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Back despite popular demand, here’s my running best-of-2012 list in FILM* (based on release dates in 2012 & 250 votes, per IMDB)
*that I have seen
In rough order of quality:
- John Carter - fun, epic, interesting art design, nice action and just very hard to identify anything wrong with it. Just about the best adaptation of goofy pulp 100-year-old pre-Space Age sci fi stories conceivable. Shame it was such a financial flop (especially since this will be interpreted by most to mean the movie was bad, which it is certainly not) and that the series won’t continue, but probably inevitable given the goofiness.
- The Avengers - fun and well executed, a little forgettable. I am a little bit tired of that Iron Man guy.
- 21 Jump Street – insane and surreal, which was really the only sane approach to doing something as retarded as making a 21 Jump Street movie
- Chronicle – superhero as metaphor for teen angst found-footage thing that has some very good scenes and hits all the right notes.
- Act Of Valor - No story, no actors, it’s about guys whose job is to kill other guys as I recall. ‘Realistic’ in a way we never see, which is valuable and weird. (Most of the time we like our ‘realism’ much more fake.) In other words: AWESOME
- Prometheus – ‘good’, but beautiful visuals and stupid hifalutin concepts hastily overlaid onto a horror franchise doesn’t add up to a classic. Basically it’s as if 2001, Alien, Mission To Mars, Moon, The Abyss, The X Files and about a zillion other movies were thrown in a blender. There is just nothing new in it. You can totally just never see it and your life will be none the worse.
- The Hunger Games – fascinating pop document. Worth watching if only for the surreal costume design and the heightened melodramatic allegorical depiction of teenage emotions/dilemmas/problems. Found it hard to suppress the unintentional laughs at the Seriousness of it all.
- Get The Gringo – vicious, but better-than-expected Mel Gibson vehicle is a welcome return to (more or less) his Payback character
- Mirror Mirror – Tarsem Singh, ‘visuals’, ‘use of color’, palette, bla bla. Actually I kinda don’t remember this one. Was this even the Snow White movie I saw, or was it that other one? It was ok. Will say that portrayal of 7 dwarves as forest bandits on stilts was inspired choice. Julia Roberts is also good (!).
- Lockout – silly B level pseudo sci fi action thing elevated to like a whole new weird level by giving Guy Pearce a ridiculously dry and absurd one-liner pretty much every 30 seconds. Could make for a good drinking game
- The Tall Man – better than it has any right to be for a Jessica Biel ‘creepy’ trick/twist-story. The plot of Gone Baby Gone told from reverse…by, like, Dean Koontz. Definitely worth seeing for $0 (e.g. Netflix streaming) as the price is right, otherwise pass.
- The Lorax - not great, but changes/extrapolations from dull/preachy book are mostly an improvement; focus on Once-ler’s origin was the right choice. Better than average musical score and vocals for this sort of thing.
- ParaNorman - decent stop-motion thing bogged down by boring PC stuff about ‘acceptance of others’ we’ve seen a zillion times. Like Coraline, aesthetics is trapped in late ’80s proto-goth Winona Ryder worship for some reason.
- Iron Sky - really wish this was better. Was hoping for something akin to Sky Captain with Nazis and spaceships, but it’s more like a made-for-Sci Fi Channel C movie with almost-instantly-dated and lame ‘political satire’ humor, only punching above its weight a little due to competent CGI
- The Dictator - not a good movie. One of those comedies where all the laughs are in the trailer. And one of those ‘daring’, ‘no-holds-barred’, ‘not-afraid-to-offend-anyone’ satires that (aside from scatological jokes) is actually timid and super-PC at its core. Baron-Cohen is morphing into Adam Sandler.
As you can see from the above list, I apparently have the cinematic tastes of a 14 year old. I can’t believe how few 2012 films for/about grownups I’ve actually seen. This year it’s like the worst percentage ever. But, IMDB does not lie.
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