Top 20 Best Movies Of 2012 …So Far13.07.12 # Top Ten # 19 Comments
We’re half way through the year so here are my picks from 2012 Hollywood movies, so far. Bear in mind that this new list was written July 12th, and I’m going by U.S. release dates. There’s a link at the end to what’s still to come. Honestly, it hasn’t been a great half year for mainstream film, but there are a few highlights.
20th. The Hunger Games
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks
Director: Gary Ross
Released: 23rd March 2012 (U.S. Dates)
In a dystopian future, each poor district puts up a couple of their young citizens to fight to the death in a kill-or-be-killed wilderness deathmatch. How much you enjoy the movie will depend on whether you saw 2000’s ‘Battle Royale’. If you did, this is a poor cousin that dulls every edge and is not very creative with the gameplay. If you’ve never seen ‘Battle Royale’ you’ll find this intriguing – it is kids killing kids. And with that concept comes a lot of tension in the build-up to the game. The lead performance is decent. Woody and Lenny Kravitz are watchable.
19th. Safe House
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Released: 10th February 2012
A young CIA agent (Reynolds) is tasked with looking after a fugitive (Washington) in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge. While the movie’s South African setting makes a nice change, it’s the lead performances that make it worth watching, especially Washington who’s electric in the is-he-a-villain-or-not role (think ‘Training Day’-lite). He exudes menace and charm, and the tension comes from never being sure which way he’s going to go in a scene. Unfortunately the overall plot is far too predictable, and the action relies heavily on shaky-cam.
18th. Man On A Ledge
Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Edward Burns
Director: Asger Leth
Released: 27th January 2012
A desperate man climbs out on a ledge in New York City and threatens to jump. But does he have an ulterior motive for being there? This is a decent enough thriller that’s on the list because there haven’t been that many great films so far this year. Sam Worthington is very good, and I wish they had spent more time with him on the ledge and less with Jamie Bell and the girl, whose antics were preposterous. The fact that many of the scenes were shot on the actual ledge with Worthington crapping himself for real lends it a fascination for me.
17th. The Woman In Black
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer
Director: James Watkins
Released: 3rd February 2012
A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers a vengeful ghost, the woman in black, who is terrorising the locals. The highest-grossing British horror film in 20 years and a welcome return to old-school creepy ghost stories. It falls short of classic status because the director is workmanlike rather than inspired with his by-the-book approach to atmospherics and scares. Radcliffe is good, but has almost no dialogue and his performance doesn’t quite sell how utterly terrifying the experience would be. Still, it’s all effective enough. See the play instead if you can.
16th. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie
Director: John Madden
Released: 25th May 2012
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel experience nevertheless begins to win them over in unexpected ways. The movie is owned by a great ensemble of fine British veteran talent (marred only by Dev Patel’s irritating performance). It’s humourous, sometimes moving, and a vibrant, entertaining journey into modern India. Not for adrenaline junkies but if you’re slightly older then this has a lot of charm.