There are so many unbelievable movies this year that it’s really impossible to whittle them down to a best of list. Whittling is easier to do with concrete objects like balsa wood or bark. One of the most exciting things about this year’s movies is that the ideas are so original and the genres so varied. Below are 12 that bubbled to the surface as the best movies of 2012.
After Argo, I think we can all officially strike Gigli off Ben Affleck’s record. Argo is based on the true-life story of CIA agent Tony Mendez’s attempt to free American hostages from Iran. His off-the-wall plan is to team up a few Hollywood cats to create a bogus movie that “must” be shot on location in Iran. The hope was that these six hostages would convincingly play the roles of director, set designer, location scout, etc., and Affleck would move them out of Iran without raising suspicions. Affleck does an unbelievable job creating the look and feel of the time. The movie is authentic, exciting and definitely worthy of being seen in 2012.
The opening sequence of Skyfall is complete perfection. Our hero, James Bond, had a bit of a rough go of it at the top of the movie and it seemed like he might have found a way to take himself out of the espionage game. After Bond’s last effort, Quantum of Solace, some of us weren’t sure if he had it in him. Luckily, Skyfall proved that he most certainly does. Throughout the movie, Bond battles with his past, his enemies and himself. The action in this movie moves elegantly and without a hitch under the incredible direction of Sam Mendes.
If you’re a fan of comic book characters, The Avengers is a no-brainer. This is the Dancing With The Stars – All Stars of comic book movies. The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Captain America all make up the dream team called The Avengers. If you aren’t caught up with all your comics (I’m talking to myself), it may take a little more time to warm up and get hip to what’s going on. But once you do, it’s a really good time. The one thing that is universally loved, no questions asked, fan or not, is the “Hulk Smash.” All of these characters have fantastic superhero powers, but there’s very little that satisfies more than a good old fashioned smash.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
If you are looking for a movie to knock you out with big twisting plots and special effects, Your Sister’s Sister is not going to do the trick. But if you like to watch life unfold in what feels like real time, if you enjoy feeling the fabric of a moment, then Your Sister’s Sister is a top notch experience. Jack (Mark Duplass), Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Iris (Emily Blunt) find themselves in a bit of an unexpected “love” triangle. The movie explores loss, sibling relationships and love. Director Lynn Shelton’s improvisational style of film-making (Hump Day) allows for an intimate experience.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
The Dark Knight Rises is the final movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It could be argued that this is the best movie of the three. The Dark Knight (Christian Bale) came out of exile, ready to fight. But his super worthy opponent Bane (Tom Hardy), sporting a tricked out mask and a bad attitude, was not going to make it easy. The Dark Knight Rises’ straight forward, good vs. evil theme is classic and compelling and the most psychologically intriguing of the series.
Daniel Day Lewis is Abraham Lincoln. The first time Lincoln popped up on the big screen, there was a collective gasp of air in the theatre. His transformation was unbelievable. Sally Field’s performance as Mary Todd Lincoln was incredibly emotional and also fully realized. Lincoln is a reminder of where our country was, is and is heading. This movie highlights the flaws and beauty of democracy and is proof that with strong leadership and a passionate people, we can make change. It’s a part of our history; it’s who we are.
Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is an award-winning, introverted writer who is accused of being a genius but can’t seem to find real life love. What he couldn’t find in life, he made up in his stories. Calvin created the character, Ruby Sparks. Ruby was his perfect girl and he created her completely. He created her in such detail that she actually came to life. This movie is fantastical in its conceit but is played so beautifully by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan that you are totally invested in this far-fetched concept. It also teaches us a valuable lesson about wanting to change people to suit our own needs.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
When the movie kicks off you think you’re in for a cheesy, scary movie ride. Five friends, each perfectly filling their cliches, go to a remote cabin in the woods. Things start out resembling what we’ve come to know as the typical horror movie formula (ex: the hot chick dares the brainiac to go down to the creepy cellar). But then the usual becomes unusual. This movie digs down into the genre of horror movies and brings us something completely unique.
The Sessions is a story about a poet, Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), who is saddled with an iron lung. At 38-yrs-old he wants to lose his virginity. He hires sex therapist Cheryl (Helen Hunt) to aid him in his journey. This is the real, vulnerable and heartbreaking version of 40-Year-Old Virgin. It’s a beautifully told story that surprisingly makes you laugh…a lot.
In the animation department, Disney’s Wreck it Ralph comes out on top. If you played video games in the ’80s, this movie will have you grabbing for a joystick. Ralph has been a bad guy forever and is looking to make a change and become the hero for once in his life. In his quest to find acceptance, he makes his way through the entire history of video games, bringing us into a multiple worlds. Ralph (John C. Reilly) is on journey that most of us can relate to. He befriends the character Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from a candy-coated racing game called “Sugar Rush.” The animation is great and Ralph is all heart.
We’ve all had a boyfriend who’s had that… friend. That friend that wants to keep your man in a “single” state of mind. That friend that constantly wants to go out, drink, smoke and party. It’s hard enough convincing your boyfriend that this friend doesn’t have his best interest in mind. It’s even harder when that friend is a teddy bear. A teddy bear that came to life one fated thunderous night. Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, Ted is raunchy and hilarious and completely unexpected.
LIFE OF PI
Director Ang Lee creates a visual masterpiece with Life Of Pi. Life of Pi is a movie about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and embarks on a journey of discovery and a relationship with a Bengal tiger. It’s a profound spiritual journey that does what only the best movies can do: it changes your life. You must see this movie in 3D.
What movies blew your hair back this year?
Image via SargonTimes