Feature Blogs

Matt's Top & Bottom 10 Films Of 2012

  

Putting together a “best of the year” list together is always fun.  This is the 17th time I’ve done it (first starting back in 1996) and it’s a neat way of summing up the 12 month period.  You can check out all my old lists by clicking here

It’s been another solid year of film-going and I’ve reviewed 191 films in total.  That's a little down on prior years but it's due to a smaller number of films being released in Brisbane.

We discussed the lists below on my show on 612ABC and we took feedback from listeners on their own favourites.  If you'd like to listen to the podcast, just click here.

WORST FILMS OF 2012

I do need to take care of one chore first.  That is, I need to name and shame the worst 10 films of the year.  Here they are in reverse order...

10. Taken 2 (released Oct 4) is yeah, um, not good. It should be classed as science-fiction given that Liam Neeson is some kind of clairvoyant. The way in which he reads every situation and eliminates the bad guys (who come complete with foreign accents) is laughable. The Austin Powers movies were more believable. Don't get me started on the dialogue.

9. Alex Cross
(released Nov 8) is rubbish. A group of cops try to stop a psycho killer guy and nothing really makes any sense. It contains more holes than a donut shop.

8. The Lucky One (released Apr 19) is a dreadful movie. You should know what to expect from a Nicholas Sparks adaptation (The Notebook, Dear John, The Last Song) but this gives new meaning to the words "contrived" and "manipulative". I'm sorry but I didn't buy it for a second. Zac Efron has talent but someone needs to help him land better roles

7. One For The Money (released Feb 16) is a dreadful action-comedy-whatever starring Katherine Heigl as an unemployed woman who takes a job as a bounty hunter and goes after an ex-cop who skipped bail... and who just so happens to be her first boyfriend. The script is all over the place and I almost fell asleep due to the lack of laughs.

6. Kath & Kimderella
(released Sep 6) is for people who have a sense of humour that is the opposite of my own. I based this on the fact that there were plenty of laughs from those around me in the cinema. Sadly, I thought the story was terrible and the jokes dismal.

5. Resident Evil: Retribution (released Sep 13) sucked the life out of me. It features tedious, FX-laden action and god-awful dialogue. This series is going nowhere and needs to be put to death.

4. This Means War (released Feb 16) is terrible. Two CIA agents fall in love with the same girl and use any means necessary to win her affections. Ok, I realise rom-coms aren't my favourite genre but this story is dumb and the characters are morons

3. StreetDance 2 (released Apr 19) was abominable. I've had dental appointments that were more entertaining. The acting was poor, the story was non-existent and the dance sequences do nothing to get the blood pumping

2. Housos Vs Authority (released Nov 1) is a movie spin off of the SBS TV show. I can't remember seeing a film with more F-bombs. Fans of the TV series (whoever you are) can check it out but everyone else can steer clear. Watching the two-minute trailer is bad enough.

1. The Door (released Jul 19) was awful. It stars Helen Mirren as a grumpy maid who lives a secretive, reclusive life. This is a boring story with horrendous supporting performances and bizarre flashback sequences. The year's worst!

BEST FILMS OF 2012

In terms of the best, honourable mentions go to The Perks Of Being  A Wallflower, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Young Adult, Moonrise Kingdom, Looper, The Master, Skyfall, Argo and The Intouchables.

However, my top 10 films of 2012 in reverse order are…

10.  Beasts Of The Southern Wild (released Sep 13) takes a little while to warm up (such a strange setting) but it develops in a moving story that explores the relationship between father and daughter in a remote community near New Orleans. In her first acting role, 8-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis is simply extraordinary.

9.  Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (released May 10) is a scrumptious documentary about an 85-year-old sushi maker from Japan and his unmatched dedication to the craft of sushi making. His restaurant has just 10 seats but has been awarded 3 Michelin stars. If this film doesn't make you hungry, nothing will.

8. The Avengers (released Apr 25) can be simply described as awesome! I don’t know how writer-director Joss Whedon squeezed so much material into the two and a half hour running time. Put simply, it’s one of the best superhero movies ever and excels in terms of three key genres – action, comedy and suspense.

7.  The Descendants (released Jan 12) is a beautiful film. Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election) again proves his wizardry of mixing both comedy and drama to maximum effect. This is a touching story of a work-a-holic father who reconnects with his two daughters after their mother is badly injured in a boating accident.

6.  Take This Waltz
(released Jun 14) is a funny, sweet, emotional and real experience. We've seen many films about people cheating on their spouses and whether it's the right thing but I love this level headed perspective from director Sarah Polley.  It features yet another amazing performance from Michelle Williams.

5.  The King Of Devil's Island (released May 3) is a powerful, affecting film that left me wishing I could jump from my seat and help its suffering characters. It is set in the early 20th Century on a remote island in Norway where a group of troubled boys are subjected a brutal disciplinary regime before being allowed to re-enter society. It's amazing.

4.  Searching For Sugar Man (released Oct 4) is a wonderful documentary that looks at the way in which a unknown American musician became a huge star in South Africa in the 1970s. This is superbly told with a strong narrative. It teases you with mystery and then when all is revealed, you'll feel amazed, inspired.

3.  Margin Call (released Mar 15) looks at 24 hours in the life of a major investment bank that is on the brink of collapse. Thankfully, the film does not demonise these characters - it portrays them as level-headed human beings who must decide whether to put their own interests ahead of others. The dialogue is superb and writer-director J.C. Chandor deserved his Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.

2.  A Separation (released Mar 1) won the Oscar for best foreign language film and now I know why. An outsider could see these characters as deeply flawed. That’s not the reality however. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi slips us into their shoes and we appreciate each of their perspectives. Life is rarely clear-cut and you can’t always rely on a textbook when faced when a tough ethical dilemma.

1.  Shame
(released Feb 9) is the year’s best film. The story is fascinating in itself but it’s Steve McQueen’s careful direction that gives it a seductive, hypnotic edge. He takes us into the life of a sex addict and there’s very little respite. The lack of editing, curious camera angles and odd choice of music will leave many feeling uncomfortable. It's brilliant filmaking.

If you haven't seen any of the above films (well, excluding the "worst of" list) then make sure you check them out.

That closes the book on 2012 and I look forward to doing it again at this time next year!