2012 Year in Review: Best & Worst Movies and Memorable Movie Moments

Bye2012Can’t believe 2012 has come and gone. I don’t know about you but this past year felt especially fast for me, it just flew by before I had a chance to reflect on a bunch of things. I know a lot of bloggers have been putting their stamp on whether this has been a good or bad year for movies. Now, I personally don’t know how to really judge that, I think if someone were to ask me, I’d say it’s been a pretty good year as I’ve enjoyed quite a lot of movies, both the blockbusters and the smaller indie flicks.

Now, as I’ve done in the past couple of years, this top 10 is more of a list of favorites so naturally it’s very subjective. The movies included are reserved for those released in 2012 that I saw on the big screen (whether on regular theatrical release, screenings or at a local film festival).

So here they are in alphabetical order (it’s hard enough to pick just 10 so I sure as heck am not going to rank these):

2012FlixList

Top 10 Favorite 2012 Films:

  • Argo (my full review)
    Ben Affleck’s third directorial work makes up for a stellar ‘trilogy’ of his work. It was an engaging, edge-of-your-seat stuff and it was emotionally satisfying to boot. Great casting on John Goodman and Alan Arkin as the scene-stealing Hollywood folks set out to make a fake movie.

  • A Late Quartet (my full review)
    One of the indie gems at TIFF that totally lived up to my expectations, especially in the performances department. If you’re a fan of Christopher Walken or Philip Seymour Hoffman, I highly recommend this one.

  • Brave (my full review)
    I actually re-watched parts of this on the plane during my vacation and I still loved it. In a year of kick-ass movie heroines, Princess Merida is a highlight. Pixar delivers once again!

  • Looper (my full review)
    One of the best action sci-fi I’ve seen in years, thanks in no small feat to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The make-up might be distracting but Levitt’s performance was still strong enough to overcome that. The first movie by Rian Johnson I’ve seen – this one certainly makes me want to seek out his other works.

  • Silver Linings Playbook (my full review)
    This one was touted as the ‘centerpiece’ feature film at TCFF and glad it lived up to the hype. Another strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence (I actually like her a bit more here than in The Hunger Games) and proves that pretty-boy Bradley Cooper can definitely act. It also marks one of Robert De Niro’s best in recent memory.

  • Skyfall (my full review)
    Thanks to Sam Mendes, his team of writers and of course the blond Bond du jour Daniel Craig, we’ve got a massively entertaining Bond film that packs both brains and heart. I love that Judi Dench’s M is sort of the unconventional ‘Bond girl’ in this one, and the gorgeous cinematography by Roger Deakins certainly makes this one all the more memorable.

  • The Avengers
    The loud, popcorn blockbuster is certainly the highlight of the first half of 2012. Considering the herculean hype surrounding this one, it’s quite a feat that Josh Whedon & co. managed to still meet that, and then some! There are so much to like that I listed a top 10 reasons why The Avengers rocked.

  • The Dark Knight Rises (my full review)
    It’s really a testament to Christopher Nolan that despite all the plot holes, I still enjoyed it immensely. I still rate The Dark Knight higher, but overall it’s a satisfying ending to an amazing trilogy!

  • The Hobbit
    Well I just did my top 10 reasons why I loved this movie, so naturally this would end up on my top 10. Definitely a welcome return to the visually mesmerizing world of Middle Earth. Can’t wait for Part II!

  • The Sapphires (see my review)
    Last but definitely not least. I adore this inspirational true story set in the 60s about four talented young Aboriginal girls who were plucked out of obscurity when they formed into a dynamic singing group. Such an affecting story and the music is a winner, I can’t wait to see this again soon.

10 Honorable Mentions:

These ten films are excellent, they didn’t quite make my top 10 but they’re definitely still worth checking out if you haven’t already (click each title for full review):

Cloud Atlas, It’s A Disaster, Moonrise Kingdom, Robot and Frank, Quartet, Ruby Sparks, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, The Sessions, The Hunger Games, Things I Don’t Understand.


The year of the British Dames Trio

DameSmithDenchMirren

Dames Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren all wowed me in their roles in Quartet, Skyfall and Hitchcock, respectively. Though Hitchcock is not stellar movie, Mirren’s role is the highlight for me and her casting as the filmmaker’s wife Alma undoubtedly made the film a lot better that it otherwise would. Dame Smith and Dench were also wonderful in the delightful The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which marked the second time I saw them together on screen (the first one was A Room with a View). If only these three fine dames would star in a film together one day!


Now, I’d like to give a shout out to these 10 Movies I saw in 2012 (either on a rental or on the plane) that I’d highly recommend (click each title for my full review):

  1. Side by Side
  2. Headhunters
  3. Coriolanus
  4. The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
  5. The Whistleblower
  6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  7. 21 Jump Street
  8. Margin Call
  9. Daybreakers
  10. Endgame

Five Biggest Disappointments in 2012

Now, to even things out, I also want to list those released this year that I didn’t care for. Fortunately, there are only five of them (that I have seen) that I rated 2.5 out of 5 or below.

  1. Total Recall
    Their comic-con panel (especially Colin Farrell) was a heck of a lot more entertaining than this stinker
  2. Bourne Legacy
    I wasn’t a fan of Jeremy Renner to begin with and I wasn’t about to become one after this. Rachel Weisz was a lot more charismatic here, which begs the question as to why she signed up to do this one.
  3. Playing For Keeps
    Well, it’s the year I say goodbye to Gerry Butler :( I’ve written an open letter in lieu of the review, but suffice to say this is one of the worst movie I’ve ever seen in recent memory [shudder]
  4. Snow White and the Huntsman
    I couldn’t stand K-Stew but I thought I’d give her a chance in something other than Twilight. Alas, she’s as expressionless as she ever was, so my befuddlement as to why she keeps getting roles continues. The rest of the cast weren’t exactly stellar either.
  5. Nobody Walks
    This was the worst movie I saw in at TCFF, I just didn’t enjoy the story at all, it actually left a bad taste in my mouth after. It turns out that one of the writers of this was Lena Dunham, so it’s highly unlikely I’d ever be interested in her HBO show Girls.


Top Five Favorite Movie-related Moments in 2012:


Well that’s my recap of 2012 in movies, folks. I’ll have a separate list of the films I’m anticipating in 2013.

So what tops your list of best and worst of the year?

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2011 Movies Year in Review

HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody!! What a year it’s been at the movies… sequels definitely ruled Hollywood in 2011 and no doubt this trend is likely to continue. According to this site, the movie industry churned out 28 sequels, the most ever released in a single year! And this Box Office Mojo list shows that 7 out of the top 10 biggest-grossing movies this year have all been sequels (and one remake), topped by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, raking in over $1.3 billion worldwide. That’s just ONE freakin’ movie of the already very profitable franchise!

I’d say it’s been a relatively good year at the movies… despite the slew of sequels and remakes, there have been some inventive and wonderfully creative films like The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Source Code, Tree of Life, just to name a few. Of course I wish there were more arty films released this year to balance all the sequels!!… 

For me personally, I saw almost 40 films released in 2011 (well 60 if you count all the Gregory Peck films I saw in the past two months) with more than half of those seen at the theater. Thanks to the 2011 Twin Cities Film Fest, I got  to see some films that barely made it to our local theaters, such as Machine Gun Preacher and a few good documentaries like Where Soldiers Come From and the Stan Lee’s With Great Power. Not bad at all, though I hope to see more movies in 2012… but with the fantastic lineup like Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, etc. on top of the other non-franchise movies I’m anticipating, next year sure is shaping up to be another awesome year at the movies!

Well, it’s customary for bloggers to sum up the end of the year with their picks of favorite films. So here’s my top ten favorite movies of 2011:… 

10. Thor
Branagh infused witty dialog and draw compelling performances from his actors, whilst still delivering satisfying special effects for fans of the superhero genre. The ending is so satisfying and naturally set up for a sequel. It doesn’t seem forced at all, in fact, Branagh gives us much to look forward to, too bad he didn’t sign up to helm the sequel.
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As I’ve mentioned in my noteworthy performances post, one of the main highlights of this film is the character Rachel Singer, played by both Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain. But John Madden crafted an intriguing WWII thriller with unflinching action and sharp dialog. I don’t even mind renting this one again when it’s out on DVD. It’s not every day I come across a solid espionage piece that’s as taut and well-acted as this one.
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Biggest surprise of the year for me as I wasn’t initially interested in seeing this film! It’s an impressive movie that it kept me engaged from start to finish, there’s no slow or ho-hum second act, or unnecessary ‘fillers’… I feel that every single scene in this film is worthy to be included. I commend UK director Rupert Wyatt—a relative newcomer with only two previous feature films under his belt—for creating such a satisfying film with a ‘whoa’ kind of ending.
I never would’ve thought that this sequel to a Mission movie would end up in my top 10, but if you’ve read my review, you’ll know why. Brad Bird’s confident direction and the inventive actions scenes makes this movie work, and Tom Cruise’s definitely in his elements as the super agent Ethan Hunt. Easily the most electrifying action movie I’ve seen in a while!
I made a snafu in including Tangled on this list as it’s actually released in 2010. In its place, I’m including the final film of the mega-successful Harry Potter franchise. Though I had said in my ‘review’ that it wasn’t as epic as I had expected it to be, in hindsight I think it truly was a great finish to a well-crafted franchise. It’s quite something to see how much Harry, Hermione and Ron have grown over the years. These three friends have been through a lot and the finale captures a lot of their emotional moments, as well as other beloved characters, especially Professor Snape! Not many franchises THIS big could’ve ended in such a high note.
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5. Hugo
Martin Scorsese’s foray into family movies is an enchanting one. It’s another film on my list that takes place in the city of lights, captured in a brilliant cinematography by Robert Richardson. This film looks beautiful in 3D that’s used expertly to enhance the story instead of hindering it. I especially love the homage to history of filmmaking, intertwined with the story of a lonely boy trying to find his place in the world.
I don’t make a top 40 list like this to just any film, so naturally I LOVE this film. I’m naturally fond of the X-Men story, but Matthew Vaughn took this up a notch and delivered on his promise of putting together a Cold War setting + a Bond flick + Frankenheimer political thriller all in one heck of an entertaining movie. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy’s great performance is also major factor this movie works so well. Even after seeing over a dozen 2011 movies since, I still rank this pretty high on my list.
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3. The Help
This is the last 2011 film I saw this year and what a way to end the year! I never read the book but I’ve heard that it’s one of the few adaptations that lives up to it, and I can see why. The story alone is inspiring and thought-provoking, and the acting is top notch. As I mentioned in my previous post, I sure hope Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis will continue to get recognition during award season. I laughed and cried throughout the film, it’s one of those films that’ll stay with me long after the end credits roll.
This is the kind of movie to get lost into, to be swept off your feet and be magically transported into the charming Parisian world that Woody Allen’s dreamt up. Right from the opening sequence with the jazzy music Si tu vois ma mère all the way to the rainy setting of the finale, this movie is just so irresistibly beguiling. I’m not even an Owen Wilson fan by a long shot, nor am I a longtime admirer of Woody Allen’s work, but Allen’s got a real winner with this one.
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Beautiful. Enchanting. Inventive. I’m running out of adjectives to describe this film. I’m so glad I got to see it this year. Even though I’ve been waiting for this for a while and had a high expectation for it, this film still delivers! Major kudos to director Michel Hazanavicius for creating a film that’s not only delightful to watch but also so refreshingly different from the sequel/remake-laden pack of Hollywood offerings. As I said in my review, there really isn’t a single darn thing wrong with this film and even my husband who isn’t keen on black & white films, let alone a silent one, loves every minuted of it! A truly a magical time at the movies, hands down The Artist is my favorite I’ve seen all year!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:



As for worst films of the year, well I’m quite fortunate that I’ve been avoiding a lot of duds this year like Cowboys & Aliens, Green Lantern or Battle L.A. But if I were to name one disappointing film I saw this year, it’d be Somewhere by Sofia Coppola. Fortunately I didn’t waste my money seeing that at the cinema!

Another major disappointment is how Relativity Studio mishandled the distribution of Machine Gun Preacher, as my friend Sherry articulated in this article. It’s hard for any film, let alone a small indie like this one, to have a chance at success when most people I talked to didn’t even know it existed! I hope more people see it when it’s out on dvd.



Before I sign off, I just want to say have a HAPPY NEW YEAR and THANK YOU for your continued support and readership. It’s been a fun blogging year for me and ‘meeting’ new people who love movies as much as I do.

I hope to chat more about movies in the years to come… why don’t you start now by sharing your favorite movies of 2011.

Happy New Year! How about a biopic for Auld Lang Syne’s writer Robert Burns?

Happy New Year’s Eve, folks! You’re probably preparing to host your NYE bash or getting ready to go to a NYE party, or like me perhaps you’re at home watching the NYC ball drop from the comfort of your home. Well, whatever you do, most likely you’ll be singing Auld Lang Syne as you’re toasting the passing of another year… or in this case, another decade!

Well, let me just take a moment to put the spotlight on the writer of that classic song, Scottish poet, Robert Burns. In fact, Auld Lang Syne is actually a poem he wrote in 1788 and then set to the tune of a traditional folk song (per Wiki). I’ve been sooo anticipating the film adaptation of Scotland’s favorite son, known only as The Bard in his homeland.

Gerry Butler has been attached to star and I’ve blogged several times about the project in the past with, first here and as I mention here, it’d be nice to have fellow Scot James McAvoy to co-star with him in it, too! So far the project has been on and off for sooo long, I mean it was back in 2005 at the Red Eye premiere that GB talked about his interest in bringing this biopic to life (as you can see in this YouTube clip) and how much he wanted to work with Julia Stiles. I’ve kinda stopped paying attention to it so I don’t continue to get disappointed, but yet another piece of news just surfaced that got me all excited again.

According to Daily Record, Butler and director Vadim Jean (who directed him in a tiny indie One More Kiss) met at the glitzy Paramount Hotel in Times Square around Christmas to discuss the project. “We are great friends and we were meeting up, catching up. Burns is still on and we talked about working together.” Jean reportedly said. Described as a Scottish Shakespeare In Love, the film focuses on Rabbie’s lovelife as he is torn between wife Jean Armour and Edinburgh society hostess Agnes McLehose. Butler might also produce the film under his production company Evil Twin, alongside the Mob Film Company.

Let’s just hope this isn’t just another rumor!! This is surely one of the cinematic projects I wish would just happen soon.

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Well, as we look to 2011, do you have a certain film project you’ve been hoping to get off the ground? Perhaps a book adaptation or something your favorite actor has been rumored to star in but hasn’t happened yet? Do share!

 

Goodbye 2009. Welcome 2010!

Well, before it’s too late, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you readers! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and been enjoying the holiday break. This is the first time I actually take more than a week worth of stay-cation and I must say having a mellow holiday season is very, very nice. It’s such a privilege to be able to stay late and sleep in a little … or a lot, and not worry about the hassle of traveling in the midst of a very cold Winter!

Wow, my first post in 2010. 2009 seems to have gone in a flash, though it certainly was a specially memorable one for me. Well, for one, I finally started this movie blog! Exactly 205 days ago, on June 9, a work assignment actually sparked me to start blogging. I must say it’s been quite an experience. Exhausting? Yes. Exasperating? Sometimes. Rewarding? You betcha! I’ve learned so much the last six months from fellow bloggers and I gotta say that not only have I come to appreciate the movies more, but also the art of writing about ‘em. I was contemplating to post my top movies list of 2009 like other movie bloggers have done, but decided to wait until I see a few good ones I haven’t gotten around to. I find that it’s really tough to post such a list as what’s “good” is really subjective and even personal, so when I get around to it later this month, I’d title it my top favorite movies, instead of best. In any case, I did post my top 10 fave trailers of ’09 in case you’re interested, I find that a heck of a lot easier to post :)

Before I go, I just want to say thanks to my loyal supporters from the get-go: Becky, Vince, Mike… and others, you know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, can’t tell you how much that means to me that FlixChatter is a constant small part of your day. Vince — thanks for your invaluable contributions in the classic film department that I’m obviously lacking. And thanks to all of you readers for making this such a worthwhile and FUN hobby, hope to hear more from you this year.

Photo courtesy of Pixelcrave (a.k.a ze blogger's hubby)

Let’s toast for a more rewarding and joyful new year,
and may 2010 be a great year for the movies!