Sunday, January 6, 2013

Top Ten Movies of 2012: Javi Edition

So this year was exceptionally fruitful when it came to movies. I have to admit, I haven't had such a hard time picking my top ten movies of the year since we started this blog. It's strange to think that while this year felt like it had a lot of let downs and just downright mediocre movies, there were gems that were sprinkled throughout the year. This year I had more movies on my list that actually didn't end up being as critically acclaimed as they should be either but were just better made.

As per is customary, I wanted to explain how I pick my movies. They have to have had a theatrical release during the current year, and there's no point, in my opinion, in highlight movies I've seen at a festival that other people can't see for another year or so. In addition, there's a huge and glaring omission from my list: DJANGO UNCHAINED. The reason for this being is that while I did see most of the movie, I was not able to see all of it due to the screening being shut down after some assholes got in a fight in our theater and someone pulled out a gun and the cops were called in. Anyway, Jonesy and I turned out to be OK. But that's why I didn't have the movie even in my honorable mentions, it didn't feel right not seeing a movie all the way through and considering it for my top ten.

But check out my top ten below in no particular order with my favorite movie at the end. 

I have seen this movie at least five times this year. It's so funny, and it is amazing how rewarding the movie can be after repeat viewings. I saw it again last week, and I noticed some crazy stuff that I hadn't noticed before. This was truly the year of Channing Tatum, who stole the movie for me. Well, him and Korean Jesus. Jonesy reviewed the movie here.

I've gushed about this movie in the past. It honestly was destined to be my top movie of the year, but as I've said before, the 3rd act turn around just seemed so strange, and took me away from the film a little bit. However, this gorgeous movie is a must-see in my opinion. There is such a confidence in the direction of this movie that it's outstanding. I know that a lot of people, including a very nice Rachel Katz, said that this movie is a little too out there. But to me it's a great look at the issues with nostalgia, and how harmful it can actually be as symbolized by the Arboria institute itself with its gorgeous-retro-space-age decor and the horrible secrets it holds.

Working in a job that requires me to know more about the stock market, trading and the financial markets gave me a special appreciation of the character and story of Eric Parker played by Robert Pattinson in a role that sees him stretching his acting chops. I would say that this movie, coupled with DETENTION, showed what was going on in America during 2012. While one movie is a hyperactive horror comedy about pop-culture obsessed youth and their relation to the Internet, this one deals with the big wigs on top that in one way shape or form got us into this political and economic crisis that we have been in. Every line of dialogue and every person that comes into contact with Eric is such a symbol for one aspect of society that is completely messed up. It's actually pretty funny that we have two movies on this list where dudes drive around in a limo while crazy stuff happens, but again there's great symbolism there. When the character is a 28 year old billionaire that casually loses millions of dollars in the course of a day, it reminded me of the many bank executives that not only walked away from their white collar crimes but still get bonuses. I hope that COSMOPOLIS will be seen an urgent statement of the times of financial ruin that we have gone through since 2008. 

I seriously think that the hate for this movie has a lot more to do more with the expectations that this film would top THE DARK KNIGHT, or people just got tired of the supposed "dark and gritty" style of super hero films than having actual issues with the movie itself. The movie does have flaws yes, but like other movies in my top ten, this is a great reflection of the struggles and the trouble that's going on in the world today. It's a great send off to this franchise that feels like is getting some very artificial backlash because now THE AVENGER is the cool thing to like. I thought that it was amazing that we have a trilogy of movies with a similar feels but all happen to be of different genres.

It's still here. It has haunted me since almost a year ago when I first saw it. The dark and moody survival movie still adheres to a lot of tropes of the horror/survival genre, but goddamn, if it's not a movie that stays with you. I haven't seen it since January, but I remember so munch of it that I don't need to.

I scratched my head so many times as to trying to understand what the hell was going on. It wasn't until I just stopped trying to figure it out and enjoy what I was seeing that the magic of the movie came out in full force for me. Many others have written more eloquently about it, but HOLY MOTORS to me was the same as HUGO last year; a celebration of cinema all of its possibilities and its ability to still surprise us even after seeing so much already.

Sorry, Pixar, you done messed up this year. PARANORMAN is hands down the best animated film of the year. The story is lighthearted enough for kids but also mature enough to not insult anyone's intelligence with some mature themes. I particularly enjoyed the way that the directors used CGI to enhance the stop-motion animation, which is one of the very best I have seen.

This is the distillation of all things Wes Anderson done in the best way possible in my opinion. I've seen all of his movies and have gone from loving (FANTASTIC MR. FOX) to being bored by them (BOTTLE ROCKET), but this takes it to the next level. I was just completely charmed by the overly serious kids and the very childish adults of the movie. The soundtrack is a great compilation of classical music and the intro has to be one of my favorite ones for any move in recent memory. 

I reviewed this movie when it ran a very limited engagement and I'm really glad that I did. The movie depicts LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy as he prepares for the last show of the band at a sold out Madison Square Garden and then the aftermath. In order to truly appreciate the movie, you really have to be a fan and know more about the lyrics. If you are a fan of the band, then the movie is a logical thematic extension and conclusion to the band's music where Murphy looks like he's full insecurities and regret, and just wondering whether ending the band was the right thing. In addition, you get some kick ass concert footage. I couldn't stop wanting to dance while seeing this movie.

And finally, my favorite movie of the year is:

This movie is technically a 2011 release, but since it was virtually impossible to see it in theaters due to a criminally small run, I'm counting it as a 2012 release. Anyway, this a hyperactive horror/sci-fi/teen rom com brought to you by the director of the underrated TORQUE, Joseph Kahn. What I love about this movie, and maybe what might end up dating it, is the fact that's it a hilarious snapshot of our teen-20's culture that's so tied to the Internet, movies, and music. Much like 21 JUMP STREET, you benefit from repeated views since the story is so involved and is just as good about using time travel as LOOPER is. The editing is very tight, the script is very clever and it manages to satirize so many genres in a way that TORQUE didn't. I know that a lot of people don't care for the frantic style of the movie and that's fine, but this has to be one of the best blind buys I've ever done. While this is my favorite movie, I'd definitely say that HOLY MOTORS was the "best" one of this year. Shame it won't get the recognition it deserves in the mainstream.

Honorable Mentions:
Beautifully shot, violent, and completely terrifying.

The best political movie I've seen in a long time that just so happens to have one of the best performances by Daniel Day Lewis

Mark Duplass is so much better on screen than off screen. These two features were among the best dramedys with a lot of heart.

Still an amazing and fun action movie that seemed to have maligned hate from critics and apathy from the public. Watch it again now that the hype (or lack thereof) has faded.

One of the best action movies ever

An amazing statement to relevance of Bond as a contemporary character. And since Javier Bardem is in the movie, people know how to pronounce my name!

Another amazing movie by director Rian Johnson. He's never made a bad movie at this point. 

Flaws aside, this movie and the conversations that were had because of it were so worth the alien petting biologists. 

As a bonus, here's some of the top ten lists of people we like, love, respect from around the Internet:

That's it for me this year! Next up Jonesy will be highlighting her favorite films, and we'll be telling you some of the movies we're looking forward to.

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