In this fabulous edition… I will disclose the best movies of 2012, purely from my own opinions! This is based on the films I have actually seen, so it’s possible better films from the year exist: I just haven’t seen them at the time of writing.

1. The Avengers
This was the best thing made this year. Yes, it has some plot difficulties, and the science is iffy in spots… Who cares? It is pure, escapist entertainment on the level of the original Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Matrix. Whedon was the PERFECT choice to pull this together, and the cast works together splendidly. Why didn’t they cast Ruffalo as the Hulk in the first place? Show stopper!

2. Lincoln
Really, an amazingly well told story… but it’s not really about “Lincoln”. It’s about the 13th Amendment, and the political process required to get there. Lincoln’s just the cog around which the story revolves. All of the acting is stupendous, and it might well be one of the absolutely best movie’s that Spielberg has ever put out.

3. Chronicle
I really enjoyed this “found footage” film about 3 teens who stumble upon the unknown, and discover great powers… and how it changes their lives. It really is well done storytelling. Dane DeHaan is a revelation in this movie, looking like a creepier teen version of Leo DiCaprio. Highly Recommended, but not everyone will like this as much as I did.

4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Now, I know a lot of reviewers savaged this, but this clever retelling of historical events has a few twists for a Civil War geek like myself that I really enjoyed. It does get a bit slow in spots, but otherwise, it does a great job of killing a couple hours. Parts of it made me laugh out loud, and parts made me lean forward in my seat. It’s great popcorn fare!

5. The Hobbit
Blasphemy! I know. I ranked “Vampire Hunter” above “the Hobbit”, but only because the beginning was so. very. slow. I have extremely high hopes for “The Desolation of Smaug” next year, so the movie suceeded in what in set out to do: set the table. But I am worried about the “stretch marks” that are apparent in this movie. I mean, they’re turning a 350 page YA book into 3 movies, and it shows in spots. Otherwise,  its a SPLENDID return to Middle Earth! This was a RIOT in the theater… a group behind us was SHOCKED at the ending, exclaiming “WHAT? That’s IT!?!?” as if surprised it would end before the story was over. Really, what freaking rock were those guys stuck under!?!?!

6. The Bourne Legacy
I enjoyed the story telling in this. It wraps itself around the previous trilogy, while injecting new ideas. It veers completely off from the Bourne book series (by Ludlum, and later by Van Lustbader). Jeremy Renner is excellent as the neo-Bourne successor, Aaron Cross. Like “The Hobbit”, it ends quite illogically, without a proper crescendo. It reaches the peak slowly, then simply ends in the middle of a chase. It DID leave me wanting more.

7. The Hunger Games
I am a fan of the books, and I was looking forward to this movie. The vision of the movie on screen isn’t quite as dark as my imagination painted it, but it is extremely well done and well told. The actors fit the rolls (except Josh Hutcherson, who seems nowhere near as strong as I’d pictured Peeta Mallark, but Jennifer Lawrence is PERFECTLY cast as Katniss Everdeen. I am very much looking forward to the sequels.

8. Haywire
This vehicle for MMA vet Gina Carano is actually a fabulously taut movie. Carano is seriously good in the role of Mallory Kane, and you really have no problem believing this brunette beauty is capable of kicking many, many asses. LOVE the supporting cast, which is almost a who’s who of thrillers. Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Ewan McGregor, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Superbly done, except the plot is paint by numbers, and the twists are overtly choreographed.

9. Amazing Spiderman
Now we get into the movies I saw, but don’t have a really positive opinion of. Seriously, WHY did this need to be made? The Sam Raimi helmed series is still very fresh in memory, and this just feels like going back to the well a bit too soon. Don’t get me wrong, Andrew Garfield is really quite good at this (but I kept waiting for him to talk about suing Mark Zuckerberg…), but Tobey Maguire really owned the roll in the first 2 Spidey movies… so I’m torn on this. Was I entertained? Yep. Was I blown away? No. Am I waiting for more? Nope.

10. The Dark Knight Rises
I really wanted to like this movie. But I was really terribly disappointed in it. It drags SO bad, and Bane is such a supremely disappointing let down as a villain. His dramatic liturgies have no impact because of a dopey mask, and a lispy/breathy voice so terrible, you keep waiting for him to announce he’s Bruce Wayne’s father. A HUGE let down of an ending to what should have been an epic series.

(just missing the cut: Ted, Prometheus, and the turkey of the year: John Carter).

 

 

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