My Top 25 Films of 2012

2012 saw some great films, and some real stinkers. I have seen 68 of them. These are my top 25 favourite films of 2012, and also the ten worst.

Oh and, some of these films don’t have the highest scores, but they’re higher up on the list. This is because some films (like The Hobbit) have grown on me a lot since I’ve seen them. Click on the title in the caption to get to review (and the titles in the ‘worst of’ list). Anyway, here’s the list, starting with #25:

Pitch Perfect is a fairly original (at least in cinema) and entertaining Glee-inspired musical comedy that may be predictable, but it’s a toe-tapping experience that has a fine plot, great music, some strange characters (most notably Lilly, a character who looks like that creepy big-eyed girl from Frankenweenie), show-stealing performers (like Bridesmaids‘ Rebel Wilson who portrays Fat Amy) and a memorable ensemble cast.

#24 - This is 40

#24 – This is 40

This is 40 is not quite as good as Knocked Up, but it’s a satisfying sort-of sequel. This is sometimes over-dramatic because of the numerous conflicts, but it is driven by fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy that helps Apatow get the message, of overcoming family differences and a mid-life crisis, across very well. Laughs, conflict, and advertisements for iPhones, Apple products, TV’s Lost, and a good role for Megan Fox are all present.

#23 - Ted

#23 – Ted

Ted‘s screenplay may be crowded but we must understand that MacFarlane’s comfort zone is a mere 22-minute slot, while this is a whole 112-minute feature. The end product turns out to be better than anyone would think a buddy comedy between a talking teddy bear and an immature man could be, and Wahlberg and Ted’s chemistry help make this one of the best buddy comedies of the year. I’m excited to see what else first-time director MacFarlane has in store for the silver screen, and I say bring on the sequel.

The film starts out fairly slow, but once the games come around the bend, it instantly becomes intensely engaging and entertaining. The screenplay maintains the fascinating theme of propaganda [and how corrupt the government may become], but doesn’t capture the extreme violence that we fans handled in the novel itself, and there isn’t quite enough bonding time with select characters. The adaptation is nonetheless great, and since it was not followed to a tee, there is room for surprise. Anyone who is willing to accept this fresh experience will enjoy it, as it is a promising beginning to a new teen franchise.

Rise of the Guardians is a slightly flawed, but wildly inventive, animated adventure that may have some deeply thematic material and action sequences that could be midly scary for small children. The main flaw is the disorganized beginning – but it finds its pace soon enough. The concept is a sort of edgy animated feature, but is a great end product. This is one of the most original animated features of the year, mainly because of the alterations to the beloved Guardians, like making Santa Claus look like a Russian biker, are very fresh. This is a great message to teach the kids this holiday season – don’t only believe in Santa around his season, also believe in all the other heroes, at least when their time comes around the bend.

#20 - The Grey

#20 – The Grey

The dialogue of this film allows characters to be thoroughly developed and compelling concepts to arise. When the characters aren’t talking, it gets engaging and thoroughly thrilling. The anti-climactic ending says Carnahan has learned to resist throwing full-throttle action at us, and he instead resists the urge and keeps the astounding and exciting survival film as tame as could be. The mostly unknown actors make the spotlight shine directly on the star: Liam Neeson.

#19 - Lincoln

#19 – Lincoln

Spielberg seems like, at this point in his career, is interested in making ambitious biopics instead of blockbusters like Jaws. The intelligent monologue-filled feature intricately throws information at you, and at times it can be quite a bit to absorb, but it is usually engaging. The cast of Lincoln is impressive, most notably Daniel Day-Lewis, who delivers a kind-hearted, endlessly charming performance that adds layers to one of the greatest figures in American history. Day-Lewis captures Lincoln’s will to get things done, and his genuine and kind self.

Killing Them Softly is a clever mafia tale of violence and despair with a great leading performance from Brad Pitt; with his mysterious character delivering us plenty of violence to keep us happy. This tale is also a social commentary on the local criminal economy in 2008, before Obama stepped into office – the concepts are complex, but there are not difficult to comprehend. The not-so-subtle message may be annoying to some, but the story is very engaging. It is a thought-provoking film brought to life by Andrew Dominik’s stylish and artistic direction.

#17 - End of Watch

#17 – End of Watch

The abrupt ending keeps this from being flawless, but this is a stellar crime story with intelligent writing by writer/director David Ayer (who previously wrote Training Day) with some of the best chemistry I have seen all year. End of Watch does for the real lives of cops what Ladder 49 did for fire fighters, but it’s about twenty-six times better.

#16 - Chronicle

#16 – Chronicle

Chronicle is one of the most surprisingly amazing features of 2012. The rushed pace is its main flaw, but it is an awesome experience for the 84 minutes it stays around. It obtains must-see status because of its thoroughly thematic and disturbing content. It is the most must-see found-footage feature of 2012, perhaps of all-time.

Seven Psychopaths has a clever screenplay and is a fantastic second feature from writer/directer Martin McDonagh. It is equal parts brutal, brilliant and hysterical. It is extremely memorable and has great characters and a superb ensemble cast. It is one of the most original screenplays of the year, and it’s another comedy that proves 2012 is one of the best for that genre.

The story may have ideas crammed in the feature, it undeniably has a very emotional core. If the actors weren’t singing the vast majority of their dialogue, the film wouldn’t be quite as exciting or engaging. This combines a great period piece with a profound musical, and it makes this one of the best features of the year.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum create a superb chemistry, and this is one of the finest comedy ensembles of the year. The comedy is always funny, and this is the best action-comedy of the year. The real bite about this is that no one expected it to be very good, and yet, it is a hilarious and exciting ride.

Writer/director Christopher Nolan delivers us an impressive and atmospheric piece of cinema that has incredible thrills, great plot execution and great direction, character development that has room for improvement and a slow build-up that leads to an incredible climax. It is also a thoroughly impressive end to a great trilogy, it’s a slight step-down from the high standards set by The Dark Knight, but it is better than Batman Begins.

#11 - Skyfall

#11 – Skyfall

Skyfall is a compelling experience with great pacing, a great story and great humour. Javier Bardem is simply astounding. His presence is really worth the wait. He is one of the greatest criminal masterminds of recent memory, comparable to both Heath Ledger’s The Joker and Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. He is the second best villain of the year, right behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie in Django Unchained.

#10 - Looper

#10 – Looper

Looper offers an entertaining and memorable action experience with a great story and characters, making it a film that should be cherished. Looper is slightly flawed because of a sometimes crowded screenplay and numerous antagonists, but it has a complex story that’s surprisingly easy to follow, with great characters like Jeff Daniels’ nice-guy-ruthless-when-he-wants-to-be crime boss.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a thoroughly satisfying start to a new Middle Earth trilogy. Its usually silly undertone may frustrate some, but to most, like myself, it makes for a great experience. The many expendable dwarfs may get a lot of the attention, but it is very much Bilbo Baggins’ show. That is until the show-stealing Gollum shows up for one of the best scenes of the feature. I cannot wait to see what the trilogy looks like when all of the films are released.

#8 - Life of Pi

#8 – Life of Pi

Life of Pi is interesting because it is not afraid to bring in concepts of faith and religion. It is also visually beautiful, sometimes funny, thought-provoking, magnificent, terrifying and saddening. There is also a  great story, great direction, wonderful cinematography, great conflicts and relationships present. The actors bring it all to the table, and a short list of performers carries the film very well. This is one of the best films of the year that will be a large Oscar contender. If you’re going to see this, see it in its full 3D glory.

#7 - Flight

#7 – Flight

The drama is solid and the overall film if profoundly enjoyable, compelling, emotional, sometimes funny and often gripping. The suspenseful scene at the beginning is the only action scene in the feature, and it soon turns into a character study, with fascinating concepts of addiction. Those who find the concept of addiction fascinating will enjoy this even more.

Many may think it is simply just another teen slasher, but what gets thrown at you is surprising, extremely fresh and endlessly entertaining. This is one of the most original horror films of all time, with signature bites of comedy from Joss Whedon.

Wreck-It Ralph is the finest animated feature of 2012 and is generally one hell of a nostalgic and enjoyable film. This is like the Toy Story for a new generation. Disney has delivered us a great film yet again, and mashed two generally loved things together: their acclaimed animation, and video games. I had high expectations for this film, and this really rocked my world.

#4 - Argo

#4 – Argo

One of the most captivating things about the nerve-racking Argo is the boiling suspense of the situation, and the viewer can just feel it build throughout. Argo plays out like an assassin giving you his first choke-hold, he’s inexperienced and you may feel the grip loosening from time to time, but then it strengthens again and doesn’t let go until the very end.

Silver Linings Playbook is hilarious, beautiful, meaningful, sad, emotional, and very dramatic at times. It is a truly magnificent blend. One thing that helps the film is the impeccable writing by David O. Russell, and Matthew Quick who originally wrote the novel. The viewer may not be able to relate to the exact situation of these characters, but they could fully understand their motivations – and most may have felt similar emotions that these characters express on a daily basis.

The profound analysis of teenage angst is accurate, brilliantly touching, and heartbreakingly poignant. The performances are great, the story is awesome, and the atmosphere it offers is perfect. This is a film that I’d like to watch over and over. That’s one heck of a definition for an enjoyable experience.  It’s a fine, under-seen classic of 2012 that can define a generation as well as John Hughes could.  If it comes to your town, get off the couch, grab a few friends – but if you don’t have any, it’s okay to be a wallflower – and go see this movie!

Django Unchained is a modern masterpiece, and is Tarantino’s finest film yet (even if I’m the only one to think so). It’s a great story about survival and it has great themes of racism and slavery, that Tarantino explores expertly. The performances, the writing, the soundtrack the direction and the themes are all immaculate. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the best villain of the year.

The ten worst of 2012:

10. The Watch

9. Chernobyl Diaries

8. Silent House

7. ATM

6. Red Dawn 

5. Dark Shadows

4. Mirror Mirror

3. Project X

2. The Lucky One

And the true test of patience…

Well, there you have it. Hopefully you agree with some of my picks, like them, dislike them, or even detest them. Feel free to leave comments!

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November 9-11 Box Office Results

Skyfall raked in a majority of the dough this weekend, with $90 million (including Thursday’s earnings)! It so deserved it, too, because it’s just about one of the finest action films of the year, and it is generally one of the best of the year as well! And Lincoln took in an impressive $900, 000 at eleven theatres this weekend. Also, at least surprising to me, Pitch Perfect sneaked into the Top 10 this weekend at #8, but that’s pretty sweet for it!   Well, now to the numbers!

And, if you missed any of my reviews of the movies in the Top 10 Box Office, just click the link on the title and it will lead you right to it!

Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)

1. Skyfall: $87, 800, 000

2. Wreck-It Ralph$33, 056, 000

3. Flight: $15, 100, 000

4. Argo$6, 745, 000

5. Taken 2$4, 000, 000

6. Here Comes the Boom$2, 550, 000

7. Cloud Atlas$2, 525, 000

8. Pitch Perfect$2, 504, 000

9. The Man with the Iron Fists$2, 490, 000

10. Hotel Transylvania$2, 350, 000

My Box Office Predictions (Title/Prediction/Off by(+/-))

1. Skyfall/ $85, 000, 000(-) $2, 800, 000

2. Wreck-It Ralph$42, 800, 000(+) $9, 744, 000

3. Flight$19, 000, 000(+) $3, 900, 000

4. Argo$8, 500, 000(+) $1, 755, 000

5. Taken 2$5, 000, 000(+) $1, 000, 000

6. Here Comes the Boom$2, 250, 000(-) $300, 000

7. Cloud Atlas$4, 200, 000(+) $1, 675, 000

9. The Man with the Iron Fists$6, 200, 000(+) $3, 710, 000

10. Hotel Transylvania$3, 100, 000(+) $750, 000

Other Predictions: 

11. Paranormal Activity 4$2, 800, 000(+) $780, 000

15. Lincoln$328, 000(-) $572, 000

I was off by a grand total of $25, 634, 000.

Did any of you get to the theatres this weekend, or have any time to watch any movies (in general)?

My reviews of other films in theatres

Chasing Mavericks

The Dark Knight Rises

End of Watch

House at the End of the Street

Looper

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Seven Psychopaths

Sinister

Ted

Trouble with the Curve

I’ve been putting these reviews at the bottom of my results article because I’m trying to get a little bit more traffic for them (in case you readers missed the reviews). And I, just now, realized by revealing the scores, it isn’t any good at getting more traffic. Who wants to read a review when they already know the score I gave it? I don’t think I’d do very well working in advertising…

Box Office Results: October 19 – 21

Paranormal Activity 4 took the top spot at the box office this weekend with a disappointing $30.2 million. But, the joke’s on the audience, because they just paid to see the same film for a fourth time. The other new release, Alex Cross, took 11.75 million at the box office. These two films performed poorly for the critical audience. The other new release, The Sessions, was well-acclaimed and earned $121, 000 at four theatres. All 41 films in theatres right now made for a[n] (estimated) weekend grand total of $129, 584, 600.

Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)

1. Paranormal Activity 4$30, 200, 000

2. Argo$16, 625, 000

3. Hotel Transylvania$13, 500, 000

4. Taken 2$13, 400, 000

5. Alex Cross$11, 750, 000

6. Sinister: $9, 030, 000

7Here Comes the Boom$8, 500, 000

8. Pitch Perfect$7, 009, 000

9. Frankenweenie$4, 434, 000

10Looper$4, 200, 000

Other two films I predicted: 

Seven Psychopaths$3, 305, 000

The Sessions$121, 000

My Box Office Predictions (Title/My Prediction/Off by (+/-))

(Legends:

I will use the + sign if I estimated too high.

Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $31, 200, 000, I’d put: (+$1,000,000)

I will use the – sign if I estimated too low.

Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $29, 200, 000, I’d put: (-$1,000,000)

Comprendé?) And let me know if I should be doing it the other way, haha. 

1. Paranormal Activity 4/$54, 000, 000/ (+) $23, 800, 000

2. Argo$18, 000, 000/ (+) $1, 375, 000

3. Hotel Transylvania$12, 000, 000/ (-) $1, 500, 000

4. Taken 2/ $16, 000, 000/ (+) $2, 600, 000

5. Alex Cross/ $14, 500, 000/ (+) $2, 750, 000

6. Sinister$15, 800, 000(+) $6, 770, 000

7. Here Comes the Boom/ $10, 000, 000(+) $1, 500, 000

8. Pitch Perfect$8, 000, 000(+) $991,000

9. Frankenweenie$6, 000, 000(+) $1, 566, 000

10. Looper/ $5, 000, 000(+) $800, 000

Seven Psychopaths$3, 800, 000(+) $495, 000

The Sessions$45, 000(-) $76, 000

So, for this weekend, I was off by a grand total of $44, 223, 000. If my calculations are accurate (I at least think they are).

My reviews of films in theatres

Argo 

House at the End of the Street

Looper 

Perks of Being a Wallflower, The

Seven Psychopaths

Ted

And expect my review of Pitch Perfect for tomorrow or Tuesday.

[Sort of] Quick Review: In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges

Release Date: February 29, 2008

Director: Martin McDonagh

Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes

Runtime: 107 min

Tagline: Shoot first. Sightsee later.

Martin McDonagh brings us a great action comedy in his first feature film endeavour.

Colin Farrell portrays a hitman named Ray. Ray is currently in a bad state, because he is guilt-ridden because of a job gone wrong, where he accidentally killed an innocent bystander. He and his partner in crime, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) get put in a small bed and breakfast in Bruges, Belgium. They are told to wait there by their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), who tells them to sightsee and enjoy the scenery. Ken’s all up for it, but it’s not particularly something that interests simple-minded Ray. Once Harry finally gives the job to Ray, he isn’t sure if he can go through with it – and must have an internal fight of morals to make his final decision.

McDonagh has a real knack for making the seemingly worst of people, like in this film hitmen, and turn them into great and fairly likeable character. Ray is likeable, despite his constant pessimism and irritability. In McDonagh’s most recent film, and second feature film, Seven Psychopaths, he makes a set of psychopaths into likeable characters.

His unique character development is great because you can easily get emotionally invested into these colourful characters. Each character is pretty great.

There are quite a few gruesome scenes, but they are pretty fun to watch, especially if gruesome action is your forté. The comedy is pretty great, I was chuckling in a few scenes and was laughing uncontrollably in others. If you do love this sort of gruesome action and McDonagh’s brand of comedy, it’ll sort of be an action-comedy styled Heaven.

Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jérémie Renier, Jordan Prentice, Thekla Reuten, Mark C. Donovan, Zeljko Ivanek, Eric Godon and Rudy Blomme star in this film.

In Bruges is a great cinematic experience that is unique and definitely deserved that Best Original Screenplay nomination. Some of the comedy is really far between, and some scenes aren’t as memorable as others, but that’s really its only flaw. I don’t think I’ll rush back to watching it, but I’m glad I did, because it was pretty fun and had some great characters with great layers.

75/100

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Director: Martin McDonagh

Stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell

Runtime: 110 min

Tagline: They won’t take any Shih Tzu

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer trying to write up a screenplay entitled ‘Seven Psychopaths’. He doesn’t really know how to start it out, and is struggling to find inspiration. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to offer him some inspiration, despite constantly accusing him of being an alcoholic. Marty soon becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld, much to his dislike, after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) prized Shih Tzu.

The screenplay is smart and fun.

The plot is great and the film is just a fun experience. The pacing can feel a little off, and the plot can get quite ridiculous, but that’s what makes it fun.

If there’s any message I would have taken from this is that McDonagh makes great and original films, and his humour can sometimes be similar to that of Quentin Tarantino. The film is fun and can get a little crazy, but who could have thought up a plot so ridiculous? There is a lot of humour found in the most intense of situations, and I love that.

One of the funniest things about this film is all this carnage was started over a little Shih Tzu. Nope, not a wife, not a bunch of stolen cocaine, not the kidnapping of a best friend (even though a dog can be a man’s best friend) or anything like that – but a freaking Shih Tzu dog named Bonnie.

I love the characters. Even Harrelson, who is the main antagonist, is a great character. Who thought psychopaths can absolutely be this lovable and hysterical? My favourite character would be a hard answer to give. The female psychopaths (played by Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) would be out first, because they hardly have a lot of lines of dialogue at all. Tom Waits’ character of Zachariah is hysterical. Of the main protagonists, Billy (Sam Rockwell) would be the funniest, and then Hans (Christopher Walken). Generally, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) is my favourite, because he is just hysterical. Each character is well-developed.

For those of you who may have seen McDonagh’s In Bruges, will be familiar with his certain sense of humour, and you may also know that his films have the tendency to get extremely gruesome. There is gore left right and centre in this film, but for anybody who likes that sort of stuff – will be probably love this.

The film offers a laugh at least every two minutes, and its spikes of crime and violence are great. Some of the time there are flashbacks and stuff which are good, and there are also movie-within-a-movie subplots which are effective. The moods set for this film is great, and all the subplots and general plot are extremely clever.

Seven Psychopaths stars Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Zeljko Ivanek.

Seven Psychopaths is a clever screenplay that can have some poor pacing, and offers a fairly simple, ridiculous, yet clever plot; but, it is another winner from writer/directer Martin McDonagh. It can be equal parts brutal, clever and hysterical. It is most of all extremely memorable, has great characters and a very good cast. Each cast member portrays their characters well. This is yet another 2012 film (I’m talking about Ted or 21 Jump Street, not Project X) that proves that this is a year to beat for comedies. and this may just have to get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

80/100

Box Office Predictions #1 – October 12

These are my box office predictions for the weekend of October 12-14, but only for the four brand new releases: ArgoHere Comes the BoomSeven Psychopaths and Sinister.

Argo

Plot: As the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point, a CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador.

Argo is Ben Affleck’s third feature film as director, the other two being Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Affleck’s last directing, and acting, gig – The Town – made $23 million in its opening weekend, and Affleck usually makes a pretty large box office splash. Town is a bank heist thriller, and that sort of concept may appeal to a larger audience than this, because political thrillers aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea. This though, has the whole ‘true story’ pitch, and it has a lot of fine performers like Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. The film’s trailer makes itlook great, so hopefully the film will live up to its trailer.

Argo Prediction: $34 million

Here Comes the Boom

Plot: A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school.

Here Comes the Boom is the newest Happy Madison Productions film that is a martial arts action-comedy. It reminds me of 2008’s Never Back Down, which opened to $8 million. Sandler’s films often make over $100 million, when he’s headlining. Kevin James’ last headlining film, in relations with Sandler, was Zookeeper which opened to $20 million. His last action comedy was Paul Blart: Mall Cop that opened to a bit over $30 million. This seems like another mindless comedy, but those can be fun.

H.C.B. Prediction: $20 million

Seven Psychopaths

Plot: A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.

Seven Psychopaths is a crime-comedy that is Martin McDonagh’s second feature film, and he also wrote and directed it. A huge attraction for this is the great cast that includes: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Abbie Cornish. McDonagh’s last film was the British crime-comedy In Bruges that in total grossed $7.7 million, and a little under $450 thousand in its first weekend. It has grown in audience since its release, though. I think this one will make a greater splash because I’ve seen one trailer for this on a popular channel, and I can’t recall seeing any for In Bruges. This also has a better-known cast. The comedy may not appeal to all, but it seems just hilarious to me.

S.P. Prediction: $4 million

Sinister

Plot: Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

Sinister has been given a great advertising campaign. I’ve probably seen the trailer a good six times, but not because I looked it up or anything. The story seems pretty interesting and quite scary. A big advertisement hook has been it’s from the producer of Insidious and Paranormal Activity. Insidious grossed $13.2 million in its opening weekend, and $97 million in total – and P.A. grossed $193 million in total. The hype for this has been great, and horror lovers are going to be lining up to see this one.

Sinister Prediction: $30 million

1. Argo – $34, 000, 000                       2. Sinister – $30, 000, 000

3. Here Comes the Boom – $20, 000, 000

4. Seven Psychopaths – $4, 000, 000

Do you readers have any predictions?