Friday, January 4, 2013

Best Discoveries of 2012

Title speaks for itself. These are my favorite 2012 movies. I was originally going to include movies released in previous years but first seen in 2012, then realized that doing so would spoil a great portion of my Favorite Movies list. I guess what I'm trying to say is sorry Solaris. Oops.

Lawless (John Hillcoat)
Squeal like a pig.
A seedy film with great actors in it. At some point in the film, my friends and I started a little drinking game every time Tom Hardy's character failed to die. Thank God, it was Pepsi. Also, there's Guy Pearce in it. Roger Ebert once said about M. Emmet Walsh and Harry Dean Stanton that any movies featuring the two could not altogether be bad. To me, the same can be said about Pearce.

The Avengers (Joss Whedon)
Being one of the Iron Man movies' main detractors, I did not expect to like this as much as I did. But I did. I really did. Truthfully, I could care less about some of the main characters (Hawkeye and Captain America), but the others more than made up for it. The movie is filled with an absurdist brand of humor, which elicited actual laughs and giggles out of me. Everybody should just bow before Loki.

The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb)

Another superhero movie and I loved it! Either I'm becoming less of a snob, as my friends usually dub me, or movies did indeed step up their games in the last year, right down to the teenage-aged ones. This movie had a slight element of mystery, but mainly focused on the action and humor aspects (thus dodging a major bullet and not falling flat on its face). It did a great a job of handling them. No dragged out romance for the sake of a sequel (good), Spidey was wisecracking and somebody I could actually root for not because of his story but because of his personality (check). I maintain that this film is better than the original Spiderman, although I doubt that it or the sequel can ever top Spiderman 2. It remains to be seen.

21 Jump Street (Phil Lord, Chris Miller)
Too school for cool
2012 was a really juvenile year for me movie-watching wise, okay? I loved 21 Jump Street. It goes in the same veins of movies I expected not to like, but ended up loving. I should to get rid of my preconceived notions, but tbh I wouldn't have seen a great many of my favorite movies if I did. But 21 Jump Street challenges that shallow outlook.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
This movie has such beautiful composition
It's Wes Anderson. That's all there needs to be said.

Earrings (Alex Withrow)
In Love With Catherine Warner's face
I don't remember who compared this film to Shame, but they were spot on. There is a sort of quiet desperation in the main character that (aided by a wonderful soundtrack, subtle but strong acting chops, and sleek direction) continues to escalate throughout the movie, leaving the viewers on edge. I still say that this film has the best ending of any movies seen last year.

Chronicle (Josh Trank)

Now, this movie is near average. But what makes it one of my favorites is the relationship between the main characters, and the questions it indirectly poses.

The Raid: Redemption (Gareth Evans)
At the same damn time
This movie is BAMFs on BAMFs beating the living hell out of each other. I was thoroughly entertained throughout and was left squirming in my seat.

Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
Sweet serial killer
As soon as I saw the opening scene, I knew that I was in for something great. With my friends sitting beside me at the theater and each of us laughing our hearts out, this was no doubt the funnest movie watching experience of last year.

The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan)
Didn't like Batman Begins, loved The Dark Knight, and loved this one as well. It was flawed, but I enjoyed
every single minute of it.

Compliance (Craig Zobel)

That this story is based on real events is all the more disconcerting. But the realistic way in which the director conveys the film and the solid performances from the entire cast make it so much more special, sad and scary. It included the viewers as first-hand witnesses/peeping toms in the denouement of a repulsive act or acts.

Looper (Rian Johnson)
This, to me, is the best film of 2012. I'm pretty sure I had a :O face all while watching it (definitely wasn't the chili cheese dog). This movie is so perf, I can't. The second half, while noticeably weaker than the first, still remains strong and manages to deliver a remarkable ending that makes it all worthwhile.

Other Movies I Liked: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Men In Black 3, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bernie, Cabin In The Woods, The Hunger Games, Project X, Queen Of Versailles, Killing Them Softly (due for a rewatch)

2012 Movies On My Watchlist: Prometheus, The Master (it will be my second Anderson feature, don't judge me), Lincoln, The Impossible, Cloud Atlas, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained

Movies I Might See: Argo, Killer Joe, Pitch Perfect, Bachelorette (only because of Kiki), A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina (the trailer had far too many lip pursing)

Movies I Have No Intention On Seeing: This Is 40,  The Hobbit, Rust And Bone (phobia of whales, etc), Sparkle, Odd Life Of Timothy Green, Savages, Magic Mike, Madea's Witness Protection, That's My Boy

Movies That Induced A Face Palm: American Reunion, Think Like A Man, Ted, Holy Motors (gave up on this one 30 minutes in, not sure whether to give it another chance)


  1. Wait. What the hell. Holy shit man, I'm totally speechless. I can't even articulate my appreciation for your three extremely kind sentences about Earrings.

    I woke up in a good mood today, loved watching the Oscar nominations, and then I see this. I mean... wow. First of all, Shame is a masterpiece that I love, and to be mentioned in the same breath as it is just remarkable. And the fact that you liked the ending to the film so much is just so affirming for me.

    The thing I got the most shit for with that movie was the lack of clarity in the ending. It's funny, Catherine and I always thought our intentions were obvious while we were filming. But when the movie came out, everyone had a different interpretation of the ending, which I did not expect at all, but thought was a cool thing. It appears many people do not like ambiguity in their films. But oh well. The movie was made for people like you, plain and simple.

    Thank you so much for this post, I will bookmark it and cherish it always.

    1. You're welcome, man. The ending was ambiguous and, for the emotional build-up of the film, it was a fantastic choice from you. It's an indication of great things to come.

  2. Thanks for this review. I loved Earrings too, thanks for highlighting Alex Withrow's latest. You've added more films to my MUST-WATCH list for 2013.

    1. I'm glad to hear that you will be checking out some of these films! I, too, am a bit behind in 2012 releases.