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!

Django Unchained is one of Tarantino’s Best!

Damn!  Django Unchained is awesome.  I will preface this with a clear disclaimer–if you do not care for or do not like Quentin Tarantino‘s body of work–this is NOT the film for you.  It is bloody, ultra violent, truthfully disturbing, and brutally honest about slavery–all the while, being funny and extremely entertaining.

That is Tarantino’s secret–he creates entertainment, while also making you think, feel and respond to his art.  And it is art.  He is a master storyteller and is getting better with age.  I thought Inglorious Basterds was brilliant and quite possibly his masterpiece, but now I am leaning on giving that title to Django.   Quentin’s style is unique and on full display here–clever, witty dialogue, zoom close-ups, slow motion moves and exaggerated violence (trust me–when he gets truly violent, you know it–it gets quiet and personal).  He also continues in allowing his characters to become bigger than life–never quite caricatures but they are all LARGE.  And Django is that–a new iconic figure.  He also makes the pre-civil war age come to life.  The imagery is vivid.  You can almost taste the dust and feel the bitter cold–very nice.

Jaime Foxx is Django.  Perfect, in every way.  A defining role, for sure.  He carries Django with pride and bravado, but also as a man who knows fear and loss.  Christoph Waltz has given me one of my favorite characters on-screen!  This reminds me how incredible he is as actor–as much as I hated Col. Hans Landa, I loved Dr. King Schultz! Loved everything about his performance–subtle and nuanced.  Of course, Samuel L. Jackson delivers and again, creates a memorable character.  Then there is Leonardo DiCaprio–why did it take so long for him to work with Tarantino?  Because…wow!  Leo is truly despicable–a horrible human being–and he sells it!  Brilliant.

That leaves the story.  Tarantino has created an homage (or as he would say, “he stole it”) to spaghetti westerns and black exploitation films.  Mixing them up to together into a new genre on its own.  The soundtrack is full of modern music and the style is unique, it is hard to define–except as AWESOME! 😀   Yet, I have to praise Tarantino’s bravery when addressing slavery.  It may be getting some negative comments due to his extensive use of a certain ugly “n” word–yet, it was the truth of that time.  I have not seen such an honest depiction in years.  It makes you uncomfortable and sick–as it should!  And then it plays out a fantastic revenge scenario that you only wish, was what could have happened.  So, kudos Quentin.  Clever way to truthfully use a time of our history (ugly as it was) as the background and motivation of an original American hero–Django.  Thanks.

So, I am going to call it–This MAY be Tarantino’s Masterpiece–may be, because who knows what he will do next!  But, I am pretty sure it’s going to be good.

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