Posts Tagged ‘Favorite films’

I personally don’t feel like I’m qualified to define what makes a movie the “best”.

Film, like all art, is subjective. Saying something is the “best” implies (at least, to me) something everyone agrees with. Well, I don’t think I can defend what I think is the best, but I can easily defend what I LIKE.

Earlier last week I wrote a statement that read “Sometimes I judge a movie because I think the 9 year old version of me would flipped for it.”  I want you to keep that in mind when you look at my top ten favorites of last year.

Wow, last year. 2012 was quiet a year for movies. An abundant of riches of a wide array of films. While figuring out my top ten, I seriously had to make some hard decisions.

First, I’m gonna give you my top four runner ups. Trust me, some of these jumped back and fourth in the top ten. All of these I saw only once, so in due time, when I see them again, maybe one of the top ten movies will be bumped off.  Any other year they would have easily been in the top ten, but man, it was just that kind of year for me. So, starting with…

Les Miserables– Stunning performances from Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and Eddie Radmayne, the film really brings the famous Broadway musical to big epic life. The songs and numbers are spectacular, but sadly Russell Crowes performance as Javert isn’t perfect (though I don’t hate like the rest of the internet does) it does hold back the film to go higher on the list. That being said, I still have the songs and numbers stuck in my head so I can’t wait to revisit it again.

Argo– Ben Affleck gave me the kind film that I miss seeing. Smart, tense, mature and exciting. The final sequence was tension filled to the brim. This is my favorite of Afflecks directed films, and I can’t help to think he’s only getting started.

Wreck-it Ralph– The Pixar film I didn’t get this year (sorry Brave…you looked very pretty though!) The film surprised me how emotionally invested I got with Ralph and more surprising…Vanellope Von Schweetz. Sarah Silverman gives one of her best performances voicing Vanellope, and her story really surprised me.

Cloud Atlas– It’s big budget art, and I have to respect that. I love the fact that I know that I lot of people hated it as much as the people who loved it. I couldn’t help but be impressed. The scope, the performances from Tom Hanks, Bae Doo-Na, and Ben Whishaw. I also dearly loved how they edited this film. It constantly challenges you to pay attention, to not look away. Look away, you might miss something.

Ok…here we go, my top ten….


10.) Chronicle

Surprises are nice. I love surprises. Surprises for films being released are hard to come by nowadays. When I saw the trailer to this, I had very little interest in watching another found footage movie. Here comes the surprise, it’s not. It’s wants to be better then that. It’s got characters I legitimately give a damn about.  It’s wonderfully directed. It’s smartly written. The acting is great. It’s a fresh take on the this subgenre of “superpowered” people movies/tv shows we’ve been getting lately, and most of us didn’t knew this thing existed until a few weeks before it came out. It’s made $64,314,970 in the US and Canada alone. Like I said, I love surprises.


9.) The Raid: Redemption-

Straight up, no bones about it, this a modern action movie classic. BRILLIANT! AMAZING! FIGHTS! A simple (but effective) story. Great directing and editing. The score kicks ass. Oh, and did I mention how GOD DAMN AMAZING THE FIGHTS ARE?!?! This is pure adrenaline movie making, the kind that they don’t make as much as they used to.  You see this if all you want to see is spectacle and action, and you will NOT be disappointed.

Moonrise Kingdom poster

8.) Moonrise Kingdom

While I always like Wes Anderson films, I haven’t always loved every single one. This the first time I truly connected with one of his movies since Rushmore, which is my all time favorite one of  his. The quirks that makes Wes…well…Wes, truly shine, making this strange coming of age/love story  a special movie.  Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward give remarkable performances as Sam and Suzy. Loved Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis.  Loved the music.  It’s the most Wes Anderson-y movie that Wes has made, and I loved every second of it.


7.) The Cabin in the Woods-

Being too clever can be a dangerous thing for a film. It can sometimes feel like the filmmakers are trying too hard to impress you as oppose to just tell the story.  So when a movie does BOTH, it’s an exciting thing. Director/co-writer Drew Goddard and co-writer/producer Joss Whedon (hmmm….that name sounds familiar) crafted a movie that feels both familiar yet different. OH, and it’s gory, hilarious, exciting and so much fun. This has to have one of the best third acts of ANY movie this year. Just a blast. We horror fans should feel so lucky to have this film.


6.) Skyfall

The Bond film that reminds us all why we go and watch Bond films. It blends the aesthetic that made the Daniel Craig era of Bond so appealing to the new fans yet brings back the fun of the original films. It’s also one of the most BEAUTIFUL looking films of the year, thanks to Roger Deakins amazing cinematography.  Javier Bardem also kills as one of the best Bond villains in the series history. I now can’t wait to see the next Bond. A great film to celebrate the 50th anniversary.  Now…..BRING BACK BLOFELD!!


5.) Sleepwalk With Me

Hilarious, real, and mature. Writer/director/star Mike Birbiglia crafted a first film that many would call Woody Allen-esque. I won’t, I’m calling it Birbigliastic….or not, you can ignore that. As I wrote in my Blu Ray review of the film: “Birbiglia crafted a film that wonderfully balances the humor and the drama. It feels so effortless clever in how it allows us to understand Matt (the character that Mike plays) and really get into his headspace. It would be very easy to accidentally have us dislike Matt, what with the some of the choices he makes throughout the film. Thankfully, the smart writing from Birbiglia (along with co-writers Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia and Seth Barrish) never falters, and I remained invested with Matt’s story…even when he messes up.” Since owning the Blu Ray I realized I ended up watching it 4 times that week.  I look forward to Mikes next film, especially since his first film that is as good as this.

django unchained

4.) Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino makes movies. No shit right? But you don’t understand…he makes…MOVIES. Movies that know how to BE movies. Films that firmly live in the fictional world they live in. Characters that move to music that, while they shouldn’t know there’s music, seemingly feels like they DO know there’s an awesome song being played for them as they walk and stand. Characters that know what they should be doing in the genre they’re in, but refuse to act the typical way they are suppose to act in the genre of film they’re in.  Tarantino writes dialogue you wanna memorize. He makes films that you wish had a 100 sequels/spin offs, just so you can spend more time with the characters. He helps give actors memorable roles that they clearly are having fun playing.  He creates soundtracks that you wanna own. He creates moments that he knows will get a crowd excited. Tarantino makes MOVIES, and I love him for doing so. Django Unchained is no different. He made another badass film, and I am dying to see it again.


3.) Looper

Had the film been ONLY about Bruce Willis chasing Joe Gordon-Levitt in the near future, that would have been enough. BUT, it’s not just that. It ask big questions about morality, and it does so in the only way a Sci-fi film can. It does it originally too. Writer/director Rian Johnson continues to make films that are more then what it seems and he never fails to impress. The big winner for the film to me is definitely  Joseph Gordon-Levitts incredible performance as Joe. Never being a parody of Bruce Willis, he brilliantly takes the essence of Willis and creates a character that is all his own. Add that to the great storytelling, action, and exciting world building that Johnson crafted, Looper is another unique notch in Johnsons film catalog.


2.) Beast of the Southern Wild

This film lives in it’s own world. It’s a larger then life fable. It’s emotionally gut wrenching. It’s sensational filmmaking that takes you on a trip. You will meet characters that are fascinating, strange, but utterly compelling. You will see one of the most charismatic performances of the year from the 9 year old actress, Quvenzhane Wallis. You will hear a score the tells as much story as the images on the screen (and it’s my personal favorite score of the year, give a little listen to it here.) After I saw the film, it didn’t leave me for days. If you like to watch movies to be transported, then I suggest to take a trip to this film.

and finally my number one pick is….


1.) Battleship-

Now, I know…this film gets a lot of shit, but …hear me out. I truly thinkBWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


I couldn’t do it! I can’t keep a straight face about that. Ok…for reals, my number one is pretty obvious…..


1.) Marvels The Avengers

This movie is the film I’ve dreamed of seeing since childhood. I got into movies the same time I started reading comics. I grew up watching/reading the good and the bad superhero stories. I love this genre too much. This movie bottles what makes reading all those comics that I’ve read and finally put it on the big screen. This film is pure joy to me. Any flaws it has in it’s script, it goes away by charm and personality. As a Joss Whedon fan, I’m happy to see him make something that connected to not only the comic fans, but to everyone else too. I’m happy to see a cast that brings it’s “A” game. I’m happy that it’s hopeful and bright. It’s a crowd pleaser that makes watching a movie in a room full of strangers a great experience. I love it when you and the rest of the audience is laughing together, clapping together all because your sharing this one big movie. It’s the reason why I saw the thing 10 times (?!) in the theaters this year. I want to relive that excitement again and again. Those are the kind of movies I grew up loving, and I am glad to know I can still feel that way about seeing a flick.

Whew….2012. That was quiet good. So 2013, lets see what you got, but I’m not gonna lie, 2012’s movies were quiet a doozy.

And there were so many more that came out that I HAVEN’T seen but I still want too:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Jeff who lives at Home, The Master, End of Watch, Seven Psychopaths, Lincoln, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Holy Motors, Silver Linning Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.

This list could STILL change.

2013, not to put any pressure on ya, but you have a hard act to follow.

How about you guys? What’s on your list?

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For hardcore film buffs it always comes down to this….THE LIST.

The “BEST OF” list. Now, I was never comfortable to write a “BEST OF”. What I think makes a film “THE BEST” is different from another person.

So, I always prefer to write “Favorite” films. These are the things that spoke to me personally. The ones I watch repeatedly, the ones that struck the strongest cord with me, the ones that I saw that seemed different or special to me.

Now I missed A LOT this year  but I still saw enough to create a nice solid list.  Now, of course, this list could always change. Some films might rank higher the next year, some films might drop completely to be replaced with a new film, but that’s how it goes.

Before we get into this let me tell you guys about the runner ups, the ones that were quite good and while they didn’t make the top ten, I still though they were good enough to talk about.

So, in no particular order….

* Centurion– Simple, badass, medieval action film. It’s lean, it’s mean, and it’s so much fun.

*Dance of the Dead– A super cool throw back of ’80’s teen action horror films. Fun characters, great directing and a smart script makes this a blast.

*Tron: Legacy– The script has it’s own problems, but as pure spectacle its still thoroughly entertaining. Amazing visuals, action and the best film score (IMO) of 2010, even though it’s flawed, I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

*Frozen– Tense, just fucking tense. Great cast, subtle directing, and a well written script makes this a fantastic and thrilling film.

*Best Worst Movie– A great documentary that actually analyzes how a bad film BECOMES a bad film and how that bad film becomes a CULT film. It’s also pretty great to see how the cast discovers how they became cult actors and then see then see the reality of becoming a cult actor.

*Animal Kingdom– If there was one film that came THIS close to entering my top ten, it would be this one. A great slow burn crime film, the fantastic cast (most notably the incredible Jacki Weaver performance) , script and direction really make this one of the best crime films I’ve seen in the last few years.


10.) Mystery Team- Pure funny. I hope this has the potential to be a cult classic much like how Super Troopers is. It wasn’t a box office sensation, BUT, the audience will grow as the years go on. So much of this flick is quotable and memorable but the best thing about this? These guys (the Derrick Comedy team) are just warming up. If they’re this good now, I can’t wait to see what they bring next.

9) Au Revoir Taipei- This comedy is sweet but not saccharin. I described it as charming after I saw it, and few films can be charming without feeling forced. The movie is filled with a  interesting characters, great humor, and a simple but fun story. It’s the kinda of movie that you walk out smiling with a romantic heart.

8.) K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces– So I’m going to admit…this film is a cheat. This ACTUALLY came out in 2008 in Japan, but we only recently got it here. Since I saw it in 2010, I’m going to count it as a film I loved in 2010. This is classic pulp adventure. Its a good ole fashioned romp set in a cool alternate universe 1930’s Japan,has great action scenes and a score that just SCREAMS adventure. Its also a relatively fresh take on the masked avenger film, with some great twist and legitimate surprises. Seek this out!

7.) True Grit- Had the film ONLY had Bridges performance of Rooster Cogburn, that would have almost been enough to recommend this film. If it was ONLY the Coen’s rich and authentic script and directing, it would have been enough to recommend. Hell, it was just added bonuses that Matt Damon and Josh Brolin were so good in their respected roles. No, see the element that took this film over the edge for me was Hailee Steinfeld’s incredible performance as Mattie Ross. This little 14 year old girl held her own against some of the best actors in the business, and much like the character of Mattie Ross, proved she could be taken seriously. P.S. To the Academy: Don’t you DARE nominate her for Best Supporting Actress. She’s the lead. Respect that.

6.) The Social Network- The opening 20 minutes blew me away. The verbal dueling between Mark and Erica (Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara respectfully) was a sight to behold. Sorkin’s dialogue soared as Fincher’s directing was quiet, building you up. These first 20 minutes set everything about this film, and the fact that they nailed it so well I knew the rest of the film was going to work on me, no problem. Every praise it’s been getting and every praise it got, I think it earned. I only saw it once, and but I have a feeling that once I see it again…and again…this might go higher in the list as the years go by.

5.) Kick Ass- Never a more fitting title for a movie. A movie so good, it’s actually BETTER then the comic it is based on. The characters are far more fleshed out, the action beats are far better earned, and the pacing is stupendous. Chloe Moritz  is a joy in this film as Hit-Girl. The films shoot outs is also the bets I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a funky blend for some (the hardcore action, the silly sex humor…) but I love this blend. Just awesome.

4.) Toy Story 3- There’s a scene near the end of the film (and if you seen the film, you know EXACTLY what scene I’m talking about) where they emotionally took your heart, and SQUEEZED it just enough to make you think for ONE second, they might go were you think they would never go in a MILLION years.  That’s a testament to the great film making in this film. You care so much about the characters that your with them on this tale. When the film gets to it’s emotional ending, I was nearly speechless. Pixar proves, time after time, that if they’re good, truly good, at one thing, it’s making movies with heart. Toy Story 3 didn’t fail to bring it, and it has the wonderful honor of being one of the few great SECOND SEQUEL films ever made (and hell, the rest on that list is debatable) No one will debate this. Toy Story 3 is great.

3.) Black Swan- Some films can be a visually amazing mind trip. Some films can be devastating, emotionally  challenging tragedies. This is the rare film that brilliantly combines them both with ease. It’s a career best for both writer/director Darren Aronofsky and actress Natalie Portman. This a film that haunted me for days after seeing it. The visual punch it brings, the use of  Tchaikovsky’s original music  mixed with Clint Mansel’s original score, and Portman’s pitch perfect performance. Black Swan is a truly original film.

2.) Inception- I don’t remember the last time an audience was so completely captivated with a film that they all held their breath on the finale shot. That’s amazing. I honestly can’t remember the last time that happen. It was one of the many reasons why I loved this movie so much. I’m so glad that the rest of world embraced it too. It just proved that movie going audiences want to see things they haven’t seen before. They want to challenge themselves with a complex narrative. They don’t want to be spoon feed a story. They want good films, and thank god. Inception is a film the left me breathless. P.S. Come on, how incredible is that hallway fight with Joe Gordon Levitt?

1.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World- Uh, if your surprised that this was my number one choice, then you honestly don’t know me at all. Seriously. I wrote like several blogs about it (here and here) Wow, what else can I say that I didn’t say already? Hmm, how about this. This is a film that I love so much, that I don’t get nerd rage with someone who didn’t like it. That’s fine that someone doesn’t love it as much as me. No worries, like another  film that’s more you, I’m not going to get mad at you or think that’s weird. This film is me. I love it for the spectacle of it, I love it for the layers it has, I love it for the humor that for 5 viewings the jokes have still not gotten old. I love it for the cast. The editing (which I honestly think deserves an Oscar nomination for, but I know it won’t happen) and of course the directing from Edgar Wright. I’ve never been more sure of my number 1 choice. What can I say, I’m in lesbians with this film. 🙂

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