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!

Wreck-It Ralph is a new Disney Classic!

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

You know how I go on about lack of original ideas?  Well…Wreck-It Ralph is proof that it still exists.  It is one of the most clever, original stories I’ve ever seen.  It may have familiar themes, but in execution it is all creative and awesome! 😀  I loved it.

Before I jump into Ralph, I must begin with the animated short that runs in front of the featured attraction…Paperman.  It is truly a beautiful mixture of hand drawn and CG images and 100% brilliant.  Do not be late–it is worth the extra minutes.

Okay.  Animation is powerful.  You can use it to tell stories that would be impossible to tell in live action and it also ups the ante on possibilities.  W-IR takes full advantage of this and creates a world that only animation could capture–the video game world. It is rich and full of tiny details that only helps to sell the entire universe.  (Side note: Children will love the colorful images and understand the narrative, but adults will relish every game reference and classic character cameo, too.)

Writers Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston (with story help from John C. Reilly) focus on classic themes of loneliness, isolation, rejection and self-image but they wrap it in a unique package–a 10 foot tall 64-bit video game villain, with “freakishly big hands” and an annoying little girl with candy stuck in her hair.  Director Rich Moore makes all the right choices.  The pace is quick and tight (never a dull moment) and he cleverly allows Ralph to evolve organically, while staying true to his nature.

The voice cast is perfect.  John C. Reilly is Ralph.  His intonations and inflections just fit.  Sarah Silverman (who I usually do not care for) is wonderful as Vanellope.  Jane Lynch hits it out of the park and Jack McBrayer‘s typical one-note character (sorry…but he is) actually works here.

What elevates Wreck-It Ralph from the standard kids movie is its attention to more than just funny gags and clever cameos.  It tells a real human story.  A story about what it is like to be without a home and trying to identify who you are.  There were a few moments that choked me up a bit and others that had me laughing out loud. The social media keeps saying that Disney has finally put out a Pixar quality film and I may have to agree with them.

Wreck-It Ralph will stick with you–for all the right, wonderful reasons!  And yeah…I am going to see it again!

Wreck-It Ralph Trailer