Top Films of 2012

Mostly for fun I've decided to do a list of the best films of 2012 according to me. Feel free to comment or provide your own list in the comments section. I will provide a small explanation for each. My only disclaimer will be that I, of course, have not seen every film of 2012 (although I have seen a lot). It is possible that Daniel-Day Lewis is so good in Lincoln that everything would change on my list... but I wouldn't know, because I haven't seen it yet. It is possible that Zero Dark Thirty is extraordinary but I will probably never see it, so it can't possibly make my list... that said...

10. Looper

I am a huge fan of science fiction which definitely differentiates me from the average film critic. While this movie made my cringe with its flippant use of time-travel and no real consistent treatment of the space-time continuum (NERD ALERT!) it was a great premise with a story that was engaging from start to finish. SPOILER ALERT: The willingness to sacrifice oneself for the possibility of a better future was a surprising twist as well as an incredible discussion starter!

9. Wreck-It Ralph

As a father of three I watch plenty of kids programming throughout the year. I love being able to see a family movie that I genuinely love myself. I must admit I was excited from the start to see a film based on a video game bad-guy who has a desire to be the HERO! It was fun, entertaining and really, really well-done.

8. Moonrise Kingdom

My wife and I love Wes Anderson's films and this might be the best one yet. The off-beat characters and tempo strike all the right chords for me. In addition the storyline which has two kids wanting something more than the loneliness and confusion they've been feeling gets a huge True Rebel bonus! This movie also delivered on some great performances from some really young actors.

7. The Dark Knight Rises

Some think I'm crazy, but this is my favourite of the Dark Knight trilogy. I think it might actually be because this film had the least Batman in it and the supporting cast really delivered on creating an action/drama that can barely even be considered a 'superhero movie'. Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway were all excellent! The theme of how a little hope can be used to crush people was particularly interesting, and ultimately how that hope makes people rise to the challenge of overcoming darkness and oppression!

6. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

I thoroughly enjoyed this great tale with wonderful acting and a theme of having faith. We can't always explain everything, sometimes we just need to believe that something good is possible. Lots of great, witty dialogue and good timing made this film so enjoyable.

5. Silver Linings Playbook

A movie about mental health, football, relationships and dancing; what's not to love? Great performances again in this film that has me smiling just thinking about it again. How do we live in community with people who break all the 'rules' because of the refreshing, brutal honesty of their mental health and the unpredictability that comes with it? This is a movie that really had me rooting for the characters!

4. Les Miserables

The performances of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway alone should have this film in everyone's top 5. To be able to convey emotion and still perform their musical pieces as LIVE PERFORMANCES caught on film is astonishing. The storyline earns this films spot hear as well as we see absolute destitute poverty under an oppressive monarchy and see the various ways that the poor attempt to hang onto dignity and hope! Hathaway had me in tears and the character of Jean Valjean teaches us that change is possible as he learns that seeing the face of God is possible as we learn to live lives of love!

3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I am biased. The Hobbit was my favourite book when I was younger. My Mom read to us on multiple roadtrips and I was absolutely engaged in the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he journeyed there and back again. Peter Jackson brings Middle Earth to life and I was so grateful to be brought back there again in a film that was much more light-hearted with many more laughs than the Lord of the Rings. And Gandalf's quote about why he chooses a Hobbit to accompany the dwarves on their journey is so perfect; "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don't know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage." Great power is not the way to defeat oppression, it will be love that gives us courage to persevere in the face of darkness, it will be love that changes everything!

2. The Avengers

Another nerd-alert! This is the best super-hero movie made to date. The Avengers really benefitted from the fact that most of the characters were able to establish their back-stories with individual movies. Instead of introducing characters and developing their back-stories they were able to focus on the story, the action and the team dynamics (the latter of which really made the film). I wouldn't expect any true critic to call this one of the best films of the year, but I am not claiming to be a true critic, in this case, just a fan-boy.

1. Argo

Ben Affleck is becoming one of the finest film-makers currently making movies. I think Ben painstakingly attempted to recreate these historical events in a truthful and honest way. This film also gives us an example of a NON-VIOLENT resolution to an international conflict; AMAZING! Great performances, great filmmaking, great story. Argo is my pick for best movie of the year!

Now I'm going to cheat a little bit and provide five more films of 2012 that I really enjoyed (and there's more where that came from) as HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Django Unchained - Would probably be top 10 but the whole theme of redemptive-violence is a bit much (but what else can you expect from Tarantino). It is too easy to cheer for racist slave-owners to "get what's coming to them". The acting was amazing. If you can't deal with swearing and violence, this film is not for you.

People Like Us - Such an unexpected great film! Genuinely heartwarming. I thought it was one of the best love stories of the year, perhaps because it is not romantic in any way. Love as a choice rooted in being a positive presence in the someone's life. Great stuff!

The Hunger Games - Mostly because I'm such a huge fan of the novels. It was so fun to see this world brought to the big screen.

Skyfall - The best of Daniel Craig's Bond films. It was totally different and really dug into the psychology behind a hired killer (as Bond is). Lost marks for having a love-scene with a woman who was trafficked in the sex trade, that's all the bad guys wanted her for too... be different!

The Dictator - I think Sasha Baron Cohen is a brilliant comic actor. This movie gets an honourable mention though mainly for the speech about what America could do if it was a dictatorship and not a democracy in which he lists all kinds of things America already, currently does... BRILLIANT!

Now for some extra fun I will add some additional awards;

Best Male Actor Leading Role - Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)

Best Female Actor Leading Role - Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Male Actor Supporting Role - Leonardo DiCaprio (Django)

Best Female Actor Supporting Role - Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)

Best Director - Ben Affleck (Argo)

Again, I would love to hear from you and feel free to post your picks (films or actors) in the comments.

Top 5 Family

Top 5 Family Picks       

Zoe's Picks have inspired me to do my top 5 family picks of the year. Bare in mind that I have not seen Hotel Transylvannia which I heard good things about.

1. Wreck-It Ralph (obvious since it was in my top 10)

2. Rise of the Guardians - Tonnes of fun and Jack Frost was a wonderful character. I love the notion about the Guardians protecting something intrigal for all the children or the world (whether naughty or nice).

3. The Lorax - The music is so good, our kids were singing the songs for weeks! Outstanding message exposing our over-consumption and the need to care for the environment over maximizing profits.

4. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Fun adventure, like I always loved as a kid.

5. Brave - just beats out Madagascar and Ice Age which I liked, but the Pixar animation is just too good to be denied a spot in the top 5.

Zoe's Picks My 7 1/2 year old

Zoe's Picks

My 7 1/2 year old daughter wanted to chime in with her top 10 picks for 2012, which I have already editied once since posting because she wanted to make some changes : )

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

2. The Avengers

3. Wreck-It Ralph

4. Rise of the Guardians

5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

6. The Lorax

7. Ice Age: Continental Drift

8. Frankenweenie

9. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

10. ParaNorman

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