This wasn’t a great year for movies. Sure, over 24 films hit over $100 million domestically, but that still doesn’t mean there were many GREAT films. I could really only come up with 6 real good films (two tied for 4th), and a few honorable mentions.
#5: The Dark Knight Rises
I don’t think anything can compare to the brilliance that was The Dark Knight. However, director Christopher Nolan did a great job with the third and final film in his “Batman” trilogy.
The Dark Knight Rises deals with redemption and I don’t think Nolan could have picked another villain that could be as psychological as Bane was. He really was Batman’s equal not only in strength, but in smarts as well.
While the film ran a little long for my taste and was a bit predictable at parts, Nolan created a very satisfying finish for the franchise.
Final Grade: 7.5/10
#4 (Tie): Lincoln/The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lincoln was a great film and director Steven Spielberg created something very beautiful. Based off the non-fiction book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln deserves to be in the race for every major award category.
There really aren’t too many flaws with the film as the cast did a great job creating realistic characters based only on text. Any factual film about Abraham Lincoln will be judged with scrutiny since we have very little visual evidence from his life. However, even with that being said, Lincoln is a solid film.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been one of the most anticipated films in years, and clearly doesn’t disappoint. I went into this movie having not seen any of the Lord of the Rings films before, and really went into this as a prequel.
I saw this movie at the midnight premiere in 2D and a few days later in 3D, and I can say that this is one of the few films that really uses 3D in the best ways possible. The effects were amazing and the aesthetics of the film were breathtaking.
After watching the rest of the trilogy after, I noticed that The Hobbit had a lot more humor than the other films. This doesn’t make it a bad movie by any means, but the tone was a lot different. All of the cameos from future characters were a nice touch as well.
Final Grade: 8.0/10
Skyfall was the first James Bond film that I have ever seen. Don’t ask me why, but I was never appealed to the series before and thought it was rather unnecessary. However, one of my co-workers talked me into seeing the film, and I was glad I did. I refrained from writing a review until I saw the other two Daniel Craig Bond films to get an idea on what I was working with.
Casino Royale was a good start to reboot the series, but they royally screwed up the franchise when they released Quantum of Solace. While it worked as an action film (a la the Bourne series), it failed as a Bond film. The villains were weak and the plot was thin.
Skyfall redeemed the series and was a great mark as the 50th anniversary of James Bond fell on this same year. The villain, Raoul Silva (played brilliantly by Javier Bardem), was a classic Bond villain. The returns of Q and Miss Moneypenny were also a brilliant touch, with Dame Judi Dench giving a remarkable performance in her final appearance as M.
The only hope is that the next Bond film can live up to Skyfall and not fall back into the horridness that was Quantum of Solace.
Final Grade: 8.5/10
Disney went above and beyond with their latest CGI adventure Wreck-it-Ralph. Taking the viewers into the world of arcade video games was fascinating, and seeing it in 3D made it that much more amazing. This is one CGI adventure that is worth seeing in 3D. Disney made great use of 3D technology and its one you’ll need to see more than once to pick up all the cameos and everything else in Game Central Station.
The plotline was fantastic too. Ralph was a Donkey Kong-like villain to Mario’s superhero and didn’t want to be the bad guy anymore. He went on a quest to become good, and in doing so puts himself in harm’s way numerous times.
This film is near perfect and there are talks about making this into a franchise like Toy Story.
Final Grade: 9.0/10
The best film of the year comes from the man who brought the world Gigli. But I think after films like The Town,we can give Ben Affleck a break. The director and star of Argo plants us back in 1979 during the Iran hostage crisis. Affleck and his crew do an amazing job at set design and casting, as everything looks very realistic (stay for the credits and you’ll see for yourself).
For two hours you stayed with these hostages and saw how this too good to be true story really happened. What makes this film just a tad shy of being perfect was some embellishing that happened and gave credit to different countries than the correct ones. Affleck states why this happens, “Because we say it’s based on a true story, rather than this is a true story, we’re allowed to take some dramatic license. There’s a spirit of truth.”
While the film might have taken a few dramatic licenses, it still grips you for the whole film. There was also some very nice funny moments peppered in thanks to John Goodman and Alan Arkin, who both deserve Oscar nominations for supporting roles. This movie is definitely worth seeing over and over.
Final Garde: 9.5/10
Most Unnecessary, but Fun Sequels: Taken 2 (7/10), The Expendables 2 (7/10)