2012 was an exciting year for movies with some highly expected films that didn’t disappoint me like The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and Django Unchained. Then there were also plenty of surprising small independent films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, My Sister´s Sister, and Safety Not Guaranteed that blew me away. This year I will avoid my worst movie list because to be honest I stayed away from pretty much all those bad films, but I will add a few films that disappointed me despite receiving a lot of critical acclaim. Since most of the bigger films come out later in the year, I just got around watching most of them. The following were my favorite films of the year:
1. The Dark Knight Rises (10/10)
This was my favorite film of the year and the perfect ending for one of my favorite trilogies of all time. Christopher Nolan delivered a wonderful film and managed to live up to its predecessor. The Batman had to come back and he did in a powerful way. The film works more as a perfectly crafted thriller than an actual superhero movie. It was like a Shakespearean tragedy. This was the most fun I had at the movies all year.
2. Life of Pi (10/10)
Ang Lee delivered the most spectacular visuals that I´ve seen on screen in Life of Pi. It not only was gorgeous to look at, but it had a wonderful story about a boy, a tiger, and their struggle for survival. Ang Lee reminded me in this film about how hard it is to accept the fact that many times we don´t get the chance to say good bye to the ones we love. Movies can be such a magical and emotional experience; Life of Pi reminded me of it.
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (10/10)
A million years from now, we are still going to remember Hushpuppy, the girl from the Bathtub. This is unlike any other movie I saw in 2012, and I felt as if I were reading a poem rather than watching a movie. The film also deals with the struggle for survival, but what really blew me away here was Quvenzhane Wallis´s performance. This 9 year old girl was absolutely amazing in a film that began making noise in the Cannes Festival. This was Benh Zeitlin´s first feature film, and an absolute triumph. The movie successfully mixes some surrealism with a tender story between a daughter and her father. I will keep an eye on Zeitlin in the future.
4. Django Unchained (9/10)
This may not be Quentin Tarantino´s best film, but it is a great one nonetheless. Tarantino is one of the best storytellers of our time and he manages to mix comedy with violence in a way many others fail. In this Spaghetti Western (actually Southern) Tarantino redefines a genre and surprises us with great action scenes, dialogues, and awesome performances. Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L Jackson were amazing in this film. Tarantino no longer has my curiosity, he has my complete attention. I never get tired of his films and have such an exciting time at the movies.
5. Silver Linings Playbook (9/10)
David O Russell does a wonderful job in this crazy romantic comedy thanks to some great performances from his ensemble cast. It´s so hard to make romantic comedies that work these days since there are so many clichés, but this film definitely stands out from the rest by doing something crazier: telling a love story between two mentally troubled adults. The script is quirky, but sharp, and it works really well. I was laughing so hard at this wonderful comedy and the chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper was amazing. Russell gives a very sensitive direction here. This is crazy good.
6. People Like Us (9/10)
I´m probably the only person who has this film on my top 10 list considering it didn’t receive much love from the critics, but I really loved this film and found it to be the most emotional film of 2012. It also happens to be one of the best family dramas I´ve seen in a long time. It is one of those films that has you smiling in one scene and crying in the next one. Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks give terrific performances here, and this is one of those movies I saw early in the year that has continued to stick with me.
7. Bernie (9/10)
I never thought I would see Jack Black giving such a great performance as the one he gave in Bernie. He really deserved more love from the Academy this year because he gives the performance of his career. This film is so unbelievable that you just know it has to be true because it would be impossible for someone to make this sort of story up. Richard Linklater is a great director and he doesn’t disappoint in this film where he includes some documentary footage from the people who actually knew the real life Bernie. This was a wonderful and funny small film that many people haven’t even heard of but is worth seeing.
8. End of Watch (9/10)
This was such a great cop thriller and a wonderful homage to all policemen from director David Ayer (screenwriter of Training Day). Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña give great performances as partners fighting crime in this realistic thriller. Ayer knows his material and delivers a very authentic script. The film combines some great action scenes with a lot of laughs and dramatic moments. This is required viewing for cops everywhere and their families, because Ayer pays a beautiful homage to all the hard working honest cops out there.
9. Prometheus (9/10)
I couldn’t leave out one of the best science fiction films I´ve seen in a while. The visuals were incredible; there were very strong performances (especially from Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace), and the suspense was very intense. Ridley Scott did a wonderful job with this Alien prequel and despite all the criticism he has received I really loved this movie. There are plenty of scares and thrills in Prometheus and the tension is very well constructed. There is one scene involving Noomi Rapace undergoing a surgical procedure that will remain as one of the most shocking scenes of the year for me.
10. Your Sister´s Sister (9/10)
It was very hard having to leave other equally great movies out, but I couldn’t forget this wonderful small independent film directed by Lynn Shelton (Humpday) staring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Rosemarie DeWitt. The film is basically an improvised character study between three people dealing with different situations in a cabin on a beautiful location. The performances were great and the script was very cleverly written. The film felt real and spontaneous with some ingenious twists that worked really well. This is a really funny romantic comedy and I laughed really hard during the several surprising revelations that took place.
The following films couldn’t make it to my top 10 list but all received the same score from me (9/10). They would all be included in my top 25 list. In no particular order I present to you the rest of films that left a mark on me in 2012: The Intouchables, Argo, Moonrise Kingdom, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, Safety Not Guaranteed, Lawless, Pitch Perfect, Get the Gringo, El Pescador, Wreck-it Ralph, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
As for the most disappointing films for me, they were: Cosmopolis, Killing Them Softly, Killer Joe, Premium Rush, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, What to Expect When You´re Expecting, Resident Evil: Retribution, The Watch, Total Recall, Rock of Ages, The Dictator, Take This Waltz, Snow White and the Huntsman, Underworld Awakening, Battleship, and Touchback.
Here is a really cool edited video with several films from 2012 that pretty much sum up the year in movies: