My Top 10 Films of 2012

Another year of cinema is over and albeit, I still have a long list of films to plough through from 2012 (in fact many films from across a number of years) however, here is a list of my top 10 films of 2012!

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10. Twilight Breaking Dawn part 2

The final instalment of the Twilight franchise made its way onto our screens in November and it’s fair to say it was probably the best one out of the series. The end battle alone was brilliant, especially the ‘it was all a dream’ scenario that helped create it. The actors all stepped up their game (who would’ve thought Kristen Stewart would be less annoying as vampire Bella). Anyway, because of my support of the previous films, and that end battle sequence this sneaks my way onto my top 10.

“You nick-named my daughter after the Loch Ness daughter!” (Bella, Twilight Breaking Dawn part 2)

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9. The Amazing Spider-Man

The re-boot of the Spiderman series starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker was sandwiched between the other two major comic book movies of last year and was the weakest of the three movies. That certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t brilliant though. I mean when you’re up against the juggernaut of Nolan’s Batman series and Marvel’s culmination of their master Phase 1 plan, helmed by the genius of Joss Whedon you know you have a lot to contend with. The film has a lot going for it – the chemistry of real life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (who plays Gwen Stacy) shines through on screen and Garfield is refreshing as Peter Parker, very different from Tobey Maguire’s version. Add the fact Martin Sheen brings a great performance as Uncle Ben, as well as a great supporting cast including Rhys Ifans and Denis Leary this movie brings intrigue as the mystery of Peter’s parents disappearance deepens. The sequel is set to be released in 2014 and with Jamie Foxx cast as the villain it promises to be one to see.

“We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.” (Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man)

The Hobbit Review

8. The Hobbit

Peter Jackson returns us to the land of Middle Earth 10 years after the Lord of the Rings trilogy with Tolkein’s prequel and the tale of Bilbo Baggins’ extraordinary adventure. At first this book was going to be adapted into two films, but once filming was complete Jackson changed his mind, stating the wealth of material was enough for three films. The first instalment hit our screens, covering a mere six chapters of the novel, but encompassing a lot of other different sources along with it. It wasn’t as good as The Fellowship of the Ring, and some moments seemed a little self-indulgent, however it was entertaining and certainly took cinema-goers back to the land of Middle Earth. The next instalment comes out at the end of this year, and I’ll be waiting to see the third instalment before making a judgement on the films as a whole.

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure” (Gandalf, The Hobbit)

7. This Means War

This romantic comedy had everything – the fabulously gorgeous Reese Witherspoon who was in a bit of a pickle when she inadvertently starts dating two very attractive guys at the same time – it also helps that those two attractive guys are Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, best friends, who are also secret agents. The comedy is funny, sexy and an easy watch for a cosy night in!

“Sometimes falling is the best part.” (Tuck, This Means War)

6. The Hunger Games

The next big movie adaptation series after Twilight, the movie was one of the first biggest blockbusters and made a great start to the franchise. Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant as Catniss, the ‘girl on fire’, continuing her reign of Hollywood domination after X Men First Class. She was joined by Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth and star power of Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson. The movie sparked more intrigue into this already beloved book series, and the box office success ensured that the series got sequels, with the second film due out at the end of this year. Jennifer Lawrence has since gone to show she is not just a pretty face, capable of carrying a successful franchise, having been Oscar nominated for Silver Linings Playbook. Hopefully the next movie will live up to the first movie and help build on the franchise’s success.

“We salute your courage and your sacrifice and we wish you Happy Hunger Games!” (President Snow, The Hunger Games)

 

5. Looper

The sci-fi film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt opened to fantastic reviews, and it deserved them; a great chemistry between Willis and Levitt, both playing the same character but older and younger versions of themselves. The intelligent writing and plot, and the other supporting cast including Emily Blunt meant that this became one of the most enjoyable movies of the year.

“Then I saw it, I saw a mom who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, a boy, angry & alone, laid out in front of him the bad path. I saw it & the path was a circle, round & round. So I changed it.” (Joe, Looper)

4. Argo

As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I knew I had to see it. Once I saw it, I thought it was amazing and saw potential for it to triumph at awards season. So far it is doing me proud, sweeping its way picking up award after award. The film itself is awesome, witty, darkly comedic and tense. My top 4 are very similar in their sheer awesomeness and I have my fingers crossed that Argo will triumph at the Oscars.

“If I’m going to make a fake movie, it’s going to be a fake hit.” (Lestor, Argo)

3. Skyfall

James Bond returned with a definite bang in the 23rd Bond film (Daniel Craig’s 3rd outing as 007), as Bond also celebrated its 50th anniversary. The movie helmed by Sam Mendes brought Bond back to its glory and cemented Craig as a Bond to remember. Add stellar performances from Judi Dench who in effect became the Bond girl of the movie and Javier Bardem as a chilling villain and you get Skyfall. Craig is already slated to return for at least another 2 Bond movies and with the same writing team behind those, surely things can only continue to be stronger for the James Bond franchise.

“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” (James Bond, Skyfall)

2. The Dark Knight Rises

My top two were very close but The Dark Knight Rises was just pipped to the number one spot. The ending to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was one I certainly couldn’t wait for (and the fact the film opened on my birthday also added to the excitement.) Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman returned to the film and Nolan added a couple other powerhouses including Joseph Gordon-Levitt as rookie cop John Blake, Tom Hardy as our villain Bane, completely transforming himself in the process, and the beautiful Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman). The film albeit was not as good as The Dark Knight but quite honestly, it was always going to be tough to follow that. However, the film was still a major box office success and an amazing end to the Dark Knight trilogy that Nolan created, giving the Batman series a film to shout about, and restoring some of its darker themes.

“There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” (Selina Kyle, The Dark Knight Rises)

1. Avengers Assemble

And finally….my number one choice. The first major superhero movie of the summer of 2012 and the culmination of Marvel’s phase one plan. As soon as it was announced that Joss Whedon was writing and directing the film, I knew it was going to be amazing and I felt proud knowing that a wider audience were finally going to see the awesomeness of Whedon’s work. Perhaps I’m biased towards him, but I honestly couldn’t care. The film incorporated Whedon’s wittiness and it matched perfectly to Robert Downey Jr. comedy finesse, add in the likes of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Hiddelston and new to the series Mark Ruffalo (who made a fantastic Hulk) and Jeremy Renner and you have the groundings of a brilliant film. The ability for the cast, crew and Joss Whedon to tackle this mammoth task giving each one of the superhero characters fair screen time, and weave a great plot through the film just proves how awesome it is. It helped that the film did fantastically at the box office, thus giving Marvel the full green light to unleash Phase 2 with sequels for Iron Man, Captain America and Thor leading up to Avengers 2 again helmed by Whedon due out in 2015. The future certainly looks bright (and prosperous) for the Marvel franchise and I will be first in line for all of these movies.

“It’s good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” (Tony Stark, The Avengers)

 

So there you have it, my top 10 films of 2012 – feel free to comment and let me know what your favourites were and if you agree/disagree!

 

 

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Argo Review

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Ben Affleck’s new political, thriller Argo arrived earlier this month and I finally managed to see it last week.  I first saw the trailer for this in the cinema and knew I had to go see it. The film is based on a true story and is jam-packed with tension, suspense and some humour here and there. It’s 1979 and during a mob uprising in Iran, the US Embassy is attacked, with the people inside taken hostage. However, 6 Embassy workers manage to escape and take refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s house and the CIA must come up with a plan to get them out alive, without being caught.

This film is truly one of the best films I have seen all year, and certainly the best smaller budget film; this is Aflek’s best directing and some of his best acting and he’s put together a great cast of actors who you may not know unless you’ve seen their other work, but are fantastic none the less. Ben Afflek gives a fantastic performance as Tony Mendes, the CIA operative that is put in charge of getting the 6 out alive. Throughout the film he carries the weight of the mission ahead of him and you empathise with his character during some of the more intense decision making processes. John Goodman and Alan Arkin offer comedic light heartedness as the two film industry experts that Mendes enlists to help him create his fake movie. Victor Garber (Alias alumni) does a great job as the Canadian ambassador, a man who has to think about his own safety but nonetheless cannot turn away the 6 Embassy workers. The 6 are also individual and fantastic in their own right, conveying the fear and pressure that they were under. Bryan Cranston was also brilliant as Jack O’Donnell, Mendes’ boss, particularly one scene during the last part of the film which featured a frantic race to getting the group their tickets.

This film takes you through a range of emotions, and there is a sense of seriousness throughout, particularly as it was based on a true event. The film blends a mixture of footage they have shot and actual archived footage from the actual period which was a great touch. It’s a rollercoaster of a film and the last half an hour truly had my heart in my mouth to the point I actually could have cried. As the credits rolled, and the photos of the actual 6 came up, it was pretty moving and I certainly could have clapped right there and then, not just for the bravery of the actual people involved at the time but for Ben Afflek and producer George Clooney for bringing this story out of history and letting people find out the truth.

The film made its way around the festival circuit and got fantastic reviews and as a result word seeped out about this film. Hopefully if you are reading this, you’ll be able to still catch it in the cinemas – if not go find a copy when it comes to DVD – you won’t be disappointed.

“Argo fuck yourself” (Argo; Lester Siegel, Tony Mendes, John Chambers)