It is that time of year and the countdown of the best of the calendar year of 2012 has already begun as we look back on all the movies that came out this year recapping the absolute best of the best in this critics top 30 films of the year countdown. Looking back here’s a reminder of #30-26.
29. “Damsels in Distress”
27. “Your Sister’s Sister”
26. “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
On this installment we are going to pick up the pace as we countdown from #25 all the way to #11 in advance of my top ten films of 2012 that I will announce on New Year’s Day.
25. “Chronicle”: The found footage genre got a shot in the arm as the darkly toned superhero movie about a bunch of teenagers getting amazing powers was an absolute blast that announced director Josh Trank as an upcoming force to be reckoned with.
24. “The Dark Knight Rises”: This final chapter in the trilogy was just that, a nice and neat final installment as director Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham city and its protector played out to a natural conclusion. The film look brilliant and our hats have to go off to Tom Hardy who delivered and epic and memorable performance as the villainous Bane.
23. “Bernie”: As director Richard Linklater takes to a small unassuming town in Texas, you never expect that murder most foul is what would be on the menu when you meet local mortician Bernie Tiede. Based on a true story, Black played Bernie with such a sociopathic charm that is really sneaks up on you making for one of the better performances of the year. Also features the first of three great performances from Matthew McConaughey this year.
22. “The Deep Blue Sea”: This is one of those films on the list that a lot of people may have never heard of, but this tale of self destructive love was one of the more powerful romances of the entire year. It featured a stellar performance from Rachel Weisz who is receiving a great deal of awards love for this gripping turn as the wife of a British judge who can’t help but be obsessively in love with an RAF pilot played by Tom Hiddleston. It’s the kind of film that sneaks up on you and then bowls you over.
21. “The Raid: Redemption”/”Premium Rush”/”Detention”/”Man on a Ledge” (tie): I’m cheating more than a little bit with this four way tie and these films may seem like odd selections for a year end list, however in each of their own ways they are the epitome of popcorn filmmaking. Hardly perfect filmmaking by any stretch and while there were certainly movies this year that were better, there aren’t any others where I had nearly as much fun.
20. “ParaNorman”/”Frankenweenie” (tie): The only other tie, but these two stop motion animated films that were each in their own way a love letter to the classic horror films of days gone by managed to raise the bar of animation standards. Both managed some eye popping visuals and kept a certain level of adult wit while still being more then accessible for the younger audiences and are the two best animated films of the year.
19. “Ruby Sparks”: This romantic comedy follow up from the director’s of “Little Miss Sunshine” went somewhere most rom-coms are afraid to go and got a little dark. Starring real life couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, this film co-written by Zazan was a really intelligent look at the very nature of relationships and certainly made Hollywood take notice of Ms. Kazan as this razor sharp and highly intelligent script will rope even the most skeptic of filmgoers and was a refreshing delight.
18. “Life of Pi”: A simply magical mediation on life, love, faith and happiness. It’s rare for a film to be as life affirming as it is visually stunning. Director Ang Lee pulled off a film adaption from a book that many said was impossible to translate to the screen, but never was there a moment that we weren’t committed as an audience to this wonderfully fantastic adventure.
17. “The Imposter”: Telling you anything about this documentary would be defeating the purpose, but witnessing a crowded theater gasp at the story that unfolded in front of us as people remarked on how insane this story actually was that it must be true was an amazing experience that will work just as well from the comfort of your own home.
16. “Citadel”: Easily the scariest film of the year. This semi-autobiographical tale from writer/director not only succeeds in getting in your head where the truly terrifying things happen but also under your skin for some of the most effective creeps we had at the theaters this year.
15. “Magic Mike”: It’s hard to believe that a film about male strippers could be described as epic, but that’s just what director Steven Soderbergh does. With amazing performances from both Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, baby oil and body glitter have never been so compelling.
14. “The Master”: Was it about Scientology? Maybe, but director Paul Thomas Anderson’s return to the screen was a lush, sweeping character driven epic. Many focus on the stellar performances from both Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman but Amy Adams is chilling to the bone in one of the better performances of her career.
13. “Killer Joe”: I guarantee that you’ll never look at fried chicken the same way again, as William Friedkin’s adaptation of Tracy Letts play was a deep fried slice of gritty noir crime. McConaughey simply outdoes himself as ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper as exudes a scary cool all over the screen as we can’t help but watch as things go from bad to worse in this thrilling train wreck of human drama.
12. “Amour”: Opening in Canada on January 11th, “Amour” is easily the foreign film of the year as Michael Haneke’s emotionally devastating tale of love in the face of the ravages of disease and age forces you to watch it unfold. A beautifully shot film that transpires mostly in one apartment is a real masterpiece of storytelling that was anchored by two stellar performances from screen legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.
11. “Pitch Perfect”: Sometimes you come across a film that just doesn’t have any business working as well it did, “Pitch Perfect” was that film. While the premise does come across as “Glee” but in university it works on so many more levels with a highly intelligent script, great musical numbers and a hilarious attention grabbing turn from Rebel Wilson and a star making one from Anna Kendrick. Getting ‘Pitch-Slapped’ at the cinemas was easily the surprise of the year.
The bulk of the films listed above are now available on demand, DVD & Blu-Ray and are available to purchase via all major retailers like iTunes, amazon.ca and HMV.
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