Saturday, January 5, 2013

Movies of 2012

I got curious a bit ago to see how many movies I saw in the theater this year. With the help of Wikipedia, I now have a pretty substantial list of movies I saw as well as movies that I wish I had seen. Then I thought, hey! Blog!

So below are all the movies I saw in the theater this year and my thoughts on all of them. They're more or less in the order I saw them since I probably saw them all more or less in the order they came out. Just a heads up, I saw 34 movies in the theater this year, so as always, this will be a long post. I'll try to keep my thoughts on individual movies short. Also, there will probably be spoilers.

1. Haywire


Really, this movie was so boring. Gina Carano can do some amazing physical feats, but she's a kick boxer, not an actor. And no one else in the movie made up for her lack of ability either. I was really just so bored in the theater.

2. John Carter

And the Princess of Mars. "But we can't use the whole title 'cause 'Princess' will scare off men and 'Mars' will scare off women!" 

Poor judgment on Disney's part, I'd say. They didn't market this film well at all either. It flopped in the box office and its writer/director was kind of demoted. Both of which are a huge shame cause this was a fantastic movie in my opinion. It was super fun with a lot of hilarious moments (VoorGINya) and some great characters. Man, it really makes me sad that we won't see any more Edgar Rice Burroughs stories come to life in the near future.

3. 21 Jump Street

When I heard they were doing a 21 Jump Street movie my first reaction was 'Ugh' with an I-smell-something-terrible face. That only escalated when I heard Channing Tatum was going to be in it. Then I saw the red band trailer. I was probably still a bit wary, but I was very much ready to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. So much so I think I saw it twice and bought it the day it came out. Probably the funniest movie I had seen since Bridesmaids and I think still the funniest movie I've seen all year. Even the part at the end that made my entire body cringe made me laugh. I don't think there was anything that I didn't like. And being a fan of the show (years after it was on TV since it was technically a bit after my time), I was more than delighted to see Johnny Depp and Peter DeLouise. My sister and I were probably the ones that were laughing the hardest in that theater for pretty much the entire time. Man, it makes me laugh just thinking about it!

One good thing that came out of loving this movie so much: I don't hate Channing Tatum anymore. And it's always a good thing when I don't hate people. Especially people I don't know.

4. The Hunger Games

This came out the weekend after my Spring Break which was perfect timing since I hadn't read the books. I got through the first book that Monday. It's a quick read plus I was starving for fiction. I enjoyed the movie. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the book five days before, but I liked it. Plus, hello! Female protagonist that made oodles of cash! (That, by the way, is the only redeeming quality about Twilight). While I did like the movie, I think it's one of those things that I may like less the more I see it. But I've only watched it once so who knows.

5. Cabin in the Woods

Longest wait ever! This movie was actually made in... 2009? Maybe even before that. As an avid Joss Whedon fan for a good 11 years, I had been wanting to see that movie for years. Stupid MGM bankruptcy... Anyway, this was definitely one of my favorite movies of the year and probably the only scary movie I'll watch over and over again (although Shaun of the Dead, Attack the Block, and Zombieland are all the same vein as well, so maybe I can't say that). That's the beauty of anything Whedon gets a hold of: it's never just one genre.

6. The Five-Year Engagement

This is one of those movies that I remember enjoying, but I don't really remember. Which means I didn't really enjoy it all that much and I'll probably never see it again. But cute Emily Blunt and cute Jason Segel!

7. The Avengers

Avengers. Two Whedon movies in one year. Don't get me wrong, I really like Nolan's Batman trilogy, but hands down the Avengers is the best superhero movie ever made. I saw it either 3 or 4 times the first weekend alone. This is what you call Whedon devotion (in my brother's words, "'Obsessive' is what lazy people call the dedicated.")

I'll never get sick of this movie. I'll never get sick of finding out about the little secrets Joss wrote in. I'll never get sick of Whedon's Hulk. And I will definitely never get sick of how Joss Whedon writes and portrays women as superheroes, not heroines or sex toys. Really, just look at the difference between how Black Widow is portrayed in Iron Man 2 vs. The Avengers. Not a single close up on her boobs in the latter! Here's to seeing The Wasp in Avengers 2!

8. Men in Black 3

I saw this one in the dollar theater. I never saw the second one because it looked terrible. I heard better things about this, and I finally did see it and I enjoyed it. And I totally called it when it turned out that the one other black man in the franchise turned out to be J's dad.

9. Moonrise Kingdom

Charming. Perfect. Favorite Wes Anderson film up to this point. Just... man, it was just perfect. I love all of Anderson's work, but there was just something about this - young love, innocence, coming of age, Rondeau from Abdelazar, the perfect cast... Probably all of those things.

10. Snow White and the Huntsman

Another dollar theater viewing. My friends and I thought it would be fun to make fun of, but it wasn't even that. It was just boring and both Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron gave pretty dead performances. And what was with the backstory on the Queen? That was kind of worthless.

11. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

I've never seen either of the first two Madagascar movies. Quite intentionally. I just didn't have any interest. I heard this one was pretty cute and my friend and I needed something to do one Saturday and we decided to give it a shot. It was worth it for this scene alone:

12. Prometheus

Sigh... The Alien prequel that had so much promise. Visually it was stunning, but there were just so many plot holes that it made it difficult to focus. Plus, the whole emergency C-section with immediate running and jumping and repelling was pretty darn ridiculous. 

If you've seen Prometheus but not the Red Letter Media response, I highly recommend you watch it. Strong language warning (probably).

13. Safety Not Guaranteed

Another awesome one that was charming. A witty chick flick with a sci-fi twist. A friend compared it to The Boy Who Could Fly and it's true, but come on. Mark Duplass and Audrey Plaza!

14. Brave

A very underrated film. But really, first Disney Princess that doesn't get married AND first Pixar movie with a female protagonist? Of course I'm going to love it. Scotland, kilts, archery, and bagpipes, were giant bonuses. I loved the story, too. A torrid relationship between a mother and daughter but it's not about the mother being evil, it's about miscommunication, which always happens when you're a teenager. 

15. Magic Mike

I went into this for one reason, because my friend really wanted to see it and didn't want to see it by herself. I also went into this movie thoroughly expecting it to be 100% ridiculous. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I was wrong. It had a plot. A pretty good one. The acting was actually pretty genuine and I'll admit - the stripping scenes were pretty fun to watch. Fun in a super awkward way, but I laughed and laughing makes me happy. Okay, I'm hanging my head in shame now. 

16. People Like Us

Meh. I probably enjoyed it when I watched it. 

17. Ted

Yeah, fun to watch once. The Flash references were phenomenal. That may be a bit of an exaggeration. I enjoyed the Flash references a lot. 

18. The Amazing Spider-Man

"Ek! We have to make a Spiderman movie so we can keep the rights to Spiderman!" Eh. I liked Andrew Garfield better than Toby McGuire and of course I liked Emma Stone better than Kristen Dunst. That may have been about it. 

19. The Dark Knight Rises

As I said before, I did enjoy this trilogy. The Dark Knight was of course my favorite, but they aren't movies that I watch often. There was a lot I liked about this and a lot I didn't like. Tom Hardy did some amazing acting with just his eyes and Anne Hathaway was the perfect Selina Kyle (she was really very written well too, which is not something that is done often, especially for Nolan). I did have some issues, though. Like some of these...

And most of these... 

20. The Watch

I really wanted to like this movie. Ever since Swingers, I've loved Vice VAughn (even though he hasn't done anything I've really loved since then), 21 Jump Street made me like Jonah Hill, and I REALLY wanted Richard Ayoade's introduction to American audiences to be good. When I went to go see it, it was getting a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes or something, so I went it full well expecting it to suck. Going in with low expectations made it more enjoyable for sure, but this movie was so forgettable that I didn't remember I had seen it even looking through Wikipedia's list of movies that came out this year twice. 

21. Bourne Legacy

I liked looking at Jeremy Renner... That's something, right? 

22. The Campaign

It didn't make me dislike Will Ferrel or Zach Galifianakis...

23. ParaNorman

I was actually pleasantly surprised with this movie. It was very cute. It kind of dragged a bit, but I generally liked it. Although again, nothing specific I could give you right now. I really do have a horrible memory when I don't care enough about something. 

24. Hit and Run

I liked this one. I've always loved Kristen Bell (lots of women named Kristen in this blog post) and Dax Shepard has grown on me. Bradley Cooper was hilarious in this too. It was fun. 

25. Raiders of the Lost Ark


26. The Master

This movie was not what I expected at all. The only movie I've seen from Paul Thomas Anderson is There Will Be Blood and while that one took a bit to get used to, I did like it. I think if I watched it again, I would probably like The Master more. 

27. Looper

Yeah, this was kind of fantastic. I have no strong opinion of Bruce Willis one way or the other, but I love both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. However, Pierce Gagnon (the little boy) was the performance that left me awe-struck. Probably because he was 6 when he made the film and he had the acting ability equal to everyone else on set. Good grief, he was amazing. Yes, there were holes in the plot (when aren't there when you're dealing with time travel?), but I loved this film.

28. Argo

Another favorite of this year. Ben Affleck has some stellar directing abilities and I always enjoy Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Besides a few historical details, this movie was pretty accurate. Not only that, but the movie pretty much gave me a panic attack and left me with sweaty palms. I don't often watch dramas multiple times, but I'll probably own this one.

29. Seven Psychopaths

I actually saw this movie and Argo right after each other and it was definitely not too much movie. I may have even liked this one more than In Bruges, although I'd have to watch that one again. Seven Psychopaths was the perfect blend of hilarity and morbidity. Colin, Ferrell, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken of course gave memorable performances, as did pretty much the entire cast. I'm very excited to see what else Martin McDonagh comes up with.

30. Skyfall

Proof to all you haters that I can enjoy misogynistic films despite being a feminist. Really, the fact that I watch anything besides Buffy is proof of that, but I digress. I loved Skyfall. I haven't seen all the Bond films, but I think it's safe to say this one is my favorite. And I do appreciate the fact that the series has become less misogynistic (we've come a long way from Sean Connery "turning" a lesbian by raping her). More action than Casino Royale, more of a plot line than Quantum of Solace, and I loved the little references back to the classic Bond films. Plus Adele gives a perfect performance of a perfect Bond song. The only thing I didn't like was M dying. Everyone needs a little more Judi Dench in their lives.

31. Flight

The longer this movie went on, the less sympathetic Denzel Washington's character was until the very end. At least there was a little redemption there. Even though I didn't feel sorry for his stint in jail, he was a very complex character and I loved watching his and Kelly Reilly's development.

32. Lincoln

If Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't win an Academy Award for this, there is no justice in the world. Even though he has two Oscars already. His performance was haunting and Sally Fields was very impressive as well. But really, this movie was perfect. They portrayed Lincoln as a real person and a funny person (which he was, apparently). I've seen this twice already and I want to see it again and again.

33. The Hobbit

Haters gonna hate, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The scene with the Rock Giants was the only one I found to pull the movie down and even then it wasn't that bad. Also, Jackson is increasingly moving to too much CGI, which is a dangerous thing to do, but it was only distracting once that I can remember. I thought Frodo was miscast (I wasn't unhappy with Elijah Wood, but he was way to young to play Frodo) but they nailed it with Martin Freeman as Bilbo. NAILED! He plays the part perfectly and I can't think of a single person that would do as well as he did. Riddles in the Dark was perfect and Gollum looked even better than he did in LOTR. Richard Armitage was great as Thorin (although he'd be great as just about anything) and he actually makes Dwarves sexy! Who knew?!

34. Les Miserables

Another one where haters gonna hate. I've read a lot of complaints about all the close ups. Well la-di-freaking-da, cause it was awesome. I've seen this show several times (lots of times if you count watching from the pit orchestra) and no one has ever been able to see the actors act up close. This fixed that and I thought it was done beautifully. It was distracting only a couple of times to me.

I loved that they decided to do all the singing on set. It made for not always perfect performances, but much more believable and emotional.

Anne Hathaway was perfect. Perfect! I never fully recovered from "I Dreamed a Dream" and was crying pretty much the entire movie after that. She gave probably the most heartbreaking performance I've ever seen. The music is always powerful, but she made it exponentially more so.

Hugh Jackman was also fantastic. I loved the new "Suddenly" song they put in, although I had my doubts when I heard about it. His performance was superb.

And Eddie Redmayne, anyone? Good grief, that man has a voice! Loved, loved, loved!

The biggest complaint I have is Russel Crowe. I wasn't overly impressed with his singing in the previews and he fell way short of the mark overall. Honestly, the 17 year old who played him at my high school did a better job than Crowe did. I have no opinion of his acting otherwise, but I don't understand why they chose him for this role. "Stars" is one of my favorite songs and he butchered it.

I also didn't like that they took out the saxophone part in "Master of the House." I played the clarinet and saxophone in the pit orchestra in high school and that was my favorite part to play! Very disappointing.

But Hathaway made up for any and all shortcomings :)

Well, that's it. It would have been pretty awesome if I had read as many books this past year... Oh well. I read a lot of Neil Gaiman so that's got to count for something. 

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