My Top 15 Films Of The Last 12 Months
Another twelve months have gone and its been another interesting year in the world of cinema. We’ve had superheroes galore and a few of Hollywood’s biggest names return to the silver screen. Here are my top fifteen films of the last twelve months (March 2012-February 2013).
15. LOOPER (15) | Directed by Rian Johnson
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.
I really enjoyed the concept of this film; it was engaging and fresh. The only slight downside is it doesn’t end as strong as hoped, you feel a little let down after being built up expecting a big conclusion. But saying that, I enjoyed the idea this film was portraying.
14. RUBY SPARKS (15) | Directed by Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.
Ruby Sparks is smart, intelligent and throughly entertaining. It was always going to be hard to follow the brilliance of Little Miss Sunshine, but Faris and Dayton produced another gem. The thing I loved about Ruby Sparks is you don’t have any idea how the story will end, which engages your full attention throughout.
13. WRECK-IT RALPH (U) | Directed by Rich Moore
A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.
My favourite animated film of the year, which is a huge compliment considering this year featured a lot of strong animated films. Wreck-It Ralph makes it into my list simply because its story puts out a nice message about friendship and putting others feeling ahead of your own, and I like that family friendly message. It’s also Disney’s best film for some time.
12. AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE (12A) | Directed by Joss Whedon
Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.
Now I ain’t a huge blockbuster guy, and this year did feature a lot of blockbusters, but I must say Avengers Assemble took the crown this year. It was excellently directed by Joss Whedon, who stayed religiously honest to the comics. The special effects where fantastic, as was to be expected, but what I really liked about Avengers Assemble was the overall cinematic experience. When the action comes, it comes at you loud, bold and bigger than anything I’ve seen to date on a cinema screen.
11. ZERO DARK THIRTY (15) | Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.
Bigelow delivered another fine portrait on the war on terrorism. I had reservations before watching this film. I thought I would be watching a film entirely about America patting themselves on the back for capturing the world’s most wanted man. I was pleasantly surprised; it doesn’t attempt to do anything like that. It’s humble, but most importantly it isn’t afraid to question America’s tactics and shameful handling of some terrorists.
10. LIFE OF PI (12A) | Directed by Ang Lee
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Without a shadow of a doubt the most visually stunning film of the year. Ang Lee has done a fantastic job of making the book a reality; Lee throughly deserved his Oscar for Best Direction. On the surface this is a film that I wouldn’t necessary go to see, but considering it’s Oscar nomination, I thought I’d watch it. I’m glad I did. The story never drags, although there are a few moments that seem a little strange but the overall vision and ambition of this film is phenomenal.
9. ARGO (15) | Directed by Ben Affleck
A dramatisation of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.
The best picture winner is only number nine of my list. Well, I wasn’t exactly blown away by it. It’s a good film and I did enjoy the film a lot, but the predictability of the cheesy ending spoilt a film I was really enjoying at the time. It’s suspenseful to some degree when they’re trying to board the plane, but as a viewer it’s plainly obvious they’ll make it out of Iran. Maybe am being harsh. But maybe am being harsh because Argo has been built up so much in the press these last few weeks that I for one, don’t know why it’s being hailed so highly.
8. SKYFALL (12A) | Directed by Sam Mendes
Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
The most talked about and anticipated film of the year. I’m a Bond guy, so I was excited to watch Skyfall. It didn’t disappoint but it didn’t exactly live up to the humongous hype it was given. That’s not the fault of the actors, writers or production crew, thats the distributors trying to maximised their profit, which ended up working pretty well for them. This a very good Bond film. Best Bond ever? No, but it’s certainly up there.
7. MOONRISE KINGDOM (12A) | Directed by Wes Anderson
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.
Oh Wes Anderson, you have yet to disappoint me. Moonrise Kingdom was one of the films I was personally very excited about. Wes Anderson is such a unique filmmaker. The aesthetics of his films are Kubrick-esque, his characters off-beat and his storytelling almost Roald Dahl like. Moonrise Kingdom followed the trend of Anderson’s previous efforts, yet still felt fresh. His use of narration always brings a smile to my face.
6. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (15) | Directed by David O. Russell
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Silver Linings Playbook was one of them films that I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro are cast perfectly, but Jennifer Lawrence is cast exquisitely. David O. Russell often known for his screwball style films delivers a film full of emotion and heartache yet balanced perfectly with humour.
5. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (15) | Directed by Martin McDonagh
A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
Probably the most off the wall film of the year. The story drags you in all directions, leading you down blind alleys, then comes back on itself to reveal a side you didn’t know it had. Christopher Walken pulls off another fine performance but Sam Rockwell is yet again brilliant. His monologue in the desert is the highlight of the film, and one of my favourite scenes of the year.
4. THE RAID (18) | Directed by Gareth Evans
A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.
One of the most brutal films I’ve seen since Oldboy. The Raid has a quality to it I haven’t seen in a while. It’s take on the action and martial art genres breathes fresh life into dying art forms. I must warn you, this film gets better and better with every watch. Gareth Evans is a director to keep your eye on.
3. THE MASTER (18) | Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
The film I thought would be the top contender at this years Oscars, unfortunately that wasn’t the case, but The Master certainly didn’t let me down. Everyone has been talking about Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Abraham Lincoln, but they seem to be overlooking Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in The Master. It’s mesmerising how good Phoenix is. His performance has the same quality of Robert De Niro’s in Taxi Driver. It’s only a matter of time before people jump off the Day-Lewis band wagon and realise Phoenix deserves just as much of their attention.
2. DJANGO UNCHAINED (18) | Directed by Quentin Tarantino
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Tarantino returned to the big screen with his much anticipated, Django Unchained. It featured all the qualities we come to expect from Tarantino; great dialogue, colourful characters, foul language… oh and a tiny bit of violence. Django was another stick of dynamite Tarantino threw into our laps, which is ironic because Tarantino himself gets blown up by dynamite in the film. If you haven’t seen this film yet, what have you been doing?
1. END OF WATCH (18) | Directed by David Ayer
Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.
I still haven’t got over this film. End Of Watch deserved a lot more attention than what it was given. The friendship between the two cops is excellently shown throw the intimate documentary style. David Ayer paints a heart-stopping portrait of the daily dangers police in South Central, California face. End Of Watch is a totally new way of portraying policemen; I’ve never seen a cop film have such an emotional pulling power. This has to be one of the best cop films ever made.