Tuesday, 1 January 2013

My Five Favourite Films (2012 Apocalyptic Edition)

It's been a few years since I've done this (apathy and post-holiday food comas prevented me from doing it last year - my first on Blogger), but in what (used) to be an (semi) annual tradition, I would list my five favourite films from the past year. Note: This doesn't mean these aren't the five *best* films I saw in theaters over the year (That is to say they may not be the Battleship Potemkin), but these are the five films that - for whatever reason - engaged me the most over the past calendar year.

So, with that needless disclaimer out of the way, here we go:

5. Wreck-It Ralph - From the moment I spied the first trailers for this Pixar-esque outing from Disney animation about an '80s video game villain (voiced by the indomitable John C. Reilly) who grows tired of being the bad guy, I had a feeling that it was predestined that I would love this film. From the barrage of video game references (though even if you've never picked up a controller in your life, you'll still be able to enjoy it) to the heartfelt and honest script and add in some of the best voicework of recent memory (In particular, I'd like to praise dear, departed Wash himself - Alan Tudyk, as King Candy, the autocratic ruler of the Super Mario Kart-clone, Sugar Rush and Sarah Silverman as Vannelope Von Schweetz, the 'glitch' in the same game) and you've got a modern animated classic that reveres video games without mocking them - a rare feat for the increasingly-cynical Hollywood machine.
Geek Score: 9 out of 10 Bacon Strips

4. The Dark Knight Rises - Probably my most-anticipated film coming in to 2012 (indeed, one of my most-anticipated films, period, since I saw its predecessor eight times in theatres) thankfully did not disappoint. In Christopher Nolan we trust. I was never worried for a second. Tom Hardy's Bane is a suitably imposing villain for Chistian Bale's Batman and - weird pacing issues aside - the Nolan Bat-trilogy comes to a close in spectacular fashion. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy ranks as one of the greatest movie trilogies of all-time. Now please, Warner Brothers, no matter how much he may try to convince you, Brett Ratner must *not* direct the next Batman movie. I beg you, for the sake of my sanity.
Geek Score: 9 out of 10 Bacon Strips

3. Skyfall - I wasn't sure what to think heading in to Skyfall. On the one hand, Casino Royale was awesome and Daniel Craig was unquestionably fit to wear 007's fine, tailored suits. But on the other hand, Quantum of Solace was a muddied snoozefest and Sam Mendes was not exactly well-known for directing action movies. As it turns out, my trepidations were completely unnecessary as Mendes provided us with one of the (if not *THE*) best Bond films in the half-century history of the franchise - a ballsy, gritty take that paints Bond as raw - indeed, as human - as he's ever been before. The action sequences are top-notch and Javier Bardem's Silver will go down in the pantheon as one of the best Bond-villains of all-time. Menacing, yet sympathetic, he's truly an electric character and a joy to watch.
Geek Score: 9 out of 10 Bacon Strips

2. The Avengers - You're likely not surprised to see this film on my list, especially given the amount of ink I've given it throughout the year (you may recall in my post where I talked about The Avengers box-office prospects, I extrapolated data that led me to believe the film would end up with $626 million. ... I missed it by 2.5 million. #humblebrag). Marvel's dedication to building a persistent world with their varying franchises was well-served and the film was, truly, everything my inner comic book nerd hoped it would be. It's not dark and twisty like Nolan's Bat-franchise, but it's loud, bombastic, and simply fun to watch. Joss Whedon did a remarkable job and I can't wait for the next one.
Geek Score: 10 out of 10 Bacon Strips (Golden Bacon Award!)

1. Looper - Surprised? To be honest, I am a little bit, too - as I was compiling this list in my head over the past few days, I just assumed that The Avengers would be number 1. Looper would be *on* the list, certainly, but to supplant Whedon's superhero juggernaut? It almost didn't make sense to me. Until, suddenly, it did. Much like this film itself - it's accessible, but at the same time, challenging. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that no other film this past year had me talking about it more - my friends and I debated it ad nauseum. "What did (spoiler) mean?" "Does the ending work for you?" "What manner of time-travel theory does the film most likely ascribe to?" That is the sign of a truly engaging - and deeply-entertaining - film. It's one of the most daring, inventive Sci-Fi films to come out in years and it challenges you to repeated viewings - almost daring you to try and pick it apart. Director Rian Johnson's previous work includes the criminally-underrated Brick (Also recommended - seek it out if you haven't seen it), which takes a Dashiell Hammett murder-mystery and sets it in a modern, 21st-Century high school, so this was something of a departure for him. The bottom line, though is that he spun a masterful story with an intelligent script, highlighted by great acting by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. This was my favourite film of 2012.

Geek Score: 10 out of 10 Bacon Strips (Golden Bacon Award!)

- EP

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