2012 has come and gone leaving us with yet another slate of great films. This year to me was definitely the year of the superhero, with the culmination of the both the Marvel films with The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ending with The Dark Knight Rises. While Christopher Nolan has left the super hero genre, Whedon is now the man to watch as we start our way towards The Avengers 2.
This year also saw a resurgence in intelligent horror, with some really great films like The Cabin in the Woods, Detention and The Loved Ones showing use there are still some great stories to be told in the horror genre as well. I honestly think this was a great year for movies and with Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, The Evil Dead and S-VHS hitting next year things are already looking promising for 2013 as well.
With that I offer up my top 10 films of the year, enjoy and feel free to comment with your list as well!
I am prepared to go to my grave defending this film. For me it was a perfect popcorn movie and I actually went into it completely wanting to hate it. But I really think the marketing debacle and infighting behind the scenes irreparably hurt the film and honestly turned folks away.
I definitely think this film will still find an audience once folks can forget some of the stuff they have been force-fed by a broken marketing machine and check this great film out.
This film is an amazing achievement in both sight and sound.
I am not the biggest fan of musicals and for me to go into a film like this and leave the way I did was something truly amazing. This film is down right powerful and really has the ability to dig deep and make you really feel for these characters. The cast totally killed it and if Anne Hathaway doesn’t get an Oscar for this there is something really wrong with the world.
The Wachowski Siblings newest film was an experiment to film an unfilmable book using many of the same actors in different roles. The result seemed to polarize audiences and critics alike. While the film is not without its flaws, you honestly have to give them credit for trying to pull off something so strangely original as Cloud Atlas in the first place.
When it fails it’s not as quite as bad as it could be, and when it succeeds it’s a thing of pure beauty.
Disney finally got to get out of the shadow of PIXAR this year and showed they still know how to make animated films. If you are reading this site and haven’t seen this film shame on you, honestly just shame on you.
With PIXAR dropping the ball, it was nice to see Disney pick up the slack and deliver a film that I felt really is better than any film PIXAR has turned out since Toy Story 3.
I really think there was no way this film would live up to people’s expectations after The Dark Knight, but I still feel it is a worthy successor. This film did however suffer from a few things and on repeat viewing the pacing issues really seem apparent.
But I honestly felt it was a truthful film and the only way Nolan could have ended his trilogy. Now the new question is, how long till someone has the guts to touch this franchise again?
Lets just all pretend Quantum of Solace never happened ok?
Whatever doubts people might have had after Craig’s sophomore outing are now nothing more than an afterthought after seeing the spectacle that was Skyfall. The film somehow mixed Craig’s salty Bond with some of the camp of the franchise past and the result was one of the better Bond films in a long time.
To call this film powerful would be an understatement.
Quite a few folks didn’t get it when Paul Thomas Anderson’s meditation on Scientology turned out to be a gut-wrenching look the relationship between two severely damaged men. But I did. I found this film to be a very truthful look at friendship, betrayal and life in general. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman truly turn in the performances of a lifetime and I think Joaquin also managed to redeem himself as an actor in the process.
Joss Whedon may have crafted the perfect super hero film. Its funny Marvel took a chance giving one of the most anticipated super hero films in the last five years to a man that had some serious rough luck in the television game.
It was definitely a gamble that paid off and now he is at the helm of the Marvel cinematic universe permanently. Its nice to see the man getting the respect he deserves and I think the world is a better place for it.
Cabin in the Woods is not only a love letter to the horror genre, but somehow puts a fresh set of eyes on one of the most played out scenarios out there.
I am really happy this film after struggling in theaters finally found its audience on home video. I think for genre fans like myself this was a film that felt really genuine in both its content and intentions. Cabin in the Woods was truly a film by fans for fans.
When I sat down for this film I was like a kid about to open a Christmas present. Was it going to be socks or an Xbox 360?
Django Unchained was definitely the Xbox 360 and a great way to end the year for me getting to see the work of a true cinematic master. Say what you will about Tarantino he is one of the best and most consistent filmmakers out there right now and this film proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I like to describe this as what if Scott Pilgrim was a slasher film. Written and directed by Joseph Kahn who directed Torque of all things, this film moves so quickly and is filled with so many references, it takes several viewings to take it all in. Not too mention this film is the only one this year if not ever, to feature a time traveling space bear as well.
I saw this star studded comedy about the World Championship of Butter Carving last year at the Philadelphia Film Festival and then it just disappeared. This year it did reappear and got a very limited theatrical run and simply dumped on VOD. Butter is simply put the funniest film I saw last year and this year and proof Olivia Wilde should do more comedy.
This film was simply the great inside joke no one got. Layered with references to films few people have ever seen, the RZA gave us a piece of true Hong Kong Chop Socky from this side of the ocean. With a Tarantino-like understanding and deconstruction of the genre the RZA crafted an over the top, batshit crazy martial arts action film that would be right at home on the now departed Kung Fu cart at Market East.
For bonus points watch this right after Les Misérables like I did!
I kept calling this the American remake of Akira, because it pretty much was just that. This super smart found footage film about a group of friends that get telekinetic powers was definitely one of the big surprises of the year for me. If you haven’t checked this film out and you love superhero films, do yourself a favor, you wont be disappointed.
Best use of 3D:
Another film that was a lot of fun, which not too many people saw. There was definitely a reason 3D was in the title, Dredd 3D definitely brought something new and fresh to the 3D game with its Slo-Mo sequences and gave us a pretty badass action film to boot. If you have a 3D setup definitely pick this up when it hits Blu-ray in January and even if you don’t still check it out. This is definitely one of the best action flicks of the year.
Blu-ray Special Editions of the year:
It’s rare that a release so truthfully captures what exactly went wrong in a film and I think this is one of those instances. While the film may have been one of the biggest disappointments of the year this set couldn’t be farther from it.
The documentary The Angry Gods is well worth the price of admission for any fan of the franchise. You really get to see what happened behind the scenes that crippled what could have been an amazing entry into the Alien Franchise.
The Alamo Drafthouse is doing some truly amazing things with their Drafthouse Films imprint and releasing Miami Connection was definitely one of them. The lost 80’s martial arts film featuring Dragon Sound, a rock band comprised of orphan Taekwondo black belts who have to battle motorcycle riding ninjas, was lost until they randomly bought a 35mm print on ebay and championed this awesomely strange little film.
Not only do they simply release these films, but they also give them the care and attention they deserve. Miami Connection sports a great transfer, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurettes and a commentary. If this would have been another imprint we would have been lucky to get anything other than streaming on Netflix.