It’s time to reflect on another year of cinema. These are my personal favorite and least favorite movies of 2012, with a synopsis and short review. Please note, I chose my list based mostly on entertainment value, not just art and technical achievements. I am a MOVIE fan. The selections are not listed in any particular order and I conclude with a listing of all movies seen in 2012. There are some big releases, such as Cloud Atlas and Lincoln, I still haven’t viewed. If anything deserves to be added or removed… please make a case in the comments.
What science fiction films should strive to be. Dredd is full of kick-ass visuals, gritty action, and a very close adaption of its source material. Combine that with Karl Urban’s menacing grin and a harrowing distopian landscape, and you are in sci-fi nirvana. Get the best price for Dredd on Amazon.
Dredd (Karl Urban) is judge, jury and executioner in this adaption of the British comic series 2000 AD. Dredd takes on Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug dealer producing Slo-Mo. The Judge is accompanied by a psychic, a rookie cop trainee named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Together, they work to take down Ma-Ma in a locked-down, 200-story housing structure, where all the inhabitants intend to kill them for Ma-Ma’s reward.
Life of Pi comes from a novel by Yann Martel. It’s been largely considered an unfilmable piece of literature. Ang Lee will surprise those critiques with his adaptation. The story-telling is fantastic, though sometimes overshadowed by the landmark film-making process. Pi is a beautiful movie. Much akin to Avatar, the special effects and 3D will amaze. Get the best price for Life of Pi on Amazon.
Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) is a youngster on a voyage with his family from India, to their future home in Canada. They take this voyage, along with their zoo animals, by freighter ship. In a storm, the boat sinks, killing everyone aboard except Pi, who has managed to escape by lifeboat. A few animals make their way aboard Pi’s boat, including a fierce Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. Pi and Richard Parker form a shaky relationship that eventually would save both their lives. Read More »
Django Unchained is undoubtedly Quentin Tarantino’s bravest film to date. Django is essentially a love story set against the backdrop of Pre-Civil War slavery; a genre film… slash… spaghetti western… slash… revenge-fantasy. The movie sports a terrific cast and soundtrack, but Tarantino’s style is what really shines. Get the best price for Django Unchained on Amazon.
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a professional bounty hunter looking for his next payday. He frees and enlists the help of a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx). Having proven himself a worthy partner and excellent shooter, Schultz vows to train Django and assist him on recovering his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Their witty plan… turns sour. Read More »
Haunted by a terrible misleading trailer, Seeking a Friend is a tale of two distinct separate walks of life finding comfort in each other in the last few days of their existence. Seeking a Friend was marketed as a wacky, road trip rom-com. It is in fact much more than that. It is a character study brimming with emotion, accented with dark humor, and backed by a delightful soundtrack. Get the best price for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World on Amazon.
The world is ending in three weeks. A meteor is headed for Earth and will destroy everything and everyone. Dodge (Steve Carell) takes a road trip to reconnect with a high school sweetheart. His neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), accompanies Dodge in their last hours. The two travelers discover love is right in front of them. Read More »
Looper borrows from multiple time travel archetypes to reinvigorate a tired genre. The film is infinitely complex, energetic and original. When you discover you love Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character and hate Bruce Willis’ (despite them being the same person), you realize just how clever Looper really is. Get the best price for Looper on Amazon.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, a hitman hired to kill and dispose of Mob captives sent back from the future. He collects a hefty payday but agrees that when the time comes, he must kill his future-self too. They call this: closing your loop. The Looper is rewarded handsomely and sent to complete the remaining years of his/her life. Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back but escapes his fate. Younger Joe must close his loop before older Joe can eliminate a “future” career criminal, that’s closing everyone’s loop.
Best Movies (cont.)
With the exception of almost anything zombie related (I love zombies), I just don’t appreciate the horror genre. That is, until The Cabin in the Woods. Cabin brings back the teen hack/slash awesomeness of the 80′s classics, mixes it with a little bit of sci-fi fantasy voyeurism, and then finishes all gonzo – in your face. Get the best price for The Cabin in the Woods on Amazon.
Five teens decide to take a short vacation to a secluded cabin in a remote forest. What should be a weekend retreat turns into their worst nightmare. Together the group must discover the true secret behind the Cabin in the Woods. Read More »
This review won’t be much different than what you may have read or heard,The Avengers is one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. Director and writer, Joss Whedon, has masterfully pieced together a very complicated puzzle, and it is surprisingly well-paced and balanced. Get the best price for The Avengers on Amazon.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has declared war on Earth and pursues the tesseract. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) leads S.H.I.E.L.D., a secret organization tasked with defending Earth. Fury must finally assemble Earth’s mightiest hero’s to defend against Loki. It’s time for Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk to assemble! Read More »
From the announcement of this flick to finally catching a screening, I was highly critical and apprehensive of 21 Jump Street. At that point, I had had enough of Channing Tatum plastered to every movie billing of 2012. Well, Tatum has won my respect and garnered a new fan. I was impressed with how natural comedy came for Tatum and puzzled he hasn’t dabbled in it before. Get the best price for 21 Jump Street
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) is your typical nerd, Jenko (Channing Tatum), your typical jock. Their high school profiles bring them together in police boot camp as they assist each other in the physical and written exams. The two would eventually find themselves in the 21 Jump Street program, a program for undercover cops to stake out crime ridden high schools. Read More »
Wreck-it Ralph is the quintessential modern-day family film. A movie that combines exciting and engaging content with family-friendly values. It’s one of my new favorites and possibly a strong Oscar contender in the animated category. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman are perfectly cast in their respective voice roles. Get the best price for Wreck-it Ralph
Ralph (John C. Reilly) has grown jealous of never receiving the recognition he deserves as a valuable member of the arcade. Ralph is the “bad guy” in his video game world of “Fix-It Felix”, therefor, he’s the outcast. Ralph believes he can shed his negative mantra if he can obtain his own game medal, so in an attempt to earn the respect of his fellow bitizens, Ralph decides to go turbo. Read More »
Casino Royale was a great film, Skyfall is better. Craig has loosened up and feels comfortable as James Bond. Much like Fleming’s novels, Craig’s portrayal is suave, but deeply flawed. The early films brought fun, brought sexy. Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes, is a melting pot of all these great elements. Get the best price for Skyfall on Amazon.
MI6 is attacked by an ex-agent by the name of Silva (Javier Bardem). He has a score to settle with M (Judi Dench). With MI6 compromised, M can only turn to James Bond (Daniel Craig) to uncover and take down the mysterious cyber criminal. Read More »
Plot points are predictable, the screenplay laughable. It’s a wonder any studio gave the green light to release this abomination… and I’m being nice. The film’s director, Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) shows a complete lack of respect for the genre. This is a mystery/thriller, Cohen spits out a melodramatic police procedural. Get the best price for Alex Cross on Amazon.
Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a detective on the Detroit beat. He specializes in psychology and can figure out criminal behavior better than anyone. A psychotic assassin, Picasso, hasn’t taken lightly to Cross’s interference in his current job. Cross’s profile of Picasso turns out incorrect and thus he suffers a serious consequence of this missed evaluation. Now that things are personal, Cross will stop at nothing to bring this criminal to justice. Read More »
Silent House is the English version of the Uruguayan film of the same name, La Casa Muda. What separates the film from other horror flicks? The film’s entire 85 minutes are shot in one long take, also a gimmick from the original film. While this style of filmmaking is an impressive and ambitious undertaking, the film’s plot and story-telling completely abuse the sum of its parts. Get the best price for Silent House on Amazon.
Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) and her father (John, played by Adam Trese) are packing up their lakeside home for sale. Her uncle (Peter, played by Eric Sheffer Stevens) is also assisting with some work around the house. An attack on the family leaves them trapped in the house and fighting for their lives. But is everything as it seems? Read More »
Snow White and the Huntsman is one of those over-hyped movies that fails to live up to its promise. With multiple blockbusters under his belt, Chris Hemsworth couldn’t breath life into Huntsman. Kristen Stewart manages to turn another dull performance. The film does boast some beautiful visual effects, but otherwise, it’s forgettable. Get the best price for Snow White and the Huntsman on Amazon.
The Queen (Charlize Theron) has tasked a local huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) with capturing Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Snow White is all that stands in the Queen’s way to youthful immortality. Learning of the Queen’s deceit, the huntsman instead, vows to protect Snow White. With the help of seven dwarves, Snow White and the huntsman set off to vanquish the Queen.
What can be said of A Thousand Words? Certainly not a thousand kind words. This film was supposed to be Eddie’s continued, triumphant return to comedy. After his long string of dreadful family comedy, Tower Heist gave me hope that Eddie had finally returned to his 48 Hours, or even Beverly Hills Cop, comedic style. Wrong. Get the best price for A Thousand Words on Amazon.
Fast-talking super agent Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is only interested in signing a health guru. This obsession trumps what is truly important and neglected in Jack’s life, family and forgiveness. While “connected” to the life of a rare Bodhi tree; the more Jack talks, the closer the tree and Jack come to dying. Jack must figure out what he is missing in life or he risks losing it. Read More »
Lockout may seem familiar in that it steals its premise from the 1981 cult classic, Escape from New York, starring Kurt Russell. Sprinkle in some Chronicles of Riddick and you have this title. The issues: incoherent story telling and too over-the-top effects. The only half acceptable aspect is Guy Pearce’s deadpan delivery, of an unoriginal script. Get the best price for Lockout on Amazon.
The president’s daughter, Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) is investigating the inhumane effects of cryo-stasis on prisoners kept in a super-prison in space. As you would expect, things go terribly wrong. Snow (Guy Pearce) is sent in to rescue the president’s daughter from capture, and a full-on prison break. Read More »
Other disappointing films: Red Tails, The Woman in Black, Battleship, The Raven, The Watch, Rise of the Guardians
All Movies Viewed
Beauty and the Beast 3D
Man on a Ledge
The Woman in Black
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
This Means War
Act of Valor
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
A Thousand Words
21 Jump Street
The Hunger Games
The Raid: Redemption
Wrath of the Titans
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
The Cabin in the Woods
The Three Stooges
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Men in Black 3
Snow White and the Huntsman
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Safety Not Guaranteed
Rock of Ages
That’s My Boy
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Dark Knight Rises
The Expendables 2
Hit and Run
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
Finding Nemo 3D
Here Comes the Boom
The Man with the Iron Fists
Life of Pi
Rise of the Guardians
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey