Friday, January 18, 2013

Top Five: Favorite Movies of 2012

Obviously I've been a bit slow this year with my year-end listing, but well the past few months have been kind of shitty, and the whole year sort of feels like a loss since I spent most of it super stressed from my first year of grad school. I've missed a lot of 2012 releases but I've been trying to make up for it this month, and while there are still a couple I'm missing (most notably Holy Motors and Cosmopolis), I feel like I can do some sort of list for myself, as has become my custom. I think I've said it before but just to reiterate, I'm never a person to declare something "best", I think all taste is subjective so all I can do is list my personal favorites- movies I want to watch again and again, ones that affected me on an emotional level, and ones I found most memorable. For this reason my lists typically don't have the prestige-type films that I often see on other lists, but hey, I haven't seen most of them this year anyway!

Overall I didn't watch as many movies as last year, and generally fell off in blogging due to school and personal issues. But maybe this year will suck less. WHO KNOWS. At least I made a lot of pretty artwork in 2012. Oh yes. Anyway, list is below, all titles link to my original reviews, some of which are at 366 Weird Movies so don't be confused. There were some pretty good movies this year, as usual, but I was most excited about all the great animated fare.

The Avengers
The most fun I had at the movies in a good long while, I saw this 3 times in a theater, which is rare for me. It's just everything I want in a superhero movie- exciting, action-packed, funny, and perfectly character-driven. AND THERE'S A KICKASS LADY WHAAAAT. OH WAIT TWO OF THEM. And everyone is perfect, basically. I know it's not actually breaking the mold of a typical superhero flick, but it definitely stretched it. And gosh darn it's just so FUN, I wanted to instantly re-watch it the second it was over. Certainly the mark of a successful movie?

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beautiful, dreamlike visuals, an effective musical score, inventive storytelling, and a truly impressive performance by young star Quvenzhané Wallis; I consider this film a memorable and unique experience. It's definitely an interesting step for fantasy/science-fiction filmmaking, and I really hope Wallis has a long career ahead of her (unless she decides to become a dentist, which I believe is her goal).

For a Good Time, Call…
I feel like this is the main one that won't be on many other End-of-Year lists, but I just really loved it. It's light-hearted and really funny, and left me with a huge smile on my face and a hankering for girl bands. The parodying of romantic comedies through the framework of a female friendship is strangely brilliant, and the two leads are super charming. Plus it's raunchy but not in a self-satisfied way, you know?

Dude. Gina Carano. The most kickass lady I've ever seen, probably? This movie is so rad, it's just all fighting and running and spy mysteries and an unknown Carano kicking the shit out of all these attractive Hollywood hunks. It's a solid action/thriller without being too stupid. I loved it! Thanks Steven Soderbergh!

This is the main movie I've found myself recommending to people this year, because I think that on the surface it does not look as amazing as it truly is. This is not some Tim Burton knockoff, this is a superbly animated, surprisingly progressive family-friendly horror-comedy. I loved the Salem Witch Trial-inspired story, the seriously fantastic visuals, the horror movie references, and especially the deft handling of character- most of them are first presented as stiff stereotypes but their personalities are presented as layered and unexpected. It's just a great, great movie. And funny!

Honorable Mentions
Beauty is Embarrassing
Cabin in the Woods
Sound of Noise
The Pirates! Band of Misfits

And I need to give a special shout-out to Manborg, which was on my 2011 list because I saw it at Toronto After Dark and absolutely adored it, but it got more play in 2012 so I think some are considering it 2012? No matter its year, it's amazing and I just want to laud it some more. Laud laud laud.

Weirdest Movie: I'd probably say Beyond the Black Rainbow? Grungy 80s-style thriller with an ambiguous plot and super trippy imagery, plus a haunting synth soundtrack. Yeah. Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie must run a close second though.

Worst Movie: Hmm V/H/S, probably? It's an anthology, and I liked two of them but the others were all awful or just boring. Disappointments of 2012 (as in, movies I wanted to be better) include Lockout, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Expendables 2, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Some Numbers: 270 total movies seen. 156 new-to-me movies. 60 seen in a theater. 43 movies from 2012 as of this writing (meaning I saw a few in 2013). The first movie I watched was (appropriately) The Apartment and the last was Premium Rush.

See you later, 2012. I hope 2013 doesn't suck as much as you did. (Not in terms of movies, I mean IRL. Movies were pretty solid.)