I didn’t get to the cinema as much as I should have in 2012, being incapacitated by the European Championships in June, Wimbledon in July, the Olympics in August and the US Open in September, but here are the ten best films I did manage to catch between goals/points/medals this year.
This met with some really mixed reviews back in the summer but quite frankly I was just ecstatic to be back in the same fictional universe as one of my favourite films of all time, Aliens. Sure, it’s not a patch on the first two offerings from the original quadrilogy but it’s more than a match for Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. Charlize Theron and Idris Elba were my stand out performances and a couple of stunning set pieces were enough for this to be one of my favourites of the year. Certainly, there were some unanswered questions, but that’s what happens in the first of a three film journey.
Something you have to know about me is that if a film stars Jodie Foster then I’m going to love it no matter what. Thankfully in the case of Carnage their were a million other reasons as well. The cast were great, Kate Winslet in particular with a Bridesmaids-esque gross out vomiting scene that had me in stitches. At only eighty minutes running time it is one of the increasingly rare modern films that actually left me wanting more as opposed to a three and a half hour backside numbing epic. Speaking of which…
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Much like Prometheus, I was happy to be back in Middle Earth again for Bilbo’s turn as protagonist in The Hobbit. Yes, there were pacing issues and running time issues but there is something about a large scale fantasy adventure that I cannot resist and this one gave me everything I wanted and more.
4. The Hunger Games
Who would of thought a film about children killing each other would become such a global phenomenon? Oh yes, the creators of Japanese picture Battle Royale, but never mind about that. An interesting concept helped by a great performance from future Hollywood royalty Jennifer Lawrence, bring on the sequel.
5. The Dark Knight Rises
I went in to The Dark Knight Rises in the peculiar position of only having watched the previous two Nolan pictures the night before. Perhaps it was my complete immersion in the world of Gotham at that time but I absolutely loved it. Tom Hardy was brilliant if not a tad unintelligible as Bane and Christian Bale once again got away with having no chin and managed to produce a satisfactory Bruce Wayne. I’m not the biggest fan of comic book films but this one really got me going.
6. Moonrise Kingdom
A typical Wes Anderson affair. Whimsical, melancholy and looking like it was filmed on Instagram. Star performances from Bill Murray and Jared Gilman. Bordering on pretentious but laugh out loud humour and a sense of self awareness save it from falling into an abyss of indie bullshit. Also, Tilda Swinton’s character is a social worker named Social Services. Thank you and good night.
A magnificent comeback from the monstrosity that was Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall brought Bond back in a big way. I had the misfortune of being spoiled with regards to the climax of the plot before I saw it, but I left just as satisfied. Bravo to Judi Dench for bossing it at 77 years of age, bravo to Sam Mendes for making Bond cool again, and bravo to Daniel Craig for being a sex god.
Brave split the critics, some saying it’s Pixar’s worst to date, others liking it much more. I was in the latter camp. A brilliant tale letting little girls know that they don’t have to play with Barbies and marry Prince Charming if they’re more interested in climbing trees and messing around. Plus, it gets the award for the only occasion of the entire year that I had to be physically silenced by a friend for laughing too loud.
9. Albert Nobbs
A stunning central performance from Glenn Close that I was sure was going to grab the Oscar until the unstoppable Meryl train came rolling through the station. A heartbreaking tale that whilst remaining essentially tragic throughout manages to provide a few laughs and unconventional romance a plenty.
10. Red Lights
We’ve sort of entered guilty pleasure territory for this last pick. I said in the Prometheus ramble that Aliens is one of my favourite films, so basically if Sigourney Weaver’s name is on the poster then I’m going to see the movie. Red Lights, sort of Sixth Sense meets The X-Files with a plot twist just as satisfyingly groan worthy as any Shyamalan affair. A fun evening in the cinema was had and Robert De Niro is always fun to watch.