Top Ten Movies of 2012

When it comes to movies, 2012 is the kind of year other years should aspire to be. This was a year full of life changing films, films that resonate in their excellence and astound in their innovation. I loved 2012 and would go as far as to call it my favorite year in film. Subsequently, this was a list I could not wait to make. It’s a list that celebrates my favorite year in film, how could I not be excited to write it? Well, let’s get into it.

10. Prometheus

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Prometheus tells a sort of Greek tragedy in the form of a bleak and beautiful science-fiction odyssey. This is Ridley Scott’s greatest film since Gladiator and it’s a wonder that it happens to be in a genre he helped define back in 1979 and 1982. He redefines it here with a glorious tale of searching for the answers to life’s biggest questions and the cataclysmic events that ensue when curiosity gets the better of us. To tell his tale, he also crafts a character study of a human and a robot. Michael Fassbender enthralls in his portrayal of David.

9. Lincoln

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Lincoln is without a doubt one of the best biopics I’ve seen. Everything just works. Steven Spielberg obviously knows how to make a great film and when he has the greatest living actor working hard to play the main character of his film, you’re essentially guaranteed one hell of a movie. Every supporting actor does a great job, but Tommy Lee Jones deserves a lot of recognition for his scenery chewing performance. Daniel Day-Lewis is the real star here though and his performance is breathtaking.

8. Silver Linings Playbook

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David O. Russell takes boy meets girl genre conventions and flips them on their head. Silver Linings Playbook tells a tale as touching and engrossing as it is inspirational. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro all give knockout performances with their human characters. We follow Pat on a road to self-discovery after his stint at a mental institution. Evey living person is different and this is a superb film about people and the relationships inspired by ones own defining characteristics.

7. Looper

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This is Rian Johnson’s third film and once again he hits it out of park because I loved Brick and The Brothers Bloom, but Looper is his best film yet. Looper may very well be the greatest film involving time travel that I’ve seen and that’s because Looper isn’t about time travel, it subtly uses the idea of time travel to tell an imaginative tale of life, death and the choices that can change everything. Joseph-Gordon Levitt is brilliant in his role of the younger Joe (a hard hitting Bruce Willis) and the movie as a whole is a fascinating drama with delightful tricks up its sleeve.

6. Seven Psychopaths

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Seven Psychopaths is an oddity of a film about film, stories and the people that inspire those stories. Martin McDonagh blew me away with In Bruges and he takes it up a few notches with this masterpiece of reflexivity, nut cases and inspiration. Everyone does their part justice, but the real magic comes from Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken as Billy and Hans. Though they’ve gotten protagonist Marty involved in a dog-napping scheme, Billy and Hans want to help Marty finish his latest screenplay at whatever the cost.

5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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When all is said and done, like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy may make for one of the greatest stories ever told. The masterpiece that is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does after all begin the story flawlessly.  Much to Bilbo Baggins’ resistance, he is thrust into an adventure that will change his life and middle-earth forever. The film is just an amazing time from start to finish, every single moment was fun and glorious. My mouth is watering with anticipation for the rest of the story.

4. The Master

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Four years after his magnum opus Paul Thomas Anderson proves that all he knows how to make anymore is masterpieces. There is just miraculous beauty to any Paul Thomas Anderson film. Everything he puts in front of the camera is made gorgeous by perfect camera work and direction. The Master examines Freddie Quell, a drifter lost and looking for his way after WWII. He soon stumbles upon an enigmatic and powerful man, Lancaster Dodd. There is a mysterious nature in the way this tale delves in with so much substance, but does so with the examination of a single friendship. The relationship between these two men envelops an extraordinary story of obedience and control.

3. Django Unchained

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Django Unchained was the gorgeous piece of art it was meant to be. In a year this perfect, it would only make sense that Quentin Tarantino would unveil his most recent masterpiece. As his new friend and mentor, Dr. King Schultz, unchains him from his shackles, Django instantaneously falls into his role as a heroic and vengeful freed slave. He’s a total badass and together with his wise new partner they epitomize a force to be reckoned with against the harsh and brutal atrocity that is slavery. The film is relentless in its intensity and constantly a blast.

2. Skyfall

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If I had been told that my second favorite movie of 2012 was going to be a 007 movie, I just would not have believed it. I loved Casino Royale the first time I saw it and I continue to enjoy it this day. I am a firm believer that Casino Royale is a perfect Bond movie, while Skyfall is a perfect movie. Skyfall utilizes and pays homage to conventions from what has become a full-fledged and changing genre, Bond film. Through this icon, it also manages to tell an extraordinary story about the past and how it may shape the future it doesn’t define it.

In order to tell a magnificent story sometimes you need a magnificent villain. With Silva (Javier Bardem), Skyfall offers nothing short of the perfect Bond villain. This is a story about Bond and Silva and it’s a story about M. James Bond is country man and a reactionary hero who will stop at nothing to see the job done and in Skyfall his job is makes its grand and slithery entrance in the form of Silva, a savage and sadistic mastermind, a betrayer who too will stop at nothing to see to it he’s done what he was always meant to do. Skyfall evokes a gorgeous tale of the ways of the old and making way for the new. There’s a kinetic justice in the narrative and every moment of the film is flawless.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

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The Dark Knight Rises is a gargantuan epic and a masterpiece of the highest caliber. It’s almost magic, the way Nolan makes every image and moment of the film absolutely pivotal. Christopher Nolan is a visionary, the greatest director working today. I am blown away at every turn. This is a continuation of a great hero’s journey, the greatest. This is a man who fights for good and justice and does so because it’s the right thing to do. There’s been many friends and foes along the way and The Dark Knight Rises is filled to the brim with engrossing characters.

Christian Bale gives his best performance yet and the same can be said about every actor stepping back into their character’s shoes again as well as the newcomers, whether they be the mysterious Selina Kyle, the courageous Detective Blake, the kind-hearted Miranda Tate or the malevolent villain. In The Dark Knight Rises Batman faces off against the tactical and ruthless brute force that is Bane. Tom Hardy does wonders with a role in which he can only rely on his eyes to tell the story. And what a spectacular story it is. The Dark Knight Rises is the third installment in a series of films, yet with grace and a clear tone it delivers with fresh and glorious territory.

It’s almost 2013 and 2012 will have come and gone. This is a year that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time because this was the year that my favorite story came to an end. In 2005 Bruce Wayne took his hero’s journey and became Batman. In 2008 Batman faced off against his nemesis, The Joker. What was realized was the perfect tale of good, evil and balance. In The Dark Knight Rises Batman becomes the hope to counter the despair that faces his city. If The Dark Knight Legend (or The Dark Knight Trilogy if that tastes better going down) is about one thing, it’s about hope and when it came to The Dark Knight Rises I hoped it would be a masterpiece, but little did I know, the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect ending to the greatest story ever told.

Lincoln Review

“This isn’t usual. This is history.” This is arguably the most important moment in American History making this a completely necessary film. Not only was it a film the needed to be made, it was a fantastic film all around. Steven Spielberg tells an incredible interpretation of this powerful moment in our time and this is mostly in part to a flawless performance from the greatest actor living today as the titular, President Abraham Lincoln.

Stylistically, Spielberg doesn’t offer anything new or tricky, which works perfectly for the the film he was trying to make. What he does offer is simply a very straightforward and linear retelling of a historical event that deserved to be expressed in this, the greatest art form. Spielberg just does his job, does it well and allows his actors to do their job. You just have to expect greatness from Daniel Day-Lewis and yes it is his show and he is perfect in the role, but it’s also complete perdenent that I mention the other performances as well.

Sally Field does wonders as Lincoln’s neurotic wife, a performance that I feel must’ve been trying. John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson and James Spader play very well off of each other. Other great actors make up a fantastic supporting cast; Hal Holbrook, Jared Harris, Jackie Earle Haley, David Straihairn and even Joseph Gordon-Levitt is along for the carriage ride. Tommy Lee Jones is an actor who deserves undying praise for his vivid portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens.

Making a film is a collaborative project and in this case there were a lot of talented people collaborating, but it’s the performance of the Abraham Lincoln that makes this film truly extraordinary. Abraham Lincoln may be the most iconic historical figure ever and for him to justly be portrayed in a film would take an incredible performance. Daniel Day-Lewis offers that and more with a grand portrayal filled with subtleties and confident choices. He takes a great man, one we could only imagine actually being in the presence, and makes him utterly human.

Lincoln is just a great film through and through. It’s made by a man who still knows how to make a great film and it serves as a reminder and proof that Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest living actor. This is a film where the drama and climaxes come from decisions and conversations. It’s a tasteful and mature film meant to bring us to a time and place and to tell the tale of one of the most important points in American history. It was a film that needed to be made and it was incredible.

Grade: A

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

I was always thinking about making this list, but I never took the time to coherently think about it. This was probably the easiest list I’ve ever made. I never saw much point because I knew it wouldn’t be that difficult to realize what films I want to see more than the others in a year that may go down in history as one of the greatest. Well with out much more introduction I’d like to just get into it. These are my most anticipated movies of 2012…

10. Seven Psychopaths

Martin McDonagh is the writer and director of In Bruges, a unique film that finds a brilliant balance between comedy and drama and a film I’m actually a huge fan of. Seven Psychopaths sounds even more promising. It has something to do with screenplay writing, assassination, and dog-napping. It also stars Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson. I can’t wait.

9. Lincoln

Just the idea of Steven Spielberg making a biopic about arguably the most important President in American history sounds great. Add to that the fact that my favorite actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, is playing the titular character. Also Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing his son. This almost seems to good to be true. I don’t know much about this Lincoln movie at all, but I do know I am unbelievably excited to see it.

8. Skyfall

I absolutely love Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, there aren’t that many movies that offer as much fun as those two movies do. Skyfall is the sequel and one that sounds downright incredible. The story sounds more personal, Ralph Fiennes is involved and the villain is played by Javier Bardem. Daniel Craig is fantastic as the James Bond crafted for a more realistic and gritty world and Skyfall will be awesome.

7. Only God Forgives

Drive was my favorite movie of 2011 and without question one of my favorites ever made. Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling make an amazing team. Only God Forgives is a film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and it stars Ryan Gosling. It tells some type of story involving cops, criminals and a thai-boxing match. I don’t know much, but it interests me and I could know nothing about the story and still need to see it.

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Lord of the Rings offers up one of the greatest stories ever told. The Hobbit is the prequel to that very story and obviously I can’t wait to see it. I do already know that The Hobbit is no The Lord of the Rings, but it is a story that expands upon a universe that I love dearly. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be spectacular and it’s unbelievable that I’m only able to put it at number 4. Any other year and this could’ve easily been number 1 on this list.

5. The Master

The Master may be the movie on this list I know the least about, but it’s also one of the ones I’m most excited about. Paul Thomas Anderson is one the greatest crafters of film who ever existed. The Master is a movie that examines religion and studies a sort of L. Ron Hubbard character. Had it been another director the film might not have interested me. As a Paul Thomas Anderson movie I can already see all the pieces falling into place.

4. Looper

This movie should be much higher on this list, but 2012 is going to be an extraordinary year for movies. Rian Johnson is a fantastic director, I know this and he’s only directed two movies. Both The Brothers Bloom and Brick are masterpieces. They’re innovative, incredibly written and the directing is brilliant. Looper is Rian Johnson’s next movie and like Brick it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If Looper is anything like his previous works, I’m in for one hell of a treat.

3. Prometheus

This is actually the movie that inspired me to just finally sit down and make this list. There was never a question as to what my top 2 on this list would be, but it was the newest trailer for Prometheus that made me realize how potentially perfect of a year for films 2012 could be. I practically know nothing about the story at hand here, but this looks like genre-defining stuff, truly. Ridley Scott showed what sci-fi movies could be with Alien and Blade Runner and now with Prometheus it looks like he may be doing the same thing, but with the technology we have now. If this reaches its potential, I don’t know if we’ll be able to handle it.

2. Django Unchained

At first I was saddened by the fact that I had to use the picture that I did, but then I realized that picture is all I would need to understand the necessity to see this movie. Quentin Tarantino is my second favorite writer and director and I look forward to all of his future projects, but with Django Unchained, it’s not just the fact that it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie.

The film stars Jaime Foxx, Christoph Waltz (a piece of casting that would get me to see any movie), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell and Leonardo DiCaprio as villain Calvin Candie. Let me repeat that: Leonardo DiCaprio is playing a villain. That’s another fact that would easily get me to see a movie. Now let’s discuses the fact that Django Unchained is also going to be a spaghetti western, a genre that Quentin Tarantino was born to put his own style on.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

I have literally never and I mean never looked forward to a movie as much as I have The Dark Knight Rises. There was never a question as to what movie would be number 1 on this list. If I had to choose between watching between watching The Dark Knight Rises and watching any other movie that has ever existed and ever will exist I would choose The Dark Knight Rises and I would be able to decide that in seconds.

The Dark Knight Rises is the final film in my favorite series of films and in that way, I have never wanted to see a movie more than I have this one. It’s got all the same actors playing the same great characters and plenty of other casting decisions that’ll make for what should be able to stack right up there with The Dark Knight. Its got Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway and the brilliant Tom Hardy as the main antagonist, Bane.

Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. In terms of originality, the movies he makes are nothing short of inspiring. The emotion, magic and potent storytelling that Nolan offers up in the Dark Knight Legend he’s been crafting is simply perfection. Christopher Nolan has never let me down and there’s no way he’s going to let me down with the sequel to my favorite movie that has ever been made. Not only is The Dark Knight Rises my most anticipated movie of 2012, it’s my most anticipated movie of all time.