Finally, I post my Top 25 Films of 2012!

I know this is late. I have been occupied with vacationing (an Eastern Caribbean Carnival Cruise–which was wonderful) and other life stuff, which has kept me from watching a few key films before I could make my list. Now, I am back and ready to post my top choices of 2012. I know–most folks list only 10, but I always want to mention #11 and then 12 (so and so on)–so I just go for 25.

First of all, 2012 was a very good year for cinema. There were many excellent films and many were original and fresh ideas. Super cool, because we all know that is a rare thing indeed.

Now, my standards for best film is simple–I have to feel a connection to the narrative (which leads to some unconventional choices sometimes) and I must not want to change anything about it. I have attached links to my full review if you care to visit or revisit my full musings. 😀

I have to admit that 2012 was difficult–I did a lot of shuffling–but, I feel pretty good about this…

25. Chronicle

This film surprised me and ended being a creative, unique spin on supernatural powers and found footage genres. Well played. Dane DeHaan had a breakout performance and now his star is definitely on the rise.

24. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

This solidified my growing love for writers and directors, the Duplass Brothers. Sometimes a simple story about life is all you need.

23. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This is the way romantic comedies should be told! With perfect chemistry between Blunt and McGregor and a realistic approach on relationships, SFITY stands tall among the usual.

22. ParaNorman

I love stop-motion animation! And this a new Halloween classic!

21. Holy Motors

Art on film. To me, this french fantasy is definitely a surreal journey. Denis Lavant gives an incredible performance–actually, several–he changes characters as easily as if he were changing his hat. Wow!

20. Ruby Sparks

A block of text with a blank space forming the outline of a woman. A man carrying a woman over his shoulder.

Yes, I like quirky and unique rom-coms! And this one, is one of the most original, well constructed I’ve ever seen.

19. Perks of Being a Wallflower

A lime green wall with the words 'we are infinite', a boy stands beside a girl, she leans her head on the shoulder of another boy.

Not many “high school” movies get it right. This one does. And the best part? It transcends adolescence and tells a human story.

18. Sleepwalk With Me

This is a clever, hilarious, poignant and most uniquely formatted, realistic story–that just happens to be 100% true!! Wonderful.

17. The Raid

FRACKIN’ BADASS! Enough said.

16. The Hobbit

A wonderful return to Middle Earth. Pure happiness.

15. The Dark Knight Rises

A great ending to one of the best trilogies–ever.

14. Cabin in the Woods

I adore Joss Whedon. This year, the rest of the world came around–this was the beginning.

13. Beasts of the Southern Wilds

This is an honest portrait of a remarkable American community. It is powerful and unforgettable.

12. Wreck-It Ralph

Theatrical release poster depicting the protagonist, Ralph, along with various video-game characters

This is the first time, in many years, that a Pixar film did not make my Top 25! Ralph was my “Pixar” film this time–A wildly imaginative and creative story, told with charm and revealing a lovely tender heart. LOVED it!

11. The Avengers

Uh, did I tell you I adore Joss Whedon? And now the world does too! 😀 One of the best superhero movies–EVER! A big gamble that paid off.

10. Zero Dark Thirty –I have YET to see this one–still, EVERYONE is telling me to save it a spot–so, I put it in #10–once viewed (this weekend) and reviewed I will place it accordingly.

09. Looper

Original. Creative. Badass. Willis. Gordon-Levitt. Yeah…it’s awesome.

08. Silver Linings Playbook

A film that kind of defies a genre. It is just an excellent film. Period.

07. Argo

A tense, suspenseful ride. So well-directed and constructed, that I think it might win big at the Oscars. This is, simply, storytelling at its best.

05. Cloud Atlas

Oh, Cloud Atlas! You were a head of your time. Many did not understand or appreciate your amazing qualities. But, I believe with time they will. One day you will be hailed as the masterpiece you are–one day…

04. Lincoln

Revealing. Thought-provoking. Surprisingly funny. Excellently written, beautifully directed and brilliantly portrayed.

03. The Grey

This started my year as #1 and although 2 surpassed it–the others (for some reason or another) could not duplicate the emotional connection I had with The Grey. A beautiful, haunting portrait of life and our instinct for survival, not only physically–but emotionally and spiritually. Liam Neesom was robbed of a nomination–he has never been better. Powerful.

02. Django Unchained

Tarantino is knocking out of the park–again! There is nothing wrong with this film. Perfect.

01. Moonrise Kingdom

I struggled with the top 3–each perfect in their own way–but Moonrise touched me and stayed in my conscience ever since the first viewing (there has been 5 viewings since ;D) . It is funny, touching, thought-provoking and wonderfully silly at times. An absolute magical delight. This is Anderson’s masterpiece.

Well, I finished! Whew! Now, let us hope that 2013 becomes just a memorable as 2012!

Cloud Atlas is a beautifully woven, unparalleled epic story!

I will admit that I was skeptical.  I had heard that the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell was impossible to adapt to the screen because of its six separate stories, that were told in a Russian doll sort of way–each story nestled into another.  Although I have not read the novel, I was impressed by how writers/directors The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer created one fluid story.  A single narrative that weaves and intertwines the six stories in different time periods and in doing so, they are able to show a wide, ambitious scope that ends on an emotional, personal note.  Brilliant.  I have never seen anything like Cloud Atlas attempted in film before.

Honestly, I was still upset with The Wachowskis over Speed Racer and don’t get me started on the Matrix Trilogy (The Matrix could have been only the beginning–it could have been the Star Wars of the 21st century–it could have…but NO.  Ruined. So sad.)  I loved their ideas and their writing, but had grown cautious of getting too excited because it usually ended in disappointment.  While attending the 2012 Fantastic Fest Film Festival I was fortunate enough to make it into a secret screening, with the Wachowskis in attendance, and was blown away.  (Side note: The Wachowskis are articulate, intelligent and very funny!)

Cloud Atlas is amazing.  Grand and sweeping.  Intimate and very funny.  Small and personal.  Yet, with big themes and over-reaching moral questions.  It addresses humanity, inter-connectivity, transformation and free will.  Yes.  It achieves ALL of that and more.

The visuals are incredible and the style is very Wachowski and Twkwer.  I found myself marveling in the color and images before me.  The cinematography and music wonderfully add to the experience.  From a primitive culture to a futuristic urban landscape–Cloud Atlas never looks artificial.  It is a beautiful universe.  A beautiful universe that makes you question our existence and our connection to each other.

One of the strongest aspect is the acting.  With each actor responsible for 4 to 6 distinct characters, it is truly a study in the craft and with the impressive cast it does not fail to entertain.  Tom Hanks (my crush intensifies), Halle Berry (strong turnout), Jim Broadbent (scene-stealing good), Hugo Weaving (best, unexpected role), Jim Sturgess (beautiful performances), Doona Bae (haunting) and the many others must have had a blast with this.  It is an actor’s dream to have this kind of opportunity (I would think) and be able to show their range.

Now, I am sure that many will find problems with Cloud Atlas.  They may find it too big–too sweeping.  They may not like the multiple roles on display.  They may not appreciate the connected stories. But, all I can tell you is that I LOVE when I am able to lose myself completely in a film and that is what happened that day.  I was lost and taken on a journey that will stick with me for a long time.

I am already waiting, excitedly, to watch it again.  I am sure there are many things that I did not catch the first time and it will be fun to try to see what other surprises I can discover.  That’s awesome because that is  what I love about movies–finding new things every time I visit them and the good ones are the ones you want to visit over and over.

Love this commentary and trailer!  Can’t wait for everyone to see it!  I look forward to hearing all of your opinions…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWgkQP2rtzk