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!

twiligthfight

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)

amazing-spider-man-movie-poster

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!

 

 

Advertisements

A Fire Will Rise – The Dark Knight Rises Review

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to a spectacular end, bringing us a movie some of us (including me) have waited for since the very first trailer was released back in July 2011. After the phenomenal success of The Dark Knight, achieving rave reviews and breaking box office records, fans and critics waited patiently for the follow up. After a heavy marketing campaign with around 6 different trailers overall, the wait for finally over on July 20th (my 21st birthday no less) and I can honestly say I was not disappointed.

PLEASE NOTE there WILL BE SPOILERS!!! If you have NOT seen the film PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER! (But come back after you’ve seen it and post your comments)

The film has everything you expect from a Nolan Batman film: fantastic huge action set sequences including car chases and fight scenes; Hans Zimmer’s fantastic atmospheric score; the gritty, modern Gotham City and the gadgets and gizmos that have become familiar with this incarnation of Batman. Add to that Batman’s psychological anguish and trauma, played superbly by Christian Bale again and supported by an amazing collaboration of actors – both returning to the franchise and some new faces. A few thoughts on some of the main players

Christian Bale – Bale steps up his performance in this instalment showing a Bruce Wayne who still feels the emotional effects of the event of 8 years previously having lost his childhood friend and love Rachel, and the strain of Batman becoming a hated figure in Gotham. Wayne has lost his purpose and hung up his cape but has shunned public life in favour of solitude. When he re-emerges as Batman he is re-energised and Bale plays a character that is visibly happy at becoming his alter ego, even though it hurts those around him (specifically his butler come father figure Alfred). However, he meets his match in the form of Bane and Bale really comes into his stride in the latter half of the movie, playing a Bruce Wayne who is heartbroken to see Bane destroy the city he loves and everything he worked to accomplish with one fell swoop. Batman ultimately returns reinvigorated and ready to save Gotham one last time.

Michael Caine – Michael Caine showed his acting capabilities in this movie, playing an Alfred that was ultimately heartbroken at what the young boy he had become a surrogate father for had become.  Caine didn’t feature as heavily in this movie, as Alfred made the difficult decision to walk away from Bruce just under half way through the movie (a scene that is almost painful to watch).  But every scene the movie legend was in he stole, from comedic, dry one liner’s, to emotional beautiful speeches.

Gary Oldman – Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon is still majorly struggling with the emotional and mental strain of the lie of what happened 8 years previously as he is forced to praise the man who tried to murder his son and condemn the figure of Batman, for the ‘greater good’. Oldman again does a terrific job and proves he really is an acting legend. Gordon is quite the mentor for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake and the two have a great chemistry on screen. As others criticise Blake’s enthusiasm, Gordon is somewhat revitalised by it and Oldman plays the transistion between the exhausted and defeated Jim Gordon to Gordon fighting back when Bane takes over Gotham perfectly.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Speaking of JGL , the newcomer to the Batman movies really is a fantastic new addition, playing the rookie cop John Blake, who really does have amazing detective skills as early on he proves he knows the true identity of the Batman and what really happened to Harvey Dent. His ability to carry a character that is left as one of Gotham’s primary protectors in the wake of Batman disappearing was brilliant – he handled the action side of things well as well as the emotional moments (the scene with Gary Oldman as Gordon’s confession was read out by Bane was beautifully acted by both). I couldn’t help but be enthralled by Gordon-Levitt’s Blake and the characters endearing qualities and I think I walked out with a newfound love for the man.

Anne Hathaway – I’d like to first point out that Anne Hathaway is one of my favourite actresses-she is insanely talented and beautiful to boot (one of only 2 of my girl crushes!) So when it was announced she would be joining the cast I was thrilled. Although many had their reservations, I was walking in excited to see how the entire film would play out. Hathaway did not disappoint me and thoroughly laid her critics to rest with her performance. It should be noted that she is never referred to as Catwoman and she play a Selina Kyle that is not only sexy but strong, sassy, witty and confident.  The character had so many layers: from her sly introduction as a cat thief disguised as a maid, to her resourcefulness to get her out of a difficult situation (the scene where she shoots her way out of the bar, and then screams and cries helplessly to escape being arrested was brilliant!) She also showed emotion, as Selina took Batman to face Bane for the first time – the shots of her stood helpless behind the bars were heart-rending. A great addition to the cast as Nolan’s first female ass-kicker in the series.

Tom Hardy – Hardy’s incarnation of Bane had a high task of following the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance as The Joker. However, the two villains are ultimately quite different and whereas Hardy does not have the same memorable effect as Ledger, he is still an excellent adversary. Although many critics have criticised not being able to understand Hardy’s accent, I heard every word very clearly, and enjoyed his choice – it was clear, succinct but also slightly reminded me of Darth Vader. He may not have the same psychotic approach as The Joker, but Hardy still scared the living crap out of me – I would not want to meet the man in a dark alley. The character’s voice, his stance and the way he walked exuberated confidence, and made me afraid for Batman even before those first blows.  Hardy was quite unrecognisable as the terrorist, mercenary who held Gotham hostage and did a fantastic job.

Marion Cotillard – Cotillard did a brilliant job as the deceptive Miranda Tate – charming and sophisticated on the outside but underneath  Ra’s Al Ghul’s child, born into the prison pit who climbed her way out and remained under the radar for most of the film (it wasn’t until just before that I began to think the trigger person was her, but on watching it the second time the little clues were there). The only criticism I can give is Cotillard’s slight awkwardness when performing the stunts and action sequences. Okay, granted she did only give birth two months before she started filming but I just wish she’s looked more comfortable doing the scenes.

It was also great to see a few other actors I recognised from various things –the delectable Burn Gorman (whom I recognise from Torchwood) playing the villainous Stryver and Josh Stewart (who is J.J.’s husband Will from Criminal Minds), as one of Bane’s main thugs Barsad. Additionally Morgan Freeman, Nestor Carbonell, Cillian Murphy and Liam Neeson return and reprise their roles respectively. This film’s assemblage of actors is a showcase of some of the best talent in today’s industry and is a stellar team effort.

(And as a side note – the boy who sings the national anthem before the destruction of Gotham begins gives a beautifully chilling performance that gave me goosebumps – a rather innocent image immediately contrasted by the chaos and fear that is felt as Bane takes control.)

Overall this film is on such an epic scale, with the last 45 minutes alone leaving me on the edge of my seat. It was action packed and full of explosions and chases and that giant fight scene on the steps was epic! The film kept a strong pace and was riveting, suspenseful, emotional and just an all-rounder, setting a standard as perhaps the film of the year.

The ending of the franchise was also extremely satisfying. I had a feeling that they had not killed Batman despite so many rumours that that was the case. I suppose in a way they did kill Batman, or at least Bruce Wayne’s version of Batman – as far as the people of Gotham are concerned Batman died saving the city and thus proved he really was a hero. However the ending saw that in fact (somehow) Bruce had escaped the Bat before the bomb went off and he now lived happily ever after with Selina. Alfred acknowledged him from afar and we saw Alfred’s dream of seeing Wayne happy and safe finally realised.  One debate that has emerged online regarding the ending is whether or not it is in fact an illusion of Alfred’s. Given Chris Nolan’s penchant for open-endings, the debate has started as to whether or not Bruce Wayne is actually alive. Even though this is an interesting idea, I think perhaps people are reading too much into it. For one thing, Alfred never really had any interaction with Selina, so why would he imagine she would be there? And also –you can see that she is wearing Wayne’s mother’s pearls in the final image and we do hear that they are missing from the itemised will. If you want to read more about the other side of the debate please read this or for a more balanced view read here 

We also had the major twist that John Blake’s real name was in fact Robin and the image of him swinging into the Batcave makes him the perfect candidate to take up the mantle when (and it is a case of when and not if) the reboot of Batman happens. Whether that happens or not (or whether in fact he becomes Robin or Nightwing) will be another story. Fans will certainly be interested to see what happens if the next person to take on Batman story will choose to build on Nolan’s ending or whether they start fresh.  For now though Christopher Nolan can bask in the knowledge that his Batman trilogy was successful, bringing a new take on the comic book character. The third film of the series was an epic conclusion to a series that will be remembered as perhaps one of the great comic book trilogies of all time.

Leave your comments – what did you think of the film and THAT ending?

Catwoman: My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men

Batman: This isn’t a car!

The Dark Knight Rises

Rachel