple and yet it works so perfectly. Can’t wait for the next two installments!
2.) A Royal Affair
I love it when a movie completely blindsides me (in a good way). That’s what this movie did. Going in, I knew nothing about it other than Mikkelsen and Vikander were in it and the entire film was in Dutch. Oy! But the performances are solid, the story is unexpectedly engrossing and the direction is seamless. It’s too bad Amour and The Intouchables are the two neck-and-neck favorites for the awards race. I’m holding out hope this film gains some momentum and maybe sneaks into the best picture race (yea, right).
1.) Django Unchained
I knew I was going to be getting lots of familiar Tarantino style violence. What I didn’t expect was the amount of humor this movie would possess… and in a slave Western, no less. There is literally not a dull moment in Django and the film easily ranks up there with Tarantino’s classics – Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
So there you have it. Opinions will differ and these rankings will shuffle through time, but for now, this is what the Top Ten for 2012 looks like.