The Gold Knight: The 10 best (and 3 worst) films of 2012Written by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
The past year has been a whirlwind for movies. Strengths in 2012 at the box office included some very well made superhero movies and book adaptations. The major complaint I still have, however, is getting access to the “cool” movies. Screenings stopped in Toledo over the summer and now one must head to Detroit or Cleveland for movie pre-screenings, or see them at their midnight premiere. Two movies I was not able to see before putting my list together are “Amour” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” two films being lauded by critics groups around the country.
With that, here are my top 10 movies of 2012, all of which I gave five out of five stars, and my Worst 3 movies of 2012:
10. “Pitch Perfect”
The story follows an all-girls a cappella group and it is fun to watch on screen. The editing is well done, the music and songs mixed together are fantastic and the comedy is spot on. Rebel Wilson (“Bridesmaids”) gives a great performance as Fat Amy and Anna Kendrick does some fine acting as well. It’s a great time at the movies.
With Sam Mendes directing and Roger Deakins behind the camera, “Skyfall” is a great action film with hints of 007. The villain, played by Javier Bardem, is thrilling and delightful. Bond himself, played again by Daniel Craig, is great and comes with a backstory, less polished and more enjoyable than previous Bonds audiences have seen.
8. “The Amazing Spider-Man”
The formula is the same: Teenage boy gets bitten by a radioactive spider and his already complicated life gets even more complex. Yet the way in which the writers and director go about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is remarkable. It’s as if they lived in a world where a Spider-Man movie didn’t already exist, a world where Tobey Maguire was just a racehorse jockey. Comparing this “amazing” film to the 2002 adaptation is inevitable. The 2012 iteration is surprisingly good and refreshing. Ten years later, audiences are treated to an even better film, breaking the general reality that remakes can never quite live up to their predecessors. And thank you Sally Field for being in this movie.
7. “Marvel’s The Avengers”
An atypical summer moviegoing experience and one of the best superhero movies I’ve seen, “The Avengers” works because of the script. Director and screenwriter Joss Whedon has crafted a movie that allows all of the superheroes to breathe (and bicker). Those interactions are the best part of the film. Stellar 3-D also adds to this box office phenomenon.
Movies within movies can be very fun to watch. Ben Affleck’s latest film is based on a declassified true story that used the cover of a movie to help extract six Americans stuck in Iran. Affleck makes sure to set up the conflict in this film very carefully. This is not an action movie. It’s a slow-building thriller that works to explain the story carefully and precisely. Alexandre Desplat provides a perfect background motif with his score in one of the year’s best movies.
5. “Moonrise Kingdom”
This movie is inventive in so many ways, thanks to director Wes Anderson. From the unique, meticulous cinematography and editing to the fanciful script, “Moonrise Kingdom” is one of the best films of the year. When two young lovers run away from home to meet up, audiences are treated to a fun adventure.
4. “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”
There is something magical about going to the movie theater. And when movies capture that on the screen, it’s something to behold. Magic and fantasy rule and drive this movie. Timothy (CJ Adams) is wonderful, innocent and great to watch on screen. Jennifer Garner and Shohreh Aghdashloo make this movie a favorite of 2012.
3. “Silver Linings Playbook”
This offering from David O. Russell is a picture of real life and how the hardest thing can sometimes be living with others and communicating. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence provide some spot-on acting. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are also wonderful.
A master class all the way around: excellent acting by Daniel Day-Lewis (an Oscar-worthy performance), Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones; impeccable screenplay by Tony Kushner (“Munich”); beautiful cinematography by Janusz Kaminski (“War Horse” and “Saving Private Ryan”); a quiet and perfect score by John Williams; and Steven Spielberg’s direction is icing on the cake. The release of this movie about the last few months of the 16th president’s life was perfectly timed and it could just win the Best Picture Oscar — if it can hold off “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Argo.”
1. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
The best movie of the year is based on an excellent book of the same name. Where this movie shines is in the screenplay, which author Stephen Chbosky adapted himself. He also directed the movie. It’s his story and vision executed very well for the big screen. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are perfect as the leading characters. “We are infinite.”
Honorable Mentions: “Looper,” “Django Unchained,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Artist,” “Big Miracle” and “Cloud Atlas.”
Worst: 3. “The Watch”
At times, “The Watch” struggles to figure out if it wants to be a comedy, drama, thriller or action-adventure movie. “Marvel’s The Avengers” was better able to traverse these genres seamlessly. The 98-minute film’s R rating also seems wasted.
Worst: 2. “Alex Cross”
Where this detective thriller fails is in basic filmmaking. It’s hard to get past the horrible editing and screenplay. It would be a stretch to air this movie on The Lifetime Movie Network. Tyler Perry, playing the title character here, should stick to directing himself in comedies, where he is successful. Matthew Fox (“Lost”) is one of few bright spots in the film as the serial killer.
Worst: 1. “Playing for Keeps”
Where this movie finds its groove is with Jessica Biel — the best part and character of the movie. Where this movie doesn’t work: everything else. We’ve seen this all before. There is the standard romantic comedy formula and toward the end, there’s the misunderstanding that could derail everything. Eventually, they live happily ever after — together. Could the filmmakers have tried any less?
Dishonorable Mentions: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Chronicle” and “Total Recall.”
Toledo Free Press Star Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch him discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays. Also, listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m.
Tags: 2012, alex cross, argo, Avengers, Film, James A. Molnar, lincoln, moonrise kingdom, Movies, odd life of timothy green, pitch perfect, playing for keeps, silver linings playbook, skyfall, Spider-Man, The Gold Knight, the perks of being a wallflower, the watch, top 10, worst movies, year end, year in review