2012: The Best of the Year, Thus Far

It’s tough to believe (like every year) that 2012 is halfway over. Six months to go and the rest of the world is gone too. Oh, happy day! To make the best of this time, I’ve compiled a short list of the five best movies from this year, as well as the five worst. This includes links to the actual reviews, and I’ve added a few on here that I never got a chance to write reviews on, for one reason or another. Click on the title for the individual review. Worst movies up soon. So many to choose from on that list…

 

5. Prometheus

A wacky new space comedy: You, Me, and the Jockey

Ridley Scott’s reimagining/ prequel/I still don’t really know film to his 1979 Sci-Fi/Horror masterpiece, Alien seems to be a film of much debate in terms of quality and continuity. Understandable. But what I appreciated was the acting, the effects, the looks, and the overall tone of the film more than anything else, which outweighs the bad by a long shot. Noomi Rapace’s intense removal of the first kind of face hugger was well played, while the setting of the film resulted in visuals we just don’t see that often. Sci-Fi/Horror is a genre that can easily crash and burn just as it can soar. Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of David the android is something that deserves far more credit than he’s probably ever going to get for it.

Grade: B

Retrospect Grade: B+

4. The Grey

I like the idea of people disagreeing with me on this. Many reviewers gave low scores and grades to the Joe Carnahan film about a group of men whose plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, leaving them to fend off the environment with what little they have. What doesn’t help is the pack of wolves hunting them don’t seem as though they’re going to let up any time soon. To me, this was a sort of “spiritual successor” to 1997’s The Edge, where Anthony Hopkins attempts to survive in the wild as a giant bear wants to make lunch out of him. Liam Neeson plays the part well.

This site actually wasn’t up in January when the film came out but it was one I had been looking forward to for a while. Many critics didn’t seem to care for the film’s pacing, it’s extended conversations between characters meant to deepen the relationships between the men stranded. I felt it fit perfectly as long conversations between the survivors not only added to each person that wasn’t Liam Neeson, it allowed for us to believe any one of the men could have lived or died, something not a whole lot of movies can make you ask these days. A total guy movie.

Grade: N/A

Retrospect Grade: B+

3. The Cabin in the Woods

It’s funny how mixed the reviews were on this one by general audiences. I loved it though, as comedy and horror fit just right in this Joss Whedon written parody of Slasher films. And this is coming from someone who is not at all a fan of Whedon, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. (SPOILER AHEAD) The final scenes where every monster and killer from every horror movie you’ve ever been freaked out by, (or just enjoyed) all escape in a single moment that can probably never been seen in a movie again, as the film’s premise allows for such insanity to exist.

I thought it was funny that the beginning starts out as a cliche, let’s-get-away-for-the-weekend movie where you know everything is going to go wrong, but it ends so amazingly catastrophic, it makes me wish most of the crap Horror would end the same. Many moviegoers said they enjoyed it until it started “doing all that weird stuff,*” aka the actual plot starts to unfold.

Grade: B

Retrospect Grade: B

*Random girl at the theater whose opinion was asked

2. The Avengers

Smart and Smarter: Which is which?

It kind of comes as a surprise that a comic book movie would be on so many “Top” lists of the year, but when you’ve got the expectations as high as The Avengers did, not putting it on the list is not giving it enough credit. This film brings together several major characters into one film in a way most can’t even get one right. It’s funny because I was not looking forward to this one either. I just thought it was going to be one loud mess, with added melodrama in between. While it still had it’s corny lines here and there (I’ve never heard the word “play” so much in a single movie), to say anything past that really is just nitpicking, so to speak.

For most people, the standout moment was definitely Hulk getting a hold of Loki, while mine was Thor and Hulk going at it. I mentioned that in my review although at the time, I only described it as to not give away anything in the movie. Now that the movie is the third highest grossing of all time, only behind Avatar and Titanic, fears of spoilage are gone. I described the fight as feeling like film and comic perfectly meshed together. I still stand by that.

Grade: B+

Retrospect Grade: A-

1. The Raid: Redemption

I was pleased that this was in as wide release as it was, being as limited as it was. The story of a bunch of cops entering a “crime hotel” of sorts, intent on dragging his immoral self from his own throne. Nothing goes as planned though when the criminals lock the cops inside and all their ammo runs dry. This martial arts/action was shunned by many general audiences simply for the fact that you have to read the subtitles. Not only do I find that very limiting, there’s so much action that you could probably guess what the characters were saying and still know what was going on. I miss the days of Jackie Chan and while I wasn’t alive for it, martial arts hayday in general. We don’t see too much of it anymore, so this was a nice Indonesian throwback. Expect a sequel next year.

Grade: B+

Retrospect Grade: A-

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