As many of my readers know, I didn’t review a lot of movies this year. Believe me, I tried, but it’s hard when life gets in the way.
Yes, I saw “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and many others, but 2012 was just an off year. I didn’t review many of them, since I didn’t see some of them until several weeks after their release. There were also some that I didn’t get the chance to see, but that’s usually how it is every year.
But, hey, I’m still here – doing what I love best and that is talking about movies. So, without further ado, here is my list of the 11 best films from 2012. Why 11? Well, it was difficult to leave out a lot of films. I could go to 15, but I think 11 is a good number.
Easily the best Bond to date. Daniel Craig continues to amaze as the suave secret agent. Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition”) steps into the director’s chair this time around, and crafts an intense, quick-paced action flick. Javier Bardem steals the show as the villain.
I do like Jack Black, but many of his recent films have been pretty crummy. “Bernie,” on the other hand, shows a side of Black that is rarely seen. He excels in the role of the church-loving funeral director, who does something unexpected. Oddly enough this is based on a true story, too. There is so much to enjoy in Richard Linklater’s dark comedy.
9: “The Grey”
With a horrible release date and misleading trailers, “The Grey” is not what one might expect. Joe Carnahan (“Smokin’ Aces,” “The A-Team”) directs a powerful and beautifully poetic film that gets you good. Carnahan channels Terrence Malick, which is a surprise since I’ve never liked Carnahan’s work prior to this.
8: “Moonrise Kingdom”
Wes Anderson does it again. An all-star cast, including Bill Murray; Frances McDormand; Edward Norton; and Bruce Willis lead this quirky, warm-hearted story made this film a great in the summer time when there were so many bloated and chaotic films.
7: “Killer Joe”
One of the wildest films I’ve seen in years. William Friedkin creates a twisted, dark comedy that will leave you shocked. Matthew McConaughey delivers his best performance to date. Also, you will never look at fried chicken the same way, ever again. (Full review)
6: “Life of Pi”
Like Scorsese did with “Hugo,” Ang Lee creates a visually splendid film that has one of the best uses of 3D. “Life of Pi” is a stunning film with breathtaking images. The chemistry between Pi and the huge Bengal tiger named Richard Parker is remarkable, and Pi’s journey is one you will never forget. (Full review)
Daniel Day-Lewis is simply phenomenal as the 16th president of the United States. Steven Spielberg’s film is a well acted, powerful, and surprisingly funny biopic. The voting on the 13th Amendment is one of the film’s many great and tense moments.
4: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
A film made on a shoestring budget that packs a mighty punch. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” casts no-name actors who perform beyond expectations. A child’s imagination can go anywhere, and the film doesn’t hold back on the bizarre explorations and heartwarming moments. (Full review)
Ben Affleck is three for three with this fantastic drama about a fake movie and a real mission. “Argo” is a smart, political thriller that doesn’t bash any views over the audience’s heads. Affleck just tells what happened and presents it with a wonderful blend of intensity and humor.
2: “Django Unchained”
Quentin Tarantino’s nod to the spaghetti western genre is a bloody good time. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson all give incredible performances. Tarantino’s direction and dialogue is impeccable, and the action scenes are mind-blowing and perfectly choreographed. It was hard to choose between this movie and the next film for the number one spot.
1: “The Master”
“The Master” is a very divisive film, but I stand by my decision in calling it the best movie I’ve seen all year. Paul Thomas Anderson returns five years after “There Will be Blood” to direct another cinematic gem. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix are solid in their respective performances, and Anderson’s directing is flawless. This is a masterpiece.
There are still several I have yet to see (“Zero Dark Thirty,” for example). I do plan on seeing them; I just don’t know when I’ll get the opportunity.
Now that my life is somewhat back on track, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of film reviewing in 2013. I can’t guarantee that, but it is a possibility.