Last year, I decided to make a top 10 best films list. Since it was my first time, I was mildly careless and accidentally put “Breaking Dawn: Part 1” on my list when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was meant to be there. It’s been a year now, and I will not make a mistake so damaging to my masculinity this year. Here are, in my opinion, the films of 2012, in nor particular order: “The Hunger Games”: Who would’ve thunk that a movie with a plotline evolving around teens massacring each other would be such a major success? I certainly didn’t, at least before I saw it. I hadn’t read the book on this movie when I saw it, but I was still exponentially impressed with the unique storyline and engaging characters. It’s definitely worth a look. However, it is violent, so if you are squeamish, try some of the other movies on the list.
“SkyFall”: The only James Bond film I had ever seen was “GoldenEye”, with Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was fantastic at playing the sexy ladies’ man side of Bond, but was absolutely terrible at shooting a gun. The current Bond, Daniel Craig, embodies just what my version of Bond would be: suave, dangerous, and he looks awesome shooting a gun. If you are a fan of James Bond, or if you just love action movies, then “SkyFall” will entertain you.
“Lincoln”: This is not a movie, but rather an engrossing look at what happened behind closed doors to get the 13th amendment passed. Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Lincoln with perfection, he isn’t playing the man, he IS him. That is just how great the movie is. You’ve seen the actors from other movies, but you forget that as the action unfolds on the screen. Sally Field plays his wife Mary, and Tommy Lee Jones delivers, in my opinion, his best performance as Thaddeus Stevens, a politician who believes in Lincoln’s amendment. If you are tired of seeing violent movies filled to the brim with profanity, then I tell you to go see “Lincoln” for a break from all that.
“The Dark Knight Rises”: First off, I gave this movie three and a half stars, but it still lingers in my memory as one of the best endings to a movie trilogy. The action is very well done, but what differentiates this film from its predecessor is the amount of time it spends on Bruce Wayne instead of Batman. Director Christopher Nolan has taken the Batman story and made more about Bruce Wayne then about the action, and that’s something I respect. Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins the cast along with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and the very scary Tom Hardy as Bane.
“ParaNorman”: If you remember, Laika Entertainment brought us the extremely creepy, yet thought-provoking animated gem called “Coraline”. It was released to very positive reviews citing the animation and visual style as well as the deep story for an animated movie. This year, Laika decided to go a little lighter and be a bit more comical with “ParaNorman”, a very hilarious (yet quite scary) horror-comedy. This film is more kid-friendly then “Coraline”: it possesses a very humorous side to go along with the horror element, something “Coraline” definitely did not. I sincerely recommend this movie if you or your child is into ghosts, zombies, or anything having to do with the supernatural.
“The Avengers”: Okay, this is probably on most critics’ best of the year list, but I have my own reasons. This movie is probably the best thing to come out of Marvel’s doors since “Spider-Man” ten years ago. It has everything that a moviegoer could want: action, comedy, drama, you name it, it’s in here. The chemistry between the actors is also quite amazing, especially between Mark Ruffalo (Replacing Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk) and Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man). These two had worked together on “Zodiac”, so they must have retained some of that chemistry. Another wonderful thing about this movie is that it’s not about one of the avengers; it’s about all of them. It could be a sequel to “Thor”, “Captain America”, “Iron Man 2”, or “The Incredible Hulk”. The first three listed have sequels in development as I type, but the Hulk is still being considered with Ruffalo contractually bound to play the character for any and all sequels to the Hulk or Avengers movies.
“We Need To Talk About Kevin”: This was one of the creepier movies of 2012. The titular character inspires fear in the viewer not unlike Hannibal Lecter or Bane. It is a slow, but glorious piece of art that earned lots of award buzz and critical praise. The director relies mostly on psychological terror rather than outright violence to disturb us, something a lot of horror films would gain from. This is a combination of genres: it’s a psychological horror thriller film that still has enough moxy to stick in a hefty amount of human drama. It is not recommended for anyone squeamish or hates the color red.
“Act of Valor”: “AOV” is a film that seriously rocked my world about exactly what Special Forces guys do. It’s an in-depth look at the different things the brave men do to protect our country. It was critically bombed, but then again Hollywood doesn’t like realism in its action movies very much anymore. It all has to be like a “Transformers” movie or “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, or everyone hates it. The actors in this film were actual Special Forces guys, so the acting wasn’t award-winning. I don’t think the filmmakers were going for award nominations with this; all they were trying to do was wake people up to the horrors of what happens to protect our country.
“Ted”: I know you must be thinking “Why is ‘Ted’ on the Best of the Year list”? “Ted” is not one of the best movies of the year, but it’s by far one of the funniest comedies to hit theaters this year. Since it’s written, directed by, and stars the guy who created “Family Guy”, I saw it with my best friend, who loves “Family Guy”, so that I could see it without it being awkward. This did NOT look like your mother’s comedy. I told him to keep me in my chair for the duration of the film, which he agreed to do. Luckily, the vulgar humor kept me laughing about 90% of the time, so he didn’t have to force me to stay. Mark Wahlberg is great as always and Mila Kunis is well, Mila Kunis: Very good-looking and she can actually act, a rare combination in Hollywood these days. DO NOT SEE THIS IF YOU ARE OFFENEDED BY VULGAR HUMOR! YOU WILL REGRET IT!
“Pitch Perfect”: I just recommended a vulgar, guy comedy, so I’m going to end with a sweeter one that will appeal to both males and females. “Pitch Perfect” looks and sounds like “Glee: The Movie” on steroids, but the songs are used to move the plot forward instead of random events that hinder the main storyline. It’s uproariously funny with a great message about teamwork mixed in. Anna Kendrick (“Twilight”, “50/50”) stars.
Well, that’s my best of 2012 list. I am only going to write one column a month from now on, until I graduate high school in May. I will then have to begin the journey that is college, and that means that instead of writing movie reviews, I’ll be writing term papers. Thanks for reading my reviews. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing them.