In 2012, we lost some of the best in the film business, including the ever brilliant Tony Scott. (RIP) I also lived my personal worst nightmare when I caught an awful Nicholas Spark movie in theatres. But it has also been a rather excellent year for cinema, where we got to revisit the Middle-Earth and the Alien universe in glorious IMAX 3D.
As per tradition like Santa, I make a list of annual favourites. Excluded are films like Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which will only be released in 2013 (the travesty!). Incidentally, these are my favourite directors, so I reckon the universe is working against me. Then again, I recognise that my geographical location doesn’t make it exactly easy. Oh well, that’s okay, universe. You may still have my top 10 films of the year.
11. The Avengers
Psst, I snuck in an 11 for this. There is no way I can ignore this great ensemble of our favourite superheroes and villain, led by our favourite person Joss Whedon and our new favourite food shawarma. Plain fun.
10. The Words
Accusations of plagiarism threatens to derail the career of a successful writer. Thematically similar to the brilliant Atonement, The Words is a well-told story that stems from invisible consequences and rankling guilt. Co-directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal unravel the mystery with compelling grace. Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid and Jeremy Irons forms an acting trio to be reckoned with, driving the story with grabbing emotive performances.
9. The Dark Knight Rises
Who has two thumbs and loves Batman? I’m so predictable. (Please imagine this in the voice of Andrew Scott’s Moriarty.) The Dark Knight Rises may not have topped the impeccable second instalment, but the Nolan brothers have definitely accomplished a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. The excitable sequel is faithful to, and worthy of the legend of the caped crusader. (Review)
Who knew that Ben Affleck was a way better director than an actor? As time passes by, he has made Gone Baby Gone and The Town, proving his dexterity in crafting crime thrillers. This time, he takes on the embellished ‘true story’ of CIA’s hostage rescue operation in Tehran and made Argo a heart-pounding watch. (Review)
7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Just to remind us all how old we are, it has been 8 years since The Return Of The King swept the Academy Awards. Peter Jackson with his unerring vision could not have made a better return with where it all began. And you know what? Everybody loves a good adventure. (Review)
6. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The secrets of three teenagers gradually uncover along with some important life lessons, devoid of clichés you may find in most coming-of-age tales. With The Perks of Being A Wallflower, writer Stephen Chbosky adeptly weaves in some powerful themes both on paperback and on screen in honest terms. Logan Lerman captures the complexity in Charlie’s emotions and his unfolding internal turmoil, delivering an unexpectedly strong performance. Have I mentioned the stellar soundtrack yet?
5. Ruby Sparks
Imagination becomes reality when an author writes his character to life. In the vein of 500 Days of Summer, Zoe Kazan’s clever original screenplay Ruby Sparks explores how the selfishness of the leading character plays into a superficially romantic relationship. This whimsical meta-fiction entertains with insightful creativity and authenticity. And of course, it is always great to see Paul Dano in a leading role.
4. The Cabin In The Woods
Intelligent twist critiques the tiring tropes. Self-aware humour wreathed horror fans in smiles. There is little doubt why The Cabin In The Woods is so well-loved among the horror community. Not only is this gem a refreshing take on the horror genre, it is also a superb tribute to some notorious classics.
In another genre-twisting venture, Josh Trank’s directorial debut Chronicle puts a new dark spin on teenage superheroes. To what purposes should their powers serve? How does past and motivation play into their choices? The deeper pondering is a welcome change from the explosion-ridden blockbusters plastered all over the summer billboards. Impactful realism in both acting and script is what makes this found-footage venture outstanding, along with a phenomenal end sequence.
After the impressive Brick and the enjoyable The Brothers Bloom, I am happy to see Rian Johnson’s work shown alongside bigger movies for once. His noir influence shows through this stylistic and highly original science fiction piece. Looper in its attempt to be inventive does not forget the human element and does a splendid job with its screenplay. (Review)
1. Moonrise Kingdom
Some call his works quirky, others odd. Moonrise Kingdom is, as Empire Magazine best puts it, very Wes Anderson-y. The French New Wave influence is clear, but Wes Anderson manages to add his own unique touch as always. His latest work is an honest and personal romantic tale of two young runaways. It feels almost magical in its fantastical approach, while the ingenuity lies in the minute details. (Review)
So there you have it. Those are my top 10 of the year. How did your year at the theatres fare? As always, thanks for reading and see you next year.