The Best of 2012

First the worst:

Savages – 1/10 [prior post]Savages earns the distinction of “Clearly the Worst” Movie of the Year.  My version of a Razzie if you will.

Now that we have that out of the way, an explanation: 2012 was a breakout movie-watching year for me.  I am listing here all movies that I can recall seeing in a theater during the 2012 calendar year.  There may be a movie or two here that were actually released in 2011, but that I saw in 2012.  I am also including a couple movies that I saw this year but which were 2012 releases.  And I saw one or two 2012 releases via Apple TV this year, but I am not including them in this list.  Notably then, off this list are Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [prior post] and Take This Waltz [prior post], though maybe I should include those as well.  I doubt that seeing either of those in the theater would have boosted my opinion of them.

Hope that makes sense to everybody.  This is not just a “Best of 2012” list but a listing of everything I’ve seen for 2012.  If I watch any more 2012 movies in a theater, I’ll amend this list.

So, continuing on with the bad ones and getting progressively better:

The Grey – 1/10.  This one deserves special mention on two counts.  First off, as runner up to worst of the year.  Secondly, as to why it is I am writing this blog.  This movie was heralded by nationally known critic A.O. Scott as a “NYT Critics’ Pick”, stating “It’s a fine, tough little movie, technically assured and brutally efficient, with a simple story that ventures into some profound existential territory without making a big fuss about it.”

No it doesn’t.  It’s a big stinky trash-heap of a movie.  Awful.  Like Jaws 3-D but with wolves.  Except not even in 3-D.  If it hadn’t taken itself so seriously it might have made a good B-movie farce.  Moving onward:

Battleship – 2/10.  Gets a little credit for some cool special effects.

Looper – 2/10.  Good preview though

The Hunger Games – 3/10

Prometheus – 3/10

Silver Linings Playbook – 3/10 [prior post]

Lincoln – 3/10 [prior post]

Skyfall – 4/10 [prior post]

The Dark Knight Rises and its twin The Avengers – both 4/10

Melancholia – 5/10.  Saw this in Tucson a year ago.  A disappointing retreat by Lars von Trier, though with extraordinary elements.

The Master – 5/10.  Worth seeing for Joaquin Phoenix’s acting, probably the best male acting performance of the year.  A lot to recommend this one, but it didn’t come together as a complete picture. [prior post]

Barbara – 5/10 [prior post]

Arbitrage – 6/10

== ==== Now on to the good stuff! ==== ==

Beasts of the Southern Wild – 6/10.  As time has gone by I have thought better and better of this movie.  You’ll definitely see some things you never have before and never will again.  [prior post]

Flight – 7/10 [prior post]

The Campaign – 7/10.  Funny with lots of good-natured bad language.

Neighboring Sounds – 7/10 [prior post]

Safety Not Guaranteed – 8/10.  Fun, intriguing, interesting little movie.

Moonrise Kingdom – 8/10.  Wes Anderson returns to form.

Bernie – 8/10.  Jack Black is excellent in this true story.  An extraordinary tale, even more worthwhile if you are not familiar with what really happened, as unfortunately I was due to an NPR interview which gave away too much.  Really one of the best of the year.

Rock of Ages and Les Misérables – this is a tie; both 8/10 [prior post].  Who would have thought that two musicals released in 2012 would be so good?

Argo – 8/10.  Lincoln could learn a thing or two from this one on how to present a historical movie that works. [prior post]

The Cabin in the Woods – 8/10 [prior post].  A very effective sci-fi thriller that comes in at No. 3

Sound of My Voice – 9/10.  I’ll be posting on this one and the related and also excellent Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) at some point in the future.  Released in April, for most of 2012 I thought it the best of the year and was developing a theory on 2012 in movies around the concept of an inverse relation of budget to quality, as this is about as low budget as a still professionally made film can get.  It was knocked to No. 2 when I saw:

Django Unchained – 9/10 and Clearly the Best Movie of the Year.  [prior post]

And that’s it.  If I’ve left anything off I’ll update later.  Your comments are welcome as always.

Sound of My Voice

Sound of My Voice

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