There were a lot of great movies this year. So much so that I had a lot of trouble trying to decide what ended up getting cut from the list. Movies like Looper, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, ParaNorman, Argo, Sinister are all worthy of being here but it’s my list and I have to ultimately choose. Plus there were some films I didn’t get around to seeing yet like Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, End of Watch, etc. So without further adieu, here is Monster Popcorn’s top ten movies of 2012. It’s a list you can agree with or print off on paper and rip to shreds because you are so angry with it!
10. Cabin in the Woods
This tenth spot had a lot of contenders vying for it but ultimately Cabin in the Woods took the prize. There were some films that I enjoyed more than Cabin but what solidifies its top ten spot was everything that Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard were doing subtextually with the movie. It’s incredibly clever and has a lot to say about the horror genre, why we need it and the state of the horror industry. I still don’t want to say anything to spoil any of the movie for anyone who may have not seen it yet but I will say that, if you pick up on what Whedon and Goddard are doing, the actual villain of the movie may surprise you.
9. Sound of My Voice
Like Cabin in the Woods, Sound of My Voice is another film that I feel is best experienced knowing as little as possible going in. It’s not so much that things will be spoiled, it’s more to allow you to make your own conclusions surrounding what you view the film to be. Walking out of the film the first time, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and went to see it a second time, this time with my mom and brother in tow to see what their thoughts on it were. I’m all for a movie that inspires discussion afterwards and I was happy to sit down and examine the film further through conversation. It’s well-written and thoroughly engrossing.
8. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino rides the tonal line between horrifyingly serious subject matter and near silliness in Django Unchained and does so without hesitation. It works out for him pretty well in fact as adding humor to the dark subject matter helps take out its sting just a little. Tarantino’s incredible knack for dialogue and vast knowledge of cinema exudes throughout the film creating something absolutely worthy of watching. As far as I’m concerned, Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz is the absolute highlight of the film. He’s just as good here as he was in Inglorious Basterds. I don’t think Django Unchained will vy for my favorite Tarantino flick but it’s still a damn good movie.
7. The Hobbit
Despite having seen this in HFR 3D, where I felt I was constantly trying to adjust to the new format, I still had a blast with The Hobbit. I may have been sitting in the movie theater in Columbus, Ohio but my mind was off in the Shire and my nearly three hour visit felt all too short and left me wanting more. Howard Shore’s score was absolutely incredible and easily falls into my top three scores of the year. Peter Jackson did an incredible job once again leading the charge on this fantasy epic and successfully immersed me into another world and that is all I ever really wanted.
6. Perks of Being a Wallflower
I’ve only had a little bit of time to think on this film as I saw it just about 30 minutes before I started writing my top ten list but I do think that Perks of Being a Wallflower is a worthy mention here. I had a couple very minor issues with the film towards the beginning that dissipated as the film went on and the layers of the film started to unfold. Perks is a really great film about the transition into adulthood that is full of great happiness and some very intense lows. Adolescence is a tumultuous time and the film gives some great insight into the hardships some people face.
5. Cloud Atlas
This is one film that has had me thinking about it ever since I saw it. Cloud Atlas is truly an ambitious cinematic experience that requires multiple viewings to be able to fully appreciate its immensely detailed thematic structure. In the hands of lesser storytellers, Cloud Atlas could have been a big mess but the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer have crafted something that I don’t think you’ll see very often in widely released movies, risk. The film is incredibly complex and requires your full attention. It aspires to challenge the way we think and how a story can be told (and does it successfully I might add). I’m really hoping for some in-depth behind the scenes materials on the Blu-ray release as I think there is a lot to discuss in regards to the challenges of the story and the examination of its thematics.
4. Moonrise Kingdom
I’m pretty sure that Moonrise Kingdom has become my favorite Wes Anderson film. It’s a charmingly weird, slightly dark and funny coming of age story that I had a really great time with. The movie feels like a children’s-book-come-to-life thanks to Wes Anderson’s trademark visual style, which has never felt more fitting than it does here. As per usual, Anderson has rounded up a tremendously talented cast and they all work really well in the film, especially the two adolescent leads. Moonrise Kingdom is wonderfully quirky escapism.
3. Safety Not Guaranteed
I have to admit that it took me two viewings before I fully came around to Safety Not Guaranteed. I enjoyed it after my first viewing but it wasn’t until the second viewing where things really clicked for me and I fell in love with the movie. It’s a heartfelt and funny story that takes a look at the desire to relive our happier past moments when things in the present don’t go as planned and how we need to feel a connection with another person. Sometimes a smart and charming little movie can go a long way.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Craig’s 007 films but Skyfall is easily my favorite one of the three he’s been in. I love the mixture of the old classic Bond with the newer iteration of the character. It’s a blend that I think works incredibly well and I was very happy to see some classic elements get injected into the film in a way that made them feel natural and fresh. I got incredibly giddy when Moneypenny was introduced/revealed near the conclusion of the film. I literally may have let out a brief squeal of delight (which is pretty much unheard for me) when I anticipated that moment happening 30 seconds before it did. Casino Royale may have re-energized the Bond franchise but Skyfall made me fall completely in love with the franchise once again. When the credits rolled and the text “James Bond will return” appeared, I couldn’t have been more happy and eager to see the character return once again on the big screen.
1. John Carter
I absolutely loved John Carter and honestly feel it’s one of the most underrated films of the year. When the film was being marketed, I kept seeing the trailers and the promo materials and thinking how absolutely generic it looked. So it was a great surprise when I sat through it and ended up having the single most satisfying movie experience I’ve had all year. Its epic pulpy adventure story whisked me away and captured the wonder and awe of my inner kid. It may have its flaws but it makes up for them in an engaging and really fun story. I thoroughly enjoyed John Carter’s journey from being a reluctant but honorable man looking out for only himself into a man embracing his destiny and becoming a legendary hero. I fell in love with Dejah Thoris and her strength of character and stubbornness. I wanted to have my own pet Woola. I’m unashamed in my love for the film and really hope that those who passed on it in the theater give it a shot on home video. It’s a fantastic piece of popcorn cinema, director Andrew Stanton should be proud.
by Ben McBride