Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lord Bling's favorite movies of 2012

This year's top movie list will be less valuable than ever, for two reasons:  1) I only saw 36 films.  Considering I used to see well over 100 (as part of my job), I can't really be considered anything of an expert anymore.  2) There wasn't anything I saw that screamed out 'classic', or even what I would deem to be a 'four-star' film.  The best film I saw in 2012 was made 50 years ago, but that doesn't exactly qualify for this list.

Like last year, I won't rank what I saw, but will list them in alphabetical order instead:

Act of Valor -- The acting is pretty bad, and you can see the ending coming a mile away. However, the acting is bad because the performers are actual Navy SEALs.  The attention to detail was better than any military film I've seen since Black Hawk Down, and the action is edited very well.  Plus (SPOILER ALERT!), with both of my grandparents having been given military funerals, I'm a sucker for them.

Argo -- Affleck's best film so far.  Just the right amount of humor.  However, it made me wish for a documentary about the topic.

The Avengers -- Even more fun than I'd hoped.  Perfect escapist entertainment.  If you can accept that they have a flying aircraft carrier, you can accept a couple of minor plot issues.

Django Unchained -- A love letter to spaghetti westerns, set in the era of American slavery.  The first half is brilliant.  The second half isn't quite as strong, and plays as a long slow burn with a semi-satisfying conclusion.  However, I'll take a 'decent' Tarantino film over most directors' best works.

Flight -- The script is just so-so, and feels a little too 'movie of the week' in the final reel.  However, Denzel is brilliant, and the crash sequence is flawlessly edited.

The Grey -- Carnahan's best film by far.  Bleak and unforgiving.  Liam Neeson delivers the gravitas.

Looper -- Hollywood has done time travel to death, but this finds a way to bring something new to the genre.  It had me thinking quite a bit afterwards.  It's not as good as you've heard, but still better than most.

Prometheus -- I like when science fiction dares to ask questions, even when they don't make a serious effort to answer them.  Gorgeous visuals, but they come with a flawed script and one-dimensional characters.    Hopefully the impending sequel will improve upon it.

Robot & Frank -- What a great surprise this little film was!  It could've turned out a disaster, but Langella is perfectly understated, and you believe every moment he spends with the robot.  It's sweet without feeling like it's trying to be.

21 Jump Street -- I did NOT see this one coming, but I laughed more during this film than anything else I saw this year.  Raunchy but with a good heart underneath it all.  Hill and Tatum have great timing, and the script pokes lots of fun at the premise. We're in on the joke, and it's all the better for it.

What were your favorite films this past year?  Which ones did I miss?  Let me know how much of an idiot I am in the comments!

EDIT!  I've been reminded that The Raid: Redemption, while technically first released overseas in 2011, was released in the U.S. in 2012, and that puts it in this year.  It was one of the best 'pure' action films I've seen in a long time, with brilliant fight editing and choreography.  I've seen it three times already and could watch it again right now.  Definitely Top Ten material!


Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I've missed a lot of these this year, but I'll add one and quibble with one.

The Queen of Versailles is a great documentary in my opinion because the finished product was entirely different than what they set out to make in the first place.

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

Premature commentulation there.

My quibble is with the omission of Dark Knight Rises. Not the best Batman movie or the best Christopher Nolan movie, but easily better than The Avengers and darker, which I am a big fan of (and I enjoyed the Avengers, as well).

Lord Bling said...

I do need to see The Queen of Versailles. Actually, I missed a lot of documentaries and foreign films this year.

As for TDKR, c'mon man. It's not even close to The Avengers. It takes itself way too seriously for as dumb as it was. A spoiled billionaire with a broken back can climb out of a hole in the ground, but thousands of cops can't find a way out of the underground for months? DERP. And don't get me started on the final act. How someone survives a brutal vehicle wreck with nary a scratch on them, or how the Batwing flies out into the ocean with a ticking bomb, like an Adam West outtake. It was filmed beautifully and acted competently, but I just couldn't overlook THAT much stupidity. Again, I'm willing to accept some dumb comic book stuff, but this was too much. It reminded me of the ending of Signs.

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I can't believe you're knocking TDKR for realism and plot holes when the entire premise of that commercial for toys they called The Avengers was no more plausible or engaging. You're right. Police are much less likely to survive underground than a guy is to turn into the Jolly Green Giant everything he gets angry. Nevermind that the entire fucking point is that both of these films are fantasy. Nice M. Night Shamalamadingdong reference.

Lord Bling said...

Right, but the difference is The Avengers was meant to be light, escapist entertainment. It's a flying aircraft carrier. It didn't take itself seriously, and it's proudly a 'comic book film'. TDKR tries to transcend the genre, but was just as stupid as any other comic book movie. In fact, it was a LOT dumber than the first two films in the trilogy. Gordon driving the Batmobile in part 1? Dumb. Hacking every cell phone in the city and using it to create a radar system for his helmet? Dumb. But neither were as dumb as what we were given in this one. I want sequels to improve upon the previous films, and we got that with TDK.

Lord Bling said...

BTW, welcome back! It's nice to have some chatter going on here again.

Pitpat said...

I have to agree with the midget on TDK. I enjoyed the movies you listed. I also think Skyfall should have made your list.

Act of Valor- it was an enjoyable film. However, what does the movie gain from having real seals other than being able to say that they are real seals? they should have just had seals train the actors IMO.

The Grey- my problem with this movie is I waited almost 2 hours for Liam to kick some ass. At the end it looks like shit is about to get real and then it just ends. I was pissed. The whole movie felt like a hand job without a happy ending.

Movies I enjoyed but wouldnt call top 10:

taken 2-shameless horrible movie but I still love the taken films.

The bourne legacy- I think it tarnishes the series but it was still worth a watch


Moonrise Kingdom

Thats My Boy- its the best thing Sandler has done since Happy Gilmore. It is in no way a great film but it made me laugh and Sandler hasnt done that for me in 15 years.

The hobbit- the movie wasnt good but it was the first I have seen in HFR and I thought that aspect was pretty cool.

There are a lot of movies I want to see still including the master and end of watch

Lord Bling said...

Skyfall was gorgeous, but brain dead. Bardem goes through all that trouble just to try to shoot her in the head? Why not blow up the MI-6 building when she's in it? And the Home Alone ending was ridiculous. So that's why I left it off.

The Bourne Legacy hurt me so much. For as great as the first three are, it felt nothing like a Bourne film. If they would've named it something else, perhaps I would've liked it more.

Act of Valor -- it was the attention to detail that action films always get wrong. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece ... I just enjoyed it for what it was.

The Grey -- sounds like you went in expecting an action film. It's not that.

Ted was pretty funny. The Flash Gordon party was hilarious. It just narrowly missed making my top ten.

Moonrise Kingdom -- Anderson's productions are always great to look at, but his scripts rarely have the same attention to the characters. They hold us at arm's length instead of asking us to embrace them. For as warm as his films are, I wish his characters had some of that warmth. Rushmore and Life Aquatic are the two exceptions for me though.

I've heard too much bad about The Hobbit so I stayed away, 48fps or not.

Did you see The Raid: Redemption? Great action film.