2012 turned out to be a pretty banner year in movies. In honour of the new year I’ve compiled a list of my favourite movies of 2012. The films I’ve chosen aren’t the films I expect to sweep the Oscars, they weren’t chosen for their artistic merit. I chose these films because they were the most fun I had at the movies in 2012. I’ve always hated year end top 10 lists. Modern critics seem to have forgotten how to enjoy movies. Now there’s definitely something to be said for technical marvels, fascinating character pieces and general Oscar bait but that exciting movie going experience is what puts butts in the seats. So these films were the ones that had me on the edge of my seat. The ones that kept my eyes glued to the screen. Had me hanging on every word or just had me in stitches. In no particular order my favourite films of 2012.
Rian Johnson finally fulfilled the promise that was his noir masterpiece, 2005’s Brick. His sophomore effort, 2008’s The Brothers Bloom was a disappointment. But Johnson’s redeemed himself with this wholly original sci-fi yarn about a trigger man forced to kill his older self in order to stay alive. Through prosthetics Joseph Gordon-Levitt was transformed into a very passable, younger Bruce Willis but it was through his swagger and subtle nuance that he really connected to the two men as sides of the same coin. Great supporting cast helped to establish Johnson’s world, but this was the JGL show. Endlessly cool, thought provoking and with a little old-fashioned action thrown in made for an incredibly engaging sci-fi thriller.
The Dark Knight Rises
By Christopher Nolan
For sure the most anticipated film of 2012 due to 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan has crafted a thrill ride that hits all the soft targets. Not as towering an achievement as his previous foray behind the cape and cowl but few expected him to surpass it. Heath Ledgers iconic portrayal as Gotham’s clown prince of crime will forever be engrained into our collective conscience so it was a smart move for Nolan to go back to his roots. Dusting off the League of Shadows, Batman seemingly faces his past while trying to figure out his future. A broken and battered Bruce Wayne(Christian Bale) comes out of a self imposed exile just as a masked mercenary named Bane(Tom Hardy) begins to systematically bring down the city of Gotham. With the help of a young beat cop, John Blake(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a seductive cat burglar(Anne Hathaway) Bruce dawns the mask once more. The odds have never been less in Bruce’s favour and we believe it. Nolan amps up the jeopardy here and with a thrilling third act he caps off what has to be the most influential series in modern cinema with a bang.
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
It’s nice to know the groundbreaking filmmaker from the 90’s has successfully continued to trail blaze. After his WWII opus, Inglourious Basterds Tarantino had the tough task of one upping himself once more. He’s certainly upped the ante with this epic spaghetti western or as Tarantino coined; a southern. Following the exploits of a freed slave and a German-ex-dentist-now-bounty-hunter as they travel across America and explore the finer points of the bounty hunting business. Through their travels and bonding Django(Jamie Foxx) expresses his desire to find and free his wife, Broomhilda(Kerry Washington). Feeling a responsibility to Django, Dr.King Schultz(Christoph Waltz) tracks Broomhilda down to a Mississippi plantation called Candyland and it’s tyrannical owner Calvin Candie(Leonardo DiCaprio). What follows is an exceptional study in tension as Tarantino has his characters engage in a series of ____ where everything’s just about to boil over. With nods to everyone from Leone to Corbucci, including an appearance from the original Django; Franco Nero Tarantino’s crafted another genre mashing masterpiece. Excellent performances across the board, a killer soundtrack and that classic Quentin wit has you smiling for nearly 3 hours straight.