At last, we come to the climax of my review of the films of 2012. To those of you who continue to keep up with me, I one again apologize for the slow updates — I saw so many movies this past year and have been doing so much this past month that it’s been hard to keep up with a regular update schedule!
I’m currently in the process of moving, with my best friend / roommate moving back to his hometown to be closer to family, so it’s been tough keeping up with the blog, hanging out with him a few more times after seven awesome years of being roommates, while also just figuring stuff out for the next period of my life living as a single person for the first time. It’s tough, but thankfully he lives where my family lives, and it’s only 100 miles away. Lucky for any fans I may have (Hello!…?), it’ll likely result in me doing more reviews, though the higher amount of rent I’ll be paying will undoubtedly impact my ability to go to the theatre as often as I have been.
On that note, before I get to the meat of this final entry, I want to thank everyone who has been reading this blog, regularly or even sporadically. I may not know you, but I appreciate you! This may be a hobby of mine, but it’s meaningful to me and keeps me sharp. I started The Viewer’s Commentary in September of 2011, after lots of personal setbacks and a good long while of feeling stupid and even being made to feel stupid for wanting to start a blog about movies, and by the time I finally decided to just go for it and not listen to the negativity, I still didn’t really know whether I was going to still be writing in even a few months’ time. So to already be in the middle of my second year and still be having a blast getting my thoughts and opinions out there about one of my favorite subjects has truly been a great experience. To those of you who have read, continue to read, and even to those of you I know personally who encouraged me and maybe don’t even share my passion and probably aren’t even reading this now but you supported me all the same, thank you again for being there! I’m definitely looking forward to what 2013 promises to bring! (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS! FINALLY!)
Anyway, enough self-reflection! You’re here for the rundown of the best films of 2012, aren’t you? I assume so, since you are continuing to read this. I’ll let you get to that, but first, let me explain how this list is working, as I’ve changed it up a bit from last year and from most other “Best Of” lists.
Secondly, and this is related to the third alteration, there are no longer just 10 films on this list, but rather a whopping 17. Why?
Well, that’s because the third alteration I made is that I’ve decided that a lot of the best films of the year weren’t necessarily my favorites, but I wanted to recognize their greatness by putting them on this list anyway, rather than lump them in with the films that were just average. (I did something similar with the “Films I Liked” this year after realizing I didn’t necessary love nor despise a lot of films enough to put them on the worst or best of lists.)
So, while the films below are all fantastic films and deserve to be considered among the best of the year, their order has everything to do with favoritism over quality. After all, lists like these are highly subjective, and while it’s certainly possible to objectively call a film “one of the best,” ultimately by ranking such diverse works against one another, you just have to acknowledge the fact that you’re playing favorites.
So, yeah, anyway to review and summarize: These are, in my opinion, THE BEST FILMS OF 2012, but they are ORDERED ACCORDING TO FAVORITISM. Make sense? I hope so! If not, then just keep reading on, ’cause I think you’ll get it, anyway! Read more…
This same section of my 2011 in Review had 17 films listed on what I, at the time, called “The Films I Liked.” 2012 being the first full year that I was blogging, I made a concerted effort to see as many films released in the year as I could afford. And, wouldn’t you know it? This list has 31 films on it — films that I realized I didn’t always entirely like, too, but were not necessarily worthy of being put on any kind of definitive “Worst of…” list that I could come up with. I could have been a pessimist and just put all the bad movies on the naughty list or something, but I’m feeling especially upbeat right now, and so I’ve decided to rename this list as a list of the films that were “Neither the Best, Nor the Worst Films I Saw.”
As the name would imply, these are a mix of films that range from bad to good, but never awful nor excellent. Some of these films are possibly even films that I may not even feel much of anything towards, so I just put them here because I saw them and they met the criteria for making this year in review — that is, they were released (at least widely) in 2012, and I saw them at some point before writing this, either theatrically or on DVD.
There is one exception I made for this list, and I will be making it again for another film in a future list, and that is for the film that is marked with an asterisk (that’s the little star symbol that looks like this: *). It featured previously on my 2012 IN REVIEW: Films I Didn’t See list, and yet I finally saw it now that it’s on video, and I felt that it was good enough to comment on here. I won’t be making that exception for every film I’ve since seen from 2012 since starting this year in review, but I’m making some exceptions and marking them as such.
Anyway, without further delay, here are the films that were neither great nor awful, the good films on down to the bland ones that I saw from 2012: Read more…
My apologies for the slightly longer delay in getting this part out. I kinda got stricken with the flu for a few days, and didn’t exactly feel like writing. But, here it is, the final third of the films I didn’t see in the year 2012. This is the period of time where the summer movies begin to trickle out before coming to a complete stop and where film studios begin their flood of Oscar-baiting dramas and such.
That’s not to say that there are never any good action films released during this time. That also isn’t to say that none of these Oscar-baiting films are any good, too. Far from it. 2012 saw the release of Oscar-worthy greats as Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty releasing in the same time period as cash-grabbing features like the final Twilight film, The Hobbit, and Wreck-it Ralph, all with varying degrees of success. It’s actually a fairly ripe time to watch all sorts of movies, come to think of it. Possibly better than even summer!
Still, it’s not like I’m going to see every film released during this time. If anything, I ran out of time and risked going out of budget for all the films that I did want to see, but didn’t always have time to. Then there were also films that, quite frankly, I could just do without seeing. But, for the purposes of this article, I’ve gone through and examined all these, both enticing and repugnant, some being granted my attention possibly for the last time ever, and have collected my thoughts and impressions below. As mentioned previously in parts 1 and 2, this isn’t my final say on these films, and some of the commentary below is based pretty much on plot synopses, other reviews, skimmings, and a heavy use of Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes. I watched the trailers where I could and didn’t for those films that I just basically didn’t care. Which ones are those? Read, and you may just find out! Read more…
Ah, summer — the time of tentpole blockbuster films that are meant to pad out the studios’ budgets for the next few months. I believe I saw most of the major films released during this period, at least at some point in the year, if not the theatre: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, Battleship… Overall, it was a more than satisfying year for quality summer blockbusters that pleased both audiences and critics. … Well, probably not Battleship. That movie was awful.
With so many films that release in theatres that are best seen actually on the big screen, though, it was only inevitable that smaller and/or less interesting films fell by the wayside of my attention span. Critically acclaimed features like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Oslo, August 31st would get unfortunately lumped in with similarly ignored-by-me crap like Step Up Revolution and That’s My Boy this past summer, which isn’t a commentary on their quality as much as it is a reflection of my time and budgetary restrictions. (I subscribe to a number of rental services and still buy and go see movies in theatres, but I can only do so much and thus prioritize quality spectacle films usually over the quality comedies and dramas.)
So while I do believe I got the most out of my summertime viewings that I possibly could, let’s go over the films that I somehow managed to not see as of the time of this writing, for better or for worse. Read more…
2012 was a surprisingly satisfying year for movies, whether you wanted serious dramas or escapist fantasies, but it’s pretty much impossible to for any one person to see all the movies that come out within the span of one year, and I’m no different.
While I tried my best to see most of the big movies and the movies that came out in 2012 and all the movies that I was interested in, whether in theatres or on home video, there were many that I admittedly never got around to, didn’t care to getting around to, or had never even heard of to get around to them.
Though 2013’s just getting started, I’m going take some time to look back on the past year over the next couple weeks, starting with the films that I didn’t’ see. As with last year, the commentary below is not necessarily going to match up with my final impression of any given movie once I do actually come around to seeing them (if at all), and is solely meant to express why I never got around to it and, possibly, whether or not I intend to see it all. This is all based on plot synopses, Rotten Tomatoes scores, Wikipedia entries, a few external reviews, and, of course, the films’ trailers, and, once again, are not necessarily reflective of a final opinion of a film.
I start, of course, at the very beginning for this first part. Lots of films released during this traditional dumping ground period were smaller films, films that were released in foreign countries or film festivals back in 2011, or were just outright given their timeslot because the studio just had very little faith in the film’s performance at the box office. Sometimes films fall into all three categories. You’ve possibly even forgotten about them or haven’t even heard about them, or maybe you forgot you heard about them and only vaguely remember the name, maybe a few clips from the trailers you saw some time long ago. I know that was the case for me.
But that shouldn’t discourage you from seeing some of these films. Many of them actually look quite promising, and I’ve even added several to my various media queues, too. Hopefully you’ll find some films among the rotting corpses of the genuinely awful ones that were exiled to the early year winter and feel compelled to give these films a second (or third) glance once you remember what they are. Read more…
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Barry Mendel
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Music by: James Newton Howard
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Mischa Barton, Trevor Morgan
Though I couldn’t outright say that The Sixth Sense is a horror film, at least in the traditional sense, it was somewhat of a rite of passage for me. Funny story — My mom had seen it before me and thought that I would possibly love it, if I could handle it. I was about 13 at the time, and so, like the self-confident early teenager that I was, I decided to go with her… but I was terrified to see this, to be quite honest, if only because her description of it was so scary. I wasn’t a horror fan at the time and hadn’t really sought out any scary movies in my life, so this was a new experience for me. And… Well, I’m not going to lie — I ended up seeing Runaway Bride one auditorium down because I chickened out mid-previews. Read more…
Produced by: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
Written by: John August
Cinematography by: Peter Sorg
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Charlie Tahan, Frank Welker, Winona Ryder, Cathernie O’Hara, Martin Short, martin Landau, Robert Capron, Atticus Shaffer
Based on the short Frankenweenie by Tim Burton
I’m going to say it, something that everyone’s been thinking and even saying for a while, but it bears mentioning again: Tim Burton has really lost his touch since the late 90s. Though he’s still since released some decent-to-genuinely-good films since then, none of them have been entirely original. His take on Alice in Wonderland was a garish bore, and while I truly enjoyed both Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they weren’t entirely his own material, now, were they? I think that the best thing that we can say about Frankenweenie at this point in Burton’s career is that it falls somewhere in this latter category of truly enjoyable though not entirely original material. Read more…
Produced by: Enrique López-Lavigne, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich; Bernard Bellew (co-producer); Danny Boyle, Alex Garland (executive producers)
Written by: Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López Lavigne, Jesús Olmo
Cinematography by: Enrique Chediak
Music by: John Murphy
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Idris Elba
28 Weeks Later lacks the originality, rawness, and, frankly, the mystique of Danny Boyle’s first film, but it’s a sequel that figures out a perfect way to have the rage virus return and deliver even more terrifying thrills. New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo remains faithful to the tone of the first film yet focuses on entirely new characters and new ideas in a story that nonetheless continues where the last film left off. But while 28 Days Later told the story of a group of individuals coming together to form what could effectively be called a family, 28 Weeks Later intriguingly stands as a counterpoint to that narrative, weaving into its plot a story about a family torn apart by deceit and violence, and the two children who find themselves caught up in a system that, though well intentioned, may not be able to save them from a horrible fate.
(Due to the essay-like nature of this review, please know that SPOILERS are necessary for my examination, and, thus, do lie ahead!) Read more…