“My” Favourite Movies of 2012 Part 1 #45-31

I realized I needed to write this post when I was going to see Wreck-It Ralph for a second time with my younger brother and sister who were quizzing me on the movies I had seen and I started listing off close to 30 films. All told I saw 45 movies in theaters that were released in 2012. Having recently seen Jack Reacher and This is 40 in 2013 I think I can finally close off my list. And frankly, if January (2012) hadn’t been such a miserable time for movies (for me in any case) its entirely possible I would have seen over fifty movies this year in theaters. Frankly, I might be close because I saw couple twice in theaters.

I am ranking the movies based on how much I enjoyed them. As such things such as what my expectations were for the movie, what type of venue i saw the movie in, my wife’s take on it, how good the popcorn was and whatever else I feel like matters to how much I enjoyed the movie. Understand this, movies are entirely subjective (or at least they should be) and any other person compiling the list might have a totally different opinion that I would understand and would be completely valid. This is quite different from sports when some opinions are actually more valid than others. I can argue to death about why I felt Skyfall was slightly disappointing or why despite the numerous plot holes Prometheus vastly exceeded my expectations and someone else could have an entirely different opinion that is equally valid. One last thing, as a person who goes to the theater quite often I really do enjoy the experience of watching a movie on a big screen, it’s still an amazing experience for me and I generally never regret seeing the movie and will try to find the positive in most films but the first one of my list was really, really bad and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’ll post this in 3 parts starting with movies ranked 45-31. Spoilers are possible, you have been forewarned.

House at the End of the Street45. House at the End of the Street

This movie was terrible and it shouldn’t have been made. Overall, it’s fair to say that Jennifer Lawrence has had a pretty fantastic early career but this movie was a total miss. This movie was clearly built around one twist (which wasn’t terrible) but the rest of the movie lacked anything. The movie didn’t take any time to develop a character, scenes were merely added to awkwardly move the plot further (I cannot understate just how bad some scenes in this movie were) and the ending was lacking. There wasn’t one nice thing to say about this entire movie. One of two movies I wish I hadn’t gone to this year.

Paranormal Activity 444. Paranormal Activity 4

As a kind of a fan of the franchise I kind of hope that 4 would have been the last movie because it was absolutely brutal. But given how cheap these movies are to make and how much money they still make we’ll probably see at least another two. In the first three movie there was always a slow build up to the finally and the best part of the movie was watching the characters slowly grapple with the realization that dark forces were at work. This movie left the pretense too early and the threat was too early known. The X-box Kinect thing was kind of neat but meh. Also I saw this movie in IMAX and that was clearly a total waste of money. I should have realized this as it was a Skype quality image for most of the movie (why the hell did they IMAX it and why did I pay for it again?). There were a few scares but they weren’t great and didn’t make the movie better. I don’t recommend this movie to anyone fan or not of the series.

Finding Nemo 3d43. Finding Nemo 3D

Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of Pixar and Finding Nemo but this movie was a pure money grab. The movie was exactly as I remembered which was good but the 3D was totally pointless and didn’t add anything to the movie. It was a little disappointing and I probably won’t be seeing future 3D re-releases with the possible exception of the Star Wars movies.

Snow White & The Huntsman42. Snow White and the Huntsman

It’s pretty remarkable that there were two Snow White movies in one year? Which is kind of crazy and of the two I definitely preferred Mirror Mirror. I kind of liked the plot of this movie and Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth had acceptable performances but this movie is about Snow White and Kristen Stewart falls so flat in the role that it brings down the whole movie. Stewart was supposed to portray Snow White as a leader who inspired her people to rebel against the evil queen. Sadly, she lacked even an ounce of charisma. She couldn’t inspire the sun to rise. I think it’s fair to say that a Kirsten Stewart movie ban for me is in the works.

Woman in Black46. The Woman in Black

Horror is a difficult genre to make a great movie. There are a couple of factors at play here. First horror has a built in fan base that no matter how good the movie is they’ll tend to go to the movie because they are fear junkies so there’s a lack of incentive to make great movie. Secondly, horror movies have to be loyal to the genre while still finding new ways to inspire fear and finally, it’s really difficult to ensure that characters make logical decisions. I am kind of interested to see where Daniel Radcliffe goes post Harry Potter and this role was fairly good at pushing him away from that franchise. He was enjoyable in it but the movie dragged too much and wasn’t that frightening enough. At least I felt the characters acted mostly rationally in the movie. It wasn’t the worst movie, but its February release date basically tells you everything you need to know about this movie.

The Bourne Legacy40. The Bourne Legacy

I always hear people complain about the ending of The Sopranos where people wondered if their cable might have gone out. That is how I felt at the end of this movie. I like Jeremy Renner, I like Rachel Weisz but this movie was probably doomed to fail when Damon wasn’t back. The action sequences were good but the plot was definitely lacking. I spent most of the movie wondering where the movie was going and then when the end came I wondered why I had bothered. This was definitely a disappointing movie. It could have been better and should have been better.

Safe House39. Safe House

This was a pretty simple action movie that was clearly made to try to convince audiences that Denzel Washington is not 58. Seriously, hes 58! Better plot than Bourne Legacy, slightly worse action sequences. It probably helped that I don’t mind Ryan Reynolds. This movie was pretty unremarkable overall though.

Dr Seuss The Lorax38. Dr Seuss’ The Lorax

I feel like Dr. Seuss’ message seems to get more lost with each new movie. I really wonder how he would have felt having seen the new The Grinch who Stole Christmas and now The Lorax. This movie seemed like it was a sellout of a good message. The animation wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before and while the voices were entirely appropriate there wasn’t a stand out performance from anyone.

The Vow37. The Vow

This was my least favourite romantic comedy this year and frankly it wasn’t that bad. I like Rachel McAdams and the overall plot of this movie wasn’t terrible. Channing Tatum succeeds when he isn’t given a lot but I think he was given a little too much in this movie. He didn’t handle it poorly but as he showed in multiple movies this year he can be better. Not bad for a romantic comedy, not great either. Also, whenever I see Sam Neill on screen I always kind of long for another Jurassic Park movie. That would be cool.

Star Wars Episode 136. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (in 3D)

Do I lose my star wars cred card if I say I kind of really liked the prequels (I going to say no given I’ve read over 100 expanded universe books and comics)? This movie was great to see in 3D and in theaters again after a long time. The movie’s 3D wasn’t that amazing but the pod race looked really good. Also I think people forget just how awesome the end lightsaber fight was and how good the music was for that scene. I’ve heard the early reviews of Episode II and III in 3D they sound like they will be even better. For some reason I think people think that since the prequels weren’t as good as the original trilogy that they somehow ruin the original trilogy. This actually isn’t true. The original will always be amazing regardless of everything else that happens. I’m also super excited for Episode VII-IX regardless if includes the expanded universe or not but that’s a conversation for another day.

ParaNorman35. ParaNorman

I just didn’t like this movie as much as I should have I guess. I found the characters to be really wooden and pretty stereotypical (which isn’t always a bad thing). The plot was a little boring in my opinion and I wasn’t that impressed with the animation. I don’t know why people liked this movie so much.

Lawless34. Lawless

This movie was kind of a neat experience. I didn’t have much expectation when I went into to the movie because I barely knew what it was about. However, there was a lot of neat moments in it. Like when I realized Tom Hardy was still supremely jacked from his role as Bane (he literally had no neck in the movie, he looked like a linebacker) or when I saw that guy from Chicago Code (man that show was cancelled too early). But the movie still starred Shia Laeouf and for some reason he makes me irrationally angry (Indy 4 anyone). Also the characters made consistently poor choices throughout the entire movie. They were crazy bootleggers so it’s somewhat mitigated but still. The movie had a pretty “meh” ending though. I really wished it had ended one scene earlier thus keeping the myth going.

The Master33. The Master

I like to think that I am reasonably intelligent person but I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t get this movie. Granted the acting performances were magnificent especially Joaquin Phoenix (who always had it in him when he wasn’t crazy). He was really really good. So was Phillip Seymour Hoffman it what I would consider a significantly less challenging role. But overall the feeling I had watching the movie was one of total confusion. Was this some weird commentary on Scientology (which I think I read somewhere, the dangers of reading, am I right?) or was it simply a commentary on the lost souls who returned from war to a world that couldn’t or wouldn’t accept them. The directing was really nice and the shading/lighting and camera angles used clearly made it an “art” film. The score was also hauntingly beautiful. The bottom line for this film was that I wasn’t this movies target audience and sadly I don’t know who is (critics I guess). This movie is still in my head though which I am really annoyed by.

Magic Mike32. Magic Mike

I have super mixed feelings about this movie. Overall this movie was just ok in my opinion but everyone in the theater (mostly women to be sure) loved this movie and definitely positively influenced my experience. For example in the opening scene when we see Channing Tatum’s ass a woman in the crowd went “Umm Hmm” really loudly and the entire theater cracks up. I have to say the dance scenes were incredible and Matthew McConaughey has found his calling I believe. Sadly, the movie kind of drags and every scene with Channing Tatum’s love interest are painful. The popularity of this movie does prove one thing: women like the idea of male strippers but not actual male strippers.

This Means War31. This Means War

I found this movie to be entirely entertaining. I am a big fan of Chris Pine ever since the Star Trek remake and have made an effort to check him out in his films. He was entirely charming and lovable in this movie as well. Also for romantic comedies is there a better female lead than Reese Witherspoon? None really come to mind (and don’t say Sandra Bullock) Tom Hardy is also extremely charming (and handsome) with his awesome accent and not ridiculous bulky body that he would have in movies released later this year. This movie was enjoyable despite the extreme waste of government services that were on display.

Tomorrow Movies 30-16!

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