It’s been a big year for films, so it’s time for the SLIS list of the Best Movies of 2012. Rather than doing a traditional TOP 10, I’ll be judging films based on their respective genres, and noting the best performances, actors, scenes, effects and musical scores! I have Amazon links for films available on Blu-ray or DVD.
Best Film: Argo
Ben Affleck directs the hell out of this thriller about the Iran Hostage Crisis. The 70′s setting brings to mind the great paranoid thrillers of that era, while the crazy plot involving a fake sci-fi movie production to free U.S. Diplomats offers nostalgia for the fantasy films of that decade. You won’t breathe during the tense finale.
Order Argo on Blu-ray here:
Best James Bond Film Ever: Skyfall
When I first reviewed this film I said it was one of the best Bond films ever, but after thinking it over, let’s just say it is. Expertly shot and acted, with amazing action set pieces, Skyfall brings a more wounded and reflective Bond than any other 007 picture.
Best Super Hero Movie and Best Trilogy finale: The Dark Knight Rises
Best Cinematic Gamble: The Avengers
Combining different film franchises, with a director not known for action, was a daunting proposition. But director Joss Whedon pulled it off, with spectacle laced with humor; perfectly suiting the Marvel Comics style of storytelling. (Full Review).
Best Blu-ray release: Jaws
If you love Jaws, and have an HD TV, you MUST own this. (Check out my review).
Best Action Scene: Bane’s Sky-jacking in DKR
Having seen the Blu-ray special features, it’s amazing how much of this jaw-dropping scene was NOT done with CGI.
Best Gangster Movie No One Saw This Year: Lawless
A solid prohibition film that features the third pairing of director John Hillcoat and Screenwriter (and genius lyricist) Nick Cave ,who previously worked together. on The Proposition and The Road (and the third pair-up of Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy as well).
Worst Gangster Movie No One Saw This Year: Killing Them Softly
Best Sci-Fi Film: Looper
The inventive time travel movie Looper, which adds some cool twists to an well-worn concept. And great performances from Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. I think it’s the best performance from Willis since 12 Monkeys, ironically another great sci-fi time-travel film!
Best Tarantino Movie Since Pulp Fiction: Django Unchained
Tarantino proves he still has it with the dynamic, violent and emotional western.
Most Traumatic Film: The Grey
The feel good film of the year this ain’t. But as a stark reflection on mortality, and legacy, The Grey is powerful. But it won’t make you ever want to fly again. Or travel to Alaska. Many felt cheated by the ending, but I thought it was perfectly poetic.
Best Hitchcock Biopic:
The enjoyable (if somewhat lightweight) film of the same name. Check out my review.
Worst Hitchcock Biopic:
The dull, character assassination that is The Girl.
Best Score: Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight Rises
Best Cinematography/Visual Effects: Prometheus
This Ridley Scott film divided audiences sharply. And while I do have my reservations, as a piece of sci-fi eye candy, Prometheus is darkly gorgeous and visually mind-blowing.
But it was a year full of good-looking movies, and Skyfall and Dark Knight Rises are both tied at second place.
Best Hero: Batman
Any year Batman is in a movie, he’ll always be the best hero. But runner-up would be Tony Mendez, the true life hero of Argo.
Best Villain:Bane/Silva (Tie)
How to choose between Tom Hardy’s physically imposing Bane, and Javier Bardem’s unhinged cyber-criminal Silva? I can’t.
Best Actress: Helen Mirren (Hitchcock).
While I feel Helen Mirren might be a little too outgoing and vivacious to pass as Alfred Hitchcock’s wife Alma, she steals the show. Runner up: Anne Hathaway in DKR.
Best Actor: Jack Black in Bernie.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained.
Best Comedy: Bernie
Jack Black gives a career best performance in this black comedy about a real-life murder in a small Texas town. Richard Linklater’s direction is assured and Matthew McConahey hams it up as a showboat D.A. off to send Black’s Bernie to the slammer. But Bernie is so damn likable you won’t want him to.
Best Movies Of 2011 that I didn’t catch until 2012: (all of which were dark as hell):
Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene ; We Need To Talk About Kevin ; Take Shelter ; I Saw The Devil, and Rampart. Click titles for reviews…
So that wraps up the Best Movies of 2012. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to see Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, The Imposter, Dredd or Killer Joe yet, so I’ll be reviewing those when I see them in 2013.
What are your favorite films of 2012? Sound off below!
And if you’re looking for last-minute holiday gifts for movie lovers, be sure and check out my list of Best DVD and Blu-Ray Box Sets…