Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2012

We’ve wrapped up another year which means it’s time to list off my favorite films of 2012. This was a great year for movies as Hollywood churned out more well written and directed films than I remember them doing in recent history. Sadly I ended up missing a lot of key films that had a lot of buzz, as I often do, but more so than that because I crashed my car like a jerk I haven’t been able to get to the movies the last few days like I wanted to nor will I be able to go for some time (hence why this list is up a bit earlier this year). This is especially tragic because it means I won’t have a chance to see Django Unchained for a while, which really sucks because it’s already caused a lot of controversy while still being critically acclaimed.

Still, even though I missed out on Argo, Flight and Lincoln this year I still saw more than a few great flicks over the past twelve months. Also keep in mind that this IS NOT a list where me saying what the best movies of 2012 were (since I didn’t see every film and I’m probably not qualified to make that call even if I had) but rather MY PERSONAL favorite films that I saw. If you agree with these choices that’s cool but if you think I’m talking out of my ass that’s cool too. It’s all opinion. Feel free to post your list in the comment section.

Beta’s Top Ten Movies after the jump.

#10: Safety Not Guaranteed
I assume if this was reality the guy who wrote the ad would eat women
Adorable Panda Score: ??? (Temporary) 

Honestly this film made it on to this list by the skin of its teeth. Even so it’s a pretty damn fine film. Aubrey Plaza is gorgeous and possesses a great comedic timing but you don’t see her in any real starring roles, usually just supporting roles like the sarcastic deadpan girlfriend or the sarcastic deadpan college student. Here she’s the sarcastic deadpan intern….but at least she’s the star. It’s a fun film that wants to reinforce the lesson of “don’t judge a book by its cover” with some time travel jargon thrown in. I wasn’t able to see it in theaters but luckily caught it on DVD a few weeks ago. I’m glad I did.

#9: The Dark Knight Rises
Oh, it's a bat symbol. I thought it was a schooner
Adorable Panda Score:4 out of 5 (Review)

Let’s call a spade a spade: this flick was a disappointment. It had a fair share of plot holes, it was probably too dark, and Bane’s voice was easy to make fun of. However it was only disappointing in context to its amazing predecessor. On its own merit it’s one of the best movies of the year, no contest. It had great acting, an engrossing plot, and excellent direction from Christopher Nolan. The film was great and was a pretty good conclusion to Nolan’s vision of a “realistic” (coughcough) Batman. Oh, and by the way I for one enjoyed Bane’s voice.

#8: Chronicle
Yeah, that's what I would do if I had those powers
Adorable Panda Score: ??? (Temporary) 

When I first saw the (many, many) trailers for Chronicle I was unimpressed. A found footage style movie about a couple of asshole teenagers with super powers? Not exactly my cup of tea. What changed my mind was the film’s screenwriter Max LandisThe Death and Return of Superman short film on youtube which implied Landis to be both hugely nerdy and hilarious; my favorite combination. Sure enough Chronicle was a fantastic film, one of the few wholly good examples of the genre. It’s a realistic take on the situation and even tackles the idea what a greatly troubled teenager needs and what they absolutely do not need (Spoiler: they DO NOT need super powers). Great flick; I’m glad I changed my mind about seeing it.

#7: Dredd
Judgment is the bargain bin at local gas stations
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)

In the same vein as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (my pick for best movie of 2010) Dredd was a comic book based film that did pretty much everything right but bombed in the Box Office despite itself. If you missed out on seeing Dredd (which I am guessing most of you reading this did) you screwed the pooch because it was one of the best action films and comic book films of the year. Great action, great acting, brutal violence; this movie was everything the horrible 1995 Judge Dredd should have been. The worst part about this film is that, while it doesn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger or anything, it leaves the possibility for sequels strong and I was super jazzed about that because there was so much room for this world to be explored. Sadly America didn’t agree and it bombed so that will never happen. It goes to show that average movie goer hates things to be good and greatly prefers to watch shit and hot garbage.

#6: Skyfall he inside the gun barrel or what?
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)

When Casino Royale came out I was sure that it was not only the best James Bond movie ever made I highly doubted that they would ever surpass its quality. Quantum of Solace pretty much cemented it mindset. However Skyfall, which has recently surpassed the billion dollar mark at the Box Office, proved me dead wrong. It’s great not because it followed the same formula that Casino Royale did but because it went a completely different route that ended up working so much better. Probably the best action film of the year, if not of all time, and there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. It’s smarter than your average action film, it’s more emotional than your average action film and it’s better acted than the average action film. Skyfall is a winner.

#5: Wreck-It Ralph
Dude, Sonic the Hedgehog was in this for, like, twenty seconds
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 (Review)

I just wrote about this film just a few days so I really don’t have anything to add. Let me just say that Disney doesn’t usually strike gold with animation, at least not since the 90s, unless Pixar is doing the driving but the House That a Mouse Built hit it out of the ballpark with this one. A film that I would say is just as good as the likes of Wall-E, Up and The Incredibles and being way better than How to Train your Dragon (which I thought was slightly overrated anyway) Wreck-It Ralph is proof that this company is still able to tell great stories. Brave, despite not being bad, simply could not match up to this movie. Better luck next year, Pixar (Monsters University is next year so…yeah, good luck with that crap).

#4: The Avengers 
A tip for the sequel: more goddamn females!
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 (Reviews)

The best superhero movie ever made, in my opinion, The Avengers is the result of years of development and build-up done over years. The formula was so wildly successful, both critically and financially, that both Fox and Warner Bros. are planning to do the same type of shared universe with their superhero franchise (X-Men/Fantastic Four and Justice League respectively). This movie has its problems but at end of the day it’s an incredibly fun ride and its damn near impossible to dislike it. Hell, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man both suffer because they went the opposite route. We’re entering Round 2 of Marvel Studios master plan which will eventually lead to Avengers 2, which will likely feature Thanos as the villain. Sign me the f**k up!

#3: Looper 
Hey, that's my birthday!
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 Pandas (Reviews)

I suspected I’d enjoy this genre bending sci-fi thriller but I didn’t count on loving it with every fiber of my being. JGL starred in something like four movies this year but this was him at his best. Director Rian Johnson went to great lengths to make the best film he could and ultimately made one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It has great acting, great storytelling, great direction and really cool science fiction elements, including a few scenes that were very much in the vein of Akira. One of the biggest surprises of 2012 Looper is a film that if you haven’t already you NEED to watch ASAP.

#2: Les Misérables 
It's a movie based on a musical based on a musical based on a book
Adorable Panda Score: ??? (Temporary)

It hasn’t even been a full week since I saw this movie but even as I was watching the credits I knew this film would be incredibly high on this list. I had never seen the original play and I was ready to roll my eyes at all the theater nerds expressing their love for it. After all they also loved Rent and that play/movie can go to hell (watch the infinitely better Angels in America instead). However Le Mis lived up to the hype and more. This film was one of the most emotionally charged films I’ve ever seen. Hell, the last five minutes or so of the movie just had me openly weeping in the theater, through the credits, and afterwards in the lobby. Holy shit; even Pixar movies usually don’t get to me that much. I don’t want to get into too many details because I plan on doing a review in the near future (hopefully) but for now understand that Les Misérables is a simply amazing film, with amazing performances from a talented cast. Anne Hathaway will almost certainly get the Oscar nod with this one (F**k you everyone who said she can’t act).

#1: Moonrise Kingdom 
Seriously, what else could be #1?
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 (Review)

There were a lot of awesome movies this year, more than most years, but Moonrise Kingdom held its spot as my favorite movie ever since I saw it. No movie, even the awesomely directed Looper and insanely emotional Le Mis, could surpass it. It was such a sweet, well written film with a likeable quirky characters, clever dialogue and was an extremely unique film, something that several movies on this very list certainly can’t call themselves. What’s more Moonrise Kingdom has no flaws that I could see. Not a one. Even when I try to nitpick this film, which I did with most of these films just to try to get some Cons, I found nothing. This film is perfect, something I rarely admit about anything. This flick isn’t just the best movie of the year it may have won its spot as my favorite film of all time. 

2012 is a wrap and based onthe quality film produced I'm pretty excited about the movies of the  New Year.

Giant Robots fighting Kaiju? 2013 is gonna rule!

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