It’s finally arrived…Austin’s Top 10 Films of 2012!!!

I know that we’re already well into February 2013, but I finally feel like I am able to share with you my 10 favorite films of 2012!  Why so late?  Well, with being so busy last year with everything going on in my life, I wasn’t able to attend all of my press screenings (as well as not being invited to some important ones….ahem….IMPOSSIBLE…ahem).  I wanted my list to be as fair as possible, so I tried to see every potential film that could make my list.  And boy, am I glad I waited because I did see some pretty good ones.

First, I would like to make a list of films that I still didn’t get a chance to see.  These films have either been acclaimed in one way or another, or I really wanted to see and just didn’t get around to them.  Here they are:  RUST & BONE, DARK HORSE, A ROYAL AFFAIR, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, CHICKEN AND PLUMS, RUBY SPARKS, COMPLIANCE, ARBITRAGE, DREDD, END OF WATCH, WON’T BACK DOWN, TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, ROBOT & FRANK, SINISTER, and SMASHED.   If I do see any of those in the future, and they end up making my 2012 list, I WILL update this list.

Before I get to my Top 10, as always, I would like to mention the 10 runner-ups (in alphabetical order).  All of these films were exceptionally good and came very close to making my Top 10.  Alas, I could only pick 10, and unfortunately these didn’t make it.  But by no means does that mean you should NOT see these flicks, cause they’re all worthy of special recognition.

Here are my runner-ups:

CABIN IN THE WOODS – A horror film that was MUCH MORE than just a horror film (thank God!)

CLOUD ATLAS – I still would like to see this again.  Something tells me that this collection of intersecting stories is going to benefit from repeat viewings.  But still, this did impress me the first time.

HYSTERIA – A delightful period romance that revolves around the invention of the vibrator.  It’s surprisingly outstanding!

MAGIC MIKE – So glad this wasn’t the silly “man candy” film that the trailers suggested.  This is a gritty, quiet character study that pays homage to 70’s filmmaking.  Hooray!

MOONRISE KINGDOM – Wes Anderson hits a home run again with this imaginative coming-of-age romance.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER – Another coming-of-age story, but this time it’s set during the early 90’s… my generation.  Obviously, I found a lot to identify with.

POLISSE – Marvelously crafted, this Robert Altman-like chronicle of a French police precinct is spellbinding.

PROMISED LAND – A terrific, old-fashioned morality tale that is anchored by a solid performance by Matt Damon.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – Not quite as good as IN BRUGES, Martin McDonough’s second film is violent, funny and has great performances from Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, and Sam Rockwell.

SIDE BY SIDE – One of the most important films of the year, this Documentary about the difference between Digital and Film is essential viewing for every movie lover!

 

Now, finally, I would like to share with all of you….

My TOP 10 FILMS OF 2012:

 

impossible10. THE IMPOSSIBLE – This was one of the last films I saw of 2012, and easily one of the best.  From the director of THE ORPHANAGE, this is based on a true account (I don’t care how true, just as long as the actual film is good) of a family’s struggle for survival during the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand.  The opening moments of the disaster are absolutely mind-blowing.  I was on the edge of my seat!  Naomi Watts definitely deserves her Oscar nod (and arguably to win).  But also, Ewan McGregor delivers his best performance in at least a decade.  The scene in which he calls his father is probably the best work he’s ever done.  And Tom Holland, who plays their eldest son, gives a heart-wrenching performance.  It’s well crafted, and the story moved me.  I got choked up quite a few times, and any film that can get to me emotionally deserves to be on my best list.  I honestly wasn’t expecting this one to be as good as it was, so this was a pleasant surprise.

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9. THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – Filmmaker David O.Russell is back on the map!  After giving us the excellent THE FIGHTER, comes this brutally honest, but tender-hearted romance.  Bradley Cooper has never been this good as he is here.  Jennifer Lawrence turns in her best work yet.  And Robert De Niro proves he can act again!  It’s a hard-hitting feel good movie and the best romance in recent memory.

 

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8. THE UNDEFEATED – This won Best Documentary at last year’s Oscars, but it wasn’t released theatrically until this year.  I know we don’t really need any more “inspiring” football stories, but this really did deserve to win.  I hate football!!!  So by making my top 10 list should tell you just how great this movie actually is!  This Documentary is so engaging that by 30 minutes into it, I completely forgot I was watching a Documentary.  It truly IS inspiring!

 

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7. HEADHUNTERS – This Norwegian thriller needs to be seen!  It’s about a thief who gets deeper and deeper over his head as he is being tracked by a hitman.  Crafted in a way that Hitchcock would  be proud, every precise shot adds to the tension.  It’s suspenseful, violent, and not without black humor.  If you enjoy dark thrillers, then you need to watch this NOW!  I believe it’s streaming on Netflix.

 

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6. THE LIFE OF PI – Ang Lee has done it again!  I have never seen a movie quite like this.  Visually, it’s one of the most inventive films I’ve ever seen.  It also works extremely well on a spiritual level, and I love how it celebrates the power of storytelling.  This one is absolutely entrancing!  If you love stunning films to look at, then you should really see this!

 

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5. THE FAIRY – The best comedy of the year is this French-Belgian production about a lonely hotel attendant who meets a homeless Fairy.  They fall in love and have a series of comic mis-adventures.  I, personally, am a fan of classic comedy, especially silent cinema.  And that’s exactly the type of movies that this wonderful film is paying homage to.  The timing on every shot and every offbeat slapstick gag is precisely timed.  I love humor that is deliberately paced.  I’m so sick of that raunchy humor that this movie was a like a breath of fresh air.  If you appreciate the true “art of comedy” and the talent and effort that really goes into setting up an inspired comic set-piece, then you really need to see this movie.  I’ve seen it a few times already, and it cracks me up every time.  It’s strange, charming and full of whimsy.  It’s like nothing out there…. and it’s wonderful!

 

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4. THE AVENGERS – This is the point in my list where the “fanboy” in me takes over.  I’m sorry, but seeing all of these iconic superheroes together on-screen for the first time is pure movie magic.  Joss Whedon has made one hell of a movie.  Sure, the action is fantastic, but what really makes this film work is all of the time Whedon spent on how every one of these heroes interact with each other.  This is popcorn entertainment at its absolute, triumphant best.

 

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3. LOOPER – I just love Rian Johnson.  He’s improving as a writer/director with every film he makes.  His third film is a mind-swirling time travel tale that is extremely well thought out.  Gordon-Levitt and Willis are great, but it was Emily Blunt’s character whom I thought was the heart of the story.  I liked it the first time I saw it, and then I LOVED it when I saw it a second time.  It demands repeat viewings, and you won’t be sorry because this is easily one of the year’s most original and deliciously entertaining films.

 

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2. SKYFALL – I love the idea of James Bond.  But I haven’t enjoyed all of the series’ entries.  That said, CASINO ROYALE was my number one film of 2006, and SKYFALL is at least just as good.  Even more than that film, this really plays with some of the iconic elements from previous Bond flicks.  Sam Mendes “auteur” filmmaking adds lots of class, Javier Bardem is one of the best Bond Villains ever, and how everything wraps up is everything this little film geek wanted from a Bond movie.  The music, the action, the characters, the girls…. THIS IS BOND!  And I can’t wait for more!

 

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1. DJANGO UNCHAINED – If you’ve been reading my reviews on this site or know me at all, then you know that this is not a surprise.  Tarantino is my favorite working filmmaker.  Not because he’s super original (he’s not).  It’s because he’s a huge film geek like me and pays tender homage to all of the movies that he loves by using specific techniques, music, and story elements from other films…  and I just eat it up every time he gets behind the camera.  I loved every fucking second of this movie!  To be incredibly honest, this was the most fun I had at the movies this year.  I’ve seen it 3 times and I can tell you right now, that’s not enough!  If you want to read my whole review, click here.

 

And that wraps up my Top 10.  What were your top 10 films of 2012?  Share your list with me in the comments section (unless your Jesse or Scott, lol).

Thanks for reading!



Categories: Austin Kennedy, Reviews, Special Reports and Rants

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