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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Best Films Of 2012

20) The Hunger Games
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, & Woody Harrelson

Brief Description: Anything that stars my girl Jennifer Lawrence is bound to be good and even though the violence is toned down for teenie-boppers, The Hunger Games was still a very enjoyable flick.
19) Bernie
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, & Matthew McConaughey

Brief Description: Jack Black gives the best performance of his career as the titular character who is accused of murdering his friend/the town bitch played by MacLaine. It makes for a great rental (currently streaming on Netflix).

18) The Amazing Spider-Man
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: James Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, & Dennis Leary

Brief Description: Despite the fact that Raimi's Spider-Man came out only a decade ago and despite the fact that Andrew Garfield is too good looking and charming to play a convincing Peter Parker, I thoroughly enjoyed this re-boot. Plus, anything with Emma Stone in it is worth watching!

17) This Is 40
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, & Albert Brooks

Brief Description: This Is 40 Minutes Way Too Long was still an enjoyable film despite the obvious edits Apatow could have made. Despite Mann's and Rudd's characters not being relatable to me, the characters felt honest and true which I loved and respected. Plus, I was laughing throughout the entire thing which is always a good thing for a comedy.

16) Zero Dark Thirty
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Katheryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, & Kyle Chandler

Brief Description: Maybe it was because I came into the film with too high expectations but I wasn't THAT overly impressed with ZDT. This was a thriller that didn't thrill and a character piece about a woman who I knew nothing about besides her obsession with catching Bin Laden. From an emotional standpoint, I wasn't really thrilled nor entertained and most of the time I wished I was watching Homeland or Argo instead. However, the entire ending sequence was spectacular and saved the film for me.

15) 21 Jump Street
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, & Rob Riggle

Brief Description: Easily the best Channing Tatum film of the year (I mean, he WAS more charismatic and funnier than Jonah Hill) as this film found a way to be good and entertaining by not taking itself too seriously. Also, I like how Hill lost 60 pounds before this role and still ended up being the fat guy (Although, he WAS standing next to Tatum the entire time)

14) Celeste and Jesse Forever
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, & Ari Graynor

Brief Description: Celeste (played by Jones who also co-wrote the film) struggles to deal with the fact that her longtime childhood friend and ex-boyfriend Jesse (Samberg) is having a baby with another woman. Another great hidden gem of 2012 and just a great character piece and performance by Jones.
13) The Cabin In The Woods
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, & Bradley Whitford

Brief Description: A fun, campy, and extremely meta movie about all horror films. The less you know going into it the better.
12) Skyfall
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Sam Mendez

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judy Dench, Javier Bardem, & Ralph Fiennes

Brief Description: Die hard Bond fans need to relax about this film and actually judge it on its own merits as a stand alone film- which is that it is very good but not even close to the extreme love it's getting by the internet. Casino Royale is still the best Craig Bond film, but Mendes' great vision to this franchise along with another incredible performance by Javier Bardem makes Skyfall a superb movie.

11) Chronicle
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, & Michael B. Jordan

Brief Description: A superhero film but done using the found footage style. A great slow build to what crates a (super) villain and what a hero must do to stop him. You can't help but feel for the main character (played by DeHaan) despite the awful things he ends up doing.

10) Premium Rush
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: David Koepp
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, & Dania Ramirez

Brief Description: Joseph Gordon-Levitt can do no wrong and this action packed thrill ride is no exception. Most really good action films hinges upon the villain and you can find no better actor to play a villain than the great Michael Shannon who delivers another outstanding performance.

9) The Master
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, & Amy Adams

Brief Description: The fact that no one can explain what this film is really about or what P.T. Anderson is trying to say is disturbing (which also makes Sight and Sound pretentious as hell) but The Master features some of the best acting of the year and some scenes that will stick with you and that I will never forget.

8) The Dark Knight Rises
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, & Anne Hathaway

Brief Description: It is a great ending to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy as a whole but it doesn't hold up as a stand alone film due to the glaring and unforgivable plot holes. Don't believe me? Read this amazing Cracked article which I promise will change your mind.

7) Django Unchained
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, & Kerry Washington

Brief Description: I put this as Tarantino's 4th best film behind Basterds, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs because I didn't feel the same emotional connection to Django as I did to those other three. However, this fairly straight forward story (especially for Tarantino's standards) is still fun and violent as only Tarantino can do.

6) Seven Psychopaths
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, & Woody Harrelson

Brief Description: A meta film about action movies and the genre in general, McDonagh again utilizes Colin Farrell perfectly to make for an enjoyable and fun movie. Sam Rockwell is great and a delight in this movie like he is in all of his films.

5) Life Of Pi
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, & a CGI Tiger

Brief Description: The cinematography is gorgeous (easily the best of the year) and Ang Lee does an amazing job making the story of an Indian boy named Pi who is alone on a raft entertaining, wonderful, and thought-provoking.

4) Silver Linings Playbook
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, & Robert De Niro

Brief Description: Bradley Cooper gives the best performance of his career (and one of the best of the year) as he plays a bi-polar man prone to violent outbursts who is struggling to keep his disease under control. Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro are also amazing in this film as they help him cope with his illness.

3) Argo
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, & Bryan Cranston

Brief Description: The second half of Argo alone is some of the best film making you will see in 2012 and Ben Affleck directs the hell out of this film. His Oscar snub for Best Director is a downright atrocity. Affleck plays a CIA operative who has to get American hostages out of Iran and it is gripping from start to finish with absolutely no fat or fillers along the way.

2) Wreck-It Ralph
STARS: 4 out of 4
Directed By: Rich Moore
Voices Of: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, & Jane Lynch

Brief Description: Surprisingly, Sarah Silverman brings this amazing film into the elite stratosphere. Wreck-It Ralph (Reilly) is an arcade bad guy who copes with being the "bad guy" all the time so he goes off into different video games to become the hero he desperately wants to be. Move over Pixar, there's a new Sheriff in town.
1) Looper
STARS: 4 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, & Jeff Daniels

Brief Description: An inventive and original film and really the only film of the year that made me want to scream "fuck yes, this is the best film of the 2012." (For comparison, two films made me do that in 2010- Inception and The Social Network- and only Drive made me do that in 2011.) Rian Johnson easily overcomes any hurdles that come with time travel films and creates a film that is both a science fiction and a western and overall just amazing. Of course there is great acting by everyone you would expect (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt) but there is the cutest little boy in Looper played by Pierce Gagnon who also gives an amazing performance. Everything about this film is incredible: from the script, to Johnson's visual style, to even the subtle yet great make up Gordon-Levitt wears to make him look like Bruce Willis, Looper is hands down my top pick for the best film of 2012.


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