Hi, Bryan Here….
I can’t believe that 2012 is at its end and we are about to welcome 2013. This year has gone by so fast, and man, did I see tons of films. When I started making this 2012 list, I came up with 87 films that I enjoyed. Yes, you read that right, 87, meaning there were probably just as many films that I didn’t enjoy. Now, below is my top 20 of the year. I just couldn’t do it with 10 this year. And these are films that I watched in the theater or at home and that don’t necessarily come out this year, but I did see this year. And I’m sure I’ll get a lot of criticism for my list, but hey this is my list, not yours. You can have your own. But my lists tend to be different than most people’s as you can tell from my previous lists HERE. So without any further delay, below is my TOP 20 films for 2012.
20) PROMETHEUS (Read Review Here)
Overall, this is one hell of a sci-fi film, even with it’s major flaws in the story and characters, ’Prometheus’ has brought back the sci-fi genre in a big way. I’m already looking forward Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ sequel. If you have been craving a great sci-fi flick, one that will bring your nostalgia and memories back from the late 70′s and early 80′s, then see ‘Prometheus’.
19) COMPLIANCE (Read Review Here)
Compliance is not for everyone. I have no doubt that if I showed this film to friends, there would be a coup ending with some people storming out of my home. It is hard to watch in certain moments, even though Zobel uses caution and a certain type of grace during the more disturbing scenes.The one thing I can promise is that you will be thinking about Compliance for days after viewing. Whether you think it is good or bad–it will haunt you.
18) RUBY SPARKS (Read Review Here)
‘Ruby Saprks’ is a great follow up film from the directors of ‘Little miss Sunshine’ that is an adventure of a writer and his creative process which comes to life…literally. Zoe Kazan wrote an exceptionally great script, and with the help of directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, ‘Ruby Sparks’ hits every beat. I’m sure you have seen similar stories to this one, but you haven’t seen one this good or this charming. You’ll be coming back for more with ‘Ruby Sparks’.
‘Flight‘ is a huge and very warm welcome back for director Robert Zemeckis, who for more than a decade now has been making animated motion capture films including ‘A Christmas Carol‘ and ‘The Polar Express‘. With ‘Flight‘, he is back where he belongs, with big stars and big set pieces. I’ve really missed Zemeckis’s work over the last decade in the live action arena. Zemeckis directed the ‘Back to the Future‘ films and ‘Forest Gump‘ to name a couple. And now, with ‘Flight‘, Zemeckis has proven that he has not lost his touch in any way as this film provides amazing and heartfelt characters, one of the most thrilling plane crashes ever filmed, and beautiful photography.
16) SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Read Review Here)
‘Seeking A Friend For The End of the World’ asks that age old question, “If you knew the world was going to end in a matter of a few days, what would you do?”. In this case, we instantly learn that a large asteroid will be hitting Earth and that the last ditch effort to save Earth has failed. It’s game over, folks. That’s how we meet Dodge (Steve Carrell), who hears the tragic news on his car radio. This is an unique take on romantic comedies that is as sweet and fulfilling as chocolate cream pie.
I missed this in the theaters, however I did catch on blu-ray and I was all about it. This was such an unique and original story of some of our worst nightmares. Yes, it is a familiar set up with a bunch of young twenty somethings heading to a cabin in the woods, and each person dies a horrible death one-by-one, but the execution and reasoning for this happening was something spectacular. ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ will forever have a special place in my heart, as horror films are my cup of tea, and this might be one of the holy grails of that genre.
14) SKYFALL (Read Review Here)
It’s hard to believe that the James Bond series is 50 years old now. Don’t let the age fool you, because with the latest installment of Bond, ‘Skyfall’ might just be the best one yet. Action-packed with giant set pieces, bits of humor, one of the best villains in Bond history, and one hell of an homage to the original Bond should make ’Skyfall’ and instant classic and fan favorite of the 007 franchise. ‘Skyfall’ is my favorite Bond film to date. Everything about is done so well. Thomas Newman’s score is also incredible as it fits every scenario and blends in well with the iconic 007 theme. And Craig himself was born to play Bond. He just owns this role and hope he commits to Bond for a few more films.
13) LOOPER (Read Review Here)
Science Fiction is back in a big way. With the recent ‘Prometheus’ film, ‘John Carter’, ‘MIB3′, and ‘The Hunger Games’, audiences are proving they are ready for a huge sci-fi kick in theaters. Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ is one of the better sci-fi films to come out this year, if not the best so far. ’Looper’ is a highly entertaining thrill ride that combines time travel, telekinesis, and realistic future world. I was very happy to see that Johnson got the sci-fi genre right, and it left me wanting more.
Paul Thomas Anderson has knocked it out of the park yet again, with his masterfully crafted film, ‘The Master’. I have no doubt people will be talking about this movie for weeks or even months to come. ’The Master’ is such a complex movie with tons of smart and clever parts to it, that I can’t wait to watch it several more times to catch everything. It’s a beautiful film inside and out. This might be one of Anderson’s best shot films. And the acting is some of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
11) ARGO (Read Review Here)
‘Argo’ is a great film, one you’ll want to see in theaters and own on home video. The acting is great and the script is phenomenal. I hope this receives and Oscar nod for writing. If this is a sign of what Affleck is capable of, then bring it on Ben. I want more. Not only is ‘Argo’ a great film, it has a smart script, good acting, clever humor in a serious and tragic situation, and impeccable period detail that rivals AMC’s ‘Mad Men’.
10) THE AVENGERS (Read Review Here)
The final 40 minute fight scene is epic on a level that you can’t begin to imagine. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Avengers is definitely the most fun at a super-hero film you will have thus far. It’s an incredible film too. It’s got the wit, the character development, the intelligence, the dramatic tenstion, enough action sequences to last two films, and the best special effects I have ever seen. Joss Whedon’s Avengers is what every comic book geek and action film fanatic has dreamed of since they were a little kid. Not only was it one of the most epic films ever shot on film, but Whedon used his wit and unique story telling to weave these iconic characters into a team that destroys evil.
9) MOONRISE KINGDOM (Read Review Here)
Wes Anderson is back to the live action format with his new quirky coming of age film, Moonrise Kingdom. I can always tell a Wes Anderson film from any other films. The camera angles, the oddball characters, the musical cues with the slow-motion action, and how every character puts their emotions on the frontline makes up the guts and glory of a Wes Anderson film. Some people might find all this obnoxious, but Moonrise Kingdom, with its two tween stars, everything seems to work flawlessly. Every scene and piece of dialogue is as important as the entire story, while the music and hidden gems are placed throughout the film perfectly. Moonrise Kingdom is an exquisitely sculpted film about an unconventional yet very charming and delightful love between two young teens. Moonrise Kingdom will have you begging for more and wanting to see it again and again for years to come.
8) MY WAY (Read Review Here)
Je-kyu Kang’s ’My Way’ is not just a film you watch, it’s a full emotional experience. ’My Way’ will take you on a moving journey through several countries and languages as you grown a bond with the two main characters. This is Korea’s most expensive film to date and you will immediately see that. ’My Way’ is epic on all levels. This is one of the better films I have seen in recent memory and most definitely the best film dealing with war-time since Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Although this is a brutal epic war film, the connection with the two characters and their trials and tribulations they go through in order to get home will fascinate you and really hit you on that emotional level of reuniting with a long lost best friend. The film itself is huge. It covers a large part of the globe during a very important and historic time. I wish I could buy a ticket for the world to see this film. It’s a milestone in filmmaking and monumental on every level.
7) THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (Read Review Here)
Zal Batmanglij’s ‘Sound of My Voice’ put a complete spell on me after only the first few minutes of watching. This is Batmanglij’s first feature film and is supposed to be the first of a planned trilogy. If this is what we can expect from Batmanglij and Brit Marling, then count me as a fan-for-life. Not in a long time has a film captivated me, leaving me wanting more so badly. ‘Sound of My Voice’ will definitely leave you sitting on the edge of your seat and wanting more!
6) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Read Review Here)
Christopher Nolan’s third and final installment of his Batman franchise ranks as the best film in the series. That’s difficult for me to say, as the first two films were so amazing. Even with Heath Ledger’s iconic and eternal role as the Joker in the previous film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ far surpasses anything my imagination could have hoped for in film. Movies do not get better than ’The Dark Knight Rises’. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is one of the better films I have had the pleasure to see. And I can safely say that Nolan’s Batman trilogy might be the best trilogy ever to come out. Each film is masterfully crafted to this final act. ’The Dark Knight Rises’ could compete with any film in any genre and could come out as the best.
5) CLOUD ATLAS (Read Review Here)
‘Cloud Atlas’ is not just a movie you view, it’s a full experience. Only a few films can hold that title of being an experience and not just a film we casually watch on a weekend. The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer did a flawless job in adapting David Mitchell’s novel to the big screen. I believe that ’Cloud Atlas’ is a milestone in filmmaking with superb acting, an original way to tell multiple stories, and some of the best editing I have ever seen. Not only is ’Cloud Atlas’ a visual experience, but it is a spiritual experience, at least to me it was. This 3 hour film is one of the better films of the past decade. ‘Cloud Atlas’ is an amazing film, one that will be discussed and talked about for years to come. This film is a true experience in art and filmmaking. I found myself really getting involved with the film, and I suggest you do that too. Tykwer and the Wachowski’s knocked it out of the park with ’Cloud Atlas’. It’s one film that will stay with me as I get older
I didn’t know what quite to expect from ‘Killer Joe’, but after watching it, I got more than I bargained for. ’Killer Joe’ was directed by William Friedkin who is most known for directing ‘The French Connection’, ‘The Exorcist’, and the recent film ‘Bug’. Friedkin has been out of the spotlight for some time now, but his return with ‘Killer Joe’, the 76 year old Oscar winning director proves he has not missed a step. There is a fine line with comedy and brutal violence which can be tricky for most people to accomplish, but with Friedkin and his cast of talent, they pull it off perfectly. ’Killer Joe’ is a wonderfully crafted film from top to bottom. There are some extremely rough patches to get through, but it ends with a powerful punch.
3) THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Read Review Here)
‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ is hands down one of my favorite films of the year. I haven’t seen such a genuine coming of age high school movie since the late John Hughes was making his films about being a teenager. Director and writer Stephen Chbosky hit a home run with ’The Perks of Being A Wallflower’. I haven’t fallen in love with characters like this since HBO’s ‘Six Feet Under’ was on television. I did not want ’The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ to end.
2) DJANGO UNCHAINED (Read Review Here)
I’m so glad I waited till I saw Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ to make my top 20 list of films of the year, heck, my top 5 list, because it definitely deserved a spot near the top. Tarantino’s journey into the western genre is smart, funny, and tells a great story of love and revenge, one of Tarantino’s best plot points. I cannot wait to see this movie again. Tarantino has not lost a beat in all of his years of filmmaking and still continues to impress with his brilliant dialogue, his witty jokes, and his ultra violent action scenes, which I might, this might be his bloodiest film yet, and that’s saying a lot. I didn’t want this to end, even with its 2 hour and 50 minute run time. This is my favorite Tarantino film to ‘Pulp Fiction’. It hits all the right chords and never lets up. Tarantino has made one hell of a film without any special effects, cgi, 3D, or digital filmmaking.
1) BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Read Review Here)
Beasts of the Southern Wild is no doubt in my top-10 list for best films of 2012. I know most of you haven’t heard of this film, but rest assured, once you see this film – and I urge you to see this film as fast you can- you will not forget it. Beasts of the Southern Wild is Benh Zeithlin’s feature-length directorial debut, and even though he is only 29 years old, he has a poetic vision that is on par with Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick. Zeithlin’s attention to detail allows the movie to successfully portray backwater Louisiana, magical realism, and a culture’s determination and strength. It is unlike anything I have seen. Not only is this film entertaining, smart, and creative, it is also important in that it shows a very realistic portrayal of some of the poorest people in present day America as they struggle to survive disasters both man-made and natural. This is what every indie filmmaker should strive for. I have no doubt that Beasts of the Southern Wild will go on to win more awards in addition to the awards it has already won at Cannes. It’s a visually stunning and meaningful film, and it has some of the best acting I have seen in recent memory. If Beasts of the Southern Wild is playing near you this summer, I beg you, go see this film. It’s a milestone in filmmaking and it will haunt you for a long time thereafter. It’s simply breathtaking.