Although this blog has been around since October 2011, 2012 was when I really started to become
addicted dedicated to reviewing films. I've probably seen more 2012 films than any other year, so making this list was particularly hard. For a long time I've known what my top 3 of the year are but 4-12 have been jostling for positions right up to me writing this list!
Just a few points before I unveil my Top 12 Films of 2012:
- I'm going by UK release dates.
- Because of the above, I haven't been able to see films like Django Unchained, Lincoln, Flight or Les Miserables. These will all be 2013 movies.
- I didn't get round to seeing everything in 2012. Notable films that I missed out on include: Ruby Sparks, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master and Bourne Legacy.
- One of the key questions I ask myself before putting a film on this list is - would I watch it again? If the answer is no, it's not likely to make my top 12.
Rise of the Guardians may be a silly kids film about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy but I found it effortlessly charming and wonderfully creative. It's a very difficult film to hate, even if you actively try to! The cast are all unrecognisable in their role and they seem to be having a great time personifying these larger than life characters. Hugh Jackman is a highlight as the Easter Bunny. As far as festive films go, it's the best of recent times and one I'm sure to put on in future Christmases.
What I originally said: The animation is fantastical and I can see young children having a great time in the cinemas. Adults will also sit beside them with a smile on their face.
Looper did somewhat disappoint me but that's only because Rian Johnson is fast becoming my favourite director and Joseph Gordon-Levitt can (seemingly) do no wrong. In hindsight, my expectations were far too high. Although I had certain issues with the film, the good stuff outweighs the bad and I'm definitely going to snap it up on blu-ray when it comes out. On a technical side of things, it's a brilliantly made, unique-looking film that shows Johnson is going places.
What I originally said: The performances, the directing, the sheer creativity and thought gone into the set design and make-up are all top quality.
What I originally said: "Gibson needs to drop the artsy films about Christ and Mayans and return to his action roots for good."
Men In Black 3 is uncompromising, nostalgic fun. So what if the time-travel element is a little hokey - Back to the Future had plot contrivances the size of black holes and that's unanimously considered a fantastic trilogy. If you're watching a MIB film and looking for realism, you're doing it wrong anyway. The whole cast are a pleasure to watch, none moreso than Josh Brolin who's Tommy Lee Jones impersonation is ridiculously good.
What I originally said: "Men In Black 3 is an exhilarating experience which delivered so much more than I was expecting."
Now time for something a little different - Kickstarter-financed documentary, Indie Game: The Movie. If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you'll know that I'm particularly interested in documentaries. I watch a lot of them. Out of the new releases in 2012, this one stood out the most. Not only is it interesting, it is a thoroughly engrossing human interest story about the struggles of being an independent game developer. Highly recommended.
What I originally said: "You don't need to have a vested interest in gaming to connect emotionally with Indie Game: The Movie, as these men are all motivated by relative human emotions such as anxiety, passion, pride, self-doubt."
An obvious choice perhaps but it deserves a place on this list. The Bond films have never been a favourite of mine. I've been mostly forced to watch them whilst growing up, so I have a basic appreciation of the franchise. However, Skyfall isn't an ordinary Bond film - it's one classy production. There's an artistic merit to it that I haven't seen in a 007 movie before. And Javier Bardem is a fascinating, three-dimensional villain. From now on, I will pay attention to the Bond series.
What I originally said: Sam Mendes, has produced a very different Bond experience. One with far more emotion and depth than I expected.
The Raid may not have the stars, the visuals or even two £10 notes to rub together but it does have a whole lot of talent and passion involved. I'm not really a martial arts fan but I was left blown away by the cut-throat brutality in Gareth Evans' film. Considering the miniscule budget and limited production, the camerawork and visual style is also amazing. Don't let the subtitles put you off of seeing a true adrenaline rush of a film.
What I originally said: "The cast and crew should be proud of what they've achieved as this little gem will surely springboard them all to better things."
Aside from perfecting the superhero genre in 2012, Joss Whedon also set about rejuvenating the horror genre too. The result - a horror/comedy/fantasy farce by the name of Cabin in the Woods. For an hour or so this film was solid and humorous but in the final act, this movie becomes a whole different beast. It's possibly the greatest, most unexpected ending to a film I've ever witnessed. Whedon has properly geeked out in this movie and I love him for it.
What I originally said: "Joss Whedon's script is so imaginative and creative, it transcends genre and becomes something else in its own right.
What I originally said: "Nothing felt like filler, nothing felt unnecessary and I'm very excited for the upcoming installments."
What I originally said: "if you ever felt insecure or under-appreciated growing up, Perks will capture your heart."
By now most movie snobs have probably clicked off of this post. First Men In Black III and now The Muppets?! Truth is, this was nearly number one on my 2012 best of. The muppets have returned in glorious style with a wide-eyed Jason Segel for company. I haven't laughed and smiled and sang and cheered throughout a movie this much since... well, forever. The songs, the dance routines, the nostalgia, the puppetry, the cameos, it was all great fun.
What I originally said: "...this contemporary revamp of the Muppets franchise could signal a new era for Kermit and his stuffed friends."
So my number one film of the year is up next. Those who visit Benend's Basement frequently will surely know what colossal film holds top spot. But I'm still going to drag it out.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE...
What I originally said: "Many times, I turned to my girlfriend and mouthed 'this is AWESOME!'"
Narrowly missing out:
End of Watch - review
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - review
The Grey - review
Our Idiot Brother - review
For a list of the absolute worst movies of 2012, click on the collage below: