Quizzy Countdown: Top 24 Films of 2012
Late as usual, but better late than never.
[Quizzy Countdown and Spoiler Banner courtesy of G1 Mandi96]
Hey guys. Quizzy1025 here.
Well now that the new year has approached, with it comes promise of great films to come. From various books adaptations to some rather complex or fascinating indies, it looks like 2013 has potential to be an absolute treat for cinemagoers. However, like many before me, I wish to look back on the movies of 2012 and count down the top 24 of them.
As a precaution, it should be known that if a movie is not on the list, it could easily mean that I have yet to see it. So if you’re wondering why Skyfall, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty or Silver Linings Playbook are not on the list, for example, it probably means that I haven’t found the time to see them yet.
So, let us reminisce on the year before because this is my Top 24 Films of 2012!
Beauty and the Beast 3D
To be honest, this could have easily have made Number One, but seeing as this has had not one but two releases into theaters, I felt it be only fair for it to make the bottom of the list, as to give all the other movies a chance. The basic premise is that an inventor is held prisoner in castle that is resided by a hideous beast, who is really a cursed prince. The inventor’s daughter, Belle, a pretty young bookworm, selflessly takes her father’s place in exchange for his freedom. From there blossoms a relationship between her and the Beast. At the same time, Gaston, a hunter from the town where she and her father live at, attempts everything and anything to take Belle’s hand in marriage thinking he righfully belongs with her since they're considered the two most physically attractive people in the village.
One of the great things about Beauty and the Beast is that it has aged remarkably, like a fine wine. The dialogue never feels out of place, as it never relied on pop culture references to provide humor to its audience. This was a film that knew what time and place that it comes from and never has a scene that feels out of place. Because of this, it truly is one of the most adult Disney animated films as it can easily entertain anyone of any age. The characters are just as great as when one was a kid, as Belle and the Beast actually had their relationship take time to develop and not just be instant like most other Disney relationships before them. In fact, this one was pretty different from previous princess-based films. One great example is that Gaston, considered the strong handsome man of the town, is the villain as his true inner ugliness emerges while the frightening Beast warms to Belle and the audience as a character and turns into handsome love interest himself. I also love the art direction they went for the castle as it really looks like the animators truly had the architecture of a real castle in mind with them showing almost every room by the end. While, I could go into further detail about the film as a whole, what with the other characters, music, and story, I really should be talking about the reason why it got the re-release. So, how does 3D work with this picture? Like a glove. I mean, my goodness, there are films nowadays that do absolutely nothing with the technology. And yet here is a 90’s animated film, which was never made for 3D, and it manages to take full advantage of the gimmick. Every scene looks sharper and just adds this tremendous amount of depth to its already beautiful, and at times haunting, atmosphere. Immersion is key, and 3D had accomplished what I didn’t think was possible, which was make this timeless classic even better. I did pay the extra dollars for glasses on a few movies this year, but this used the technology best by far. Do not miss the opportunity for 2013, when they continue the re-releases with The Little Mermaid.
Tie – Mirror Mirror/Snow White and the Huntsman
Sticking with the fairy tales, last year we had not one but two motion pictures based around the story of Snow White. Comparing them would be the equivalent to apples and oranges. The only thing that they both have in the common is the overall story. It involves an evil queen who is jealous of a young maiden named Snow White, as she is considered the fairest of all the land. While her death is being plotted, Snow White comes across a group of dwarves who take her in as one of their own as they grow to love her company. So aside from that and the poisonous apples, they are not that alike.
The first to come out was Mirror Mirror. From the trailer, one can tell that it was more aimed towards kids, leading to some silly scenarios and goofy jokes. And yeah, that is more or less what it is. That being said, it was a fun flick to watch. A word that I feel defines this movie is grand, which this most certainly is. When you see into the Queen’s bedroom, the walls are not shown and are instead views of massive horizons of the kingdom, giving it that much more atmosphere. Speaking of the kingdom, it really does feel like something out of storybook. The way everyone dresses and the design of the castle and everywhere else come off as enchanting. As far as characters, the dwarves are the ones that I enjoyed the most. What them work so well is that they each had a distinct style and persona to them. As a precaution, this is a kids film, so one can expect one or two groaners, but the overall presentation more than makes up for anything negative I would have to say. Although, the people behind the scenes really believe that Julia Roberts is the fairest of the land? Really? Ah well. They got Ned Stark to act in this so I’m satisfied.
Later, in the summer, Snow White and the Huntsman got its shot at the box office. This one decided to take a more mature fantasy theme ala Game of Thrones while adding themes from other media entertainments, such as Miyazaki, as MovieBob pointed out in his review. The overall tone of this movie is more dark and gritty. While there are some breathtaking scenes, especially one involving a forest full of mythical creature, most of the locale is dark with various grays and blacks, making it feel more cold and harsh. Overall, if you took out the fantasy elements, it looks more like a real kingdom would. And as one who more prefers mature fantasy, I friggin love it. While Kristin Stewart is not one to write home about, everyone else pulled off his or her roles top notch. Thanks to his experience as Thor, Chris Hemsworth was able to make the huntsman a tough brute with a sense of depth thanks to his acting that he brings with his character’s tragic back-story. While it is a bit of a shame not to see actual little people get the roles of the dwarves, the actors they did choose were splendid in their own right as really seemed more like Dwarves from Lord of the Rings rather than a fairy tale. But by the far, the most recognition goes to Charlize Theron as the cool hearted evil Queen. She manages to seem cruel and confident while showing her own personal fears of her outer appearance. I especially love the relationship between her and her brother, in which they both need each other to survive. I might as well point out in the elephant in the room in that K-Stew is considered more attractive than Theron in this movie. Seriously, whom did Stewart sleep with for that to happen? Oh yeah…. Well, slight miscasting aside, this was a fun version of the classic tale and I plan to see again in the future.
Trouble With the Curve
There is little to no difficulty for me to express how I feel about Clint Eastwood; to me, he’s a talented man who manages to be both a gritty and dramatic actor, while being more than impressive behind the camera. After all, that is why I made Gran Torino the top spot when I did the Best of 2009 list. So when he decided to act again, I found myself very much anticipating Trouble With the Curve. The story is about an old baseball scout, played by Eastwood, whose sight is starting to go out on him. Because of this and his more old fashioned methods, a member of the organization, played by Matthew Lillard, is pushing to fire him. Eastwood’s daughter, played by Amy Adams, ends up going with him to North Carolina to help him thanks to a little persuasion from her father’s boss and friend, played by John Goodman. Justin Timberlake also stars in this a player once scouted by Clint and is now a friendly rival scout, who becomes smitten with Adams.
I can honestly say that I rather agree with G1 Flapperdoodle, to an extent, in that Eastwood should not have done this after Gran Torino. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if made before that work of art, but here the overall quality and impact is not as impressive. However, there are a lot of good things that come out of this movie. One the great parts is the relationship that Eastwood has Adams and how much she really wants to part of her dad’s life at times while he continues to push her away. This actually leads to a side-story, while small, is significant to why he is the way he is with his daughter and leaves enough of an emotional build-up as it all leads to the explanation. Because of this, I would say that this a good film for a father to see with his daughter when she’s older. There is a charm to them both as Eastwood is a fun but tough old bastard, while Amy Adams displays her own appeal and charisma as she tends to do in any film she's in. In a way, she kinda steals the spotlight as she gets a bunch of screen time and most interaction with the characters. Justin Timberlake comes off as a easygoing all American fella. Just like Clint's character, he does what he does for the love of the sport. His relationship with Adams never feels forced as it shows them spending more and more time together, letting the relationship take to develop, even if the ending result with them is a bit rushed. I know I mention charm a lot in the summary, but that’s really what this film is, charming. It’s not meant to be something great like if Eastwood himself was directing this. But if you can walk into it with that mentality, you might find this to be quite a gem.
While it is far from being Pixar’s best, Brave does have distinct likability to it. The basic plot is that a tom-boyish princess named Merida is bring forced by her mother to proceed with a competition in which one of the single suitors will win her hand in marriage as to keep peace between kingdoms. Not wanting any part of it, she feeds her mother a pastry, made by a witch, which turns the queen into a bear. The two then journey on to find the cure for the curse while strengthening their bond.
This marks the first time that one of their film’s protagonists is a female. Because of this, there is a whole new perspective that not too many animation studios do, which is a relationship between a mother and daughter. Like The Lion King can be recommended for a father and son, this movie is more suggested for the opposite gender group of the nuclear family. On one end of the spectrum, we see the mother’s view on everything and how she only wants the best for her daughter while maintaining the peace. On the other end, we have the daughter who wants to be able to make her own decisions and truly be herself, not who her mom wants her to be. On paper, this sounds like a typical relationship between a teenage girl and her mother, which it is, allowing real life teen girls and moms to relate. However, the way it is presented is unique, as they both have to rely on each other. Obviously, fantasy and magic do play a role in this film. In fact, it is one of the more fascinating parts throughout it. While there is nothing to special about the witch, the blue wisps making for a great sense of mystery, especially in the beginning. I also enjoyed the antagonist bear in both how intimidating he is as well as the back story that is given to him, making that more interesting of a character. However, my favorite character has to be Merida’s father as he just a big, fun-loving, barbarian that tends to just go with the flow. It should also be noted that this is the first Disney Princess on film to not end up with a love interest. Again, while not taking as many chances as other Pixar films, Brave did bring something new things to table and hopefully lead to more female based main character from the studio in the future.
This is one of those movies that kinda went under the radar last year, which is a bit of shame as there’s quite a bit of good in this motion picture. While there have been plenty of gangster movies, including one that came out this year, I have yet to see one take place in the southern regions. To be more specific, it takes place in Franklin County, Virginia during the prohibition era, which leads to the true story of the moonshine making Bondurant brothers and their encounter with a newly arrived deputy. Or at least what Hollywood considers to be the true story.
I absolutely love the fact that Tom Hardy is getting more roles lately, showing him to be quite the versatile actor. While he has done tough, cold brute before, he comes off as one that develops a motivation as he starts to care for a waitress that is new in town. I am also glad to see Shia LeBeouf in something that shows off his acting skills and not a (literal) product of commercialism from Hollywood. He may be a douche in real life, but the guy does have great potential, so expanding back to other film genres can lead to bigger and better things. Story-wise, it is fun to see how the youngest brother attempts to make a name of himself, while at the same time, him and his two brothers come to blows with the deputy played by Guy Pierce. Speaking of which, Pierce nails the role perfectly as he comes off as selfish and cruel as he wants part of the brothers’ income while attempting not trying to get his own hands dirty. Because this is a gangster film, there are some scenes that are tough to look at as there are moments that are just brutal and mean spirited, especially those involving a couple of the innocent characters. I will say this; no matter how prissy Guy Pierce may look in this, he will gladly kill you without hesitation. Nearly does with Shia LeBeouf. Never the less, if you can look past that, you will find quite a little gem. To quote Homer Simpson: “To Alcohol, the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.”
The Queen of Versailles
They say never to judge a book by its cover. I’m starting to think the same should be said about movies and their posters since I feel the one for this documentary does not do it justice. It follows the lives of David and Jackie Siegel abd their family, who are not only the owners of Westgate Resorts but also known for the world’s largest house ever built, which is based around the Versailles in Europe, before and after America’s financial crisis in 2008.
While it is rather interesting to see how much they are able to afford when they were very loaded, it is almost interesting to see them adapt to the less house cleaners, having to ride commercial airlines, and going from private school to public school. I especially love the mother learning to adapt to not having to splurge as much. It is clearly shown that she has not been in this financial state in the longest time. A couple of great examples is when she goes Christmas shopping at a Target and still somehow comes out with 4 full shopping carts for just the kids or when she has to rent a car and she asks the clerk for the name for their driver, unbeknownst to her that she has to drive it herself. One can tell that it is not an act either as she asks the clerk with no hint or sarcasm or irony. It never shows her as a bad person. Her problem is that she’s just so out of touch with how middle class society works that she was not simply aware of the many privileges that been bestowed to her. As fun as it is to watch it, it is not without any drama and rather upsetting moments. For instance, there’s a moment in the film where they show one of the nannies’ home, which is an old playhouse that kids used to use and a pull down bed. She doesn’t even use the money she is given; almost all of it goes to her family in order to take care of them. One of them evens mentions having children, which she hasn’t seen in years and feel that the Siegel children have sorta become her own. I personally found this unsettling as they can have caviar for Christmas, but they cannot afford to pay them higher wages? It gets worse when thousands of people had lost their job because David Siegel and his son, who is just obnoxious, wouldn’t let go of one hotel in Vegas. So what happened? It closed down anyway. Business ethics aside, David just comes off many times as cold and distance near the end. Yes, he is working hard to maintain the status quo but at the cost of alienating his family and showing little to no appreciation. I really do hope the best for them as a family. At the end of the day, it is an interesting perspective on an upper class family unit and how they respond to a Recession that still goes on to this day.
Seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been getting loads of attention and screen time in the theaters lately, I’m always glad to see him expand the variety of movies that he does. This time, he is the star of an action flick involving him as bike messenger delivering an important parcel before a crooked cop can get a hold of it. Little do they know how deep this one little package is and the kind of people involved.
What makes something as silly of a concept work is that the movie is self-aware of how ridiculous it is. My favorite scenes are when Levitt visualizes the scenarios depending on the path he chooses on his bike. While the crash scenes can get gruesome, it is also a bit funny as it is all in his mind. As a character, he is a bit of an a-hole at times, but then again, he is both a New Yorker and a cyclist. I also found the antagonist to be a rather cruel yet funny character as he does come off as threatening, but just delivers his dialogue in a way that almost seems intentionally goofy. I don't know if his voice in the movie was his own, but it helps balances out his creepiness and his funniness. That said, I am intrigued to see how the actor handles as General Zod in Man of Steel this year. While most action films involving vehicles have been cars and motorcycles majority of the time, this may be the first time I have ever seen the protagonists use nothing but bicycles. Seriously, as cool as one car chasing another can be, there are several ideas that I have thought to be accomplished with bicycles. But what makes this film work overall are the characters and plot as the movie continually flashes back on moments that lead to their current dilemma, explaining everyone’s situation and motive and thus making them more interesting and 3-dimensioanl. This is not what I call a work of art, but it was certainly a fun stupid popcorn flick and I can easily recommend it to anyone. Oh, speaking of which...
It should be noted that I haven’t read a single comic from the series nor have I seen the original Sylvester Stallone version. As such, I came into this with little knowledge and no expectations. The film takes place in the future US, now known as Cursed Earth due to the massive wasteland it has become. Within the east coast of Cursed Earth lies a beaten down city named Mega City-One, in which a new drug called “Slo-Mo” started appearing and spreading amongst the metropolitan area. But with all the crime comes the law enforcers called Judges that take down any and all crimes and judge their punishment, hence the occupation name. Amongst them is the title character, played by Keith Urban, as he evaluates a new recruit, who is also a psychic, and decides whether she is fit for the job or not. Little due they suspect that the two will end up going through a 200-story building as they cross hairs with the drug lord of the new “Slo-Mo.”
Normally, I am not one for mindless action flicks, but this one I rather enjoyed. I think the reason being is how clever and fun everything is, possibly thanks to the years of back-story and characters from the comics (I can only assume). For instance, I love the architecture of the neighborhood that most of the film takes place. I just find how a clever it is that instead of it being spread out like a regular neighborhood, it instead is just one very tall building containing homes, markets, pharmacies, etc. The action is also more fun since Dredd his given a firearm that offers various ammos through his voice command. Something about that makes it feel like an old school shooter with all the variety of ways to kill enemies the protagonist has at his disposal. I did enjoy how things looked while under the influence of “Slo-Mo” as if in another state of being, despite how fake it made some things look. Aside from everything obviously slowing down, the colors were made sharper and it all turned glittery without looking juvenile or out of place in this film. Because of this, it helped make the more violent parts more fun to watch and less cringe-worthy. Dredd himself is a facinating protagonist as he takes his job seriously and manages to make a joke without coming off as ever lightening up or cracking a smile. I like that he never takes off his helmet as probably as way to remind himself of what he stands for and to isolate himself from society and letting his emotions overcome his judgment. His psychic sidekick is also interesting as she manages to use her abilities to their advantage such as interrogating their captive through his mind. I also enjoyed how her personality tended to contrast with Dredd as she helps balancing out the emotional part of the film while keeping him alive, just like a sidekick should. While the antagonist behaves like any other drug lord, this may be the first time that I have ever seen the role played by an actress rather than actor. It doesn't really bring anything, but it is certainly different. Overall, it is everything I would expect from a futuristic cop action film, and I am glad to have shut my brain off for this.
I really don’t think I have ever seen a big budget film like this take this much of chance with an idea. The plot takes place in 6 different timelines. The first takes place in 1849 in the South Pacific involving a young white lawyer and a Moriori slave as they venture on with some sketchy characters alongside them as they sail on back to the lawyer’s home. The second takes place in 1936 England and Scotland where a young bi-sexual English composer works for and with a famous composer in order to create his musical masterpiece. The third is in 1973 San Francisco where a female journalist tackles a conspiracy involving the safety of a new nuclear reactor. The fourth is set in the UK last year revolving around an old book publisher who ends up in a poorly served nursing home against his will, due to attempting to escape the associates of gangster author, who he published for. The fifth takes place in the future in 2144 Neo Seoul, Korea, where a clone server of a fast-food restaurant is interviewed about her story involving her escape with a “Union” rebel, before her inevitable fate. And the sixth and final timeline takes place in a tropical island in the year 2321 as a member of the primitive society member, who suffers from constant hallucinations of a non-existing character, and a member of a more advanced society as they search for a communication system known as Cloud Atlas. Now granted, there is a seventh period, but it only acts as the prologue and epilogue to the film.
The biggest selling point of this film is the make-up and the acting. While one or two of the make-up jobs are rather questionable, the great majority of it is immensely impressive. I recall Moviebob saying that people were shocked at the ending credits when they show who played whom. And wouldn’t you know it, he was right. Some of the actors I did not even recognize, whether it’d be due to the change of age, color, gender, or all of the above. The work done on each character is so unique that they do differentiate simply by their personalities. It’s almost a crimine that the make-up team was not up for Oscar nominations. Don’t get me wrong, those that did make the cut deserve it, but there seriously should have been one more spot for these guys. When you combine that with the use of only a handful of actors playing all the major characters, you have a more fascinating overall concept as all those otherwise random time placements, while still interesting on their own, are now deeply intertwined. Not to mention the constant use and/or reference of Cloud Atlas, whether it’d be a musical masterpiece or a lost communications station, it not only makes much more sense of the title but further connects all these stories as they are linked by this common theme which would have never had anything else in common. Well, aside from the actors, of course. All of whom have brought their A-Game, especially Tom Hanks, who manages to bring both his dramatic and comedic acting skills to the table and show me why he’s called a great actor. In fact, despite how dramatic a lot of the storylines are, there are some more of the lighthearted moments, such as the publisher’s story, to give one an escape from some of the other depressing storylines as he attempts to escape the facility. Overall, this was a bit of a controversial gamble that didn’t pay off all too much, but it’s always nice to see something new as far as major funded films go. Good job, Wachowski brothers. Oh wait. Come to think of it, this does explain a lot of directions they went with for the movie.
Life of Pi
Out of all the movies that I have seen this year, this one is probably the most inspirational and motivational, with the exception of one other later in the list. Based on a novel, the story involves a religious man from India who tells his journey of him and his family of zookeepers to America. Unfortunately, on the way, they encounter a storm that sinks their ship and drowns the lives of Pi’s parents, brother, and almost all of the animals. The rest of the story involves him and a tiger, the last surviving animal from the zoo, surviving 227 days out in the middle of the ocean with nobody but each other.
It was said through reviews that I read of this that there was several themes of religion but that it also says that all religions lead down the same path. Basically, it’s the film equivalent to those Coexist bumper stickers you start seeing around. Really though, the idea of having multiple religions is only lightly touched on as the protagonist mentions God the most and prays to him for his survival. As a Christian, I do find it to be a rather nice view on Christianity. There is just something heartfelt about seeing that despite all the tragic events that have been bestowed upon him that he never gives up. Truly, this is a tale that involves a physical, emotional, and spiritual battle. Even when you know that he will survive this, there is still a sense of tension as he barely manages to escape death. This is a great example of one of the films that goes by the saying "it is not the destination that matters, but rather the journey." Story aside, the visuals in Life of Pi is nothing short than a work of art. The way everything is shot and edited breathes life into every scene as if from a dream or other state of being. One great example is when Pi dives into a small lake with the glowing jellyfish or when the whale leaped in the ocean. Both scenes are examples of watching a painting coming to life, as the texture of everything seems more painted than filmed and yet move so naturally. I also kinda regret not seeing in this in 3D as the flying fish truly feel like they’re jumping out of the screen. I do not recall any other film that actually leaps over the black bars. Truly, the life of Pi is a life of wonders.
Rise of the Guardians
With the possible exception of How to Train Your Dragon, this is may be the first of DreamWorks 3D animation that took itself more seriously in comparison to others. The story involves Jack Frost as he joins a of team of other characters of folklore, consisting of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman, as they stop the Pitch, the boogeyman, from replacing the dreams and hopes of every child on Earth with nightmares and fear.
Despite being advertised as more mature themed family adventure, this is actually a more innocent piece. There is never any adult jokes or anything that may seem offensive to younger minds. It’s all in just good fun from the journey through all the various worlds that the mythical creatures reside in to the idea of Pitch's weakness being the power of the imagination and joy that comes from children. This a movie that kinda plays it safe. And you know what? That’s actually kinda refreshing every once in a while. In a world, where every family film has hidden messages and trying to sneak in as many mature references in kids films, it is nice to see one that is just fun. The characters themselves are really fun as Alec Baldwin plays one of the most badass Santas as he manages to be kind and sweet while never being a pushover and superb leader. Isla Fisher as the Tooth Fairy was very spot on as the film takes a new and unique design and concept to this timeless character of children’s fiction and gives more of a reason why she collects teeth. I also especially enjoyed Jude Law as Pitch as he manages to make the character very similar to Loki in The Avengers. In fact, there are plenty of moments in the film that feel like a kids film version of The Avengers. The way I see it, if you’re gonna be compared to something, why not the most successful comic book movie to date. The animation is just stunning as the colors are so vibrant which is perfect for a film involving the iconic fictional characters of Christmas and Easter. This was another film I regret not seeing in 3D. I saw this Thanksgiving evening, and I can honestly say that this was perfect way to get me straight into the holiday spirit. Despite taking place around Easter time, I can easily recommend this to anybody’s collection of Christmas classics. It's just only a shame that it wasn't nominated for Best Animated Film. Although, there was one thing that always bothered me ever since I’ve seen the trailer. Why is Santa Russian? His last name is Clause, a German name. Just saying…
The Hunger Games
It is a delight to see another young adults book series actually manage to turn into an enjoyable piece of motion picture. The film takes place in the near future as North America, now named Panem, is divided into 12 districts. Every year one 12-18 year old boy and girl are hand drawn and drafted into a annual competition known as The Hunger Games, in which the selected adolescents hunt each other to death on live TV in order to win rations for their respective district. The story revolves around a 16-year old girl named Katniss, who volunteers in the event in place of her sister, whose name was originally drawn out.
There are two things that initially come out of this movie, action and emotion. While the first third of the films builds toward the event, the action that is presented here is suspenseful and at times original. Some of these kids really use the environment to their advantage, such as Peeta, the boy selected from the same district as Katniss, using make-up for camouflage to perfection. I mean, you really think that part of the actor is made of wood. Come to think of it, why didn't the make-up team here get nominated either? This also one among many films and shows this past year that emphasizes archery, which the way things are going might become take vampires down as the new fad. There are times where it can get quite violent, especially as the games neared the finale with the approach that used to speed things up. However, despite how violent and morbid it all sounds on paper, it is presented very tastefully as I barely recall a moment of bloodshed in addition to the fact that one camera will never show too much footage of one tribute killing another. Because of this, it is not as hard to look at this otherwise dark concept, but you can be the judge on that. However, it is not without some heart touching moments such as Peeta and his developing relationship with Katniss, or heart breaking moments, such as the death of one particular tribute. However, what sells this film is Katniss herself, played by Jennifer Lawrence. With this and X-Men: First Class, she is really starting to make a name for herself in Hollywood. She, along with good writers, managed to make what some have called the Anti-Bella. She’s pretty, smart, selfless, and despite having her own love triangle, she’s independent and does not need to rely on the men in her life to take care of her. Clearly, she is a great role model not only for young girls but just young adults in general. So I guess, it's not really the actress or character I care for, but what she represents. The only disappointing thing was the lack of a single Prawn in District 9. Ah well. Can’t have everything. After all, we were privileged with higher-class folk that looked like a cross between the Victorian Era and Dr. Seuss.
Here’s some more Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the list for you. In this film, he plays a hitman that kills people from the future that the mafia sends back in time. With each body comes a certain amount of income and they continue to get paid until the day they get one with gold; the reason being is that the person they’re killing is their self. One day, Levitt runs into his future self, played by Bruce Willis, the only other person that had more films out in 2012, who escapes his assassination as he hunts down the leader of the whole organization as a child in order to prevent the current future from happening.
Like any movie involving time travel, things can get a bit complicated and all the same issues involving the subject in other films apply here. Nevertheless, it is how it is all presented that makes it fun. I especially love whenever they show the future self of a character and see the physical changes that happen to them. For example, one character had a body part chopped off so his future suddenly loses it as well, leading to a moment that can be pretty hard to look at. Acting wise, as much of a jackass Levitt can be in this, one still enjoys his presence on screen as he tries to play the best young Bruce Willis that he can. It probably helps that the prosthetics changed his face to the point that you can only somewhat recognize him. Speaking of Willis, he does a superb job personifying his usual badass persona while at the same time portraying the protagonist’s future self not as villain but more of a victim and tragic figure in his own right, especially when you see everything that he has lost as the film gives us glimpses of the future. Because of this, the story does become more than your basic good guy/bad guy routine, even though the mafia is hunting Levitt during this. While we’re talking about great actors, there is one particular kid actor in this flick that had a surprising range of emotions for his age. He may seem like any other child, but when you see him angry or sad, one truly sees the rage or heartbreak on his face and really sympathizes with him and just want to him have his happy ending. Great actors with a great story makes Looper a must see for any fan of time travel or sci-fi in general.
Ever since The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, it seemed like the lost footage films became all the rage. However, after a few years of it, it started to overstay its welcome. At least in my opinion. And then came Chronicle. The footage shows three high school boys finding a hole underground containing a glowing crystal-like object. Weeks later, after some abnormal activity from the unknown entity, the three lads started developing telekinetic powers and started perfecting their newly obtained abilities for various reasons, whether better or worse.
For such an obscure concept, with little explanation, this movie manages to tell a coherent and fascinating story. Despite the questionable age of the actors, everyone does act like highschoolers and do everything and anything you expect from teenagers with these kinds of powers without any of the annoying personality traits. However, considering how emotionally unstable adolescents can be, you can immediately expect one of them to snap and abuse his gift. However, much like Willis in Looper, he is not exactly an antagonist as you see more of his life at home and what he goes through with his parents. So, as the film approaches closer to the end, he comes off more tragic, making one understand why he did the things he did. With it comes a climatic battle involving two of the boys that nearly tears the city apart. Effects-wise everything feels realistic, which is a good thing considering that this is supposed to be no different than watch someone’s home videos. When the boys use their powers to levitate items and fly, you really think that those items are floating over them or that they’re really in the air. I don’t know if this got an Imax release, but if it didn’t, it more then rightfully should have. I can only image what the flying scenes must have been like on giant screen. Overall, this has set the standard for lost footage films and now the Paranormal Activity films and others will forever be compared to this movie until one of them can top it.
Like Snow White, last year provided us with not one but two theatrical films involving America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Needles to say that the one without the vampires was the overall better film. This historical motion picture involves Lincoln, played by Daniel Day Lewis, and his fight and struggle to pass the 13th Amendment while sustaining the Emancipation Proclamation. There is also some family drama involving his wife, played by Sally Field, as well as his older son, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, once again, desperately wanting to join the Civil War.
When I saw this, I was honestly not feeling well at the time. But despite my cold, I found myself enjoying it. Unlike Vampire Hunter, this movie looks away from the actual war itself, aside from two scenes, and strictly focuses on the politics behind everything; the President explaining why the 13th Amendment is so important, how he managed to accomplish this, and so forth. With this comes so great supporting roles by both Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader that both manage to be entertaining in their respective rights, despite Jones being a bit more serious than Spader but not too serious. Sally Field manages to pull off acting off center while never coming off as completely insane and maintaining her overall stability. It can be rather emotional at times as all she seems to want is to keep her family safe and happy. While we’re talking about the family, Levitt surprisingly does not get a lot of screen time. He did well for what he worked with and that’s pretty much it. But the main draw of this flick is the lead actor, Lewis as the title character. It has been said that the real life president was very soft spoken and down to Earth, and he nails it. He is not playing a man playing Lincoln but rather playing Lincoln. When you see him on screen, there is our president alive once again, providing a great a sense of hope for a better future in America that I feel we Americans desperately need right now. I can see why the actor won awards. Spielberg and crew managed to take such as a complex and serious story and managed to make it rather entertaining while giving off the traditional whimsy and heart to it, which is needed to for a story that for anyone who knows the slightest bit about the title character’s history is gonna be bitter sweet. I, as well as many others, consider Abraham Lincoln to be one of the greatest presidents in American history and this movie explains why. Despite there being some questionable actions, Lewis never comes off as cheater or a liar. After all, he's supposed to be Honest Abe. And while I wished there may have been just a little bit more focus on the Civil War, what I got is a fascinating take on an important piece of history. Again, I was sick at the time, so it could be even better than what I remember, but I can easily still recommend it.
The Amazing Spider-Man
I know that it’s weird putting this up higher than an Academy nominated film, but I can’t help it. My fanboysim for the wall crawler got the better of me. The movie retells the story of average high school geek Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider and obtaining various powers, such as enhanced strength and speed, the ability to climb walls, and a “spider-sense” that gives him a precaution of any dangers in his environment.
Last year, I did a Great Debate between this and Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film. After watching the new one a few more times, I’m questioning my decision even though most of what I said holds true. One thing that I admire about the reboot is how much more faithful it is to the source material such as Gwen Stacey being Peter’s first love interest and his web shooters were something he invented rather than being part of his long list of abilities. While I miss seeing Tobey Maguire on screen, Andrew Garfield does have his own charisma, as he tends to be wittier under the mask as well as being cleverer with how he travels through New York. Basically, in my opinion, Maguire is the better Peter Parker, but the Garfield is the superior Spider-Man (that was slightly intentional). Speaking of the mask and the costume in general, like most people, I was initially not all that fond of the new design. But it grew on me with time as it was trying to differentitate itself from the previous costume while maintaining faithful to overall look and feel. I just absolutely love the texture in this one as it looks more like a real outfit and not CGI made, even if it partially looks like it’s made of basketballs. I also liked their interpretation on Dr. Connors aka The Lizard as one feels that he genuinely believes that what is he doing is for the greater good. He also comes off as very tragic before his transformation as he simply wants his right arm back while benefitting manin kind in the process. The most recognition however belongs to Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, proving that a love interest can actually contribute to the plot and create solutions rather than more problems. It’s also nice to know that she is smart enough to put 2 and 2 together, especially around the end. Visually, the movie at times can be gorgeous, especially around the final battle with all the lights and skyscrapers in NYC. There are truly certain angles in this movie that are just eye candy. My favorite scene, visually, is after the final battle when the city being covered in blue matter, looking much like snow and giving the film a sense of beauty to it. So while it may not have impressed me at first, this movie won me over and truly lived up to its title.
The Cabin in the Woods
It may be because I was over exposed to it but I have never thought too highly of the horror genre. While a few have impressed me over the years, I never seen one that I would consider revolutionary in the longest time. And then came The Cabin in the Woods. The story comes off generic at first as 5 stereotypical college kids go up to the mountains for the weekend at one of the kids’ cousin’s cabin. Little do they know about the giant conspiracy behind their entire trip.
Despite my spoiler banner in the beginning, I really don’t wanna give a lot away about the secret organization as doing so ruins most of the movie. All I can say is that is rather funny and interesting how seriously they actually treat their job like it’s an office despite the occupation. That and it is an absolute to joy to see Amy Acker again. Seriously, why is nobody giving her roles? When you really look at it though, a few of the cast members are more familiar in the nerd community. Aside from Angel’s Fred/Illyria and Thor, you also have the Yellow Jungle Fury Power Ranger (adding to the list of Yellow Ranger Actresses that end up showing off a bit of skin), Andrew from Buffy, and another actor from Dollhouse. Huh, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Joss Whedon was involved in this. Oh, he co-wrote it alongside fellow Buffy/Angel writer Drew Goddard, who directed it. As such, expect some great humorous moments, more specifically with the people working underground. The college students as mentioned are rather stereotypical, but here’s the interesting part, they are intended to be that way. Yeah, while any un-clever writer would just end up writing these kind of characters, Whedon and Goddard actually made the archetypes’ part of the plot and an important one at that. They managed to make what is the most annoying part of these films appealing and necessary. For any fans of horror movies, this is basically a love letter to you as one part of the movie has several types of movie monsters, from the traditional werewolves and zombies to the pinhead-esques and creepy Asian ghosts. If they actually had big name icons in this, it would have been the Who Framed Roger Rabbit of horror films. Long story short, this certainly took me by surprise and has set the standard for what the genre can do. However, this won’t be the only time Joss Whedon gets mentioned on the list.
The Dark Knight Rises
The final chapter in the Nolan trilogy, while suffering from Jedi syndrome, is still good in its own right and is no Spider-Man 3. The film takes place 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight as Bruce Wayne has since then hung up the cape and cowl and has also sealed himself away from society as he spends his days inside Wayne Manor. However, all that changes when a mercenary name Bane comes to Gotham to follow up on Ra’s al Ghul’s plans to destroy the city from the inside. In addition, there is a cat burglar by the name of Selina Kyle that steals Bruce’s fingerprints, leading to a bigger scheme involving Bane and the downfall of both Wayne Enterprise and a recently returned Batman.
Again, it suffers from the same issue as Return of the Jedi in that it is rather inferior when compared to its two preceding motion pictures. However, the pros still outweigh any cons this may have. Since there is not as much Batman in this movie, compared to the others, we do get some great moment of Bruce Wayne learning to connect with the outside world again after such a long time. But let’s be honest, it is always the villains and supporting cast that are much more interesting. I give much credit to the Nolan brothers who managed to take a villain who was known for only one thing and make him a complex and oddly dignified character, but then again he was considered intellectual in the comics. The point is that Tom Hardy managed to create a memorable and menacing dictator while showing how much of tragedy his life has been in the process. You honestly feel bad for him near the end, despite all that he has done. Anne Hathaway also surprised me as Selina Kyle as she manages to pull off being seductive and tough while being able to adapt to her environment. One of favorite parts in the movie is when she is fighting all the guys at the bar and then immediately breaks down like a victim the minute the cops arrive only to revert back to her normal self after they leave. Congratulations Nolan and casting crew. You managed to convince me again of what would have been an odd casting choice. But no matter how good both Hardy and Hathaway are, the one who steals the spotlight is, surprise, surprise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a promoted detective that is fully aware of Bruce’s secret and helps in anyway he can to stop Bane’s master plan. No matter how much screen time everyone else gets, Levitt just attracts you in as he plays a good guy that genuinely cares. Add this in with several references to Caped Crusader’s long history as well as minor cameos of previous rouges and you have a good ending to what may become one of the most iconic trilogies in cinema.
Number…you know what? No. I cannot pick only one top spot from these next 6 films. As such, I shall create a mini-list within this list. Sort of a Top 6 Number 1’s of 2012. Some of you may call that being indecisive but frankly, I don’t give a damn. It’s my list so I do things the way I want to here.
Now, because we’re sorta getting to Number 1 early, let us go and do the recap now:
24.) Beauty and the Beast 3D
23.) Mirror Mirror/Snow White and the Huntsman
22.) Trouble With the Curve
19.) Queen of Versailles
18.) Premium Rush
16.) Cloud Atlas
15.) Life of Pi
14.) Rise of the Guardians
13.) The Hunger Games
9.) The Amazing Spider-Man
8.) The Cabin in the Woods
And 7.) The Dark Knight Rises
Now for my Top 6 Number 1 Films of 2012!
Indie Game: The Movie
Out of all the documentaries I have seen, there has never been another more inspirational and entertaining than this one. It revolves around the development/release of three independent games: Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez (which I'm still waiting to be released to multiplatforms).
While it is cool to see a documentary revolving around the making of video games, that is not why this makes the Number One spot. Through the entire film one is given a look into the thoughts and feelings of these programmers, what their games mean to them, and how much of a physical, emotional, and psychological toll it takes on every one of them. Yet, despite all that, they all show a sense of determination, as these creations are a way to prove something to themselves while also sharing a part of themselves with the world. These are just not tasks or assignments; these are personal projects that they care a lot about, much like many indie developers. It's an extension of themselves. This makes it that more heartbreaking when people that review them don’t really get what they were trying to accomplish. I think that is what makes this work so well, simply because the topic in this documentary could really be about anything. It doesn’t matter whether they were videogame programmers, artists, opening their own restaurants, or athletes. The whole idea of this is that it is meant to inspire anyone who is really passionate about something and motivate one to move forward. I mean, these guys went from crashing presentations, to legal issues, to the game not showing on the release date, and yet all 3 produce some of the highest rated games on Xbox Live to date. So, let this film on Netflix be a love letter to those that really love something they do and continue to do great things; like G1 Ferret75, a game programmer in the making. It’s a movie that I have seen plenty of times and plan to have several more viewings in the future.
Like Lincoln, I viewed this while I was under the weather. After seeing it a second time, in better condition, I can honestly say that I adore this movie. The film takes place within a 17 year as Jean Valjean, a convict released on parole, played by Hugh Jackman, who, thanks to the kindness of a Bishop, decides to break his parole and start a new life. This leads to years later as Javert, the prison guard who released Valjean, played by Russell Crowe, begins to hunt down Jean, who had adopted a little girl named Cosette, due to being part of the reason why her mother, played Anne Hathawy, died. Years after that, a bunch of students commence a revolution against the French government, in which Javert is involved in during his relentless bounty for Jean. One of the students, Marius, and an older Cosette meet and fall in love as everything leads to the June Rebellion of France. There is a lot more detail and characters, but this is more or less the cliff note version.
It should be known that I have never seen the play nor read the book. As such I came into this blind. After viewing it, I am more than interested in seeing a stage performance of it. Unlike most musicals, this is not meant to be pretty music nor are the musical numbers meant to be listened to like songs. The perfect way to describe it is that the lyrics are dialogue that just happens to be said with a melody. Despite that, everyone has such a passion to what they’re saying/singing. Both Anne Hathway and Hugh Jackman have been getting more than their fair share of attention in their acting as they both show such raw emotion on film. One really feels the pain and struggles the two of them go through. Hathaway’s “ I Dreamed a Dream” is just tear-jerking and beautiful as her life has just gone to hell in order to provide for her daughter; she has more than earned award winnings. I also think Jackman was robbed of his best Actor awards. And while I get why some would not care for the direction Russell Crowe goes for with his character, I don’t mind the more cold and emotionless approach and think that he has a strong voice for the role. However, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter steal the show for me as the Innkeepers who take care of Cosette while her mother is away. Whenever they are on screen they just steal the spotlight as they are both incredibly disgusting and yet hilarious characters. I mean who doesn’t love “Master of the House?” What makes the singing very unique compared to most musical-based films is that the performers are all singing live on set, allowing them to adjust and interact with each scene more personally and making the film feel that more real. Like Life of Pi, God plays a major role in this but the themes are more heavily played as Valjean changes his ways thanks to a man of God. He also sings when he is talking to God, like when he prays for the guidance to be a good father to Cosette and for Marius’ safety in battle. The scenery and make-up are viewings to behold as one really feels like they’re in 19th century France with all the dirty and sick poor people. Not to mention the physical transformation of Hugh Jackman throughout the film is astonishing as you can barely recognize him, and neither did Javert at first. Overall, this is a grand musical of epic proportions and is now one of my favorites alongside Sweeney Todd and Phantom of the Opera.
I have never seen any of the movies that Ben Affleck had directed before this one. That said, I am glad to have gotten a first time experience of his work through Argo. Affleck plays the protagonist, a CIA operative who, with the help of the government, deploys a rescue mission for 6 American diplomats that are stuck in Iran inside the Canadian Ambassador’s home. What makes the concept cleverer is that Affleck’s idea is to create a fake sci-fi movie named Argo in which the diplomats will act like part of the film crew, as they are “supposedly” in Iran to shoot locations for the fake movie and then take a flight back home like normal.
As crazy of a concept this may sound, it gets more unbelievable when you find out that this was based on true story. Yes, the US government actually funded a fake sci-fi movie. That is rather awesome in its own right. The feelings that I got from Argo are a bit of a mixed bag. For one, it is very depressing; especially around the beginning as you see militants basically break through the US Embassy and how much horror and damage is being done to everything and everyone in their path. Their behaviors become rather animalistic as their actions almost seem savage and cold despite their reasons being understandable. I also found it at times frustrating when listening to some of the ideas they originally had such as sending bicycles to them so they can travel through the mountains with them despite some of them not knowing how to ride a bike. But with the strong dramatic moments comes equally funny moments. I just loved the moments with John Goodman and Alan Arkin as they find a way for the viewers to relax and enjoy the fake film production with all their ideas and concepts. Come to think of it, I’m surprised that nobody has actually made the film in real life. I would think that the release of this would be a great way to promote a real Argo movie. Not to mention Arkin coming up with the one of the best slogans possible despite being a pun. But above all, this movie is inspiring. Because this based off true events, you know how this will end, but, like Life of Pi, this is a movie where how they get there is just as important as where they end up. It is gratifying to know that through all the struggles and insanity that they would all go through that there is a happy ending to look forward to. This a piece of motion cinema that shows that Ben Affleck is a triple threat with movies as he starred, directed, and produced this. Now, there has been controversy about the Affleck playing the lead as the real life operative was part Mexican but it never seemed bother me. The one thing I hope that people get from seeing Argo is how the events started, which is us putting in a leader we liked for another country, only for him to make things worse. I feel that while we should watch out for our fellow countries, it is probably best to keep out of certain things and maybe take care of ourselves first. Not much else to say other then "Argo f*ck yourself."
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
After several years since Frodo and the Fellowship journeying on towards the destruction of one ring, Peter Jackson returns to the Shire and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. The story is based off a children’s book that takes place before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It tells the tale of a young Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and several dwarves as they have their own journey to win back the Dwarf Kingdom, which is being held by a mighty dragon.
Let’s be clear. This is not Lord of the Rings as terms of depth and scope, but it was never meant to be and I get the feeling that Jackson as well as the cast and crew were aware of this. Because of this, they never go beyond their boundaries and supply an epic tale from a far less complex odyssey. Nowadays, I find it rather difficult to find a decent fantasy film. This however completely satisfies my craving as it has so many fantasy elements, but never really becomes the true focus. The story revolves around the title character, Bilbo, who learns to come out of his comfort zone in order to grow as person and prove not just to others but himself that he is capable of so much more. It shows him as a selfless character as he later explains why he never goes back to the Shire whenever he gets the chance. A lot of this is in thanks to Martin Freeman who manages to show the more soft pacifist side and being able to stand up when it is needed without it ever feeling forced while also being very charming and likable. Before I saw this, I never thought much of dwarves and considered them to be a rather uninteresting race in the fantasy realm. Now they are just as equally fascinating thanks to their more detailed history in Middle Earth and what they have accomplished in their history. It also helps that many of the ones that travel alongside Bilbo and Gandalf have different appearances and physiques that makes them unique while managing to maintain what makes them dwarves. Alongside the new characters are the old ones that we remember years ago from the first Trilogy. Aside from Gandalf, played again by Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, and Andy Serkis all reprise their original roles as to not only to keep the vastness of types of characters but to intertwine the stories and help the new Trilogy involve the notes that Tolkien wrote after the Hobbit in order to show how it all connects. And yes, I did see the 48-frame rates version and it is just gorgeous. The smoother frame rate makes the world feel that much more real and alive. I mean Rivendell is so beautiful that it is simply breath taking. I actually almost teared up its overall beautym, I kid you not. I actually hope that more filmmakers consider doing this because this is a gimmick that I can truly get behind. While there are still two more films, the Hobbit has so far shown what a prequel can and should be capable of accomplishing. I cannot wait until The Desolation of Smaug comes out this winter.
This was it. The big time. The culmination of what 5 comic book hero movies was leading up to. And by nothing short of a miracle, they nailed it. The movie involves Loki, the antagonist from Thor, using a cosmic cube that was in Captain America: The First Avenger to unleash a massive alien army and take over the world. The only thing capable of stopping him is the alliance of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.
Many said it was the best film of last year. I say that it is one of the best. After all, it did tie with Number 1 alongside all these others. While Nolan’s Batman movies shaped the comic book movie industry in how to properly make grounded motion pictures that keeps within it’s own universe, the Avengers shows us that using several movies to build up to one and extending it’s universe successfully is possible. Because we watched the other movies before this, we get a better understanding of all the characters, their personalities, motives, and back-stories. However, one does not really need to see the others in order to enjoy this one as it manages to maintain a beginning, middle, and end without ever seeming like anything major was missing in the overall story and plot. This also helped turned Joss Whedon from a famous name in the geek culture to a big name in Hollywood. Because of his known clever script work, experience as a comic book writer, and love for the source material, he manages to bring all these characters to life and give them all enough screen time to truly make each one feel needed. It even shows in the deleted scenes in which expands on certain scenes and ideas with S.H.I.E.L.D. pulling itself together from the aftermath of the events in this film and Steve Rogers learning to cope and adapt to the modern world. To be honest, I kinda wish they kept most of the deleted/alternate scenes in the movie, as it would have given it a slightly more serious tone to go with the more comedic moments. Either way, it was just fun watching as all these different heroes meet and interact with each other such as Tony Stark being best pals with Bruce Banner or clashing with Steve Rogers. What makes it all so fascinating is that most of the team are all rather misfits (from a man out of time, to a god in a man’s world as examples) that have finally found their place ironically with each other. However, the selling point is when they finally “assemble” for the Third Act and gives us a series of epic action scenes that define what Blu-Rays were meant for. Many have said that this is the biggest gamble for a movie since the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And like that Trilogy, the years of hard work and effort paid off and will hopefully continue with Phase Two starting with Iron Man 3. Here’s to hoping that the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk films become a reality.
Actually, I came to a realization the other day. Now that Disney owns Pixar, Marvel, and Lucas Arts, technically that means there could be a reboot of…
Hmm…maybe not. And probably for the best too.
If I had done a full list that included six through one, I think this would have still made it out on top. The story involves the title character, an old school arcade bad guy that wants something outside the norm and to have some recognition rather than being feared or despised. As such, he leaves his game in order to obtain a medal, as it would make him feel more like a hero and accepted amongst his fellow sprites. Things are not that easy however; as he journeys on, he encounters two distinct worlds and several characters including Sergeant Calhoun, a tough as nails female space marine, and a little girl named Vanellope von Schweetz, who is glitch in a candy-themed kart racing game, in which he develops a strong friendship with. Now it is up to Ralph to help Vanellope win a race while Fix Felix Jr, the hero from Ralph's game, and Calhoun search for him all while a creaure from the marine's game begins to slowly invade the kart racing game.
I guess it really is no surprise how much I love this movie considering the type of site that I am posting this on, but there is so much more to it than being about video games. While there are a few cameos and references to both old and new games (yay Sonic), the strength of the film lies on two things. One is the characters. Disney has been known to make memorable characters that have depth to them as well as distinct personalities. And while there have been a few animated films in the past couple of years that involve the bad guy turning good, Ralph is unique in that he never wanted to be the bad guy to begin with and that his role in life is predetermined as that is how he is programmed. Also, while most animated films would make Penelope, the glitch, rather annoying and exist to just to be the cute comic relief, she is given a complex back story as the plot progresses making her not just a great supporting character, but an important one at that. I also especially love the relationship between Felix and Calhoun, the space marine, as they come from two different games and yet somehow click so well together. Plus, who does not love King Candy, whose personna is in a way a tribute to the Mad Hatter. I even recall reading an article stating that the animators wanted to create characters in Sugar Rush whose design you can easily see in Alice in Wonderland. Which brings us to other reason this movie is superb, the animation and design. Each game world is distinct and fits with their respective genre and time period. As such, Niceland in Fix-It Felix Jr has a more pixilated structure to it while Hero’s Duty is more sleek and sharp and lacking of a lot of color, like most first person shooters. But the location that gets the most screen time, and for good reason, is Sugar Rush. Every area of the Kingdom is different from the next such as the Peppermint Forest to the Castke, to the Vanilla Ice Cream Mountains. Plus, each of the racers have their own unique style and name, adding that much creativity to the overall film. There is just so much texture and little details that add so much to the overall picture. What really makes this very different compared to most Disney films is that it basically tells you to love your life and the make the most of it. Improve on it of course, but one should always work with the cards life deals one with. And of course, always be you. I didn't even get started on the award winning short Paperman, which defines the term “art,” that comes before the film. Truly, this has brought Disney back up in quality animated film and has set the standards once again. This may be the first year that I can recall where the company's animated motion picture succeeds in quality when compared to the Pixar film to come out the same year. That of course didn't stop the Academy from playing it safe and voted on Pixar labeled movie, which is almost a crime. This is easily my favorite Disney 3D animated film of all time. However, there are talks of a sequel and I more than look forward to it and many other things to come from this peice of cinema 30 years in the making.
And that covers my list for last year. It is now time to look forward to the future, espscially since the success of Man of Steel determines the Justice League movie. Here's to hoping. In the mean time, I want to hear what some of your favorite movies of last year are. Please feel free to share in the comments below. Also, be sure to Like and Retweet (please).