Brad’s Top Ten (and more!) of 2012

| January 2, 2013

I feel like I enjoyed movies in 2012 more than last. But I was surprised that I enjoyed blockbuster popcorn fare more than my niche indie flicks. I don’t know, maybe I just didn’t see the right ones. Most of the ones I did see I enjoyed, but not enough to include most of them in my top ten. Instead, mainstream ruled my list. So hats off to the studios for stepping up their game.

Like last year, I’m providing brief thoughts about each film. There are just too many films to work through and, honestly you wouldn’t get through reading paragraphs about them all anyway. My more in depth opinions can be found on the podcast. I’ve included trailers for some of the more obscure films so that there’s a little better frame of reference. So without further adieu…

Statistics

Total theater viewings: 93

Total repeat viewings: 14

Total different movies watched at the theater: 79

Total new release movies: 67

Total re-release movies: 12

Estimated money spent: $976.50 (@avg $10.50 per ticket)

2012 New Releases

Raiders of the Lost Ark (IMAX)

It’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. What else can I say about it? Didn’t feel like the IMAX format improved the film quality though.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Would have been better as one film, as the setup takes too long. We know Bilbo is going to agree to the journey… move along. But the second half engaged me. I’m in for the next one.

Hyde Park on Hudson

There’s a hand job in the first 10 minutes. And then the movie alternates between period piece and FDR’s cousin acting bummed out because she wasn’t invited to spend time with the President.

Butter

Qwirky and off-beat, and Olivia Wilde steals the show in this fun story about competitive butter sculpting.

Killing Them Softly

Great when it’s shocking, boring the rest of the time.

Lincoln

Not the biopic I expected. But that’s probably good. We get to know Lincoln through the string of events involving the creation of the 13th amendment. I appreciated how familiar events were depicted in unexpected ways. And of course, Day-Lewis’ performance is transcendent.

Wreck-It Ralph

Tons of fun and has real emotional weight to it. Visually astounding with a creative story.

Flight

Well acted, but Washington’s character is so unlikeable I didn’t care what happened to him at the end.

V/H/S

Got to see this as a sneak preview. The individual stories are hit or miss, but the last one alone is worth a watch.

Cloud Atlas

Probably the most epic movie I’ve ever seen, and by the end I was into it, but there’s a lot to follow all at once and the super future dialog is corny.

Argo

Pretty good dramatization of a real-life event. Enjoyed the retro Warner Bros. logo and the seventies-filter.

Taken 2

If you just wanna see Liam Neeson escape from some shallow villains, this is your movie.

Paranorman

Wonderfully animated, beautiful visuals, and a touching story make this a recommended watch.

Dredd

Pleasantly surprised this was as good as it was. Creative and action-packed but marred by some awful dialog and a couple bad visual effects.

Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia’s biopic comedy is worth a watch. Funny and insightful.

Resident Evil: Retribution

After watching this, it’s obvious they don’t know what else to do with this franchise except make another in 3D.

Compliance

Uncomfortable and so absurd at times, it’s hard to believe the story actually happened. Convincing actors really sell it.

Lawless

Has entertaining moments and is well acted, but never really distinguishes itself as something special.

Klown

Raunchy foreign comedy. Pushes the envelope for gross-out humor.

Premium Rush

Silly. Combines itself with a 3D GPS map to look cooler than it is. Characters are mostly charicatures.

Total Recall

Better than I expected, but achieves less than the original. It’s stylish and grandiose without going to Mars.

The Expendables 2

Lots of fun! Glad they embraced the absurd aspects of 80’s action movies. Everything I hoped the first was going to be.

Ruby Sparks

Cute, but you hate the main character so much by the end you want to distance yourself from the movie.

The Bourne Legacy

Has the action set-pieces you’d expect but the abrupt, kinda unresolved ending leaves you unsatisfied.

The Watch

I actually liked this one. Has really funny scenes.

Ted

Really funny. Pretty much live-action Family Guy.

The Amazing Spider-Man

If the Sam Raimi movies didn’t exist, I might have liked this more. In his movies you feel like someone wanted to make the best Spider-Man movie possible. Here, you feel like they just made another Spider-Man movie, by the book.

A Cat in Paris

Pretty visuals and animation, but the story didn’t capture my attention.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

A good movie, has funny moments, but I didn’t buy the characters falling in love and it’s just too depressing by the end.

Brave

Another beautiful and creative Pixar endeavor, but it still felt incomplete or didn’t quite achieve it’s full potential.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Enjoyed the grounded, mysterious beginning and middle, was a bit surprised by how they ended it. Still conflicted about the conclusion this many months later, but worth a watch.

That’s My Boy

I actually thought this was funny too. Crude and outrageous.

Rock of Ages

Like I said on the show, cheesy as fuck.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

A great way to see inside the phenomenon of Comic-Con. Holds a special place because of the doors it opened for us this year.

Prometheus

Beautiful and well-crafted by a master, but doesn’t stray from the Alien formula. We still get scientists who make stupid decisions and I would have appreciated it if we got at least a few answers before the movie was over.

The Dictator

Funny at the time. But I’ll probably never see it again.

Snow White and the Huntsman

Visually spectacular, but the half-hearted heroine dragged the movie down.

Men In Black 3

I was excited they were giving this franchise another shot, but again, they don’t seem to know what else to do with it except embrace Will Smith’s improvising. Josh Brolin’s Tommy Lee Jones impersonation is fun to watch and the emotional climax makes up for the uninspired plot.

Dark Shadows

Stylish like most Tim Burton fare, and devoid of a story you could care about. Two hours of tame humor and a witch crying about not getting the guy she wants. And surprise, let’s throw in a daughter who’s a werewolf cuz whatever, why not?

The Pirates!

Not the movie they marketed. Did you know most of the plot revolves around Charles Darwin?

The Five-Year Engagement

A romantic comedy I could actually get behind.

Goon

Brutal hockey flick with lots of heart. Could have been one of my top-ten.

The Cabin in the Woods

This movie won me over with the unicorn impailment death.

American Reunion

Yet another Pie movie that’s funny at the moment.

Wrath of the Titans

That complex maze wasn’t very difficult was it? The only thing I liked was the lava monster.

The Hunger Games

So much of this is arbitrary I was bored. I mean, if the arena can generate killer dogs, why not more food? Oh yeah, it’s also Battle Royale for pussies.

Casa de mi Padre

Sometimes ridiculous doesn’t translate into funny for me I guess. Pretty much a one-note joke.

Jeff Who Lives at Home

A sweet little story about discovering where you fit into the world.

The Innkeepers

Sorta like Clerks if Dante and Randal ran a haunted hotel.

John Carter

I understand that this is the inspiration for the stuff we love like Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. I was pretty bored and didn’t care about anything going on.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

This movie is pretty stupid, but that’s okay because it’s supposed to be. It’s so ridiculous it makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

The Lorax

Aside from a certain song in the third act, this was pretty enjoyable. I think Dr. Seuss movies would be better if they stopped trying to pad them with shit Dr. Seuss didn’t create.

Wanderlust

It was funny in the way you’d expect it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The trailer got me excited to see this. The movie I ended up seeing was terrible. I’m not even sure how to describe how bizarre some of the moments in this movie are. One point finds Ghost Rider spinning on his back in mid-air for no reason, like a Looney Tunes gag. I’d say you’d have to see it to believe it, but I don’t encourage seeing it.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D

This is actually my favorite of the prequels, so seeing it in 3D was a must. Unfortunately, the 3D wasn’t the best.

The Theatre Bizarre

The first of two horror anthologies I watched this year. This one felt more like a collection of student films.

Chronicle

The premise was going to be done eventually, found-footage superheroes, and this was an okay execution of it. They are just too many moments where a camera if forced into a scene where it doesn’t belong just to get the shots they want.

Haywire

This was pretty boring and you could tell her voice was dubbed.

My Week With Marilyn

The first movie I saw this year. My memory is pretty hazy but I think it was a decent film. Wasn’t as invested in it as the other guys. Marilyn Monroe has never really captured my imagination.

Midnight Madness

Miami Connection

I looked forward to this for months only to discover it was cheesy but not funny cheesy. I even fell asleep through part of it.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I don’t need to explain how good this is, so I’m not. It was cool to introduce Ryan to it in a theater.

Super Mario Bros.

I never would have imagined I’d get to see this in a theater again. Yeah, it’s barely a Super Mario Bros movie, but I think they did the best with what they could at the time. I really don’t think a faithful Super Mario Bros. adaptation would ever work in the real world anyway.

 

The Evil Dead

Yeah, it’s the fucking Evil Dead. Nuff’ said.

Back to the Future

I couldn’t pass up another chance to watch one of my all-time favorite films on the big screen.

Back to the Future Part II

This comes back to theaters so rarely, how could I pass it up?

The Royal Tenenbaums

Well, I like Wes Anderson movies, so what do you expect?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Delighted this came back to theaters because I don’t remember if I saw it during it’s original release. Even today I marvel at the live action/animation compositing and it’s even more impressive because it was done just before CGI took off. Amazing.

Robocop

Dead or alive, I was going to see this movie in a theater for the first time.

Ghostbusters

This one I’d seen in theaters before. Still a classic. Moving on.

Pulp Fiction

Even though I’d seen this plenty of times at home, something about the theater experience made it a fresh watch as I found new things to enjoy in it and lamented that it couldn’t continue after the end.

 

The Top Ten

10. Seven Psychopaths

Fresh and different, this film is fun and surprising.

9. Looper

Inventive and challenging, Looper is an impressive and meticulous time-travel adventure.

8. 21 Jump Street

Still makes me laugh everytime I watch it. Funniest film of the year and the first one this year I really enjoyed.

7. Skyfall

Exciting and haunting, Skyfall feels like a classic Bond film and Bardem’s revenge obsessed villain always has your attention.

6. Django Unchained

Saying this movie is totally badass says it all.

5. Robot & Frank

Kleptomaniac Frank recruits a robot accomplice and we slowly discover more about Frank than I expected.

4. Father’s Day

A terrible film, but that’s the fun of it. Funny and shocking, this one pushes the envelope as far as it can.

3. The Avengers

This exceeded my expectations. I didn’t believe a movie like this could work, but it did. It was lots of fun.

2. Moonrise Kingdom

I love Wes Anderson’s whimsical world and characters and again he transports me back into it with this sweet little film.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

For me, The Dark Knight Rises is a satisfying conclusion to the story Nolan and company set out to tell. I was worried a film that looked this epic could work in Batman’s world. There’s plenty of fan service and I’m impressed with how much of the comics they managed to revise and incorporate into the film. The initial Bane showdown is awesome! The score is relentless! Yeah, there are plot-holes and unresolved issues but I’m too engrossed by the film to notice until much later. Almost three hours go by and I feel like a 5 hour story was told in only one. And they made Bane a formidable big-screen villain. This movie is all win to me.

Well, that’s it for 2012. Feel free to submit your thoughts, opinions, questions as always.

– Brad

About the Author:

His earliest memory of nerdiness is discovering the Star Trek motion pictures when his parents (presumably) accidentally rented the first one on laser disc. He attended his first convention at the age of 12 and has been to many Star Trek conventions since, as well as SDCC, NYCC, and E3 twice. He’s also an avid TMNT fan who has each of the first four issues of the original comic book signed by Eastman AND Laird. Brad also favors Batman and loves Nintendo so much he still plays his Virtual Boy from time-to-time. When he’s not immersed in nerd media, he’s out competing at bar trivia or working on several creative projects like podcasting, producing short films, publishing books, and drawing cartoons. His favorite film of all-time is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie and with over 600 DVD’s and blu-rays in his collection, Brad is surely a Reel Nerd.
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