Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 %: Movies Released in 2012

The final day of 2012, how many of you thought we wouldn't see this day? Those pesky Mayans! But anyway the year is over and so I bring you this, the final part of my end of year review, Movie of the Year awards time!

I admit that I haven't yet seen all of the really interesting looking movies released in 2012 but I have seen 76 of them and largely I've been unimpressed. As previously discussed this is symptomatic of the fact that I have a tendency to give the garbagey Hollywood nonsense a shot before trying out the interesting stuff AND most importantly here, I am really hard to please and easy to disappoint.

As a dedicated Letterboxd user I have taken advantage of their site to assess my viewing data and produce these end of year lists and as such I am using their release dates as opposed to local, Australian, release dates. For example this means that The Inbetweeners Movie which I definitely saw in 2011 is counted towards my tally and also means some 2011 American releases, such as Hugo, that only made it here in 2012 cannot be considered so I guess it evens out.

As so few of these 76 films garnered more than 7/10 scores I have decided to forego the usual Top 10 in favour of a Top 10 %, so here is my Top 7 Movie Releases of 2012 followed by a complete list of the 76 films for comparison. The 7 consists of 1 female director, 3 female protagonists, 2 movies made outside of Hollywood, 0 Oscar contenders and only 1 Golden Globe nominee. Considering my opinion of the recent Oscar winners this simply confirms that my taste is better than the voting members of the MPAA and of course the opinions of the masses.

7. Bachelorette Dir. Leslye Headland
These girls are so mean and sassy, it's like watching my life, only prettier. Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan are two of my current favourite actors and Headland gets the best out of them throughout. Of course Isla Fisher is Isla Fisher and I love watching her. This thing for redheads is getting to be a concern. And Kirsten Dunst is a perfect blend of soft-centred and tough edged, funny and sincere.

6. Damsels in Distress Dir. Whit Stillman
A charming, witty and wonderful surprise, not least because Greta Gerwig can act. A little bizarre, not for everybody for sure but I had a wonderful time with Whit Stillman's flowers. Full Review can be found here.

5. End of Watch Dir. David Ayer
A decent movie on its own but when you take in to consideration the superb performances of its cast, specifically the powerful leads Gyllenhaal and Pena, it becomes something much more impressive. Full review can be found here.

4. Premium Rush Dir. David Koepp
Jospeh Gordon Levitt, the man of the moment, starred in four films during 2012 and only one was truly enjoyable on its own merits from start to finish. Premium Rush is pure entertainment from start to finish; it's not a masterpiece of visual craft, it's not even interesting or unique storytelling it is just a 90 minute chase movie that relies on it's stars to carry it through the weaker moments. JGL and Michael Shannon are really great to watch in this.

3. Chronicle Dir. Josh Trank
The biggest surprise of the year for me. A found footage movie that was actually good and didn't rely on cheap scares? Even more impressive when at its heart it is a teen movie in a generation of lazy and obvious teen movies. Chronicle seems to be all about taking chances with the genre and style, not taking the safe option when something more interesting could be tried. It is funny and honest and owes as much to Larry Clark as it does The Avengers.

2. Killer Joe Dir. William Friedkin
Very cool. Very creepy. Superb performances all round but especially from Man of the Year, Matthew McConaughey. Everything was understated including the great direction from Friedkin. A highly enjoyable film with one of the best blow job scenes ever seen in cinemas. This was the only film to even come remotely close to competing with the winner. Really was a poor year of cinema for me.

1. The Deep Blue Sea Dir. Terence Davies
Winner by a near landslide, Terence Davies adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play is slow moving and understated, a study of passion told in the repressed style of the period and will be poking and prodding at your mind for days after watching I'm certain. A beautiful and mesmerising film featuring a powerful performance from Rachel Weisz that wasn't bettered this year.

Nothing more remains for me to say other than Happy New Year, make safe decisions, don't throw fireworks and please Hollywood how about a few more intelligent movies next year for lazy viewers like me?

The full 76: The Master, Skyfall, The Sweeney, 21 Jump Street, The Avengers, Cloud Atlas, The Inbetweeners, The Baytown Outlaws, Tomorrow You're Gone, Deep Blue Sea, Killer Joe, Premium Rush, End of Watch, Damsels in Distress, Bachelorette, Killing Them Softly, Flight, Contraband, Arietty, Deadfall, Home Alone 5, Lincoln, Jack Irish Bad Debts, Jack Irish Black Tide, Argo, Seven Psychopaths, Frankenweenie, Paranorman, Taken 2, Looper, Arbitrage, Liberal Arts, Lawless, For A Good Time Call, Why Stop Now, Expendables 2, Cosmopolis, 2 Days In New York, Goats, The Campaign, Red Hook Summer, Total Recall, The Watch, Ruby Sparks, Dark Knight Rises, Savages, Amazing Spider-Man, Ted, Magic Mike, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Brave, Safety Not Guaranteed, Prometheus, Treasure Island, Moonrise Kingdom, Men In Black 3, Hysteria, God Bless America, Bernie, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Lock Out, American Reunion, Iron Sky, Goon, Casa Di Mi Padre, Jeff Who Lives At Home, Friends With Kids, John Carter, The Lorax, Comes A Bright Day, Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, Safe House, Chronicle, Woman In Black, The Grey, Beasts of the Southern Wild

19 comments:

  1. Chronicle? Wow! I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't put it on any top ten lists. Then again, it's been ages since I saw it (January it came out, right?) It made great use of 'found footage' I thought!
    Oh my god, Killer Joe was the first film I saw at MIFF and I watched it straight after work at channel 31, just finished a live show, four hours sleep - argh!! Was wide awake after it! Loved it! I really hope McConaughey gets some recognition!

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    1. It's looking less and less likely that he will but he definitely deserves it, as you may have seen from my Man of the Year award.
      Chronicle really worked the found footage aspect in to the movie superbly, it was the most enjoyable film of the first six months and pretty much every blockbuster and BIG IMPORTANT MOVIE left me disappointed in one way or another. The Master might be a wondrous creation of technically brilliant film making but it left me a bit cold and Argo was very well made but I was less than excited by it for example.

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  2. My man. You and I might be the only people on the globe who will have Bachelorette in our Top "10" lists. But that movie rocked, right? Overlooked, under loved. And I also respect you for including Premium Rush. A good movie is a good movie.

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    1. Not enough people take this view, I thank you Nick. Take your pleasure where you can find it in Hollywood these days as it is so rare as to be like gold dust, is my current opinion. Premium Rush was exactly that. And having seen your awards post today I know you and I have the same movie crush helping to improve our opinion of Bachelorette. Please sir, may we have more Party Down now?

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  3. Toby...very glad to see your #1 slot is The Deep Blue Sea! It is still MY favorite film of the year and hasn't been bettered yet. You and I have been on the same page regarding that film. I am so glad to see you view it so highly. I think everything about it is unforgettable. The pacing, the cinematography, the music, the performances. It is one I can't wait to see again.

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    1. I won't say you guided my opinion but your wonderful review was the catalyst for discovery at the very least and I've since passed the favour on to others who have loved it. I tried House of Mirth as my second Terence Davies and it wasn't close to the same high level of film making despite been an Edwardian period drama that I made it all the way through.

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  4. I've only seen Bachelorette sadly, but loved it as well. I wish it was a bit bolder in the end, but like you said, a very honest portrayal of the grown-up mean girls world. And agreed, Adam Scott, Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan were pretty great in it too.

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    1. Yes! We started thinking we were alone but slowly other Bachelorette fans are coming out of the woodwork. What would you have done differently with the ending Sofia?

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    2. It wasn't anything specifically. I remember thinking that towards the end it got a little softer and conventional, and left me wishing they would've kept the same boldness Bachelorette displayed during most of film. Like it was afraid to go all the way with who those girls were. But I have to watch it again to be sure.

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    3. I think I may have had the same idea, it was quite a while ago though and a rewatch will surely be rewarding anyway.

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  5. I didn't realize that Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan were both in Bachelorette. It's a reunion from Party Down!

    I'm glad to see Damsels in Distress on there. It's currently my #2 film of 2012, and I don't think it's going to be move before I release my list.

    Nice job! It's cool to see some different movies than the usual inclusions on the year-end lists.

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    1. Yep the first reunion since Party Down finished (or has it? c'mon Party Down movie!) Most people seemed to only find Damsels to be OK but for me its one of those movies you either get or you don't and if you get it you love it, good to finally find somebody on the same wavelength as me with it.
      Thanks for the praise Dan, although I didn't pick different movies deliberately, I would have loved nothing more than to have this list filled with The Master, Argo, Batman, Looper and Moonrise Kingdom as I expected/hoped they would but my year has been about surprises, both good and bad, it seems.

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  6. Interesting picks. As far as your list goes, I completely agree on your placement of The Deep Blue Sea, which grew on me on a second viewing. It probably won't make my list, but I am a fan.

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    1. they're a little different aren't they. i take it that the other six wouldn't have a chance with you then?

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    2. No, but I do like Bachelorette and Killer Joe (both 3.5/5) and End of Watch and Damsels in Distress (both 3/5) well enough. Didn't really care for Premium Rush, and I haven't seen Chronicle.

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  7. Killer Joe was freakin' nuts. Holy hell, man. Loved it though.

    Still need to see a lot of your list -- The Deep Blue Sea, Premium Rush, End of Watch and Bachelorette. Might be a bit on the last few, but at least The Deep Blue Sea is on Netflix Instant over here.

    Good stuff, Toby! Nice to see a list that's not full of the usual suspects.

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    1. Thanks Eric, as you'll see with these choices not appearing on other lists you may not actually enjoy them, Deep Blue Sea being the most divisive.

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  8. I remember you recommending The Deep Blue Sea to me several months ago, I still haven't seen it, but have noticed it now on several year end lists by bloggers I respect. I really must track it down now.

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    1. Good to know it's not just me and Jon. As Eric said, it's now on Netflix Instant so there's no excuse.

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