January 3, 2013
Mike D's Favorite 11 Movies of 2012: A CCD Rant
The year is over and I was one happy camper when it came to movies released in 2012. I am a huge movie fanatic and this was an amazing year for films to me. Big blockbusters, small indy movies... we got good stuff from across the board of genres and film types. We also must celebrate the year of the geek, lead by Mr. Joss Whedon. Comic book movies reached an all time high, Sci Fi made a huge comeback, and smaller companies like Magnet Releasing helped make it easier for us to see lesser known works. Thanks to streaming services like Hulu Plus, Video on Demand, Amazon Prime and my beloved Netflix Instant films were easier to access as ever and were right at our fingertips on all the electronic devices we love so much. So here is my top 11 fims of 2012. Not the best films, not the definitive list... just my favorite 11 films that I HAVE SEEN THIS YEAR. And I know it's 11, that is what makes my list better then those stupid ass Top ten lists out there!!!! Enjoy my rant after the jump...
Editor's Note: Even though Django Unchained was released on December 25th and I am sure I am going to fucking love it, I did not see it yet and therefore can't possibly include it on this list. I will be seeing it tomorrow, and my thoughts are sure to come soon. But this is a list of movies I saw, so there.... Also possibly missing for lack of me seeing them: Argo, Trouble With The Curve, Lincoln, Looper, Skyfall, Les Mis, Wreck It Ralph Hotel Transylvania, etc...
#11 - Haywire
Director: Stephen Soderbergh
Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender
Holy shit. What a great old timey spy thriller, starring a refreshingly new to the screen Gina Carano doing her best secret agent. It is a big leap for her to come out of the Mixed Martial Art ring and be a real actor, but leave it to Soderbergh to get a killer performance out of her. He did turn anal porn queen Sasha Grey into an actress in The Girlfriend Experience, so why is anybody surprised? This was the spy movie that I wish they will make with Daniel Craig as James Bond. I haven't seen Skyfall yet (that's why I reserve judgement), but after his first two 007 films I would take Haywire any day. Plus it is available on Netflix Instant for free streaming. Enjoy it...
#10 - Pitch Perfect
Cast: Anna Kendricks, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson
Hahahahaha... I can hear the laughter from my fellow geeks & movie fans already. Pitch Perfect? The glee club comedy? That is on your 2012 Best film list? Really? Get the fuck outta here!!! Well, you are wrong if you think I wouldn't put this film on this list, cause it is boss. It is hysterically funny, the movie is briskly paced and short (two things I love in a comedy that have gone by the wayside. No one needs a 2 hour plus comedy), and is studded with a ton of sexy ass ladies. Also, the closer in the deal is Rebel Wilson, who is this years Mellissa McCarthy (the it girl plus size female actress). She steals the show as Fat Amy, and if you give this one a chance I think it will make you smile much more than it should. Honestly, this was one of the best films I was ever dragged to see by my fiance. This is what happens when chick flick date movies get it right.
#9 - The Hobbit
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serksis, Elijah Wood, Michael Armitage
A late year entry to the list, as I saw this one with only three days left in 2012. But boy am I glad I did. I was sick as a dog (as was my son Mikey) but we had vowed to go see the movie the Thursday after Christmas and no cold would keep us out of the theater. I have never sat through a 3 hour movie that felt like it moved so fast... and that comes from the amount of sheer action that takes place in the film. My biggest knock on the first film in the Lord of The Rings trilogy is that it lacks action and consists mostly of set up for the 2nd and 3rd films. That is not something that will happen with Jackson's second trilogy about Middle Earth. I didn't like the final escape scene from the goblin horde cause it looked to CGI-ed for my tastes, but it was still pretty cool... and if that is all I can complain about then so be it. The monsters look great, the story is epic, and this is only Chapter 1. Can't wait till next year!!!!!
#8 - Chronicle
Director: Josh Trank
Cast: Michael B Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell
Found footage has recahed it's pinnacle for me, and it is Chronicle. A great story of three teens who attain superhero like powers from a meteor they investigate, director Josh Trank & writer Max Landis (yup, John Landis's son) make magic with what seems like a paint by numbers type story. The green screen action in this film is also really impressive, considering the micro budget and inexperience of everyone involved. And to be honest, I have not liked a character as much as I liked Michael B Jordan's Steve in a very long time. I enjoy every minute the newcomer was on the screen and I can't wait to see what he does next. As for Trank, looks like it is going to be a reboot of the Fantastic Four. I know alot of people didn't like the two Tim Story FF films (I did... fuck you guys!) but Trank is sure to bring the gritty to the cookie cutter seminal Marvel franchise that fans were missing. I believe this one is on Netflix Instant as well...
#7 - 21 Jump Street
Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Dave Franco
The funniest movie on my list, and I did not see that coming. I should have,considering Jonah Hill's involvement in it. I can't remember many projects of his that aren't absolutely hysterical, especially The Sitter (so fantastic). But the coolest part of this movie has to be that Channing Tatum steals the show on the comedic front, and when paired with Jonah I did not expect that at all. Tatum is on the list twice (he is very great in Haywire), and that is a testament to how versatile this supposed 'good looking guy who can't act' can be. This remake hit the mark, and that is why I do not like all that 'please no more remakes' talk right out the window. This was a lot of fun.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Chalize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace
The most controversial movie on this list for me, and for so many reasons. Jeff, Joe Fletch & I saw this movie and I loved it... loved it. But what maddens me about the film is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a prequel (You know it is Jeff... YOU KNOW IT!!!!)? It was at one point, but took a turn for the different in the re-write process. Is it going to lead to more films (aka a set up picture) in the future? Who knows... But one thing is for sure, and that this is a great sci fi flick. And the cast is fucking spot on. Theron as the walking she bitch Captain of the ship. Elba as the boss ass pilot, and Fassbender as the greatest android in history. And the Engineers... yup, they looked and acted bad ass. I can't wait to see where this film goes. Let's just hope it stays in this vein for the future...
#5 - The Man With The Iron Fists
Cast: Rza, Lucy Liu, Russell Crow, Jaimie Chung, David Bautista
A kung-fu movie from the king of kung-fu rap? Yes please! Rza is having an excellent second act in the movie industry and he is making all the right friends (Tarantino,Eli Roth, Russell Crowe, etc) in his endeavors. Now he strikes out on his own and has a lot of fun with his directorial debut. Is this Casablanca? Hell no. But it is fun,. and sometimes that's all movies need to be. Lots of fighting action, a cool story, and a great cast. Yup, this is why I go to the movies. Enjoy this one for a 2 hour vacation from reality.
#4 - Cloud Atlas
Director: Tom Twyker, The Wachowski Brothers
Cast: Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Keith David, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon
This one is probably will end up my favorite movie on this list sometime in the future, but for now it must occupy the #4 spot. I need to see this film again. Such a momentousness achievement for everyone involved, the Wachowski's & Twyker killed this adaption and crafted 6 amazing tales to complete this film. And they get the best out of this all star cast, with Hanks & Berry doing career defining work and supporting players like Hugh Grant & Susan Sarandon helping things along just fine. A very good movie, and this one deserves better than what it got from half the critics who bashed it. Is it long. Hell yeah, I felt every minute of the three hours go by slow as shit. But was it worth it? Absolutely! Sometimes three hours just need to feel like three hours. Thanks to my main man Jeff for making me see this one...
#3 - The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Coitillard, Gary Oldman
Chapter 3 in the Batman story that Chris Nolan has masterly told. The first two are fantastic. This one got bashed for the silliest things. Heath Ledger set the bar really high in The Dark Knight, but in my opinion Hardy kills it. Bane was boss, and that is a great thing for a Batman fan like me. And lets take a second to honor the sexiness that is Anne Hathaway's Catwoman. God damn... she is FINE!!!! Super sexy in that black cat suit & what seems like 10 inch high heeled boots. The scene of her getting off the Bat Cycle alone would get this movie to #8 on this list, so all the other good stuff makes it even cooler (and obviously higher rated!). I loved everything about this movie, but just not as much as...
#2 - The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleson, Sam Jackson, Colby Smulder, Mark Ruffalo
The best superhero movie I have ever seen. Ever. EVER! Holy shit, how can you perfect perfection? Ask Joss Whedon I guess. He manages 6 superhero stories seemlessly into a killer team movie that not only features one killer bad guy but also sets up Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It narrowly nudges past The Dark Knight Rises in my eyes, but honestly this movie is a great movie, not just a great superhero movie. Downey is key to pulling it all together, but new additions Renner & Ruffalo shine bright. I can't wait to see what comes next in Iron Man 3, Cap 2, Thor 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers 2. Keep em coming Joss...
#1 - Cabin In The Woods
Director: Joss Whedon & Drew Goodard
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connely, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
This is the most refreshing horror movie that has been made in the past 20 years. So great. Of course it would come at the hands of Joss 'Super Geek' Whedon and his trusty compatriot Drew Goddard. These guys whipped up a hell of a original tall tale, made it funny and scary at the same time, and managed to smash in a bit of the ole Lovecraftian Older Gods into the story at the end. In my opinion, can you get a better movie made? No way. And that freaking scene at the elevators? Yup, one of the most batshit insane ones I have ever seen. I love this movie so much, and I plan on watching it so much on Blu Ray I am going to break my player. Hope they can make another film like this in the future, because I know they can't make a sequel... but god I hope Goddard & Whedon collaborate.
Honorable Mention: Safe House (I had fun with this one), Contraband (good cable viewing movie), The Grey (modern exploitation at its best), Project X (an pretty good SuperBad knock off), Get The Gringo (Mel Gibson was great in this), The Dictator (a short, funny comedy from Sasha Baron Cohen), John Carter & Battleship (two underrated genre movies that are far from great but boast wonderful special effects and are quite fun).
So there it is... my list! Hope you enjoy my suggestions, and I would love to hear your responses in the comment section below! Hit me up people....