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!

ParaNorman scores high points for originality and craftsmanship…

First of all, I love stop-motion animation and I also love it when kid-centric films do not insult children. Treat them with respect–speak clear and they will understand and hear your message. ParaNorman does that successfully. It is an original take on accepting and loving yourself and they even throw in the affects of bullying. Nicely done.

This is the second feature released by Laika Animation (the first being the 2009 Coraline–which is one of my favorites). And again, they stay in the adventure/horror genre. This time though they turn it on its ear.  Things are not quite what they seem in Norman’s universe and they have fun exploring all the clichés (“Not   all witches have to be ugly? Of course, they are…they’re meant to sell key chains.”).

The film was written and co-directed by Chris Butler (first feature) and the experienced animator director Sam Fell. Together they do an excellent job of building the characters around this unique premise. As a zombie/horror fan, I appreciated all the cool nudges to the classics.  It is at once touching, poignant and funny. The skill and patience that it takes to create this medium is incredible.  The result is nothing short of amazing.

The voice talent is perfect and surprising. I could easily make out John Goodman, but Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Anna Kendrick were unrecognizable–so cool.  Kodi Smith-McPhee (Let Me In) as Norman and Tucker Albrizzi as Neil are both wonderful (and kind of look like their 10 inch figures).

Overall, this is a great story, cleverly done. It may a bit too scary or gory for young kids (depending on their exposure) and although it does not reach Nightmare Before Christmas iconic status and it’s not even as perfectly crafted as Coraline, it is still a cool addition to the genre that I am sure will continue to grow in cult status. I foresee Halloween viewing in my future. 😀