2012 has come to a close and I guess we all survived. It’s a little disappointing for me because I now feel obligated to write one of these really long reviews talking about all of the movies of 2012 in order to whip out my movie dick and measure it against yours so that you will feel inadequate. I went to the theaters quite a bit this year and caught quite a bit of what I didn’t bother with in theaters when it came out on DVD. Of the 253 movies that Wikipedia listed as a 2012 release, I saw 46. This is also the very first year that I’ve been writing reviews for the entire year, so I’m sure I have even more to write about this year than I had last year. So let’s dive right into the films of 2012. And, since this is essentially 46 mini-reviews, you may feel free to dive right to the deep end and just read my top and bottom 5.
I have no real reason to have been as interested in this movie as I was, but I really wanted it to be awesome. It had some really good action because Gina Carano is very good at translating her MMA career into fake fighting, but there was not nearly enough action and the rest of it was really boring. Edit about 40 minutes of Gina Carano walking down a street with nothing happening and maybe you have a movie here. Until then, skip it.
I think the Underworld series on the whole is actually much more serviceable than one could expect going in. The story has nothing shocking to be found in it but you also probably aren’t really expecting that as you go into the movie. The action is cool and stylized, and I am never going to argue with you about seeing a movie with Kate Beckinsale wearing skintight clothes. This movie is worth a rental at least.
I was not into this movie. I know it’s probably mainly due to the fact that I have ADD and require a movie to keep me constantly riveted, but I’ll just blame the movie instead of myself because it’s easier that way. The performances are great and the story is a great look at the way people would react to the building tension of the constant threat of death, but only on rare occasions was that threat in the form of an unconvincing CG wolf, and the constant threat of death by falling asleep because you’re really cold is not going to keep my attention. But, because some people really like this movie, I’d call it worth a rental. I wasn’t into it, but there’s a chance you would be if you’re more patient than I am.
MAN ON A LEDGE
I watched this movie as part of a mad rush to try to see as many movies from 2012 as I could. It was one of four I watched on Christmas day. I went into this movie expecting it to be really shitty, but it actually wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t groundbreaking, and it kind of felt like it was an amalgam of Phone Booth and some heist movie, but it was an interesting enough premise for a movie, it kept my attention well, and had some good performances by Elizabeth Banks and many of the non-Sam Worthington people. Sam Worthington was at least serviceable. As was this movie. Decent enough to earn itself a rental.
I was actually fairly surprised by how much I liked this movie. I felt like it was a little bit hindered by having to force the found footage style onto us, but the movie might not have made any real impact without it. It was a nice superhero-esque movie and an interesting character study. Good story, good action, minor problems. Definitely worth a rental
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
I saw this movie because Harry Potter was in it. And also ghosts. I like both of those things. It didn’t necessarily lead me wrong, unless I went in expecting it to be Harry Potter. It wasn’t a whole lot like those movies. It had some thrills to it but was hindered in my mind by a piss-poor ending and lack of any surprise to the story, but it was good enough. And Daniel Radcliffe did a good enough job that some people might actually be able to look at him as something other than Harry Potter. But not me though. I will always call everyone in that cast by their Harry Potter character names. You could rent this movie, but you should just go buy Harry Potter instead.
STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D
Fuck this movie, and also fuck 3D. …Did I see it in 3D? Fuck no, I didn’t! I’ve made enough bad decisions in my life.
THIS MEANS WAR
I went into this movie with low expectations, but I found the movie charming on the whole, and mainly because all of the parts of the movie were charming. A lot of the dialogue was charming, the story itself was an interesting idea because it was a chick flick that had a good deal of action to keep men just as interested, and all three of the leads in the movie were very charming. Rent it if you desire to be charmed. …CHARMED!!!
The Lorax wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good. I know that the overblown environmental message would come hand in hand with a movie about an orange, mustachioed creature that speaks for the trees, but it wasn’t funny enough for me to not get irritated by it. But the movie wasn’t made for me. Kids should like it for its goofiness and its colorful landscapes and adorable animals. Parents might not even find it unbearable as most things kids might make them watch. But I haven’t made the mistake of getting someone pregnant, so it’s not my cup of tea.
It’s probably too easy to kick this movie when it’s down. They tried very hard with this movie and just failed miserably. It had lots of ingredients that could sometimes be assembled into a great movie, like some big action scenes and epic landscapes with tons of well-realized CGI, but when they put it together it was just really boring and all the characters in the movie were overshadowed by a dog creature. There was no tangible reason that this movie was as boring as it ended up being, but it was. You could rent it, but I think you’d be safer not wasting the time or money.
A cool idea that never needed to be realized. Silent House invested so much into making the movie seem like it was one, continuous shot that they forgot that movies should have stuff happen. They also forgot that feeling it was necessary to film in one shot meant that their camera angles would occasionally be annoying and make you miss stuff that you shouldn’t be missing. The story was a good idea and Elizabeth Olsen was great, but the movie fell flat. Skip it.
WRATH OF THE TITANS
I knew this movie was going to suck when I went into it. It didn’t disappoint me. The story was bland and even the action that was certain to be the only thing of interest was lackluster. But the movie did look good, and Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes brought more credibility to it than they should’ve felt necessary. It’s not the worst movie you could watch, but there’s also not a whole lot of reason to bother going to rent it. If you want to sit around with your friends and crack wise about the movie, it’s good joke fodder. Otherwise, skip it.
I liked Goon a lot. I found the movie charming, even in its violence and occasional vulgarity. It had some solid laughs, and spent most of its time being generally amusing, but I think the movie had been talked up to me too much for its own good before I started watching it, leaving it a mountain too hard for it to climb to be considered funny by me. But it was charming and I enjoyed my experience with the movie overall, so I’d say it’s at least worth a rental. Just don’t go in thinking it’s going to be the funniest thing ever like one of your friends acts like it is based on one really funny scene in the movie. There’s a whole lot of movie bookending that one really funny scene.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
I was left with a bad taste in my mouth because of this movie, but I don’t think it was really as much the fault of the movie as it was the fault of the world. I had expectations set up for me for this movie that I would be blown away by it, and that the twist in the movie must not be spoiled in its epicness. I thought the movie was okay, but it did not blow my mind. And the “twist” kind of got on my nerves because it happened as the very first thing in the movie, and thus did not feel twisty. Not twisty at all! But it was a pretty decent idea for a movie, it had some funny moments, and overall it was at least worth a watch. Especially since you could be one of the people that really loved it. I say rent it for now.
Not really the worst thing I watched this year, but also a complete waste of my time. I think it wanted to be funny, but it wasn’t. It probably wanted to be interesting, but that also didn’t work out for them. I don’t even have that much to say to shit on this movie. You can totally skip this movie.
A decent portion of this movie was good. It had some creepiness, and even had a few funny moments to be found in some of the clever dialogue, but near the middle of the movie it started to unfurl and the ending took it down a few notches. It wasn’t a bad movie, and worth a watch if you’re in the mood for it, but I feel fairly confident that your life will continue without it.
MEN IN BLACK 3
It’s another Men in Black movie, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I would be comfortable arguing that this one was possibly the best in the series. It has lots of funny moments, plenty of interesting moments, and even some surprisingly heartfelt moments that were unexpected, but appreciated. Worth watching for sure, and probably even worth owning.
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
This movie wasn’t bad. Just Kristen Stewart was. But she always is, and I went in knowing that. I’ve seen her worse than she was in this movie, but I could not get over my irritation over the fact that everyone in this movie kept acting like there was some definition of the word “fair” that would have Kristen Stewart winning out over Charlize Theron. This movie wasn’t the fairest of them all, but it was fair. Still skippable, but certainly not as bad as I thought it might be knowing that Kristen Stewart was in it.
My own uncontrollable expectations caused this movie to fail in my eyes. Well, the movie had something to do with it too. The story was fine, but had a really slow start. The performances were fine, but none were too fantastic, and the female lead could’ve done with a little bit more of that Ellen Ripley moxie. One thing that was inarguable about this movie was that it looked amazing. It’s definitely worth a watch, but I haven’t yet felt inspired to purchase the movie. I don’t resent having watched it though.
ROCK OF AGES
Unimpressive, but it still managed to be entirely watchable. Was it the story? Nah, that was pretty much just a love story with some Footloose going on in the background. Was it the performances? Kinda. Tom Cruise did a solid job, and I am always down to watch Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman be super-hot. It was mainly the music, which was right in my wheelhouse. I suppose there are people in the world whose taste in music is wrong (aka does not match mine), which would make this movie less interesting to you, but ultimately it’s a fine enough rental.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Buried within the deep recesses of my brain was a profound interest in this movie based on the crazy idea it was based on. One of our greatest presidents fighting vampires on the side? WACKY! It didn’t work out quite like that. I blame part of my annoyance with this movie on the quality of the theater and the theater goers, but the story never lived up to their own interesting idea, the graphics were lackluster, and the performances didn’t do anything for me. Not the worst thing ever, but it has nothing that requires your viewing. Skip it.
I had just started to feel like I hadn’t seen this movie. Thanks for opening old wounds, calendar! In all surprising actuality, this movie was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. It was a kind of basic story with dicks and man-meat thrown into it, and was probably pretty heavily based on Channing Tatum’s life. The dialogue was sometimes annoying because it seemed like parts of it were improvised to come off as unpracticed, but it was not improvised well. But there were some funny moments in the movie and overall was a fairly enjoyable experience, and probably much more enjoyable if you are a gay man or a straight woman who just wants to see your own version of mainstream pornography. Olivia Munn’s boobs are in the first 5 minutes of it if you’re not as into man-meat, but you can Google that too.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
I know this movie took a lot of heat, but I feel that people were a bit too harsh with it. Sure, there was no need to give the series a complete reboot when everyone going to see it already knows the story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, but they changed it just enough to keep it mildly interesting, and they had some solid enough action. Some of the dialogue was crap, but overall the movie was entirely watchable, at least for a comic book nerd like myself. I’ve been wanting to watch it again recently, but not enough to buy it. I guess that means I recommend this movie for a rental.
KATY PERRY: PART OF ME
Of course I wouldn’t have watched this movie unless it was requested. I don’t give a good gangnam about Katy Perry, and I’d rather sit on a rusty pipe than sit through a movie about her. I had to listen to her music, I had been forced into her life, and when I left I knew that this movie wasn’t meant for me. I know that the right groups would be really interested in this thing, but I was not one of those people. It wasn’t painful to watch, and Katy Perry came off very likeable, but I’d much rather have not been involved in this movie whatsoever.
I went into this movie with a very sour face on. I staunchly expected this movie to suck. Remakes tend to be pretty bad, and this was a remake of a movie that a lot of people love for some reason, but I don’t even think anything was all that great about the original. Unless you mean from a comedy standpoint. But this movie was actually pretty good. I wouldn’t call it great by any stretch of the imagination, but the plot made a little more sense than the original, the action was really good, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are really hot (Hell, I’d even say Colin Farrell is hot), and the look of the movie was fantastic. And, most importantly, they included the three-boobed lady. What more could you ask for? Rent it.
THE BOURNE LEGACY
Sometimes it can be detrimental to a movie to associate itself with a preexisting property. I understand that the studios know that putting Bourne in their title will draw in fans of the first three movies, but I also saw this movie. I know that this movie would’ve been pretty cool if I hadn’t already seen the first three, which were way better. The story was fairly typical of the Bourne series, but what they forgot to capture was that the Bourne movies are action movies. They get around to it, but unless you consider Jeremy Renner walking through the snow “action”, then they take their sweet time getting there. I’d say you could do worse than renting it, especially if you have the ability to skip in a little to when it starts getting good.
Until I was corrected, I had the opposite response to this movie from the one I had with Ted. I went in with inexplicably high expectations for the movie that could not be met. But Friendboss Josh reminded me afterwards that I had laughed many times in the movie, and comedies would be exhausting if I was laughing nonstop through the entire movie. With that realization, I also realized that I enjoyed the movie. Basic story, but enough laughs to be worth a watch. Check it out for a rental.
THE EXPENDABLES 2
This movie was exactly what I expect it to be. Mediocre story, decent action, and overall completely meh. The action in this movie wasn’t nearly good enough to overcome the horrible dialogue, and the vaguely depressing tone they go for even lessens the potential fun of the movie. But it’s not bad and, if you’re in the mood for a big dumb action movie, you could do worse than to rent this movie.
I kind of watched this movie on a whim when I saw it in a RedBox. I didn’t really regret it. The artistic style of the movie was a little odd but interesting as they went for stop-motion animation instead of the tried and true CG style, and I respect that. The story wasn’t anything special, and was mostly just a pretty overblown anti-bullying message. But that’s appropriate because this movie is for kids … or is it? It’s hard to say, because some of the things in the movie seemed a little dark and mature for kids, like the fat kid’s ghost dog that was cut in half. I’m not really sure who the audience was for this movie, but neither adults nor kids should find it painful to watch. It’s at least worth a rental.
It’s like the Apparition, but slightly better. At least this movie had some decent performances, though it also had some annoying ones. It adds nothing new beyond making the demons Jewish, but at least it was able to keep a certain degree of suspense in the movie. It was a well-realized movie, but one that could easily be skipped.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION
Spoilers! I haven’t written a review for this one yet. But I did watch it and it was crap. But I would give it credit for not being as bad as the last movie, as well as seeming to be fully aware of its dumbness. The story is barely anything more than Alice trying to escape a facility, but the movie was almost entirely action so as to leave no room for a mediocre story. We’ve got things to blow up! The performances in it were either bad or average, but the movie itself never becomes unwatchable. Does that mean you should watch it? No, not really. But it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET
It’s probably appropriate that the title of this movie can be broken down to HATE … of the Street. I guess I can’t really say that I HATED the movie, but I also did not necessarily enjoy the movie in any way. The look of the movie was interesting enough, but nothing happens for the bulk of the movie, and the psychology of the killer doesn’t really hold up to me. As with most horror movies, the characters in the movie were all completely incompetent, but since this movie was set in a more real world situation, it seemed out of place and unbelievable. Ultimately, it just wasn’t interesting. Skip it.
Sinister was partially able to do well with me because I went in with a blank slate about the potential for the movie. As with most horror movies that I watch these days, I felt like they took a lot from other horror movies, but the movie was not without a few startles and its own set of charms. It was full of good performances, but ended with a whimper. It’s at least worth renting, but there’s not a whole lot of reason to purchase this thing.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4
Sure, these movies are beginning to beat a dead horse with the frequency of their releases, but I would say that Paranormal Activity 4 actually has the potential of being the best in the series thus far, or at least of having the best ending. It was slow going in the start, and I spent that time picking out logic loopholes. But ending on a strong note always leaves the audience with a better taste in their mouth than does opening strong, and this movie proves that. I liked it, and I will probably buy the movie. If you haven’t liked the other movies in this series, this probably won’t change your mind.
Skyfall didn’t blow my mind or anything, but I did like it. It was the first Bond movie that I can recall that had a fairly emotional story and I liked it for that. It also had a pretty good amount of action, even though part of the action was Bond pulling a Kevin McCallister on his childhood home. They at least pulled a good amount of action out of that goofiness. I’ve always liked Daniel Craig as Bond, but I thought Javier Bardem was a bit of a strange character choice. He did manage to be fairly intimidating while also seeming entirely gay. Overall, I thought it was good. Definitely worth checking out in theaters. I’ll probably buy it when it comes out on BluRay.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
I still have a bad taste in my mouth about this movie, but I have calmed myself somewhat since I saw it. When I saw it in theaters, I got very mad at the fact that Peter Jackson split one book (that was already turned into one cartoon movie) into three movies, and that he didn’t even feel the need to include the dragon (which was the only thing I remembered about the Hobbit) in this movie. And it wasn’t even a short movie! It was 3 hours long and filled with lots of time-wasters, like scenes of people walking. But people more patient than me (and more forgiving of directors who overblow their movies) will like this movie. In fact, I liked it. It was a good movie with some funniness and some decent action, but I was also made pretty angry about it. I would say you can wait to rent it so that you can control the pace of the movie.
THE WORST FILMS OF 2012
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: For not bothering to live up to a vaguely interesting idea. Dark Shadows: For existing without reason. John Carter: For spending so much money being so boring.
THE HUNGER GAMES
Watching this movie and the Twilight series has brought me to the conclusion that women need to raise their standards in movies. The story was predictable and slow, and not nearly as innovative as some people (who had not seen Battle Royale or Running Man) acted like it was. Also, much as with my reaction to the second Ghost Rider movie, I would like to remind filmmakers that close-up, shaky camera movements walk a fine line between getting the audience involved in the scene and nauseating and annoying them. There were parts of this movie that were downright unwatchable. In fact, I’d say the entire movie was unwatchable. If you’re really into prolonged scenes of a chick named Katniss sitting in a tree, this is the movie for you. Everyone else need not bother.
I think there was a time when people only joked about Hollywood being so at a loss for ideas that they would do something as crazy as turning a board game into a movie. That joke became a reality when they turned Battleship into a movie … and added aliens for some reason. The story redefined the “dumb” part of “big dumb action movie” and the greater majority of the performances were underwhelming. Some fairly decent action scenes could not make up for the goofy choices that they made in making (and in choosing to make) this movie. Skip this thing.
THE DEVIL INSIDE
Fuck this movie out loud. I got really into this movie for a while because of my crazy obsession with movies about ghosts and possessions, but the ending of this movie was so abysmally anticlimactic that it ruined the entire movie for me. I suppose I could say that the movie is enjoyable because they pull off a fairly good amount of creepiness, but it remains good only if you throw a chair at your TV and destroy it 15 minutes before it ends. Don’t bother. That could get expensive.
This movie was the testicles. I can understand a movie getting the idea in their head that there are no new ideas in the world so we’ll just steal ideas from other people, but you could at least try to make your horror movie scary. Part of me feels like that’s essential. I also felt like I spent the bulk of the movie not knowing what was going on, not knowing why the ghosts were a spore of some kind, and not knowing how playing a video backwards was supposed to help defeat them. And then I started wondering why I was watching this movie. You should probably skip it.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
What’s that? You say that they couldn’t possibly make a worse Ghost Rider movie than the first one? Well we’ll show you! They picked up that challenge and not only ran with it, but filmed it while hanging onto the back of a truck while wearing rollerblades and called it, “Intense.” I called it “Annoying” and “Nauseating.” It had one or two moments of awesomeness, but then there was another hour and a half or more of movie that was just shit. It’s Crank if Chev Chelios’ head was on fire, and if he was overacting in a way that only Nick Cage could do and still have a career. I recommend you buy this movie so that you can pee on it. I’m kidding … don’t buy this movie.
THE BEST FILMS OF 2012
Men in Black 3: For being a great, emotional, and funny addition to an already quality series. Skyfall: For action as sweet as Daniel Craig’s abs. Looper: For blowing my expectations out of the water, just not quite enough.
I made the rare, good decision to keep my expectations for this movie inexplicably low. It wasn’t a good decision because the movie was bad; quite the opposite. The movie was really good and really funny, and it was able to be that because I strangely didn’t expect it to be. I don’t know why either. I love Seth MacFarlane and have found a good portion of everything he’s ever done amusing, but I still strangely had no interest in this movie. I’m glad I overcame that because Ted had plenty of laugh out loud moments, and maintained a steady pace of amusing throughout. Definitely worth a watch. Probably worth buying.
THE RAID: REDEMPTION
It’s a little difficult to put this movie at the top of my list of movie just because the story and the performances of this movie really don’t offer much. What puts it up there for me is that this is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a very long time. It had all the great, long, martial arts scenes of the orient tied in with Western gun battles. What it winds up as is some super badass action with plenty of “OH SHIT!” moments that just demand to be watched. And purchased. I bought this movie on BluRay the day after I watched it. I don’t think I had even returned my rental before I purchased this movie. You must check it out if you have any love whatsoever of martial arts films.
I caught this movie during the writing of this review and I’m so happy I did. I didn’t find myself too interested in seeing it even though I typically like the things the Quentin Tarantino does, and I don’t know why. It’s like the awesome version of Ted in that respect. But the story of this movie was very interesting, the dialogue was typically hilarious – as with most things that Tarantino does – and the action was over the top and great. But the best part of this movie by far was the people that Tarantino got involved in it. Every performance in this movie was sublime. Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and everyone else put on a clinic for interesting performances. Definitely check this movie out in theaters.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
I had my problems with this movie, and I argued vehemently in support of my ideas. But the truth of the matter was that this movie was very good and I loved it. I just hated certain things about it. I hated that it was a Batman movie that quite frankly barely involved Batman, but the additions of Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy really did a lot of work saving the movie from that shortcoming. Also, fans of the Batman comic books could see a few things coming, such as the outcome of a fight between Batman and Bane and the reveal of the child of Ra’s al Ghul, but it didn’t really take me out of the movie in general. It was still a great accomplishment in filmmaking that, in my opinion, suffered from the high bar set by its predecessor. Still very much worth buying.
I loved the balls right off of this movie. I know there’s been much argument since the movie was put head to head with Dark Knight Rises over which one was better. I was much more fond of Avengers. I realize that the Dark Knight Rises was a much deeper story, but Avengers was pure, unadulterated fun, and since one goes to see such a movie to be entertained, this movie accomplishes its goals exquisitely. It was a nerd-boner smeared across film and shown to me specifically for masturbation purposes. That is probably the grossest description of The Avengers you will ever see. Enjoy it! And buy this movie. I cannot fathom a person that would not enjoy the experience.
Please feel free to leave a comment with your idea of what the best and worst movies of 2012 were!
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