Another year has come and gone and with that comes reflection on the year that was. I’m not sure what the overall consensus is for the movies of 2012, but personally I feel it’s a rather strong year. While there is nothing I would point to as an absolute masterpiece the number of really good films is higher than its been in years. With so many great movies to choose from it inspired me to create the 1st Annual Movie Revolt Movie Awards. As of right now they aren’t as prestigious as the Oscars, but hopefully they aren’t as embarrassing as the Golden Globes. In addition I will be doing posts of my Top 10 Films of the year, My Top Performances of the year, and My Top 10 Documentaries of the year. The ‘Revolters’ (Is that as Bad as it Sounds?) will be split into three categories:
The Art and Technical Awards: Where I award this year’s best in categories like Best Special Effects, Best Score, and Best Sound Design.
The Miscellaneous Awards: I guess my awards in general could be considered miscellaneous, but this category is a grab bag of random awards, like Biggest Disappointment, Best Comedic Due, and Movie Most Likely to Be Remade.
We Start the Awards with the category of Best Genre Films. Genre films are often left out of most movie awards. Occasionally you’ll get a Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Arc, but more often than not films like The Dark Knight, Die Hard, and The Matrix will be left out in the cold. With that in mind I wanted to specifically highlight these films in my own way. I have gone through all of the main genres to pick out what films have stood above the rest this year.
The Raid: Redemption
When naming this category I made sure to mention ‘Best All Out Action’, that’s because there are a lot of movies that have great action so I wanted to make sure I made room for pure action films. If you in the mood for straight action you can’t do much better than The Raid. The idea is simple. A group of cops areattempting to make their way to the top level of a building controlled by a Drug Kingpin. Once it gets going it never stops with a mixture of gun battles and martial arts showdowns. This mixture of high octane action makes it the best Action film of the year.
Honorable Mentions: Dredd, Haywire, and Safe House
Last year we saw a huge influx of R rated comedies that attempted to rehash the success of films like The Hangover. This year comedies were mostly absent. There were a few bright spots like 21 Jump Street and Ted, but the one that stood out to me was the Danish comedy Klown. Typically I’m not a huge fan of shock comedies that elicit laughs through gross out gags and outlandish hijinks. Klown struck a chord with me for a few reasons. One the performances were genuinely funny, and two it went places no US comedy would dare. If you’re a person who is easily offended you need to stay as far away from this movie as possible.
Honorable Mentions: 21 Jump Street, Ted, Moonrise Kingdom
Personally the Crime genre is one of my favorite. It has the ability to make those in society we tend to loathe into people we root for. This year there were a lot of great crime films to choose from so this was the hardest one to pick. I went with Seven Psychopaths due to its ability to breathe new life into this genre. It felt like a reaction piece attempting to probe crime films into breaking away from their common tropes. The cast is packed with great performance and interesting characters. Director Martin McDonagh has made a smooth transition from the stage to the big screen with this and his debut film In Bruges. I can’t wait to see what else he has in store.
Honorable Mentions: End of Watch, Killing Them Softly, Polisse, and Headhunters
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild is this year’s little movie that could. It was made with a shoe string budget and a combination of amateur and first time actors. Even with limited resources director Benh Zeitlin used his unique vision to create a world that mixes a child fantasy with real life tragedy. The end product is this modern day fable full of imagination. Perhaps the biggest reason the film works is the performance of five year old Quvenzhané Wallis. I cannot think of the last time someone that young gave one of the best performances of the year.
Honorable Mentions: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi
Best Science Fiction Movie:
Time travel is a tricky element to deal with. It tends to create more problems than it solves. Looper makes it work by not making it the focal point of the film. It combines this array of inspired ideas to create the ultimate moral quandary. Rian Johnson shows that great Science Fiction is not all about special effects. It is about using out-of-this-world concepts to dissect our own humanity. It is great to see there are still people out on creating unique and fresh ideas like Looper.
Honorable Mentions: Prometheus, Chronicle
Obviously this award came down to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. While I greatly enjoyed both I ended up choosing The Avengers. Honestly I don’t think there is a wrong decision, but I went with ‘Earth’s Highest Heroes’ because their film better at accomplishes its goals than The Dark Knight Rises. Plus you have to admire how this lofty experiment actually worked. For better or worse The Avengers has changed the idea of what it means to be a franchise…plus it’s just one hell of a good time. If you can’t laugh at the ‘puny god’ sequence you are dead inside.
Honorable Mentions: The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd
Best Animated Movie:
I will admit I was completely wrong about Paranorman. When I first saw the trailer I dismissed it as a want-to-be Tim Burton knockoff. When I finally sat down to watch it I quickly realized how wrong I was. What I appreciate most about this movie is how it never takes the easy way out. It continued to challenge the viewer with a story that was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Not to mention the stop-motion animation looks fantastic. It was old school just enough to make the classic horror homages work. This was not only the Best Animated movie in my book it was also one of the year’s biggest surprises.
Honorable Mentions: A Cat in Paris, Paperman, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1
Best Romantic Comedy:
Friends with Kids
Surprisingly though the Comedy genre was lacking this year the Romantic Comedy genre gave us a slew of quality movies. Friends with Kids was one that many dismissed due to the lackluster marketing. It was made out to be a straight forward raunchy comedy when it was so much more. It deals with some rather serious issues in the ways good comedy should. It doen’t feel the need to throw a joke into a more serious moment just so we don’t feel uncomfortable. Plus it does what most Romantic Comedies fail to do. It’s both funny and romantic, a novel concept that is too often forgotten.
Honorable Mentions: Sleepwalk with Me, Silver Linings Playbook, Safety Not Guranteed, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Best Horror Movie:
The Snowtown Murders
I am no horror aficionado so you horror junkies feel free to completely dismiss my pick for Best Horror film of the year. Some may argue this isn’t a true horror movie, but nothing I watched this year was nearly as horrifying as this film. It covers the true story of one of Australia’s most notorious serial killers. The film begins with this quit reserved energy as it slowly reveals its uncomfortable and sickening moments. The momentum builds to this barrage of shocking events that leaves you in emotional disarray. Everyone feels natural and that realistic esthetic makes it even more uncomfortable. I completely admire what this film accomplished, however it’s not necessarily something you would want to experience a second time. For one it’s brutal in every sense of the word, and also it leaves such a strong impression there’s almost no need to watch it again.
Honorable Mentions: The Cabin in the Woods, The Woman in Black
Wow we have had a lot of franchise films this year. For every franchise that was ending two or three have come along to take its place. We have seen things like long awaited conclusion of the Twlight Saga, and the very hyped beginning of The Hunger Games. With that in mind I felt it warranted an award for the Best Franchise film. When all the dust settled it was the originator of the movie franchise that showed everyone how it’s done. This year was the 50th aniversry of the Bond franhise and the best way to celebrate was with one of the best Bond movies ever made. That may sound like hyperable but I truly feel years from now Skyfall will still be considered a landmark for the Bond franchise. It combined the feel of classic Bond with the rugged appeal of the Craig era. Nobody does it better than Bond and this year he proved it yet again.
Honorable Mentions: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus