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Archive for December, 2012

Criticker’s Twenty Best Films of 2012: #1-10

And here they are: the ten best films of 2012, as decided by the users of Criticker. As always, it’s a varied group, with a few major surprises — on seeing the previews earlier this summer, I’d have never guessed that #10 would be among the year’s best! Foreign films almost always do well at Criticker, and 2012 was no exception — four spots in the Top Ten are occupied by movies from Europe.

You might notice one major exception: a film which was released rather recently and hasn’t racked up enough ratings to be included in this list. We’ll revisit the top twenty just before the Academy Awards, and see how things have changed.

10. Wreck-It Ralph – 7.4902 Average Tier

“Mixes well-drawn character arcs and settings wonderfully fresh and creative yet somehow simultaneously nostalgic and comforting for a cinematic potion that feels like it was brewed just for me. Certainly one of the best of 2012, and arguably the best non-Pixar Disney animation since 1994’s The Lion King. Would make a great miniature film festival paired with Scott Pilgrim and Community’s 8-bit episode.” – Ytadel

9. Silver Linings Playbook – 7.5145 Average Tier

“This whimsical fantasy is strongest in its portrayal of broken people reaching out beyond themselves for a chance at healing. What’s on display here may be relatively mild forms of mental illness, but that doesn’t make the story any less true or impacting. Rather, the more comic tone sets this story apart from others that treat mental illness more directly, and, as a result, more seriously. I appreciated the film for what it was–snappy writing, strong performances, and an affecting conclusion.” – Icarus

8. The Imposter – 7.6344 Average Tier

“This is probably the closest a film has to come to “scaring” me since I realised that films aren’t scary. The story itself is terrifying enough but it increases tenfold upon the realisation that this is an actual documentary (I went into this completely blind). Incredibly well made and a fascinating, nail-biting experience. One of this years best.” – RapeyVessey

7. Holy Motors – 7.7216 Average Tier

“One could enjoy this just based on the “wtf” that it makes you feel, but there are a lot of weird movies. Holy Motors has some incredible scenes, such as the rendition of Let My Baby Ride, or the ending (it made me laugh). That’s the thing, for as odd as it is, and for how great the premise is, there is a point here (I don’t entirely know what it is, I just know it’s there, maaan). It uses music well, and the vignettes range from weird, to heart wrenching to violent… and it does it easily.” – Obdurate

6. Oslo, August 31st – 7.7450 Average Tier

“With a beautiful visual style, sensitively molded to the equally sensitive central character story, and some heartfelt acting, especially from the talented Anders Danielsen Lie, Joachim Triers existential drama creeps slowly but surely under your skin.” – Henrik

5. The Master – 7.7800 Average Tier

“Phoenix’s face is the star of the film, impeccably lit to accentuate all the brilliant contours of his thin, expressive mug. The cinematography, music, and performances all blend together to form Anderson’s most bizarre film yet, one that fabricates a mirror between the two main characters in their sexual passion, their vices, and their spirituality (which may all be the same thing). That’s a simplistic explanation for a theme far richer than I can briefly describe here. A beautiful work.” – Actionberg

4. Moonrise Kingdom – 7.8007 Average Tier

“Pierrot le fou for children. Wes Anderson for lovers. Bill Murray as an American treasure. Bruce Willis as someone who’s uncool. Edward Norton as a funny scoutmaster. A gorgeous film.” – wetwillies

3. Intouchables – 7.8318 Average Tier

“Touching from the very first frame, with a ton of great laughs convincingly delivered by a charming Omar Sy. The chemistry between Driss and Phillipe cannot be bought for money – A highly recommendable film wich I sat through with one big smile on my face…” – Bunken

2. Amour – 8.1968 Average Tier

“A heart-wrenching look at an elderly couple dealing with the trials of old age. As typical with Michael Haneke films, it has a mechanical feel due to slow pacing and an emphasis on quiet long-takes, but it is directed with the sure hand of a master filmmaker. The performances by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant are stunning achievements of acting. Amour is one of the toughest films I have ever sat through, but it is a triumph of film-making that deserves all accolades it has received.” – DougieD

1. Django Unchained – 8.3413 Average Tier

“Tarantino’s Western pastiche may be more thoughtful and have more tenderness than much of his work, but when the blood flows, it gushes. The violence here comes from the brutality of slavery and bounty-hunting, both of which Django (Jamie Foxx) experiences, the latter as he seeks his beloved Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Directed with great panache, well-written, and well-acted across the board–Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are superb–it is a long but worthy tale.” – xacviant

Criticker’s Twenty Best Films of 2012: #11-20

2012 has come to a close, which means it’s Year-End-List Time: always our favorite season! As usual, we’ve sorted out best films of 2012, as decided by the users of Criticker. Here’s the first part of our annual list, which represents a broad swath of genres, from fantasy to action to … non-narrative documentary?

Agree with the list? Disagree? Regardless, you might want to conserve your outrage for a little while. Because the Top Ten of 2012 is coming up next!

20. Beasts of the Southern Wild – 7.0728 Average Tier

“It’s like George Washington crossed with When the Levees Broke, which is a pretty great combination. Other than its imaginative portrayal of the South – really brought to life with a fantastical setting, and some incredibly gorgeous and intimate cinematography – what stands out above all are the performances by amateurs Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. They feel as real as any characters I’ve seen in a while. Props to the lovely musical score as well.” – Alex Watkins

19. Life of Pi – 7.1330 Average Tier

“Ang Lee’s adaptation is impeccably crafted; ought to be a lock for cinematography and special effects award categories. Beautiful to look at, solid all the way through, and with a memorable ending that I didn’t expect (haven’t read the novel). I don’t usually go for inspirational tales but, although it’s without question an Oscar-type movie, it’s pleasantly relaxed about its message. I found it thoroughly likeable. And I didn’t even get bored spending half the film at sea with a boy and a tiger.” – KasperL

18. Looper – 7.1601 Average Tier

“An exercise in style that mostly goes above its pulpy roots to create a thought provoking and entertaining tale of personal identity and the cause and effect of choices. It’s dark, dreary and occasionally violent but with a strong emotional core that prevents it from being too cynical or doom-saying. Questions do arise about possible changes in timelines that are never adequately addressed creating some sense of confusion that is hand-waved by telling us not to worry about it. But it’s all in fun” – ratedargh

17. Samsara – 7.2000 Average Tier

“The photography is astounding, and the colors pop off screen. Like Koyaaniqatsi, it has a message behind it, although a bit more heavy handed. But no matter what, this is life. This is the world we live in. And then some guy shoves clay on his face and goes crazy.” – TrixRabbi

16. Side By Side – 7.2143 Average Tier

“Nicely tracked history of digital filmmaking from an artistic perspective. It does a good job of getting a lot of voices in without losing their individual perspectives. The subject matter is really interesting , as is the way the film ties the technical and the creative ends together and shows how they can both complement each other and hinder each other.” – PeaceAnarchy

15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – 7.2902 Average Tier

“Lerman kills it, hitting all the right notes as the (try not to vomit) misunderstood outsider searching for acceptance. The character could have been a terrible cliche; it’s to Lerman’s credit that he is not. Miller nearly steals the show and again defies stereotypes. Some eye-rolling earnestness, yes, but overall quite funny and always sympathetic to those who live and mean well. Saw it with an audience packed with teens and was delighted that they responded to it. Maybe there’s hope after all?” – hellsditch

14. The Dark Knight Rises – 7.2924 Average Tier

“Nolan’s Batman films have often been wrongly described as ‘gritty realism’. But this isn’t realistic. It is operatic. It is Shakespearian. This is human drama and morality writ large on the screen. It is epic in every sense of the word; in its heroic narrative, its ambition, its stunning IMAX visuals, its massive set pieces, and its stellar ensemble cast. This has its flaws (see: forced moments, plot holes, pacing), but it is still deeply emotional, perfectly twisted, and supremely satisfying.” – mwgerb

13. Argo – 7.3123 Average Tier

” Affleck has crafted a first-rate thriller, smartly keeping the tension high by often cutting back to the situation in Iran to remind us how much is at stake. The story speaks for itself, as it is fascinating and mostly true – but Affleck’s talent behind (and in front of) the camera really hones this potential. There is also some fun movie-in-a-movie commentary by the characters of Arkin and Goodman, and the film hits every note that it aims for.” – caprimode

12. Lincoln – 7.3851 Average Tier

” Spielberg’s best work since Catch Me If You Can. Unlike most of his films Lincoln shows restraint and a surprising lack of sentimentality. Its greatest strength lies in a brilliant screenplay that feels stagey at times, but is moving, informative and doesn’t have an ounce of fat. As a bonus you have great acting from nearly every cast member, from leads Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, to supporting roles by James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, JGL, and David Strathairn.” – DougieD

11. Seven Psychopaths – 7.4000 Average Tier

“Confounding, insane, adorable, ridiculous, nonsensical, thought-provoking. Seven Psychopaths is a lot of things and it does most all of them well.” – wokhedinn

The Ten Worst Films of 2012

Time for our annual year-end list which compiles the very worst films of 2012, as decided by the users of Criticker. As usual, the rules are simple — eligible films are those on the 2012 Reminder List for the 85th Oscars, which have at least fifty rankings at Criticker.

And without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, we humbly present the worst trash of the year, starting with #10:

10. Resident Evil: Retribution – 2.7579 Average Tier

“Pencil thin Milla supposedly reverts to being a normal human in the beginning yet she’s wielding a chain with a lock like a fucking ninja spinning upside down kicking zombies in the teeth. Anderson is such a mindless hack he can’t even keep up with all the storyline changes to the characters in his movie. The actors must have been standing in the same green screen room reading off teleprompter because that’s what the acting is like at times. Pretty cgi but shitastic everything else.” – CinemaAsia

9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – 2.7412 Average Tier

“A film in which a child jumps on Nicolas Cage and vomits fire into his face so he can turn into Ghost Rider should be awesome. But it just ins’t. Better than the first, but that isn’t saying much…” – WalkenRoll

8. A Thousand Words – 2.6486 Average Tier

“Wasting Eddie Murphy’s talent like this and what’s mostly gone before is probably the greatest waste of talent of his generation. This is mostly sit-com ad nauseum.” – http://www.criticker.com/profile/Stewball

7. Wrath of the Titans – 2.6234 Average Tier

“Despite a couple moments of visual inventiveness and splendor, this feels a lot more like watching a friend play a boss rush mode in a hack and slash video game than a movie. Outside of a few likable bits with Toby Kebbell’s character Agenor, there’s basically nothing resembling a genuine, human moment in its two hours (ironic for a film exploring the value of humanity). Worse than any of the three Transformers films, honestly.” – Ytadel

6. Chernobyl Diaries – 2.6119 Average Tier

“Six unlikable people do unlikable things until some radiation people kill them in the dark where we can’t see anything.” – SirStuckey

5. Paranormal Activity 4 – 2.5125 Average Tier

“If you dislike the first 3, you’ll hate this one. If you like the first 3, you’ll hate this one” – ezpkns34

4. The Cold Light of Day – 2.3898 Average Tier

“Henry Cavill’s performance and character is terrible and Weaver looks more tired than ever. Pure Euro-trash.” – Ofterdingen

3. One for the Money – 2.1277 Average Tier

“A long, long way from KNOCKED UP, Katherine Heigl attempts to start a franchise of her own: an adaptation of the Stephanie Plum novels. However good the novels may be, for the sake of the cinema, I hope no more films are made. Heigl’s Plum is annoyingly incompetent, whiny, and unfunny, not helped by a wretched script: a boring, convoluted mystery packed with unlikable, sometimes offensive characters, like Jason O’Mara’s obnoxious love interest. A really painful experience from start to finish.” – xacviant

2. Piranha 3DD – 1.8855 Average Tier

“Where the original was a hilarious sendup to grindhouse-style b-movie gore, this sequel is an unfunny, vulgar, stupid, uninspired piece of worthless shit that should have gone directly to dvd, if that.” – mark83

1. The Devil Inside – 1.8547 Average Tier

“‘We know we fucked up so we’re just going to end this now, whatever, fuck ya’llololo’ Still laughing over that ending, oh my goodness. It’s amazing that the worst movie of the year came out the first week of January, well done William Brent Bell!” – BillyShears