Yes I know that I already listed #13 in my last post, but I split #12. It's my list nd I can do with it as I want! :)
Top Ranked- these are the films which I enjoyed the most this year-
12 & 12 1/2- 21 Jump Street & The Raid Redemption- While trying to decide between these 2 films, I decided to just split the difference. Both of these films are examples of the films being much more fun and better than they have any right to be. The Raid is the most action packed, intense big dumb action movie of the year with amazing stunts and martial arts action to match any film you can think of while 21 Jump Street is a big dumb comedy that just makes you laugh- hard. Very enjoyable in their own ways.
11- Hunger Games- I have not read the books but was very impressed by this film. As great and as tight as it was, it was Jennifer Lawrence who grounded this film and made it interesting and fascinating to watch. Without her, I think the great performances by Sutherland, Harrelson, Kravitz, Tucci, and others would have been lost in a mess of a film. Looking forward to the next one.
10- End of Watch- One of the hardest films that I have ever watched. My father started his life as a policeman as an Ogden City Policeman. While the events in the film were not exact to events he was involved with, the feeling was exactly spot-on from the stories he told me. The relationship with the partners is something that I saw and rang very true. While the “self filmed” style didn’t work a time or two, it was more than compensated for, in what I brought to the theater, the relationship between Gyllenhaal and Pena and their families and the situations in which they found themselves.
9- Pitch Perfect- I have written a full review elsewhere on my blog about this, but, to quickly review: Kendrick, laughs, great music, different types of humor and I had a great time each of the 3 times that I saw it.
8- Paranorman- I am a huge fan of stop motion animation. This film roped me in with its amazing animation, quirky sense of humor, great characterizations, and a plot that touched me. I loved it every step of the way.
7- Dark Knight Rises- I am just as shocked as anyone that this is as low on the list as it is. A great ending to a fabulous trilogy with amazing acting turns by everyone from Bale to Hathaway to Hardy to Oldman to Caine to Leavitt to Freeman. As with Paranorman, I was with it every step of the way and entranced by the sights of Gotham City destroying itself.
6- Cabin in the Woods- While I enjoy horror films, generally they do not show up in my favorites of all time lists. This one is different because it is every bit the cliché while stepping outside of its clichés to bring a fresh view of horror movies to its audience. It was written by Joss Whedon who subverts the clichés at every turn. If you have ever liked a horror film, trust me and see this one. I will not describe it any further to keep the surprises and twists for those who have yet to see it. Am I still on speaker phone????
5- Bernie- My mouth was agape during most of the runtime of this film, not quite believing what I was watching. It is filmed in documentary style with some of the real life people who lived in the town where the true events occurred discussing their feelings of the events and people involved. Add in actors portraying some of the townsfolk (such as Matthew Mccaugnahey as the attorney prosecuting the case) and Jack Black and Shirley McLaine portraying the two main characters in reenactments of the events. Then, mix in one of the strangest true-life crimes and you come up with this winning film experience unlike any other this year. I saw it twice in the theaters and twice on video so far and it will be going into my constant rotation of films to watch.
4- Looper- A time travel, sci-fi mobster movie that stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon Leavitt, Jeff Daniels, and Emily Blunt directed by Rian Johnson (director of ‘Brick’ and ‘Brothers Bloom’, both of which almost worked). This one knocks it out of the park. Leavitt plays a ‘Looper’ who kills people who are sent back in time by the mob of the future so that the bodies can be destroyed before they are even born. When Leavitt does not kill a potential victim (once he realizes that it is himself 30 years older), he goes after himself. There is much more to the storyline, but again, the surprise is watching it unfold. Blunt plays a very important character as well. The only small issue that I had was a small twist involving a character played by Piper Perabo, which could have been a major twist but downplayed. A very happy surprise of the year!
3- Avengers- Joss Whedon did what many naysayers said he could not do- create a multi-character superhero film out of disparate elements from 5 previous films to create something stronger than the sum of its parts. And it worked! Equal parts action, drama, comedy, with surprising turns by most of the cast kept this one plowing through the summer box office from its release on May 3rd all the way until Labor Day. A winner in all areas- this is what a summer blockbuster can be!
2- Skyfall- An excellent film in its own right, let alone, the fact that it is a James Bond film! Like The Avengers, it takes the best parts of the previous Bond films, adds an amazing cast led by Daniel Craig as Bond and Judi Dench as M, blends it with the snazzy cinematography of Roger Deakins and the assured direction of Sam Mendes, and creates a film to rival Casino Royale from several years ago and starts the Bond franchise again in style after a 4 year hiatus due to MGM’s bankruptcy. Welcome back, 007!
1-Argo- a film which takes a stranger than fiction true story, great acting and directing from ben Affleck, a mix of drama, politics, comedy, suspense and action and turns it into a white knuckle thrill ride. While any of the top 7 films could have occupied this spot, this is the one which truly knocked my socks off this year. While I was expecting great things from Whedon, and Nolan, and hoping Johnson could finally take a film of his to the finish line, and loving Bond since I was a kid especially now with Craig, Argo was the one film that I was excited to see but not sure if it would work at all and was surprised that I liked it as much as I did.