Anyone who knows me will know that picking my favourites of anything is a big challenge but I have done my best to whittle down the new films I’ve seen in 2012 into something of a top 5.
As ever I’m being slightly unconventional as what I have come up with is, in fact my three favourite films of the year, in no particular order, as well as two others that have struck a chord with me.
So here we go with my not quite top 5 films of 2012:
Searching For Sugar Man – This music documentary gave an interesting twist to the convention of telling the story of a band or musician by focusing on an artist most viewers, myself included, would never have heard of rather than someone well known.
This gave it a double impact of being both a fascinating story of discovery, rediscovery and the power of music on society and a chance for me to hear some great sounding new music I had never heard before and hope to explore further.
Paranorman – Every now and again a movie comes along that, while ostensibly a children’s film, hits the right balance of humour, plot and subject matter to genuinely cross over as a film perfectly suited to both children and adults.
Shrek often gets lauded as being a high point of this, but, to be honest I never understood why as it always to me to just hit a few obvious references. Paranorman on the other hand genuinely references both film and other pop culture as well as well as hitting the marks of what must be real scares for kids and laughs for everyone while dealing with some issues rarely tackled in family films.
The Dark Knight Rises – Ok, so I think anyone who reads this blog or has listened to any of my reviews will know I’m something of a mark for Batman, so it’s probably not that surprising that The Dark Knight Rises has made my list.
While it has come in for its fair share of flack as a film rounding of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy I think it does an excellent job and sits firmly within its own well constructed heightened reality universe.
As well as telling a story that has totally sucked me in on several occasions, it also squares off the trilogy in a way that, while open, completes a story, in a manner much like a comic book, but in a way that suits film.
And I still don’t see what people’s issue was with Bane’s voice.
Looper – In a year that featured the release of possibly the most anticipated sci-fi movie I can recall, Prometheus, it was nice to find this time travel which took a more serious approach to sci-fi and combined it with a thrilling action/adventure type story to create what the best sci-fi across any media is – something thought provoking and entertaining.
Certainly it was a good year for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and, for me, this was its high point as he put in a great performance at once channeling Bruce Willis but also being something very much his own.
This combined with some nice twists and turns and some fun playing with classic time travel concepts created a movie that certainly should become a genre classic.
Skyfall – Amidst some of the biggest hype and marketing I remember seeing (it even got to me who does my best to avoid a lot of it) Bond was back in 2012, and in spectacular style. Sure the film certainly did well at the box office and was generally well reviewed, but, I think somewhat thankfully, I didn’t rush to see it but gave it a few weeks before heading into a quieter cinema to watch it.
Now, I’ve always been a Bond fan, but, in recent years, have become somewhat distanced from the archetypal movie super-spy. First there were the later Brosnan films that became a bit like the later Moore movies with gimmicks aplenty but little plot and even less worth. Then we got the Craig reboot-ish films and, while Casino Royale was an enjoyable film, for me it went too far in the direction of trying to make Bond a real world creature and, frankly, the less said about Quantum of Solace the better.
So Skyfall has, somewhat, reset things again and hit every mark that made the classic Bond films, Goldfinger, GoldenEye, Dr No and their ilk so great all at once, whilst keeping an element of the more modern Bond introduced in Casino Royale to create one of the most complete Bond films ever.
With a genuine sense of jeopardy and a modern twist on many of the classic hallmarks of the series Skyfall may well be my favourite Bond film, and, just maybe, is my film of the year, though as I said, I always find it hard to pick one.
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As well as these five, for various reasons, I’d also like to mention Dredd, End of Watch, Brave, The Avengers and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, all of which I enjoyed on different levels and I thought were noteworthy films in one way or another and I’ve still not seen The Hobbit or Berberian Sound Studio…
Note: At the point of compiling this I hadn’t seen Life of Pi, another movie released in 2012 though I saw it in 2013, and if I had this would certainly be a top 6!