Thursday, December 20, 2012

Year in Review: Movies

Year in Review: Movies

Favorite Movies of the Year

In no way am I qualified to talk about the year’s best movies. So here is a list of some of my favorite movies of the year. Please enjoy.

1. Looper

Time travel movies are really hard to make well. The whole concept of time travel is so confusing that if the movies spends too much time trying to explain it or how it affects the past, present or future then it will get bogged down and can end up being really boring (Butterfly Effect). But when a movie stays away from the explanations and just lets go it can be quite entertaining (Terminator). What Looper does that is great is it doesn’t try and explain itself out of every corner; instead you get old Joe telling young Joe “I don’t want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about time travel then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws.

Not only is the whole premise of the movie great Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis do a great job of playing the same character separated by 30 years. The ending is a little predictable if you watch how JGL and Bruce Willis’ character arcs start to change but the movie as a whole is well put together and Emily Blunt makes up for all the shortcomings the ending might have.

2. Chronicle

I am a huge Super Hero/Villain fan and this movie fulfills the entire desire super hero fans want in their movies: flying, powers, fighting, fighting with powers while flying. This movie has it all. Not only that the Alien object that game them their powers wasn’t explained or seen of again. What happened to it? Is there possibility of a sequel perhaps? The three guys that made the cast seemed like they were actually friends in real life Dane DeHaan goes all Magneto on everyone you can almost understand exactly why he would do that.

3. Skyfall

Bond, James Bond. Well it’s another installment of the super spy saga and as someone who has literally seen five James Bonds movies, this is easily number two on my favorite JB movie (number one is obviously GoldenEye). Daniel Craig has a resurgence as the spy/killing machine after what wasn’t the best outing in Quantum of Solace (I heard, I didn’t see that one) after starting his franchise off with a boom in Casino Royale (I actually saw that one and I really liked it too). I think if Mr. Craig can make another Bond movie likes this he could be one of the best Bonds ever.

4. Pitch Perfect

This movie isn’t all about the songs. Ok, it’s mostly about the songs. The music in this movie is great and specifically the final numbers by both of the main acapella groups are great. Besides Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson I could not stand a lot of the other actors in this movie. The story was good and the writing made the movie a lot better. I found myself LOL’ing a few times (most of them involved Rebel Wilson). The movie probably wouldn’t be that great if Brittany Snow and Anna Camp weren’t in it but the whole puke fight and node removal storylines were just weird and felt unnecessary.

5. 21 Jump Street

A remake of a TV show from the 70’s with the guy from that dancing movie and the fat one from SuperBad who isn’t fat anymore. That’s all this movie was supposed to be, but instead Channing Tatum came out of his box and showed he had great comedic chops and John Hill came to set looking like he hadn’t eaten for a year and they blew away all expectations. This movie is so funny and the whole thing is capped off by the cameo by Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise the original 21 Jump Streeters from when the program started.

6. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Steve Carell plays the straight man while all sorts of crazy stuff happen around him that are mostly caused by or somehow involve Kiera Knightley’s character. The movie is charming in the idea that when you know the world is coming to an end you should go out and find whatever it is that will make you happy for the rest of the time you have. (December 21 is approaching everyone go find the “one that got away”) When the movie ended I couldn’t help but want to what happened but I was only left with the love story we got and I was ok with that.

7. Avengers

I was supposed to see this movie on the IMAX #D screen but the projectionist screwed up and the 3D didn’t work so we had to watch it in pedestrian IMAX format. Do I think the 3D experience would have made me like it more? Probably not (those glasses hurt my head) but I would have enjoyed to see the alien beings getting smashed toward my face by the Hulk.

I loved Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the rebooted Mark Ruffalo Hulk but the characters of Black Widow and Hawkeye were weak and could have been substituted by any other marvel comic book character and the movie would have been better off.

8. Project X

I guess this is what a 2012 teen movie looks like. I have to say, I am glad that I am not a teenage in these times because I would never have made it through a party like that. The movie itself though is really well put together and pretty hilarious.

9. Moonrise Kingdom

This is an odd movie and for some reason I really enjoyed watching it. Edward Norton was awesome as the camp leader at Camp Ivanhoe. Besides Norton you have Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwarztman all eating scenery. The real amzing thing is that the movie is about a love between two teenagers: a loner who is excluded by his brother and then fellow campers and a troubled teenage girl who loves reading fantasy novels and is prone to violent outburst. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are the real stars of this movie stealing every scene they are in together and making the audience feel that they are actually meant to be together.

10. Safety Not Guaranteed

Another movie about time travel but this isn’t really about time travel. It’s about a journalist and two interns who travel to a small town to find a man who put an ad in a newspaper asking for a partner to travel back in time with. The cast is great headlined by Mark Duplass, Jack Johnson, and Aubrey Plaza. I mean you can’t get hotter and more current comedy stars then that.

Honorable Mention

The Dark Knight

I liked the Chris Nolan Batman franchise as a whole but this movie seems kind of rushed. It seems like he just wanted to finish it. I didn’t like that Batman wasn’t in it that much and the whole Bane Voice things was absurd. If you have an actor like Tom Hardy you should use him better than that. With that said it brings a nice conclusion to the trilogy and leaves a strange Joseph Gordon-Levitt size opening in the Batman world.

Movies I haven’t seen. Yet…

Whether it’s because I haven’t been to a theater in a while or because I couldn’t find a good version on the internet, these are the movies that have come out this year that I haven’t seen but plan on at some point in the near future.

1. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is a genius. I feel like if you’ve seen Inglorious Basterds and liked it then you will probably enjoy Djamie Foxx Unchained.

2. Flight

Denzel is my favorite actor of all time and I can’t wait to find a copy of this movie and watch it 4 times in a row.

3. The Hobbit

I loved LOTRs and I can’t imagine not loving Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman plays Dr. Watson on BBCs Sherlock) and a bunch of dwarves on an incredible journey through Middle Earth.

4. Man with the Iron Fists

RZA’s first major motion picture looks interesting. I don’t know how good it will be but I am excited to see it when I get the chance. I only hope he punches some bodies eye out. (HE DOES!)

5. Les Miserables

Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway all singer their own songs live on the set, the first musical to do that. I mean this movie looks like an epic that if you miss then you are just plain missing out.

6. Lincoln

The cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Bruce McGill, Jared Harris, Walton Goggins, and Adam Driver. If some of those names are familiar google them and you’ll recognize them from something. I mean this movie even has Kevin Kline as a wounded soldier.

7. Life of Pi

Based off a book where a boy and a tiger share a boat after the ship that was carrying them capsized. I never read it but the concept of the boy/tiger relationship has always kept me intrigued.

8. Seven Psychopaths

Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Colin Farrell playing characters that suit them very well. This movie looks like it will be funny more or less the whole way through.

9. The Master

Not a movie about the birth of scientology, also not starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams.

10. Argo

A movie toted as coming extremely close to portraying what actually happened in the real life version. The only thing that some people are having difficulty with is the only character that was not casted to look like the actual human counterpart was the main character and the role Ben Affleck (the director) decided to give himself.

Movies I haven’t seen. And won’t…

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

No Thank You!

Hunger Games

I heard it was good and Jennifer Lawrence did a great job but this is a Disney action movie? Where the kids have to murder each other to survive? How are you supposed to make that into a Disney movie?

Here Comes the Boom

I have nothing against Kevin James or Kevin James movies but I am just not interested in seeing Kevin James get beat up or try to make me believe that he is in the same weight class as Jason Miller.

Total Recall

You can’t remake and change it as much as they did without showing the proper respect to the original, especially a cult classic.


Call me when they make a jenga movie…

Actor of the Year

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The man has really worked his butt off this year. Not only was he in my favorite movie of the year he also was a bike messenger on the run from everyone, Abraham Lincoln’s son, and the heir apparent to the Dark Knight costume. JGL didn’t just have a four movie run he also hosted Saturday Night Live and did so very well. He always seems to be working but with Looper, Lincoln and The Dark Knight Rises he swung for the fences and hit three straight homeruns. Next year he has one movie coming out about a man who is addicted to porn and somewhat of a womanizer and his struggles to become less selfish. He also has been rumored to be in the running for the role of Batman in the Justice League movie that will be coming out in 2015. All I know is after a year like this he is bound to have a nice next couple of years.

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