Published on December 31st, 2012 | by Tom Fortune1
Tom’s Top 10 of 2012
Disclaimer: The films on this list must have had their initial wide release in the year of 2012. Films such as Hugo and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy would have been on this list had we been looking at Australian release dates but as we are looking at initial release, they are ineligible for the list. To add to this, the films that would’ve made my Top 10 had they been released this year; Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Descendants.
The task of cutting the year up and bringing the top 10 films to this list is always a daunting one. I thought about allowing 20 films this year but the process loses some of it’s difficulty, with this list having been cut down from a list of 19 that had a serious shot. Unfortunately 9 couldn’t make it no matter how much I deliberated with myself and the other writers and when looking at this list I am somewhat shocked at a couple of omissions. So before I get into my top 10, here are the other nine films shortlisted for the list that unfortunately didn’t make it through (in no particular order):
- The Dark Knight Rises
- 21 Jump Street
- Cabin in the Woods
- Holy Motors
- End of Watch
- The Master
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- Ruby Sparks
- Shut Up and Play the Hits
A few of these were being tossed around for the 9 and 10 spot notably The Dark Knight Rises and Holy Motors. With the omissions of these two films in particular it is a testament to the quality of the year of 2012 in film. I know some will have some of these 9 as the number one film of the year (Holy Motors has been a common pick) but ultimately I couldn’t omit one of the 10 in my list. And now to the list itself! These are my top 10 films for the year 2012.
TEN: The Avengers
What can be said for The Avengers that hasn’t been already? The superhero ensemble that has been gracing our screens one at a time has finally come together and created one of the funnest experiences I had in a cinema all year. The division of screen time for each of the heroes is sublime, leaving us understanding a bit more about everyone by the end of the film. Joss Whedon’s direction is spot on and the performances of the cast are great as expected. With the inclusion of Hawkeye and Black Widow (Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson), The Avengers brings the egos of all these individual heroes into a joint saving of the world and it does it with style. Everything is polished and production is beautiful. It is the best of the Marvel creations thus far.
NINE: The Raid
First of all, if you haven’t seen The Raid go and find it at your local video rental store and enjoy the ride. Welsh director Gareth Evans brings this Indonesian action packed blood-fest to life and we can all be thankful for that! The Raid is thrilling for it’s entire 101 minutes and brutally violent throughout, almost excessively but that does not detract from the fact that this film brings a story that we may have seen similar variants, with this just done so much better.
EIGHT: Friends with Kids
The new crop of comedy folk hitting the screens, several years after all making their individual debuts, is absolutely delightful. Kristen Wiig and co. hit up the big screen in this tale of the responsibility of children and the parents whose lives differ dramatically. Starring a huge list of America’s bubbling comedic talent including Adam Scott, Wiig herself, Don Draper himself Jon Hamm and writer/director and main star Jennifer Westfeldt as well as Irish charmer Chris O’Dowd, what you receive is a hilarious yet at times emotionally brilliant film with Hamm stealing the show as Wiig’s out of happiness husband. This group will continue to do special things in the years to come.
SEVEN: Seven Psychopaths
Seven Psychopaths is a quirky film to say the least. Just like his previous film In Bruges which he also wrote and directed, Martin McDonagh gives Colin Farrell work that keeps him relevant. But more seriously, creates a story that will have you wondering at the times if you are watching the day dreams of a young chap that has watched too many b-grade British thug films. McDonagh gathers together a web of stories and adds familiar faces who give brilliant performances. Farrell, Rockwell and Walken are brilliant as well as Woody Harrelson and leading ladies Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko. Brave Mr. McDonagh, I continue to be a fan.
SIX: Beasts of the Southern Wild
The first feature film from New York director Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a festival film in the best ways possible. It is utterly beautiful and although it may be flawed at times, it is so ambitious you just don’t even care. The film is absolutely magical and is one of the most heartfelt stories I have seen in a long time. Zeitlin’s debut has received all the recognition you could expect and it is oh so deserved. One of the most unexpected and surprising successes of the year, Beasts of the Southern Wild shows that no matter how the film is shot, with a story that stays the length you can achieve anything.
FIVE: Safety Not Guaranteed
Another festival flick! Nominated for the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which was won by Benh Zeitlin (See Above), Safety Not Guaranteed is a charming story that keeps a smile stretched across your face for it’s entirety. Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson and the lovely Aubrey Plaza bring this wonderfully original story to life, with a script that may be my favourite of the year. First time writer Derek Connolly its tonally spot on with this film’s dialogue and narrative, with the performances from Duplass and Plaza perfect. Shows the crossover from TV to film is easier than it has ever been.
Looper is unlucky to be higher. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in this Rian Johnson film about a “Looper” someone who travels through time to kill chosen targets, basically a time travelling hitman. Where this movie could fall down and become an absolute mess, it’s cohesive plot, Looper shines and leaves you with a feeling of understanding. To its credit, the film doesn’t stretch too far away from its main story beats allowing it to feel refined and co-ordinated. Willis and JGL are fantastic along with Jeff Daniels playing the head of the Looper co. The film’s conclusion may be seen coming from a mile away but ultimately feels like the natural path. A truly interesting and entertaining watch.
Waiting to see the next Bond film was awfully frustrating. With the setbacks to Skyfall due to MGM’s money issues, the lingering bad taste in my mouth that was Quantum of Solace was not being swept away by the next Casino Royale level Bond. The day finally came however and the taste has been washed away. Skyfall is in my opinion the best Bond film of all-time, taking what Casino Royale did so well and refining it to almost perfection. Craig is tremendous yet again as 007 and Skyfall’s villain Silva played by Javier Bardem is thrilling. The film’s plot is refreshing, leaving a lot of the more ridiculous action sequences out and replacing them with the more intriguing side of Bond, trying to save just one woman’s life. What Quantum of Solace lacked, Skyfall gave in droves making it oh so close to the best film this year.
TWO: Moonrise Kingdom
There may have been bigger fans of Wes Anderson than myself before seeing Moonrise Kingdom but after having seen it at the cinemas three times in a week, I couldn’t let this one drop any further in my top 10. Moonrise Kingdom is truly beautiful; full of Anderson’s trademark shooting and writing styles and a broad range of the Anderson crew in effect including Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. The film is truly a masterclass in a beautiful story carried out with impressive performances from the entire cast including the group of kids. Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are brilliant, showing how a truly fantastic actor can transcend genre.
How does Ben Affleck keep delivering the goods when for years I wrote off anything he starred in? Affleck’s previously directed films Gone Baby Gone and The Town are a couple of my all time favourites and yet again I am astounded by how superb Affleck’s direction is. Argo is brilliant. It tells the gripping story of a group of diplomatic personnel stuck in revolutionary Iran and the extraction attempt undertaken by the CIA led by Affleck himself. Performances from the entire cast are fantastic with Bryan Cranston shining as Affleck’s boss, trying to go by the books but wanting to believe in the ridiculous plan concocted by his best man Tony Mendez (Affleck). When Argo steps on the line of being yet another American hero story, it quickly jumps back creating the most intriguing narrative I saw all year and that is why Argo is my favourite film of 2012.
So that is 2012 in the books. It has been a great year in film and a fantastic year for us at FilmTrout! Please keep coming back in the new year for more and more content and the latest reviews and trailers. Happy New Year to all and I look forward to bringing you as much as we can next year.