Continuing my look at this past year in film, I give you Part Two of 2012, The Year in Movies. In the first part you saw a myriad of movies which I rated lower than three stars (out of five), ie, the worst I saw over the past year. In this section we move away from the garbage into that middle ground, you know, those movies that weren’t bad…but at the same time weren’t the best the year had to offer either. They all suffered from one thing or another but for various reasons still had redeeming moments or qualities. All of the movies in Part 2 here, I rated either with 3 or 3.5 stars. They ranked #31-#22 in my 2012 movie experience. In other words, I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to avoid these movies, the right person would find enjoyment in some of these films. I might not spend too much money on them though and I don’t see any of them as must have additions to anyone’s movie collection..
So, without further ado, let us continue our journey through 2012, the Year in Movies!
#31. Safe House
The great part about this movie was that it was unique in its story and execution and that it starred Denzel Washington. Denzel delivered yet another superb performance in Safe House but this movie just didn’t have enough to make it stand out against the many other films this past year that fit into the same genre. A lot of times I judge a movie based on how much it sticks with you, how many times your mind and thoughts go back to it or by overall how memorable the film was or what type of impact it has on you throughout the year. Unfortunately for Safe House, by the end of the year I had practically forgotten it had even been released in 2012.
There are times you go into a movie with either really low expectations or extremely high expectations and this can have a major impact on how you think about the film as you leave the theater. You always feel the worst when you go into a movie expecting great things and are let down. By contrast, when you go into a movie with little to no expectations and you actually enjoy the film, it makes it seem and feel that much better going out. Ted was a movie I was totally prepared for to be a complete flop. Ted was NOT a flop. Was it the greatest comedy of the last decade…let’s not get carried away. However, it was far superior than I imagined it would be. Mark Wahlberg did a fantastic job playing against an invisible ‘co-star’. This movie also had a number of those essential iconic ‘comedy moments’ that are a must for any comedy worth its calories in laughs. Is there a sequel needed? Well, no, that could be utterly disastrous….but then again, so could’ve Ted.
#29. Bourne Legacy
The Bourne franchise is one of the more consistent franchises in movie history. It was taking a big risk this time however, by essentially embracing what is usually the ‘kiss of death’ for any successful franchise; replacing the main star! Now, many people unfairly wrote this film off without even seeing it solely based on this fact and that as I said is very unfair to do. I went in to this with an open mind and was somewhat pleased in how they handled the change. Thankfully, they did not ignore it as has been done in other franchises. Instead, they acknowledged it and even included it in a main part of the story. I admit that I am intrigued for how they will handle the eventual return of Matt Damon to the franchise down the road but for now I have no complaints about Jeremy Renner, I think he filled the role rather adequately and I look forward to more from this franchise.
#28. Wreck-It Ralph
Wreck-It Ralph is one of those films that makes you scratch your head and wonder, not only why YOU didn’t think of this first, but more so why NO ONE had come up with this idea before! The premise of this film is absolutely genius. Let’s make a kids movie based on the number one past time for kids everywhere, Video Games! Combine that with all of the old-school gaming and arcade feel that parents will relate to and love, the characters and cameos that the young adults will connect with and the story that is universal and easy to relate to and you have a movie that is a win for everyone involved. The voice acting in this film was top notch especially when it comes to Alan Tudyk as King Candy. Even my 70 year old mother got a genuine kick out of this film. All that being said, the pacing at times could have been better and I have seen animated movies that I would put ahead of this one. Overall, though it was the better of the two animated features I saw in 2012.
#27. Pitch Perfect
A lot of guys may be afraid to admit this but Pitch Perfect is beyond a fun watch. This has ‘guilty pleasure’ written all over it. A co-worker and I had a 30-45 minute discussion on this film and our favorite parts before we did a double take to make sure no one had heard us both gushing over this title. After all, it’s meant for girls right? Not just girls, but TEEN girls right? Nonsense, this movie is great no matter what gender you are or what age you are. The sing-off scene has stuck with me for months after seeing the film. Overall, this film just makes you want to live in their world, a world made up of pure fun, music, and most importantly, Anna Kendrick!
#26. The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man was everything that the ‘original’ Spider-Man trilogy should have been. I’m not saying that those movies were bad. I thoroughly enjoyed the first chapter in that trilogy as well, not to mention parts here and there of the second film also. I think what it comes down to for me though is the far superior casting done for the 2012 chapter of this franchise. Andrew Garfield is exponentially more believable as Spidey than was Tobey Maguire. The look of the suit, the visual effects, actually in just about every way possible this movie was superior. The only thing that this movie did wrong really was being released in 2012 where it stood no chance of avoiding the immense shadows cast by the Avengers and the conclusion of the Dark Knight trilogy.
#25. Hunger Games
Let me begin by saying, as is the norm for me, I did not read the book that the movie is based off of. I try to avoid doing that at all costs since I almost 100% of the time prefer the movie over the book anyways. Even though I technically didn’t see this film until 2013, I did manage to avoid all contact with it during the year and went into my viewing, spoil-free! I was entertained to say the least by this film. I was somewhat perplexed how a film that would have been banned from theatres when I was growing up received seemingly unquestioned praise. It’s unique angles and depictions make the story interesting to say the least. I admit, I was not blown away to the point I had hoped to be but I really can’t say much negative about this film. I can say that I definitely won’t wait a year after its release to see the second film in this series though!
Prometheus was one of those polarizing films. From my experience people either hated it or loved it. Oddly, I fall somewhere in the middle though. I loved the premise and setting of the film and really respect the angle they decided to go on this one. Was it executed flawlessly? Of course it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining though. I can see why some fans of the franchise have a problem with it or why some casual moviegoers may not have enjoyed the pace the film took at certain points. I didn’t have any of those issues with the film though. It was a GOOD movie that unfortunately came out in a year full of GREAT movies.
Every year I get excited for the new sci-fi films set for release and every year I seem to be disappointed beyond belief. With Looper, I finally got a sci-fi film that never disappointed. The concept is unique and thought provoking. The dynamic of Willis and Gordon-Levitt was entertaining and believable. This movie also kept you on your toes. There were times where you thought you knew exactly what was going to happen or how things would end but it did a proficient job of making you doubt or question your own predictions throughout. Any sci-fi or action film fan should make sure that this one gets added to their queue because it definitely deserves and warrants a watch.
Lawless was another one of those films that far exceeded my expectations. I had no desire to see this one in the theatre and really had practically forgotten about it before I stumbled upon it searching my OnDemand choices one night when I was in the mood for a movie. I narrowed my choices that night down to about 4 films but I really was in the mood for an action flick that I could just turn my brain off and enjoy. Then I started watching Lawless and found myself riveted to the screen for the next few hours. Tom Hardy was mesmerizing in this film and Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska were beyond fabulous. In fact, I know most people will disagree with me on this but I think THIS was Chastain’s finest role in 2012. Heck, even Shia LaBeouf succeeded in NOT ruining this film which I thought was a certainty when I had originally seen the trailers for the film. The biggest compliment I think I can pay to this film is the fact that I cannot think of a single other movie to compare it to. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination but it is unique and captivating and a must-see for any action fan. If I had to pick a film from this list that I could see myself owning on DVD/Blu-Ray it would no doubt be Lawless!