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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Best Films of 2012!

Yeah I know its June, and you have probably already forgotten about 2012 but I haven’t. I have been meaning to reveal the list of my favorite films of the past year but I have been wrestling around with other options first like a podcast, a collab with an online film critic, and other possibilities that never came through. But I guess that is my flaw really, I wait for other people when I should always take initiative and do things myself. After all this blog is the result of me waiting for people to start a film club or something similar then realizing that the only way to get the ball rolling would be to do the damn thing myself.

Last year was a great year for movies. There are so many films that fought to be on my list that my honorable mentions are almost as many as the entries on my list. You will see a wide variety of movies that I deemed worthy, from quirky comedies, to action blockbusters, to philosophical studies of human nature, to violent and offensive racial studies set in the old west. So 6 months too late here are the best films from the last year in order of preference.

10 Moonrise Kingdom

“Moonrise Kingdom” This is the film that surprised everyone by being such a big hit with audiences critics, and the box office while only being a small comedy film with an original script by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, are some of the talented people to be onscreen and they all give it their best. Go watch this movie if you are in the mood for a very quirky comedy film about a young boy and girl who run off together. You’d be surprised how good it is. 9/10

9 Skyfall

Next off “Skyfall” the James Bond film that gives Sean Connery and Roger Moore a run for their money. Who would have thought after so many years of evolving into action films that a James Bond film would suddenly return back to basics and focus on espionage and strange villains with physical deformities? The ending is possibly the cleverest and most interesting of all the Bond films as it makes you wish there was another Bond film being released next week. 9/10

8 Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence is building up a very impressive career. Two big action blockbuster franchises, two Oscar Nominations, one win, a golden globe, and an ever skyrocketing paycheck that is sure to be over 10 million just for her upcoming “Catching fire” film, and not to mention she is also quite the babe! “Silver Linings Playbook” Is a great film, and it is very impressive that a veteran actor such as Robert De Niro, was bested by Jennifer as she hit the ball out of the park in her role. Who would have thought that the little girl from the Bill Engvall show would grow up to be an Oscar winning actress who pretends to be a widow with “issues”? 10/10

7 Argo

If I didn't know any better I would have thought that “Argo” was made in the 70s. It is so classic in its film making style that you could watch it next to other political thrillers of the 70s and never bat an eyelid. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this film is that it is based on a true story. History has shown me that fiction might be very interesting if done with creativity but some stuff you just can’t make up. It is very unbelievable to witness the events of this movie with the thought that every plot point is inspired by a true moment especially the ones that you would be sure Hollywood had come up with; like the idea to smuggle Americans out of the hands of terrorists by pretending they are a Canadian film crew. Ben Affleck is a mediocre actor but as a director he has had 3 admiral attempts and this one is his best so far, I hope he makes more movies as a director. 10/10

6 Chronicle

This movie I am afraid a lot of people forgot about because of its early release date and because of its found footage format. I loved the concept and I especially enjoyed the presentation. It brings all the good things from the found footage genre and merges it with the more traditional live action format to remove the problems that can occur with found footage. You will know what I mean if you see the movie. “Chronicle was criminally overlooked during awards season because I thought it was a very intriguing take on the superhero genre, and showed a more realistic side of the acquisition of super powers. If superman really existed he probably wouldn't just fly around saving cats from trees, he would joke around moving cars around the parking lot and waiting for the reaction of the confused owners. 10/10

5 The Dark Knight Rises

My favorite film of 2008 was “The Dark Knight” and sure enough the director made another great film to end the saga. Anne Hathaway does great, as does Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Tom Hardy, but really the greatness of this film comes from it being part of the only superhero franchise that succeeded in being something more than just a comic book movie. As I said in my full review of the film I still think “The Dark Knight” is the best of the 3 films but they all are very special. 10/10

4 Prometheus

Not a lot of people liked “Prometheus” but I loved it. It was very frightening, and a worthy prequel to the “Alien” franchise with some great visuals and an interesting story that doesn't answer all the questions on the viewers mind essentially making it the antithesis of “Transformers”. Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are very good in their roles, but Idris Elba and Charlise Theron do commendable jobs as well. “Prometheus” is proof that a science fiction film can be smart and scary at the same time. 10/10

3 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

You probably already know that I am a huge fan of the “Lord of the Rings” films from reading my reviews but I never reviewed “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. Truth is I think it is every bit as good as the “Lord of the Rings”. Sure I can’t judge it as a whole because after all it is only the first chapter in a trilogy but I like the way it is going so far. With the best 3D I have ever seen and the very impressive 48 frames per second I cannot wait till the next middle earth installment. 10/10

2 Django Unchained

I have said before that Quentin Tarantino is my favorite director, and that “Pulp Fiction” is my favorite movie, and I have Quentin on my full confidence list, and he did not disappoint with “Django Unchained”. It isn't as good as his previous effort “Inglourious Basterds” which was my favorite film of the previous decade, but I have to love this film for what it is; a classic violent, offensive, and clever Tarantino flick with nothing less than what you would expect from the master. 10/10

1 Cloud Atlas

And my favorite flick of 2012 is one that I would even place at the top of the decade so far. “Cloud Atlas” polarized opinions so good luck watching it. I loved it so much I felt like the film had been made precisely for me. Does reincarnation really exist? It doesn't really matter because this film makes you believe that for 3 hours your soul will move on and become a warrior, a politician, a journalist, or a writer. Tom Hanks proves once again why he is one the best living actors out there. It’s a shame that this film didn't make that much money because this was a real labor of love from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer and without successes from auteurs like them; we are unlikely to see anything like that anytime soon. 10/10

Here are some of the honorable mentions that I liked but just couldn't be on the list. In alphabetical order:

Killing them Softly

Life of Pi


Safety Not Guaranteed

The Avengers

The Grey
The Hunger Games

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Woman in Black

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gimmie the keys you quantum physicist! "The Usual Suspects" Review.

Now here is a film that throws so many curveballs at you you won’t even know what hit you. Now I can’t guarantee that you will like the complicated plot as some like the late Roger Ebert disliked the fact that they couldn’t really understand it very well. I can understand why those people don’t like it; it is like watching two scientists talk about quantum physics. But hey I liked this movie.

An ensemble cast featuring Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Peter Greene, and Pete Postlethwaite, this film noir relies heavily on its actors to do the storytelling and they do great (except maybe for Stephen Baldwin, but who gives a fuck about him anyway?). And when I say film noir, I mean it. This is not a film like Batman Begins where people can say that it has genuine film noir influences; this is a genuine noir film.

Five guys are in a police lineup. They are dicking around and having fun with each other because they are all just pals since they all have something in common; they are criminals. They laugh, they curse and they enjoy the fact that they are in a lineup. They really hit it off and decide that they might work well together on their next crime.

The story is told in “Forrest Gump” fashion where one character is sitting down telling people about his past, that character is played by Kevin Spacey who won his first Oscar for the role, a very admirable choice for the award. I’m not sure if I would agree since there are other performances that year that I really liked but regardless he was fantastic. The film also won an award for its screenplay, proving that there are plenty of respectable members of the industry who enjoyed the complicated twists and turns of the story.

It’s a shame that director Brian Singer hasn’t gone on to direct other film noir projects like this one. I haven’t seen his films “Apt Pupil” or “Valkyrie” but I doubt they match the style of “Suspects” and it really is a shame because he really really understands the idea of film noir, without making it into a caricature like “Sin City”. That’s not to say “Sin City” is a bad movie, heck I think it is a better film but “Suspects” is a more classic film noir while “Sin City is more of a neo noir.

I probably would have enjoyed the movie even if it were not for the great acting because I like the story so much. They say that the audience is always 5 steps ahead of the movie so anything the filmmakers want to have as a surprise must come at least 5 steps before it becomes obvious. This film is constantly 10 steps ahead of the audience so unless you have had it spoiled for you there is no way you will see anything coming.

Maybe it is a little too far ahead however which is why I am going to hold off from my top score. I do wish I could have understood just a little more, but trust me it makes you feel better  if you don’t by having one of the characters get fooled just as you did.


So tell me what you thought about this film in the comments and also remember to vote in the poll that closes this tomorrow at 10pm. Click here to read my post and here to read Thomas’ post.