Well guys, the time has come to make my official list for the best films of the year 2012. 2012 has been one of the best years in movies I can remember, and I am glad to say I saw a ton of films. I want you all to keep in mind that I did not see Zero Dark Thirty, given that it doesn’t hit my theater until January 11, and I didn’t see The Master, Silver Linings Playbook, Seven Psychopaths, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, movies that made a lot of top critics’ lists. So, without further ado, here is my list, counting down the fifteen (had to be extended due to the amount of awesomeness) best films of the entire year, but before that, here are a few of my honorable mentions; movies that didn’t quite make the list but are so good that it would be criminal to not include them.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee’s adaptation of the seemingly inadaptable novel was a true triumph, even though most of the triumphant aspects were in the visual effects. Still, though, this is an great looking movie, and the emotional impact is quite deep. My full review for Life of Pi can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/life-of-pi-movie-review/
I felt I should include this mainly because I liked it, and I hate musicals. Tom Hooper’s authentic direction and the raw performances from Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman brought out the tears. My full review for Les Miserables can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/les-miserables-movie-review/
The most controversial and polarizing movie of 2012, Ridley Scott’s kind-of-prequel to Alien, was fantastic on many levels, even if it didn’t answer most questions it proposed.
Chronicle practically blew me away, given the fact that I was tired of the worn out found footage genre. This film decided it was going to do it in a unique way, and it worked to the film’s advantage.
Jack Black’s performance in this based-on-a-true-story comical murder story is phenomenal and made Bernie one of the most enjoyable movies of the year. I loved it.
15.) Ted (R)
I don’t think anyone disagrees, as far as straight up comedies go, Ted without a doubt takes the cake for the best. This film was everything you could expect from a Seth McFarlane movie: rude, crude, offensive, and, of course, absolutely hysterical.
14.) End of Watch (R)
This movie came out of nowhere. I had only seen a few trailers for it and thought it would be average. Color me blushing. This movie slammed me with hot-off-the-press dialogue that rang loudly as true and uncensored police officer dialect. My full review for End of Watch can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/end-of-watch-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
13.) The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13)
Here is another film I expected almost nothing from. Sure I like Andrew Garfield and who can turn down the gorgeous face of Emma Stone? Still, though, I found the idea of a Spider-Man reboot unnecessary. Boy, was I wrong. This film reinvented Spidey and stayed true to the comics. Garfield shaped himself into an appealing Peter Parker and Stone was adorable as Gwen Stacey. Great comic book film here. My full review for The Amazing Spider-Man can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/the-amazing-spiderman-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
12.) The Grey (R)
Out of the recent string of Liam Neeson movies that was sparked with the original Taken, this is the best, in my opinion. I loved this movie. The score was tear jerking, and Neeson’s performance is Oscar worthy. Will he be considered in the race? No. But he should. He’s golden.
11.) The Cabin in the Woods (R)
Drew Goddard’s tongue-in-cheek horror film poked fun at every run of the mill and laughably clichéd horror film in movie history. From the opening scene of this movie to the final shot, (the hand is all I need to say for those who’ve seen it), this movie sizzles with unprecedented creativity and marvelous hilarity. The script, by The Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon, and director Drew Goddard, is simply marvelous on virtually every level. This is one of the best horror movies (if it is classified as one) in decades.
10.) Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13)
Director Wes Anderson’s quirky style is at full force in Moonrise Kingdom, one of the best movies of the year. This is a sweet and touching look at young love as two children run away together. Plus add the fact that Edward Norton is a troop leader and Bruce Willis is a cop. Yup, that’s the stuff. Loved this.
9.) Wreck-it Ralph (PG)
Wreck-it Ralph is the best animated movie of 2012, and it deserves that title. The voice talents, especially that of John C. Reilly, were outstanding and the animation was simply gorgeous. This is a very creative movie, and at times it felt like Toy Story for the next generation. My full review for Wreck-it Ralph can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/wreck-it-ralph-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
8.) Flight (R)
Robert Zemeckis’ return to directing live-action movies is a great one with Flight. Sure, you can argue that this film wouldn’t be as good as it was without Denzel Washington, but to that I say, who really cares? Washington does make this movie, and he makes it great. He should certainly be considered for an Oscar nomination for this one. My full review for Flight can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/flight-movie-review/
7.) Lincoln (PG-13)
Steven Spielberg couldn’t made a bad movie if he tried. You can argue that War Horse was just average, even though I really liked it, but you can’t say that about Lincoln. This is one of the best biographical films ever made, and the performances, specifically those of sure-to-win-an-Oscar Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones. This is Spielberg’s best film since Minority Report. My full review for Lincoln can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/lincoln-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
6.) Looper (R)
Writer/director Rian Johnson’s mind bending sci-fi flick is astonishing on practically every level. I loved the intricate plot and the well drawn out characters, not to mention the Oscar worthy editing and the near perfect camera work. Joseph Gordon Levitt did amazing portraying a young Bruce Willis, who also did his best, and it all blends together nicely into a very unique film experience. It’s crazy good. My full review for Looper can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/looper-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
5.) Argo (R)
After starting his career behind the camera in 2007 with Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck has proven himself a directorial star. His work improved with 2010’s The Town, and now he leaves the Boston atmosphere and moves into a global atmosphere with Argo, which just happens to be his best film. This movie is well plotted, paced, and edited; the performances are gold, especially Affleck and the hilarious pairing of Alan Arkin and John Goodman. The final act of Argo is about as nail bitingly intense as any scene in any movie all year. My full review of Argo can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/argo-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
4.) Marvel’s The Avengers (PG-13)
I think we all had an idea that The Avengers would be good. However, I don’t think anyone expected it to be as good as it was. Robert Downey Jr. was great in his role as the cocky Tony Stark and Tom Hiddleson’s portrayal of Loki was as chilling as ever, but the majority of the acting praise goes to Mark Ruffalo, was completely takes the character of Bruce Banner and revitalizes him, crafting a great character. However, in all seriousness, this movie was so good because of Joss Whedon. His script proves that he has an understanding of the characters’ humanities and it blends them together and balances them out as no one else could. This is a comic book masterpiece.
3.) Django Unchained (R)
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to make a film about a tortured slave going around to kill some white slave owners. Sounds great, right? It’s more than that. It’s masterful. This is one of Tarantino’s absolute best and most explosive films. Jamie Foxx rocks the role of Django, Christoph Waltz provides his usual eloquent vocabulary that slaps a smile on your face, Leonardo DiCaprio provides his most unusual but best roles as a twisted slave owner, and Samuel L. Jackson sizzles with some fall-out-of-your-seat laughable lines. This truly is a mockery movie masterpiece. My full review for Django Unchained can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/django-unchained-movie-review/
2.) Skyfall (PG-13)
This time last year I had no intention of even seeing Skyfall. I loved Casino Royale, but was let down by its sequel, so I didn’t really expect anything from this entry. Daniel Craig is ferocious as Bond, but that wasn’t enough to pull me in. But director Sam Mendes did it, and this is not only one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best Bond movies ever. Javier Bardem’s over the top villain was immensely entertaining and the final act of this film was as dark and intense as any of the Bond films. My full review for Skyfall can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/skyfall-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
1.) The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)
Apparently nowadays it’s cool to hate on The Dark Knight Rises. Well, the haters can suck it. No movie this year took me to the place that Rises did. Sure it has its flaws. What movie doesn’t? Christopher Nolan, along with his brother, assembled again for the script of this conclusion to the masterful trilogy. Everything worked for me. Not one let down. Minor flaws and plot holes are all irrelevant. Christian Bale took his role deeper with a new intensity and realism. You can tell his character is hurting. Tom Hardy’s Bane became an on screen addiction, voicing his thoughts with utter pain through his menacing mask. Anne Hathaway brought forth the most surprising part of the film as Catwoman, providing audiences with a sexy and seductive feline character. Did I mention she was sexy? Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Marion Cotillard offer strong supporting work, along with a tear jerking performance from Michael Caine. This film also provided the best of the scores by composer Hans Zimmer that made every scene rock with untamed ferocity. The Dark Knight Rises wrapped up this trilogy on a near perfect note, and it overcame the “third movie curse” that tends to occur in every trilogy (looking at you X-Men and Spider-Man) and allows this one to go down as one of the best American movie trilogies of all time and that is why I am humbled to say it is my favorite movie of 2012. My full review of The Dark Knight Rises can be found here: https://benlanesreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/the-dark-knight-rises-movie-review-by-ben-lane/
So, I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read this list and I want to say that this is all a matter of opinion, which is one of the many beauties of movies: everyone has their own opinions. I would like to know what your list consists of. Post a link to your review or just comment your favorite. Let me know what you guys thought of my list as well. Thanks for reading and prepare for another great year in 2013!