2012 at the Movies…

To me, Top 12 – it is 2012 after all – means ‘Best’, ‘Worst’ and the most overwhelmingly ‘Meh’ films of 2012.It was sort of a strange year for cinema. On paper, it looked like we were going to have no fun at all – and there was some very loud grumbling around the streets of Cannes – but out of the woodwork came Leos Carax, Joss Whedon and Benh Zeitlin. Goes to show you never can tell. So here, without further ado and in no particular order, are my Best and Worst and most Meh films of the year…

By the way; The Artist was on my list for 2011, no need to panic!

Best

The Hunt
Mads Mikkelsen is incredible as a man whose life is slowly crumbling around him. If you are not moved by his struggle to hold on to what dignity he has left, you are made of stone.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Heartwarming and heartbreaking story of a little girl who has to grow up all too quickly. Another tearjerker, and Quvenzhané Wallis is a revelation.
Avengers Assemble
Hilarious and action packed adventure where the Avengers must save the world from Loki’s evil plot. Joss Whedon did the franchise proud!
The Raid
Welsh director Gareth Evans shows the world how martial arts movies are done. Fast and bloody, but utterly gripping.
Looper
Rian Johnson’s slick and clever time travel tale. Paradoxes abound! JGL looks a bit creepy as Bruce Willis though…
Holy Motors
Leos Carax’s batshit crazy examination of life. A hard film to explain; you will either love it or you will hate it.
Cabin in the Woods
A clever and inventive twist on the classic horror story. Classic Joss Whedon style, fans of Buffy etc will love it.
The Muppets
Jason Segel brings the Muppets back to the big screen in impressive style. Fans of the Muppets will surely find themselves crying tears of nostalgic joy.
Shame
Michael Fassbender fascinates as a man whose addictions control his life. Beautiful cinematography too.
Argo
Ben Affleck’s latest is gripping and surprisingly funny.
Skyfall
Bond is back and Sam Mendes does him justice. Beautiful cinematography and a clever, if slightly predictable, story.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass are delightful in another clever time travel story that focuses on what we have left behind.
Honourable mentions to… Killer Joe, Samsara and The Imposter

Worst

The Three Stooges
An insult to everyone, everywhere, who has ever been born, and some who have not, yet.

The Darkest Hour
Uninteresting, other than the humans exploding, and that soon lost any thrall it had.
Lockout
Disappointing and overacted. I feel traitorous including this since it was directed by Irish people and a whole new section of post production facilities were set up at Windmill Lane to create the  film, but that dones’t make it any good. Sorry!
A Few Best Men
Another insult. Crass and unfunny.
Man with the Iron Fists
An homage to Tarantino gone horribly wrong.

Post Tenebras Lux
A Cannes contender during which, a man commits suicide by tearing off his own head. Pretentious, self absorbed and unfathomable. Winner of Best Director at Cannes, which led to me shouting my disgust in the street, in the rain.
Joyful Noise
Sanctimonious and preachy. And what the hell was going on with Dolly Parton’s dream sequence?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Schlocky and a badly executed film. Good idea that didn’t work.
The Dictator
The charm of Baron Cohen’s previous two films was their unscripted nature, this was just painful and embarrassing.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Charlize Theron, take note; shoutiness does not a villain make.
Battleship
Fun, but terrible… You know those movies that are so bad they’re good? Battleship almost makes it into this category, but it is no Road House.
Wrath of the Titans
Terrible, without the fun. They should have learned from the first time.

Meh

The Master
This was one of the most promising films of the year and, while the performances were outstanding, there was not a lot going on in terms of the story.
Dark Shadows
Tim Burton needs to go back to what used to work for him, Dark Shadows is an uninspired mess.
Gambit
Scripted by the Coen Brothers, but crass and unoriginal. In fact, it felt like this film was made up of abandoned scenes from Intolerable CrueltyGambit languished in development hell for years, and it probably should have stayed there.
The Hunger Games
Should have been great, but it lacked heart.
Prometheus
Messy and far too little light. Yes, there were moments of greatness, but these were not enough to carry the rest of the film. Oh, and why did none of the characters get annoyed with Michael Fassbender constantly touching everything!?? Great performance though!
To Rome With Love
Midnight in Paris was a triumph, but Woody Allen’s follow-up was a mess. There were too many stories going on for any of them to take centre stage. Alec Baldwin’s nostalgic visit to the past was a standout, but the rest was a return to mediocrity for Allen.
Brave
This should have been fantastic, but a reliance on slapstick and some badly realised characters meant that brave was a step back for Pixar.
Magic Mike
Matthew McConaughey with his top off does not a great film make. We know this from past experience, and Magic Mike was another disappointing offering from the once-great Soderberg.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Simon Pegg runs around in his underwear then has a Mighty Boosh moment in a launderette basement. Bland and frankly boring.
On The Road
No doubt there is a great story in there, but the Cannes cut of the film was too long. Yes, Kristen Stewart smiles and Viggo Mortensen is fantastic, but road trips have their boring moments, and it seems that all of the boredom was stuffed into one beautifully shot film.
Damsels in Distress
Greta Gerwig got lost in Mumblecore and trying to control other people’s lives. Tries to be a Wes Anderson film and fails.
Frankenweenie
Better than Dark Shadows, but it still lacked the spark to truly be great.

What did you love? What did you hate?

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