2012 IS OVER! 2013 IS NOW! But hey, let's bring in the new year by celebrating the great movies of 2012! Because hey, 2012 had some fantastic-ass movies.
First off I just want to honorably mention the honorable mentions: Chronicle was a fantastic new superhero film, Haywire was a tight little action film, Argo is a super tense yet funny thriller, Brave is still a great Pixar movie, The Secret World of Arrietty is a wonderful Ghibli film with an amazing sense of scale, and Casa De Mi Padre is just a damn funny oddball film. Check all those puppies out. On to the winners!
10) Moonrise Kingdom
A wonderful tale from Wes Anderson about two kids who don't fit in and run away together in the wilderness. This is easily one of his best movies in years, and might even be his best, but I can't see it ousting The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, or The Fantastic Mr. Fox as his most iconic classics(and my three favorites of his films). Still, it has a beautiful atmosphere with a fully-fledged world with interesting characters, great performances by the wide and ecclectic cast, and a great dramatic soundtrack to tie it all together. If you haven't seen it and you love Wes Anderson, you're doing yourself a disservice.
9) Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas is an engaging adventure through time and space and possibly the best ensemble story movie of all time. With fantastic storytelling and editing, it perfectly ties together six different stories from six different eras, never confusing and always exciting. It spans different time periods and even different genres. More than anything, it puts forth the idea that we're all interconnected, that everything is happening at once, and that we are all pawns in a great intertwining story that may have started in the past or the future and never seems to end.
8) Wreck-It Ralph
If you love videogames, how can you not love this movie? More than a collection of old and recent gaming references, there's a timeless story of a man who feels stuck in his life and wants more. I loved it, but the reason it's not lower on the list is it takes a story turn you weren't expecting and spends a bit too much time in one world. It still has fantastic world-building and an entertaining story, with great perfrmances from John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Alan Tudyk.
7) The Amazing Spider-Man
Y'know what, I loved this movie. I really did. I can admit that it's not perfect and it's a bit of a mess in places, but I positivly love what Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield has done with the character. He's smart, he's a heroic, he can act, he has the classic Spider-Man silhouette and all his movements and attacks look like a spider. I still love the Raimi directed Spider-Man, but I love this Peter Parker. He's awkward instead of asleep! He's smart! He chooses to wear glasses! He can do kick-flips(and honestly, why was Spidey not doing kick-flips off buildings while web swinging?)! He has web-shooters! And holy crap, Gwen Stacey > Mary Jane. She's a better character and her relationship just fits better. And the lizard was done really well! Again, it's not perfect, but I still love it.
6) Django Unchained
I haven't written a review proper for it yet, so here it is: Django is the best action movie and the least Tarantino movie Tarantino's ever made. There's a lot of satisfying gory action throughout the entire movie with much less dialogue than you'd think. I went in telling myself, "Look self, I know they're advertising this as an action movie, but it's a Tarantino movie, which means lotsa dialogue, small bits of anticlimactic action, and a great soundtrack." Well the soundtrack part was right, but everything else is topsy turvy! It's a bit longer than it needs to be, but Django is a smart, telling, upsetting, and most of all a fun film.
This is incredible, partly in comparison to the Bond movie before it, Quantam of Solace, partly because it's the first Bond film in the new Daniel Craig series that feels like a bond film, but more than that, it's just a really good well-directed, well-choreographed movie. There's tension, and quiet parts, and super actiony parts, and funny parts and James Bond for once has a blievable arc! That's just cool. And man, do I love the opening Skyfall theme by Adele. How great is it? And how terrible is it that they didn't include it on the soundtrack? Super great and super terrible is what it is. The movie has great performnces form Javier Bardem, Judi Dench and Naomie Harris, and it's just a fun Bond movie.
Ok ok, I may be a bit biased because this stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I seriosuly did not know how much I needed a Sci-Fi Time-Travel Noir until I saw Looper. I didn't even think we were going to get a Sci-Fi Noir this year, let alone a well-acted, super exciting, meningful one! It sags a bit in the middle and if you think about it, the time travel is a bit spotty, but they've built an amazing wolrd for this amazing movie. It's tense, has great character performances, and how they turned JGL into a young Bruce WIllis is astonishing.
3) Cabin in the Woods
I probably still can't talk about how great Cabin in the Woods is yet until everyone sees Cabin in the Woods, but holy hell in a vagina basket is this a great movie. It doesn't bend genres, it breaks them in two and stuffs them in a blender! How great is Cabin in the Woods? It makes every generically bad horror story past and future slightly better. I dare you to see it and not think of your favorite horror movie in a brand new light. It's funny and silly thanks to the classic Whedon dialogue, and it has a truly incredible third act, that even if you see it coming, is still something you didn't expect you needed to see.
2) The Avengers
I must have seen this movie in theaters at least 5 times, most of them in 3D. No it's not entirely perfect, but it is amazing how well they pulled it off. I mean, holy crap it took them 5 movies to build this one movie up and they did it. It's hard to say what's better, Joss Whedon's dialogue or Joss Whedon's action scenes. However you feel about all his past works, you have to give the man credit because holy shit did he ever pull it off. Yeah it starts fast and you do need to see all the movies prior to understand and appreciate everything, and it does get a bit slow in the middle and there are only 2 major women roles and they never have dialogue together, but STILL, that group shot of the six of them in battle was put in every trailer for 6 months before the movie came out, and even now when I see it in the movie it still gives me chils. So what could possibly top The Avengers?
Maybe I only saw this three times, but in my opinion, it is a perfect flawless movie. Every other movie on this list, however great they may be, I can still say they have this or that problem, but Paranorman is a perfect movie. I cannot see one wrong thing with it. The characters are fully realized and interesting, the soundtrack is amazing, the aniamtion and wolrd is gorgeous, the story has more twists and turns that will shock and seriously disturb you than anything you were expecting, it is seriously a great movie. It calls back to classics without beating you over the head with references, and it doesn't rely on tired gags or pop references to get laughs. It is a genuinely wonderful movie and I can't think of anything else this year better. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go watch it. Now! RIGHT NOW!
That's my list! What do you think I left out? What were your top movies of 2012? Come back Friday for my top soundtracks of 2012!