Monday, February 25, 2013

12 Bests of 2012: Movies 12-10 Jan 03, 2013 11:24PM PST

If you hadn't noticed from the fact a lot of my blogs are at least partly movie reviews, I love movies. I love talking about movies. Most of the junk I watch online is movie reviews. There's a $2 theater 5-10 minutes away from me by car, and a Redbox exactly a half mile from my house, so I get to see a lot. So, it only makes sense I give to you my 12 favorite movies of 2012... so far. It's literally the New Year already, so this'll have to be the favorites list of movies I saw in 2012. Don't get on me if you think stuff in my "want to see" section at the bottom of this blog should be on this list.

I've included a superego and id text for each movie. Love analysis and want to read what I really think? Read the superego stuff. One of those people who sees a blog and thinks "tl;dr?" The id section is for you.

Since I am turning 23 on March 23rd of this 2013th year after "year 0," got to have dinner while watching Django Unchained for free because my company paid for it and told me on January 3, 2013, I will work today, ending my bout of unemployment, I find it only fitting I split this into sets of 3 movies per blog. Also, because I'm lazy, and the superego text takes me a while to write. Also because when I did my 12 favorite songs, I'm pretty sure the videos of those songs made that blog a slow nightmare to scroll through. Also, here:

12. Skyfall

My Superego Says: I prefer the goofy Bonds generally, since I grew up with Brosnan going to a former Monty Python player (John Cleese) for his gadgetry, and I definitely appreciated the sex appeal in those in my adolescence.

Casino Royale had many good things going for it, and I see why people liked it, but I was one of those kids who just could not gain any interest in poker for the life of me, so having a long, pivotal scene revolve around it didn't help in my case. I liked Quantam of Solace better cause I saw it in theaters and it seemed to have more action, but I've only seen it once, and I can't remember most of it, so I'm not sure how I'd feel now. In contrast I... also don't remember that much about the Brosnan ones except that a guy couldn't feel pain, a guy wanted to blow up some glaciers, and (most importantly to me at the time) the gadgets were cool and the women were hot.

The difference in tone from what I grew up with and what Bond is at the moment is summed up in how the silhouette openings are different. Brosnan Bond = mostly female sillhouettes with sultry pop music. Craig Bond = mostly sillhouettes of fight choregraphy between male characters. Perhaps one of the reasons I like Skyfall so much more than the other two Bonds, is that at least they had the decency to include a female singer this time, and while silhouettes are still of Bond, the song at least sounds like a Bond song, not what sounds like Chris Cornell or Jack White simply adding lyrics about Bond to a song they already had somewhere.

Of course, the biggest reason this Bond worked for me was the amazing scenery and the appeal of the villain. The sex appeal of a bona-fide Bond girl in the traditional sense is replaced by stunning imagery of Shanghai waters and Tokyo towers. Not to mention Javier Bardem's portrayal of a bisexual former agent planning his revenge and mostly succeeding.

In a lot of ways, this is the Batman Begins of the Bond franchise, in that Bond goes away to train for the first half of the movie, and we don't even see the villain until halfway through. However, I found this more well-paced, as the jokes and Bond references kept me intrigued by what was going on at MI6 before the real action starts. Note to Nolan: no reason not to lighten the mood to keep things interesting.

I also noticed that as an American, I see a lot of New York in London. Subways look similarly crowded and smelly, I often thought MI6 could be swapped for CIA, British for American flag/patriotism and I wouldn't notice. CIA would be D.C., not NY, but you get my point.

It does have what seem like multiple endings, but what you get is more action, clever dialogue, and Bond references (favorite scene involves Bond's old Aston Martin) so it didn't bother me near as much as the million and one scenes of goodbyes in Return of the King.

What my id thinks: This still doesn't have enough tits, and if Bond's gonna drink beer, I wish it weren't nasty Heineken, but I do have a thing for black women, old cars, half-gay villains, and drunken Scottsmen with sawed off shotguns, so it's a pretty decent flick.

11. Argo

My superego says: Affleck to me is an underrated, understated actor. Sure, his face isn't all that expressive, but I find that unlike Keanu Reeves, who acts less than human sometimes, what Affleck does is actually more realistic than Hollywood actors: they're somewhere between real and theatrical, he's more just real. Of course, the reason his style is so panned I think is that the way people act in real life doesn't attract you to a charcter on-screen the way Goodman, Cranston and Arkin having fun in this movie does. Food for thought.

Granted, the Hollywooded up parts of the script (by which I mean a couple high-action scenes that didn't actually happen) I found unnecessary as the story on its own was so captivating, the very real tension made so palpable by the writing and Affleck's direction. It draws you into both the serious horrors of a hostage situation in 70s Iran, and the comedy of its truth-is-stranger-than-fiction narrative and somehow manages to balance both perfectly.

It also makes a subtle, yet effective point that sometimes there is a peaceful alternative that is effective, and while it might not be flashy, it might be better than outright boots-on-the-ground in some situations.

What my id thinks: If you don't like this movie, then "Argo fuck yourself."

10. 21 Jump Street

I get it: Comedies just shouldn't be on top ten lists and god fucking dammit, reboots should especially not come in to play on these things! Well, I don't care. One of my favorite movies ever, Ruggles of Red Gap, is a comedy, and while 21 Jump Street doesn't also have the whole narrative about what made America so great, and is shot in color, it still made me laugh. Like throughout the movie. And guess what? This movie was edited to move.. wait for it.. quickly!

Seriously, as much as I loved the dramas this year, this may have been the one movie where I never once caught myself in my own head thinking about how this or that scenic shot of scenic somewhere really wasn't fucking necessary. God help us all if Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson ever get together to make a double feature. I don't think New Yorkers could even watch it, cause you'd probably need a 7-11 oil drum near you at all times, in case you picked the wrong part to urinate elsewhere.

21 Jump Street deserves its spot, because it's so funny it brings out the best in everyone. Magic Mike guy who's name escapes me seems competent, even good as an actor, Jonah Hill plays someone likeable and not the douche he was in Superbad, I forgive both how dumb the two main characters are because of how much I'm laughing, which in turn forgives how much I want to punch Green Goblin-lite's little drug dealing brother in the face, and even the original TV series' actors are in on the joke for the best comedic cameo since Zombieland.

Even online personality Cinema Snob, who's movie should FINALLY be coming soon in my mailbox in working condition, who is a huge 80s afficionado and repeatedly said how much he hated the comedic direction this reboot took, said he found it funny.

It's dumb as hell, over the top, and hilarious. Mark of a good comedy: how much you laugh. This one had me in stitches with its antics.

What my id thinks: If I had a chance to have a John Woo explosion behind a limo I was in at prom, I would totally do it over again. This movie made me feel ok about not even getting laid at mine in real life... for a second or two, but that's a hell of a record time to make me feel ok about it.


What I saw last year:

*Man on a Ledge (Redbox), Safe House, John Carter (Redbox), Silent House (redbox), 21 Jump Street (redbox), The Hunger Games, The Raid:Redemption (redbox), Goon (redbox), American Reunion (redbox), The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, MIB III, Moonrise Kingdom (redbox), Snowhite and the Huntsmen, Pirhana 3DD (redbox), Prometheus (kind of, redbox), Safety Not Guaranteed (redbox), Brave (redbox), Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Katy Perry: Part of Me (redbox), The Dark Knight Rises, Ruby Sparks (redbox), Killer Joe, The Bourne Legacy, The Campaign, Lawless, Arbitrage, The Master, Dredd, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looper, Pitch Perfect, Argo, Sinister, Skyfall, Wreck-it Ralph, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (Netflix), Paranorman (Redbox), Arthur Christmas (technically 2011, but whatever; Redbox), Life of Pi, Trouble with the Curve (Redbox), Rock of Ages (Redbox), Battle Royale (technically an 80s movie, but saw it this year (Netflix), Cowboys and Aliens (mom rented it, gonna watch it while I type this)

* Bold = liked it enough that I consider it at least an honorable mention for this year. And yes, upon second viewing, Rock of Ages won me over. Not on the list though.

Want to see from 2012 as of this writing:

** The Woman in Black, The Lorax, Project X, Friends with Kids, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Comic-Con EpisodeIV: A Fan's Hope, Lola Versus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Frankenweenie, Holy Motors, Cloud Atlas, Flight, Man with the Iron Fists, Rise of the Guardians, Hitchcock, Killing them Softly, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Hobbit, Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Reacher, This is 40, Cirque de Soleil: Worlds Away, The Impossible, Django Unchained (saw this year), Les Miserables, Promised Land, End of Watch, Seven Psychopaths

** Bold = Most likely to watch at some point if there's an opportunity (definitely seeing Django on  Jan. 3 with coworkers from my freelance job; Ed: it was great, but could have been cut down a bit, full review coming)

Can you guess the rest of my list, and what were your favorites?

No comments:

Post a Comment