Sure, this site focuses on weird films, but that’s not all we watch. We love movies. How will we understand what lies at the extremes if we don’t keep a finger on the pulse of “normal” cinema? Great craftsmanship is great craftsmanship, and if every movie was made to push boundaries, things would get boring pretty fast. With that in mind, we hereby release our list of the best movies of 2012, regardless of genre and irrespective of conventionality. You may notice that three of these films also made our Weirdest Movies of 2012 list, but in a different order than they appear here; that’s because this list is based strictly on the quality of filmmaking without regard to any consideration of weirdness. With that prologue out of the way, let’s dive right into it, starting with #10:
10. Seven Psychopaths – Playwright-turned-director Martin McDonagh‘s second feature film (after In Bruges) sports a hip, manly cast (Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits) and brisk violence, mixed with an intricate script that sometimes threatens to go into meta-movie territory (Farrel’s character is working on a screenplay entitled Seven Psychopaths). This quirky caper comedy involving dognapping and serial killers is reminiescent of classic Quentin Tarantino and will be remembered for a couple of exchanges that became immediate classics, including a bit where an unimpressed Walken is held up at gunpoint that caps off an impressive highlight reel for the beloved character actor.
9. The Dark Knight Rises – It’s not the revelation that The Dark Knight was, but it’s a fitting end to a trilogy that brought arthouse sensibilities to comic book characters without sacrificing action. Christopher Nolan may be the only director capable of making superhero movies for adults, complete with complicated plots and character development. His Dark Knight will be missed.
8. Lincoln – The title implies that this will be a biopic covering the life of the 16th president, but the movie actually focuses very narrowly on a single political subject: Lincoln’s efforts to get the 13th Amendment banning slavery passed. The “Honest Abe” depicted here walks an ethical tightrope as he tries to swing reluctant Democrats to support the controversial legislation, resorting to bribery, misdirection and political threats. Stephen Spielberg manages to keep the dry subject matter engaging, helped along greatly by an able (hee hee) performance from Daniel Day-Lewis as the Great Emancipator, supported by Sally Fields as Mary Todd and Tommy Lee Jones as obnoxiously idealistic Radial Republican Thaddeus Stevens. It’s pure Oscar bait, but it’s good Oscar bait. It’s got gravitas out the butt.
7. Argo – Solid thriller from director Ben Affleck detailing the real-life tale of six U.S. diplomats who, aided by a CIA operative, escaped Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis by pretending to be a movie crew scouting locations for a fake sci-fi extravaganza. John Goodman and Alan Arkin supply welcome comic relief as a pair of Hollywood insiders who help agent Affleck implement the crazy scheme. After sitting through the tense final half hour, you’ll never complain you had a tough time going through airport security again.
6. Doggiewoggiez! Poochiewoochiez! – We weren’t kidding about naming this loose remake of the surrealist epic The Holy Mountain composed entirely out of dog footage clipped from Hollywood movies, instructional DVDs and public access programs our Weirdest Movie of 2012, and we’re not kidding when we say it should be counted among the best movies of any sort released this year. It’s cutting edge, utterly original and, if nothing else, it’s the year’s funniest comedy, with triple the laughs per minute of a big budget misfire like 21 Jump Street (a movie made for people whose sense of humor peaked in high school). It’s not “mainstream,” but it stands up on its own four paws against the best fluff the mainstream film Continue reading TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2012 – THE MAINSTREAM EDITION