Wednesday, December 26, 2012


End of the year lists are stupid and pointless.

That said, here's one from me!

(note: everyone is saying ZERO DARK THIRTY is the bees knees, and I am dying to see it, but since it's not out here until January, I can't include it on my list, O CRUEL WORLD)

THE AVENGERS is probably the worst thing Joss Whedon has ever written. But since Joss Whedon is an amazing writer, that's not such a bad thing. The plot to this film is damn simplistic and paper-thin, but Whedon gets the most out the big ensemble cast, and creates damn entertaining action scenes. Whedon also managed to do something no other filmmaker has managed to do: make THE HULK interesting.

This movie came out back at the beginning of the year, so you might have forgotten it. Let me refresh your memory: The movie is about how there is no God, and Liam Neeson fights fucking wolves. THE GREY is a dark, existential look at what it takes to survive, unless you look at it from the point of view of the wolves, then it's about a bunch of fun wolf buddies who keep running into stupid, delicious humans.

Found footage movies are a dime a dozen, but CHRONICLE takes a novel concept: the found footage super hero film. There are more exciting action scenes in this very small budget flick than in 90 % of the big-budget bore fests that came out this year. Dane DeHaan gives a real breakout performance, perfectly conveying what it would be like if a socially unstable teen was suddenly presented with super powers. The last twenty minutes of this film are incredibly intense and awesome.


Christopher Nolan ends his Batman trilogy with a bang. This is the weakest of the three films, and frankly there's just too much stuff crammed into the plot. That said, the movie is an incredible spectacle and a fitting end to the franchise. Tom Hardy's bizarre, brutal performance as Bane is quite a thing to behold, and Anne Hathaway has the most fun I've seen anyone have on screen all year with her kick-ass interpretation of Catwoman. Also, Michael Caine cries a lot, and it's sad.

Director Rian Johnson's debut feature was the awesome BRICK, a pulpy noir set in a modern day high school. It established him as someone to watch, and he makes good on his early promise here with LOOPER, a film that borrows from literally every other time travel science fiction film ever made and yet still manages to be fiercely original. Also, it's always nice when Bruce Willis wakes up from his walking coma to turn in a good performance every ten years.

Paul Thomas Anderson's polarizing film is an examination of both Scientology and mental illness (WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE LOL DON'T SUE ME TOM CRUISE). A lot of critics and film goers were startled at the film, simply because it's so intense and features the most unlikeable protagonist in film history. If you can get past how bat-shit insane Joaquin Phoenix's performance is, you'll be rewarded with a remarkable and original film. And you'll also be treated to seeing Amy Adams give one of the most uncomfortable handjobs in the history of the universe.

Hot damn, what a fun movie. A love letter to horror movie fans, CABIN IN THE WOODS takes every horror cliche in the book and embraces them lovingly, and once again, (co)writer Joss Whedon gets to kill off everyone.

In my book, Wes Anderson has never made a bad film, but MOONRISE KINGDOM may be one of his best. An incredibly charming love story about two young misfits, and hey, what do you know, there's Bruce Willis again! TWO non-sleepwalking performances in one year? Someone must have been slipping him caffeine pills. Like all Wes Anderson movies, MOONRISE KINGDOM is quirky and full of aesthetically pleasing character wardrobes, but there's an incredible heart to this film, and by the end, I was weeping at how touching it all was.

Quentin Tarantino was all but written-off (by me) after the shitty DEATH PROOF, but he bounced back remarkably with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, and here, with DJANGO UNCHAINED, he's pulled off one of the best films of his career. DJANGO is a blood-soaked, brutal, disturbing, hilarious masterpiece, with everyone giving knock-out performances. Christoph Waltz, so good in BASTERDS, is delightful here, and Leonardo DiCaprio has never played such a slimy, evil character before--and he's so damn good at it. Also, Samuel L. Jackson gives probably the best performance of his career, after coasting on fumes for the last two decades as an almost self-parody. Tarantino himself also returns to acting for a cameo, and man did he get fucking fat in the last few years.

Much like DJANGO UNCHAINED, LINCOLN deals with the horrible institution of slavery, but with less gore and anachronistic music. Daniel Day-Lewis once again vanishes into a performance, breathing life into Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg has never been more reserved in his directing, and it works wonders. What could have been a stuffy biopic is a fast-paced, inspiring and even funny look at all the hurdles Honest Abe had to jump through to finally abolish slavery. Also, he hunts vampires or something.

And just to be thorough  here are my runner-up films that were very good but didn't make the top ten: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED   BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, KILLING THEM SOFTLY, THE INNKEEPERS, KILLER JOE, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, SKYFALL, ARGO.

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