By Team-MRP Updated: 9 January 13 Print
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The last few years of recession saw cinemas close their doors and the popcorn machines grind to a halt. Hollywood failed to impress with its rehashed smut comedies and lousy action flicks. We felt at a dead end – we were sure we had seen it all before. With the age of the internet well and truly upon us we seemed happy to stay home and watch movies online. Then suddenly 2012 hit and once again our love of films on the big screen flourished.
Yes 2012 has been a startling year for the box office and for the average movie goer there has been so much to look forward too! We have seen superhero movies from the makers of marvel come back into fashion with a vengeance. Now it’s time to salute all the hard work that has come out of the film industry this year and run a fine tooth comb over the movies that really hit the mark in 2012 and what makes them engrained in our memories. Let’s hope 2013 is as prolific, creative and imaginative as the last year has been.
25. Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow is renowned for making award winning military action movies and her latest offering Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t stray far from what she is best at. The film is centered on the decade long hunt for Osama Bin Laden after the September 11 attacks. The film could quite easily have missed the mark but Bigelow succeeded in making a movie that matches our appetites, a film that is swift, relentless and expertly put together. Sure the story may not prove easy viewing but the rare scope of the plot, acting and cinematic skills makes it nigh impossible to turn away.
Daniel Day Lewis takes the lead as ex-president Lincoln in this stunning piece of cinema. Steven Spielberg directs this part biographical and historical drama that will catapult you back into the past as Lincoln struggles with the finer points of being president. You can expect an epic of Spielberg proportions and some mighty fine acting from Lewis. This is certainly a film that wants to teach its audience about history and does the job marvelously well. It’s a step up in the 2012 movie stakes and oversteps the endless superhero movies, action thrillers and shoot ups to teach us something worth noting. Critics have been calling this blockbuster Spielberg’s best film for a decade!
23. Jack Reacher
Plenty of gun fire and the dead bodies soon start to pile up in gun toting action thriller Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise takes the lead as the ex-military investigator on the war path and before long the shots are flying. It’s an old school shoot up film with claws yet Cruise carries the banner of human superhero into a new era. Jack Reacher provides a character that’s dark, mysterious and full of sequel possibilities. Watch this space but it seems the handle may fly off and you will be hearing more from Jack Reacher in the future.
22. Pitch Perfect
You may think musical high school comedies will make you groan but then you have never seen Pitch Perfect. This is the story of an all-girl college accapella group called The Barden Bella’s and their musical battle against a rival acapella group in a fight to win the nationals. Although the plot may be raising eyebrows as you expect a rendition of mean girls or lousy cheerleader movies you are in for a surprise. Pitch Perfect is actually a laugh out loud, proud comedy that leaves marginal room for errors. Rebel Wilson scored big with the critics for her side splitting performance and the script was far from smutty. Critics have been lapping up the film in joy as Hollywood veers away from American Pie and moves over into a new realm of comedy.
21. The Amazing Spiderman
Superhero films seem to be stealing all the glory when it comes to 2012 and The Amazing Spiderman is no exception. Sam Raimi ended his reign with Spiderman as did Toby Maguire. They have now stepped aside to make way for director Marc Webb and actor Andrew Garfield. The Amazing Man takes us right back to the beginning and we get to see exactly how Spiderman evolved into his superhero being. After a viral campaign the film was released in June to a big thumbs up response from the critics. The movie has taken all the elements of the Spiderman story and made them bigger and better. The Spiderman we get is deeper, darker, emotionally charged and surged with a powerful love story. You didn’t think it could get any better? Well it just did.
The movie Brave breaks all kinds of barriers as it was the film that caused Pixar to rewrite its entire animation program. The film centers on Merida, a Scottish archer who defies an age old custom and causes havoc in her kingdom. Brave is hailed by critics as being a rousing fairy tale that is laced with sharp wit, humor and surprising depth. Brenda Chapman makes her mark in history as being the first female director to work in the all-boys club studio of Pixar scoring an extra notch on the reasons we love this movie!
19. Killing them Softly
Neo noir crime at its best, Killing them Softly. This is what happens when you take Brad Pitt, give him a gun and dress him in leather. You have a film straightaway! This movie steps past the simple dynamic and delves into the darkness as Jackie Cogan sets out to restore order in the underworld. Brutal yet captivating and as slick as oil Killing them Softly manages to tally up the score card by being a great story that doesn’t become overshadowed by its political edge. Andrew Dominik is the man behind the camera and the guy responsible for pitting Brad Pitt against Ray Liotta in this darkly comic tale of the underground.
18. Silver Linings Playbook
After a stay in the mental institution, former teacher Pat moves back in with his parents to try and piece his life back together and patch things up with his ex-wife despite the restraining order. Yet things start to go awry again when Pat meets Tiffany, a girl suffering her own neurosis. The two strike up an unlikely friendship. Sure it’s the oldest love story in the book and romantic comedies have been picking the apples of this branch for years. Yet the Silver Linings Playbook despite following protocol has a few offshoots that make this comedy drama well worth the watch.
17. Life of Pi
Magic realism at its best comes in the form of Life of Pi. The bestselling book has finally been turned into a film and cinema-goers are turning up in their droves to see the tale of Pi and the Bengal tiger stuck on a boat in the middle of the pacific. The film is staggering, simply put. The acting skills of debut actor Suraj Sharma are not to be sniffed at as he makes the grade in the role of Pi Patel. Ang Lee doesn’t fall short of the mark as he expertly takes a beloved story and turns it into a worthy script. The technical effects (of which there are many) don’t jar at all and the audience is left spellbound with a wild sense of wonder.
The second French film to make our list is the award winning offbeat love story of Anne and George, an elderly couple in their eighties. The couples love is severely tested after Anne suffers a stroke, what follows is a brave, innovative and bold attempt at filmmaking that has your heart gushing. Director Michael Haneke has touched on the impossible – the ability to take a disturbing car crash subject and turn it into a movie of timeless appeal. With stellar performances from Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, a rigorously unsentimental outlook and an elegant execution it seems Haneke has outdone himself. The movie has hit a high note with critics and the awards are coming thick and fast.
Bruce Willis is back in this time travel action film. It’s a far cry from Back to the Future as in Looper time travel is banned by the government and exploited by criminal organizations who send criminals back into the past to be killed. Directed by Rian Johnson the film is widely acclaimed as being a cerebral mindbender executed with perfect precision. Looper claimed a handful of awards with film critic associations and has stepped up the bar for dystopian thrillers. Despite being an action film it is more blade runner grit than mindless car chase fanatica. We adore clever films and Looper certainly fits in the loop of being an intelligent nail biting tale that keeps you on the edge of your cinema seat.
14. The Cabin in the Woods
Five friends embark upon a trip to a cabin in the woods…it’s the oldest line in the book right and you may think how can a good horror movie come out of such a tale. Well you are wrong as The Cabin in the Woods successfully manages to turn the whole genre of horror inside out. It’s a great way of proving that new light can shine on old stories and the film was received with rapturous critical reception. Drew Godard directs and Kristen Connolly stars in this mind bending tale that will lead you through a maze of laughter, fears, trials and tribulations all in one foul swoop.
Who knew Ben Affleck had it in him! Sure we have all seen him strutting his stuff in Mallrats and Good Will Hunting but this time the idolized Hollywood actor is working his magic on both sides of the camera. That’s right he takes the lead as both the front man and director of the movie Argo. The film is based on the true life events of a life or death hostage situation at the American embassy in Tehran in 1976 and the unlikely rescue of six Americans. Affleck has tallied up brownie points by creating an awe inspiring thriller with a great pace, firm supporting cast and edgy storytelling antics. It’s a far cry from his mallrat days!
12. Django Unchained
The American western format has become cool again after the release of Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained. An A list ensemble cast including Leonardo Dicaprio, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L Jackson is a sure fire way to success. The film follows the trail of a recently freed slave as he treks across America with a bounty hunter on a mission to rescue his wife from the plantation fields. Tarantino has a history of being utterly unflinching when it comes to film and Django Unchained is no exception. The movie is pure Tarantino from start to finish with clever camera work, perfect casting and a smart talking script that cuts through your tongue. The old boy certainly hasn’t lost his hand when it comes to movies.
11. The Master
When you throw together Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffmann into a film you are certainly on the right track. Director Paul Thomas Anderson makes the grade with his tale of a World War II veteran struggling to adjust to a post war society. The film is loosely based on stories from Steinbeck, L.Ron Hubbard and earlier adaptations of There Will be Blood. Anderson has already proved his worth as a director after the release of There Will be Blood back in 2007 which gained unanimous critical reception. The Master comes in at a close second and is hailed for being beautifully filmed and utterly engrossing. The flawless acting skills of the two leads combined with a stunning score, classic script and timeless tale makes it as close to perfection as a film can get. The list of award nominations is endless and it seems the film will be pulling in its own weight of gold when you glance at the box office scores.
10. Wreck it Ralph
The animated Disney film is the only kids’ movie to make the top 10 when it comes to cinema success. So what made Wreck it Ralph stand out from the crowd and earn a highly coveted spot in our list? Well it hits the nail on the head and turns a mid-life crisis into a tale of epic proportion. Ralph has been called a love letter to the underdogs of life. Ralph is an arcade game villain who wants a second chance at life and aims to become a hero by traveling from arcade game to game and stomping out the bad guys. The storyline pitches us right back into childhood nostalgia by combining video games from our childhood and presenting us with a new twist on children’s movies. Pixar has previously seen success with movies like Shrek and Toy Story and Wreck it Ralph is another top notch comedy that appeals to audiences of all ages. A pitch perfect cast including John C. Reilly and a laugh out loud script complete with great cinema dynamics makes Wreck it Ralph a winner in our books. The box office agrees and ticket sales climbed to $277,519,916 after its release in October 2012. Wreck it Ralph has collected an impressive count of nominations in the Annie’s for Best Animated Feature, Best Music in an Animated Feature and even a Golden Globe nomination. Pixar we salute you for making kids films fun again!
9. The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn 2
Since the release of the successful Stephanie Myer’s teenage vampire books the world has literally gone gaga for the tale of immortal love between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. Twilight – you either love it or you loathe it but with box office figures like $812,456,286 it seems plenty of cinema goers can’t resist it. The final installment in the saga has proved to be Twilights highest grossing film and the fifth highest grossing film of 2012. Starring Kristen Stewart as the head over heels Bella and Robert Pattinson as the undead vampire heartthrob the film has been reeling in teenagers since its first release in 2008. The film series has come under plenty of criticism for being anti-feminist and just pure rubbish but lovers of the series are quick to argue that it is at heart a love story. Kristen Stewart who plays Bella Swan gave her liveliest performance in the finale. Whilst harsher critics would declare she is still a bit stiff and pale it seems that she bloomed in this new found story twist as she finally became the vampire she was born to be. Twilight fans lapped the saga up with a silver spoon, there are still a few eye rolling script moment as the teenage lovers talk of true love. Yet the final installment allowed the often two dimensional characters to step out of the old clichés and into a slightly higher realm of complex drama. If you loved Twilight you should be happy it ended on a high note, if you hated it well…you should just be happy it’s ended!
The plotline may seem straight from the mouth of a child but Ted is no mere kiddie’s tale. Ted is about a teddy bear that came to life thanks to a childhood wish from protagonist John Bennet. 27 years later the bear and the boy are enjoying a hedonistic life in Boston. Yet complications arise when John’s girlfriend wants the bad bear out of the picture. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Not only did Seth Macfarlane write and produce the tale of Ted but he also provides the voice for the living toy. Despite some mild grumblings of an inconsistent script Ted still managed to score big points at the box office and had critics eating out of the palm of its hand. The film was widely acclaimed for its original plot, laugh out loud comedy element and sterling performances. Critics were particularly impressed that the film didn’t seem to run out of steam from start to finish making it a strong all-rounder in the comedy stakes. For a film that sparked the inner child in all of us Ted managed to pull in $501,790,547 at the box office meaning it’s the highest grossing R rated comedy of all time.
7. Rust and Bone
No one can quite capture love stories like the French and Rust and Bone is no exception. The 2012 film tells the tale of a young unemployed man Ali who falls in love with a whale trainer called Stephanie. After a tragic accident which leaves Stephanie disabled she finds herself reaching out to Ali. This lays the tracks for a powerful and moving story of dramatic highs and melancholic lows to take place. The movie presents a solid cast, a wonderful script and the ability to twist your emotions with the drop of a hat. The film has been called brutal and tender by turns without resorting to garish sentimentality to sell its story. It seems Rust and Bone avoids slipping into any genre specifics and remains a haunting and inspired masterpiece of modern cinema. Jacques Audiard’s directorial ability has been hailed as a tour de force by critics and the film is fast collecting awards and nominations. Rust and Bone encapsulates the indie spirit when it comes to creating a story with timeless appeal. Although the box office figures don’t stand up in comparison to its Hollywood peers the films figure of $17,243,678 is still a triumph for a film that seeks the fringes.
6. The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
Tolkien lovers had long been awaiting the return to middle earth and nearly a decade after the release of Return of the King we finally got the chance. Peter Jackson’s second trilogy started in December with The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey. Cinema viewers were far from disappointed with the adaptation of the wonderful children’s tale centered on Bilbo Baggins and his quest that takes him to the Misty Mountains alongside a party of dwarves. Despite some misgivings at first the film was released in 3D format and shot in a whopping 48fpm, the effect means that you are literally sucked right into middle earth to enjoy the tale first hand. A solid cast helps the film reign supreme with Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo and Sir Ian McKellan back in his rags as Gandalf the Gray. Director Peter Jackson managed to take a relatively simple story and turn it on its head to offer us up a dark and dream worthy tale of epic proportions. The pre-Christmas release saw queues lining up down the block as middle earth mania swept us off our feet again. It’s no surprise to learn that the ticket sales hit over $764,920,000. In my opinion the movie deserved every penny and I say roll on 2013 for the next installment of The Hobbit.
Bond is back and it seems gone are the outdated jokes and dry sense of humor that had us in fits of giggles back in the seventies. The latest Bond movie has been declared the best yet and serves up a slick and sleek cinematic experience. Despite us being 23 films into the Bond enterprise Hollywood keeps finding a way of serving the secret agent up on a silver platter. Skyfall presents Daniel Craig for the third time as Bond and the critics love him in the role. The movie was declared a dazzling and audacious attempt complete with exceptional action sequences and droll jokes in the undercurrent of the script. Director Sam Mendes has been hailed as knowing exactly what a 21st century audience want from Bond. Proof that despite its long running history the character still has the ability to roll with the times. Skyfall pulled in a healthy $1,005,330,000 at the box office and the premier was even attended by the Prince of Wales. Despite the staggering success Skyfall still has to notch up a few more awards to keep up with its competitors. The jury is still out on whether Skyfall will make Oscar success in the year 2013.
4. The Hunger Games
When Suzanne Collins created her teenage sci fi fiction world The Hunger Games she probably had no idea that the story would prove a sellout success in the box office. Set in a post-apocalyptic world the plot follows Katniss Everdeen as she participates in life or death reality TV show The Hunger Games. Despite the films similarity to movies such as Battle Royal the movie still scored big with audiences worldwide. Jennifer Lawrence takes the lead in this thrilling tale that will have you on the edge of your seat for the full duration. Director Gary Ross was praised by critics for veering away from Hollywood gloss and instead opting for stark realism when it came to presenting his take on a dystopian world. The films unflinching look at the future raked in a massive $686,533,290 box office score and catapulted Jennifer Lawrence into the limelight. The film suffered some controversy due to casting and off-key remarks on social network sites but despite the controversy The Hunger Games has still sailed the ship of success. The film has tallied up plenty of awards including MTV Movie Awards, Teen Choice Awards and The People Choice Award. With the second installment of the highly entertaining adventure flick set to hit the screens this year word on the street is The Hunger Games will continue to deliver the goods.
3. Les Miserables
Les Miz as its fondly known is perhaps the biggest musical in the world! After numerous Broadway appearances the Victor Hugo novel made its way to the silver screen for the first time in December 2012. The innovative approach by director Tom Hooper who decided to have his A-star cast singing live as opposed to in the booth earned him brownie points with the box office. Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Helena Bonham Carter the film was set for stardom before it got of the casting couch. The plot follows starving Jean Valijean 19 years after he leaves prison and the police inspector dedicating his life to incarcerating Jean yet again. The story is thoroughly destitute, emotional and will have you weeping in your popcorn. Yet millions of movie goers turned up to see their fave stars sing for their supper meaning the movie grossed no less than $159,487,000 at the box office. The opening weekend smashed all former records and Les Miserables went down in history as being the highest grossing musical to ever hit the big screen. When it came to the critics it seems it was Anne Hathaway who stole the show in her role as down and out single mother Fantine. Her rendition of I dreamed a dream had the critics twisting in their seats all eager to praise the angelic performance. Les Miserables has scooped a handful of awards already and is begging to be big news at the Oscars this year.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
After the mega success of the bleak and brilliant Dark Knight back in 2008 we have been waiting on the edge of our seats to return to Gotham City. In summer 2012 we had that chance and were far from disappointed. The Dark Knight Rises although seemingly slow on the upstart led us through some high twists and turns throwing in some great car chase scenes, an utterly terrifying bad guy called Bane, the incredible costume of Batwoman, the introduction of Robin and a story that leaps off the screen. The dazzling climax to Christopher Nolan’s climax was the talk of the town not only hailed for its box office reception but hailed for simply being a great superhero movie. The caped crusader pulled in a whopping $1,081,041,287 at the box office and has already scored with the AFI Award for Best Film of the Year. Unfortunately the reception of the movie was dampened by the Aurora Colorado Shootings that took place at the film premier. Yet despite the knockback the movie has snowballed its success and has been given the nod by critics as a majestic, gorgeous, brutal and richly satisfying epic. The Dark Knight Rises is more than your average save the day superhero flick it’s a film that ponders, hesitates and plays to the highest order.
1. The Avengers
Hollywood has been finding success in Marvel comics and The Avengers proved a box office smash and the hottest movie to come out of 2012. With an all-star lineup including Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson it’s not hard to figure out just how The Avengers pulled the crowds in. Our favorite superheroes team up to fight for peace complete with dazzling CGI effects and startling costumes that knock your socks well and truly off. Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and The Black Widow throw down their best moves in this slick and sassy comic book cum blockbuster adaption. The mega movie grossed no less than $1,511,757,910 shortly after its release in April 2012. Not only has The Avengers been hailed for pulling in staggering ticket sale figures but it also smashed several North American records including the box office record for opening weekend, opening week and highest cumulative gross. Thanks to these figures the movie has been pulling in awards nominations left, right and center for the Teen Choice Awards and Hollywood Awards. Critics adored the movie giving it a big two thumbs up and praising the film for its ability to raise excitement for characters who are over fifty years old and place them in a timeless save the world story that manages to thoroughly entertain us without cheap tricks.