Limiting it only to a top five list is going to be hard, but that won’t stop this reporter from trying!
2012 was a good year for movies. It seemed like every week there was a new great movie out. Limiting it to a top five list is going to be hard, but that won’t stop this reporter from trying!
5. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson (Dir.) has his own particular style and flare. If you have seen any of his earlier movies (“The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”), this style would come very apparent. His earlier movies have great moments, but each movie felt like they were his training wheels. However recently, Wes Anderson took off those training wheel and began riding with “Moonrise Kingdom”.
Set in 1965, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) attempt to run away together. As they try to do so, their friends, family and the local townspeople go out and look for them. The movie has a great cast including Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis. But, the stars are really Jared and Kara, who both give a once of a lifetime performance. And the movie is quite hilarious. Wes Anderson might never again make a movie this good, so don’t miss it.
Sure, the premise might sound stupid. Criminal organizations of the future, using time travel, send people they want to kill into the past and assassins called “loopers” execute them at point blank range. Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is put in a bad situation, he has to kill himself… his future self (Bruce Willis). But, the quality of a film is in the execution, and this film succeeds wonderfully. When you watch this film, you will be shocked with how emotionally invested you’ll become.
Actions movies today are considered with just getting to those action scenes, rushing character development. Modern action movies disregard these moments, resulting in characters that audience aren’t able to latch on to or relate to. “Looper” is not one of these films. “Looper” is a movie that cares. It cares about its characters, and takes its time to bring these fictional characters to life. Also, the film has moments of great intensity. A great screenplay and a great cast, that is all you need to make a good movie. Plus, a lot of money of course. “Looper” had all three.
Six people, a part of the embassy staff, are trapped in Iran. CIA specialist, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a plan. His plan is disguise the six wanted people as Canadian filmmakers, scouting locations in Iran, and then use that cover story to smuggle them out. How this plays out is where this film shines. The movie progresses with great thought and care, and the final product needs to be seen.
Every character in this film is fantastic. Ben Affleck underplays Tony Mendez, making him a more believable and realistic character. Mendez’s supervisor (Bryan Cranston) becomes the limiter between Mendez and the CIA, and struggles between the two. Bryan Cranston pulls off this character as only Bryan Cranston can. And, both film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and Hollywood make-up artist Jack O’Donnell (John Goodman) steal the limelight every time they are on screen. Ben Affleck once again proves his directing talents. His earlier film, “The Town”, is enough proof. But with “Argo”, Ben Affleck might be considered to be one of the greats of our generation.
2. Django Unchained
Films are essentially made up by a multitude of choices. After Tarantino made “Pulp Fiction”, his career consisted of blatant homages (“Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2”) and films that just insert as much moments from past nogalistic films as possible without any coherency or reason (“Inglourious Basterds”). A good number of his choices he made in his latter films seem inorganic or just plain wrong. “Django Unchained”, on the other hand, is where all his choices work.
Django (Jamie Foxx) becomes a free slave and joins the bounty hunter, King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on a quest to save Django’s wife (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). The story parallels the German folktale of Broomhilda, as the hero, Django, faces peril to save his beloved. The movie is made in a spaghetti western fashion, but that doesn’t get in the away with the plot, like his previous three films. Some scenes in “Django Unchained” are so brilliantly constructed; they have to be seen. Tarantino’s choices are not 100% perfect, like putting a rap song in a western, but when the film works, it works very well.
1. Zero Dark Thirty
“Zero Dark Thirty” is the best movie of the year. Why? “Zero Dark Thirty” immerses the audience in a world unfamiliar to Americans. “Zero Dark Thirty” did this better than “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, where the whole purpose is immersion. More importantly, “Zero Dark Thirty” takes a true story, takes all the emotions caused by those events, and turns them up to 11. This is a film that every American should see.
To get the entire review of “Zero Dark Thirty”, read: http://www.statepress.com/2013/01/09/zero-dark-thirty-is-honest-bold/
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