I know that this list is about a week late, but I had to cram in watching some films I had not had the opportunity to see earlier this year. There are 16 movies listed here, because I could not shorten my list to only 10 this year (unlike last year where I had to struggle to find 10) due to the plethora of good films that premiered this year. So, here is my list of the top films of 2012:
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This modern-day Breakfast Club is based on the novel of the same name, written by Stephen Chbosky (who also directed the film). This film stars Ezra Miller, Emma Watson, and Logan Lerman. Perks is an accurate portrayal of high school and the various relationships we make and the experiences we have as teenagers.
- Les Miserables
This film is the third adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1, 463 page novel about the French revolts of 1848. It stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Coen, and Helena Botham Carter. This film, directed by Tom Hooper, features the music from the iconic Broadway show and had the actors singing live (which was good and bad at its moments).
- Safety Not Guaranteed
This film stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, and Karan Soni. This film is about a group of journalists who go to do research on a man whom claims to be a time traveler and seeks someone to come with him (I swear, this is not based on Doctor Who).
This film stars Daniel Craig, Judy Dench, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Berenice Marlohe. This is the third Bond film to star Daniel Craig and continues the series with Sam Mendes directing. This film is about Bond searching for a former MI6 agent, whom wants to destroy M and the reveal all of MI6’s agents’ identities.
- Django Unchained
This film, written and directed by Quetin Tarantino, takes on American Civil War era slavery in a similar way in which Inglorious Bastards took on the Holocaust and World War II. The film stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. While this film is not as good as Bastards, Django still is humorous and has some of the best performances out of Waltz and DiCaprio in years.
By far the weirdest film of 2012, Excision is about a medically-obsessed teenage girl who has bizarre fantasies, a difficult time associating with her peers, and wants parental affection by becoming a doctor (but she also has some psychopathic behavior). The film stars Annalynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Malcolm McDowell, Jeremy Sumpter, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ray Wise, and Marlee Matlin.
- Holy Motors
This film is also very strange, but in a different way than Excision. Holy Motors is about a French actor who is “reincarnated” with each new role he takes on. He loses more and more of himself as the film progresses and he takes on new roles. The film stars Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Monogue, Elise Lhomeau, Michel Piccoli, and Jeanne Disson.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
Perhaps one of the few films I have enjoyed in which a child is the main character of the movie (the only other one I can think of is last year’s film Hugo). This movie was completely carried by a seven-year-old girl, who is named Quvenzhane Wallis, and she pulled off a better performance than some adult actresses. This film also stars Dwight Henry and Levy Easterly.
Let’s face it, I grew up in the Pixar generation. I remember being five or six and seeing Pixar films in theatres– so, I grew up watching these pieces of art when they first premiered on the big screen. So, that may make me a bit biased in regards to Pixar and their films. Nevertheless, I LOVED Brave and its wonderful heroine, Merida. This film was voiced by Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Furguson. This film is visually stunning– and the most stunning part? Merida’s hair of course (seriously, just check it out if for nothing else).
- Silver Linings Playbook
I knew I would like this film from the trailer alone– after all, not many films have Bradley Cooper running around in a trash bag and Jennifer Lawrence actually showing her real talent. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Jacki weaver, and Chris Tucker.
- Anna Karenina
This is the thirteenth film adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel in which a politician’s wife commits adultery with a calvary officer. This film stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew MacFadyen, Kelly Macdonald, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (am I the only one surprised by the fact this guy was playing a nerd in Kick Ass about three years ago?). This film is expertly directed by Joe Wright, who has worked with Knightley twice before. It is visually stunning and brilliant to watch.
- Ruby Sparks
This film is the definition of “cute and quirky.” It is about a writer who creates “the perfect woman” in a story and one day she appears, but he can control her every movement and action. The film stars Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould, and Chris Messina.
- Moonrise Kingdom
Now, this is a Wes Anderson film, which automatically it will be “quirky.” This film is about two ten-year-olds whom begin a romantic relationship at summer camp and create drama in their town when they run away. This film stars Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balshan.
I am not a fan of time-travel films or shows (Doctor Who is an exception), but I liked this one a lot. While the second-half of the movie does slow down dramatically, it is an excellent film and handled the subject maturely without feeling the need to explain how the time-traveling worked in minute details. The film focused on a man, whose job is to kill people sent back in time by the government– but when his future self is sent back, he is conflicted and must battle himself to complete the job. The film stars Jason Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.
- The Amazing Spiderman
While many people argued that this film was unnecessary, and while I do not disagree with that statement completely, I enjoyed this film. I loved Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s performances in this film, however the Lizard (Rys Ifans) was underused and never fully developed. I saw this film in theatres about three times and loved the visual spectacle of it all. Say what you will, I am partial towards Spiderman and loved this rendition more than any other Spiderman film ever made.
- The Dark Knight Rises
Okay, I HATED The Avengers (and I know I may be getting some upset emails/comments about that statement, and I hope you do comment if you disagree) and really liked The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, there are some events that happened in the film that made no sense to me (i.e. how did Bruce Wayne get back into Gotham without any supplies when the government couldn’t?) and could have been edited (Bane’s voice). But, it was honestly the performances by Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Jason Gordon-Levitt that impressed me and made me like this film enough to put it on the list. If it were not for the performances, I would have absolutely hated this film (but not as much as The Avengers).
What do you think of my list? And which films do you consider to be the best of 2012?