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Feb 4, 2013

At Last - My 2012 Top 10



It's February, but there were still a few titles I wanted to see before I locked this list - then again the Oscars aren't until late February so I'm still good.  It ends up the majority of it has remained unchanged since the end of December with only 1 addition.

I thought this was a pretty good year as there are a few titles I have watched multiple times and am looking forward to adding them to my Blu-ray Disc collection.

So here it is....drum roll please.


1)  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK 

(The Weinstein Company / Directed by: David O. Russell)


David O. Russell's Comedy/Drama about two people with extreme issues piecing their lives back together caught me by complete surprise.  Jennifer Lawrence is so good in this movie, and in one particular scene with De Niro and Cooper she not only holds her own but is in complete control.  Not to mention she is insanely cute.

Even the typical end-of-movie feel good moments have a different feel to them that make them refreshingly original - especially a reaction to a dance contest result.

Currently in Theaters.





2)  FLIGHT

(Paramount Pictures / Directed by: Robert Zemeckis)


It feels like they don't make movies like this anymore - star driven power dramas - and this movie with Denzel Washington as a pilot who pulls off a miraculous landing only to be put under a microscope because he had drugs in his system and was drunk while flying is a powerhouse of a movie mostly due to the direction and Washington's performance.  A particular moment in a hotel room centered around a mini-bar had the audience - including myself - gasp as a reaction.  I won't say how or why as I don't want to ruin the moment.

This is being released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital tomorrow (2/5/13).





3)  ZERO DARK THIRTY

(Columbia Pictures / Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow)


I had the same reaction to this movie that I had with UNITED 93.  You know the end result, but are still on the edge of your seat.  Of course in both instances I would rather not have had a 9/11 to inspire such movies.

We often think of spies and intelligence work in terms of secret code words, clandestine meetings with well oiled, technological advances but the reality we have here is rough torture, chasing leads that may go nowhere, politics that slow things down with it all coming down to a suspenseful night time raid.  When one character asks another "do you know what you just did" you feel the gravity of the moment both in the movie and historically.

Currently in Theaters.






4)  WRECK-IT-RALPH

(Walt Disney / Directed by: Rich Moore)


If any movie reveals the Pixar influence on Disney Animation, this is it.  Set in a world where Video game personalities interact and are living breathing characters in their own little world, WRECK-IT RALPH mixes new games with old (some real like Q*BERT and some fictional like HERO'S DUTY meant to replicate CALL OF DUTY with a bit of HALO thrown in) to create a touching story with great characters that you instantly sympathize with and cheer for.  While BRAVE felt more Disney-like than ever, WRECK-IT RALPH felt more Pixar than Disney but still had that Disney magic about it.

Oh I also rate this as having the best trailer campaign of 2012.  Both trailers had me wanting to see this badly.

Will be available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on March 5, and via Digital Distribution a week earlier.






5)  LINCOLN

(Dreamworks-Disney / Directed by: Steven Spielberg)


With this title I was expecting a Bio-pic, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that the movie is all about President Lincoln's efforts to pass the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery permanently.  I liken this to being a sort of big-screen episode of THE WEST WING set in the Lincoln White House as his staff try desperately to get politicians on their side to pass the bill with a ticking clock in the form of the Civil War possibly ending before the bill is passed which would kill it completely.

I don't think there is another actor as riveting as Daniel Day-Lewis, and this is no exception.

Available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Distribution March 26.






6)  MOONRISE KINGDOM

(Focus Features / Directed by: Wes Anderson)


This is easily one of my favorite films from director Wes Anderson about a couple of youths that run away from their New England town located on an island.  The film is filled with the usual assortment of quirky characters, but feels more accessible than some of Anderson's past titles, and there is a sweetness to it.

Now available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and via Digital Distribution.






7)  ARGO

(Warner Bros. / Directed by: Ben Affleck)


Ben Affleck has had a good directing streak with THE TOWN and GONE BABY GONE both making my top 10 lists for their respective years.  With ARGO he goes 3 for 3 with this dramatic telling of the CIA operation (with some help from Canadians) to get a group of Americans out of Iran.  Yes they take dramatic license, especially with the ending, but overall it makes for a suspenseful and dramatic film.  Alan Arkin and John Goodman are especially good as the Hollywood players helping to see the mission through.

Available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and via Digital Distrbution on February 19.






8)  THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

(Fox Searchlight Pictures / Directed by: John Madden)


There has been this idea lately that movies have become more youth-centric, but here we have a film that defies that as a group of all-star British thespians (Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith to name just a few) all with their AARP cards head to India for various reasons.  While staying at a hotel that is advertised as luxurious, but is anything but the group find themselves enchanted in different ways by the locale and the people.

A thoroughly charming movie that remained on theater screens longer than most blockbusters do.

Now available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Distribution.






9)  CABIN IN THE WOODS

(Lionsgate / Directed by: Drew Goddard)


Leave it to Joss Whedon (who co-wrote this with director Drew Goddard) to suck you into what looks like a routine horror movie then completely blow your mind with an original twist that, well I feel I should stop talking now before I spoil anything.

Just see it, you'll thank me later.

Now available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Distribution.






10)  MAGIC MIKE

(Warner Bros. / Directed by: Steven Soderbergh)


At first glance this appears to be a movie for the ladies only as the main characters are all male strippers.  But then you see it's directed by Steven Soderbergh, and suddenly a movie about male strippers is more than that.  Channing Tatum takes Alex Pettyfer under his wing, only to have it and his dreams blow up in his face. All these men think they are superstars - and they are as far as their own little club in Tampa goes - but they really are just that in their own minds looking at going to the big time in a larger market like Miami.  Matthew McConaughey is particularly outstanding.

I told my co-workers I like this and they mock me relentlessly (they're male) but refuse to see it themselves.

Now available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Distribution.





Honorable Mention:

SKYFALL

(MGM-Columbia / Directed by: Sam Mendes)


James Bond celebrated the 50th year of the franchise in style with this solid entry.  Great cast, plot and the opening title song and credits rank among the best in the series.  The cinematography by Roger Deakins is beyond good and Javier Bardem is a formidable villain for OO7.  As a Bond movie it's great, but would have been a solid movie even without the OO7 label.  If this series lasts another 50 years I can guarantee that Aston Martin DB5 will still be showing up somehow.

The theme song by Adele is forever stuck in my head.

Available now via Digital Distribution and February 12 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.