2012 was an odd year for me financially speaking, being out of work for so long. I didn’t get to see nearly as many movies as I wanted to see. Still, I saw a lot. In no particular order, these are my favorite movies of last year. (I was going to do 12 to go with the year, but ran out of time to see the movies I wanted to round out the year with.)
This wasn’t just one of the best films of the year, in my opinion, but it instantly became one of my all-time favorites. It has everything: action, twisty plots, interesting, well-developed characters, and an unexpected ending that really couldn’t have gone any other way without losing something vital. The acting was great, the writing was great… really, everything about this movie was just perfect for me. I wish I’d written it!
2. The Dark Knight Rises
I know a lot of people said they didn’t like this, probably because it wasn’t what they were expecting, but that’s exactly why I loved it. It was more of a drama with intense action scenes than an action movie with plot. There was so much crammed into this movie that it probably could’ve been made into 2 films (which I honestly still would’ve loved). So many loose ends tied up and new characters were woven into the existing architecture of the series that I was all agog with wonder on multiple levels.
3. Man on a Ledge
I had actually forgotten that this movie came out in 2012. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean that it seemed like I had seen it forever ago and yet remembered it very vividly. I was sure that this came out back in 2011, maybe even 2010, but nope. It’s a 2012 movie. On the face of it, this is a typical heist movie with your angsty lead, the bad guy, and the goal of whatever happens to be getting stolen. The thing about Man on a Ledge, though, is that it delves deeper and gives you twists that you don’t see coming. Or maybe just that I didn’t see coming. While the plot twists were great little surprises, I have to say that it’s the acting on this one that makes it a fave of the year. The ensemble cast really came together and performed seamlessly, making me believe everything.
4. The Woman in Black
I like Daniel Radcliffe. I think he’s adorable and a really good actor. I love that he picked a very a-typical movie to be in after the Harry Potter franchise was over and done. The Woman in Black has all the earmarks of a great horror film and then some. The area itself becomes a character, with the haunting visuals and the tiny, desolate village in which it takes place really drives home the situation. It takes a lot to scare me. I’ve seen so many horror films that I rarely jump anymore. This film, though… dayam. Creepy and haunting and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.
5. Safe House
I do love me a good action flick. I love double-crosses even more. And it’s even better when you get both of those and actors who can pull it off. You expect that from Denzel Washington, of course, but I was wonderfully surprised at how Ryan Reynolds rose to the occasion. The story on this one was pretty straightforward, but the way it came through, how everything was revealed… that’s some damn good directing and acting.
6. This Means War
I’m not usually a rom-com kinda girl, but this wasn’t your typical romantic comedy. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are best friends and spies who accidentally fall for the same girl and then end up in a private competition to woo and get her. They had such outstanding chemistry that I was giggling through the entire movie and cheering them both on. I don’t think Reese Witherspoon was the best pick for her role, but then, it wasn’t really about her anyhow. It was about best friends and how much they’ll do for, and to, each other when push comes to shove.
7. Seven Psychopaths
This was an odd little movie with big bite. Nominally about a screenwriter here in LA, Seven Psychopaths is really about finding out who you are and what you’re willing to do for what, and who, you believe in. It wasn’t flashy and doesn’t really fit into one category having a dry wit, drama, action, and even a little true love going on. It wasn’t one you needed to see in the theater, but I do think it needs to be seen.
This is definitely the best horror film I’ve seen in a while. Ethan Hawke plays a true crime writer who moves his family to a small town with a horrifying tragedy. It’s spooky and has just enough gore to make you flinch. The ending is just wonderfully awful and totally in keeping with the rest of it and I can’t say anything else without giving it away.
I really didn’t think that a true story movie about brothers with a moonshine operation back in the day would be anything to write home about. I actually only went because Tom Hardy was one of the leads. This is a movie that stuck with me for a couple of days, though, making me think about it and drag it over in my mind because it doesn’t hit you all at once. Not just the story, though parts of it are so unbelievable I wonder how much “creative license” got taken, but also the acting and directing and cinematography. I wish that it had been released two weeks into November so it could get the Oscar attention that it really does deserve.
Well, Ben Affleck did it again. Honestly, the man has no shame when it comes to making brilliant films and I want to hate him for it, but just can’t. This was another movie based on real events, only this one definitely didn’t take much creative license; you could match up scenes in the movie with actual time period photos in the credits after. Most of the gut-clenching, tension films I see are horror and suspense, but Argo had tension in spades and left me breathless for the ending. Even if you know how it turns out because you’re a history buff, you should see this one. Knowing the ending doesn’t really matter. It really is all about the journey on this one.