Thursday, December 27, 2012

TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2012 (Hollywood & Bollywood)


NOTE: As of this writing, I'm yet to watch Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained & Les Misérables and I won't be able to watch them till next year. Hence, I haven't been considered them while compiling the list. Also I have considered the movies of 2012 only after the OSCARS. Hence, I haven't included The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and J. Edgar.

10. Chronicle

Starring: Alex Russel, Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan
Director: Josh Trank
Released: 3rd February 2012

Three high school friends discover an alien object underground that gives them slowly-developing superpowers. Soon the fun of their abilities takes a darker turn and their friendship is pushed to the brink. This is a found-footage movie. The two main characters have acted well. It’s an inventive script, creatively shot and they were wise to focus on the character they did. 

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Star Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Director: Peter Jackson  
Released:  14 December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey introduces us to the world of Bilbo Baggins, who mirrors the most innocent of sentiments which lie locked up within the depths of our heart. The audience falls in love with Bilbo because he is scared of the unknown just like us. What makes him a hero is his spirit, which makes him embark on a wide-spread journey for the search of faith and adventure.

Peter Jackson has made another almost flawless masterpiece. He captured the feeling of the book and transcended it onto a screen. Of course, it was not solely his credit. The acting was amazing. The 48 fps was a touch of technological wizardry and worked perfectly. The chemistry between actors was more than just the obvious. You could actually feel their interactions and live the story. Yes, it was that good.

The first installment has set the pace for a promising trilogy.

8. Moonrise Kingdom

Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand
Director: Wes Anderson
Released: 25th May 2012

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them. Wes Anderson weaves a tale of young love and innocence. It has a magical sense of nostalgia and boasts great performances from Murray, Norton, McDormand, and Willis, not to mention the two child stars that steal the show.

7. Lincoln

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director: Steven Spielberg
Released: 16th November 2012

Steven Spielberg, is coming off a stellar 2011, where he produced both Super 8 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon and directed both The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, two acclaimed pictures. And he hit the death knell yet again with Lincoln. It is a stunning display of American politics, shedding a light on the grayness of the government during that time.

Daniel-Day Lewis' performance was spellbinding and realistic. He actually seemed like Lincoln: a scared man, a political activist, and a powerful speaker. All the other actors were wonderful too. While titled 'Lincoln', we get several other characters with a fairly surprising amount of screen time. Sets and clothes are made to accurately represent the 19th century. I expect Daniel Day-Lewis to win the Best Actor in all the award shows.

6. Life of Pi

Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain
Director: Ang Lee
Released: 14 October 2012

Life of Pi is story is about faith narrated by both the young Pi and the Adult Pi. Ang Lee uses all the tools he has to make this movie about a solitary young man who seeks answers and finds solace in different religions. 

If you think that "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" had good animal effects, the digital rendering of animals, especially the Bengal Tiger, is beautiful to behold. The angry green eyes, richly textured orange and every hair on its fur looks rich and full of life in 3D. And when you hear the thunderous roar for the first time, you will realize this is as real as it can get.

The 3D takes a beautiful film and makes it a little bit more visually mesmerizing. Also, if you've read the book and are concerned that the story you loved may have been compromised in anyway, worry no longer. This is easily, one of the best book to film adaptations I have ever seen. Ang Lee has done a wonderful work.

5. Looper

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Director: Rian Johnson
Released: 23rd September 2012

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self.

After viewing this, my hope was restored that sci-fi in Hollywood can be more than just empty spectacle. The story is well constructed and plot points are presented at an entertaining and well judged pace.

Pierce Gagnon as Cid is incredible in a pivotal role. He and Gordon-Levitt have some funny and tense scenes together which work very well.

Gordon-Levitt delivers a fine performance. He appears confident and at ease in the lead role, carrying off a mixture of hard edged killer and caring young man while switching from one to the other with ease. Bruce Willis equally is very good but we have seen this kind of performance from him many times before. The chemistry between them was great and really helped us believe that they were one person.

Despite the problems in the middle of the film, Looper is a fresh concept from the mind of a very talented young film-maker. It's encouraging to see that there are young film makers who are creating new and exciting stories.

4. Silver Linings Playbook

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro
Director: David O. Russell
Releasing: 16th November 2012

If you were told instead that the story is a generic Katherine Heiglesque rom-com based on two damaged souls who help heal each other through dancing, you would have every reason to skip this one. However, as written and directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter) and based on Matthew Quick's novel, this story is an emotional roller coaster ride that provides a glimmer of hope for the two damaged lead characters, while reminding that each of us may be a bit off-center in some way. It's so much more and what makes it all the more wonderful is that it comes as such a pleasant surprise.

This is the Russell film that scooped people's choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, an award previously won by Slumdog Millionaire and The King's Speech, beating Ben Affleck's Argo. That alone should be enough to convince you.

The most surprising aspect of Silver Linings Playbook was the performance of Bradley Cooper. Even though this is a comedy, Cooper plays one of the most serious roles he's ever performed. Silver Linings Playbook is without a doubt Cooper's best work thus far in his career. Jennifer Lawrence has a performance of equal caliber but that is expected from the young Academy Award nominated actress. A film like this with a talented cast from Jackie Weaver, Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker provide equally as interesting additional characters as the leads themselves.

From anger management problems, OCD and a drive for perfection, being introduced to all the characters through Cooper's eyes, you'll start questioning what actually constitutes 'crazy'. Silver Linings Playbook is brilliant on every level. I wish I could erase the movie from my head, watch it again and experience the euphoric rush again. Be prepared to see one of the best films of the year.

3. The Avengers

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Joss Whedon
Released: 4th May 2012

SHIELD assembles a team of superheroes to form The Avengers, as Earth faces an impending invasion. Bringing together the leading characters from different active franchises and placing them in an ensemble had never been done in cinema. It was a huge challenge. But Marvel knocked it out the park. Making Joss Whedon director was a masterstroke, since his background as a Marvel writer and director of successful ensemble movies, proved to be invaluable.

The Avengers is well paced and time flies by. The effects are top-notch, the acting is very good and the script drives the movie elevating its strengths. The writing, with its witty dialogues, is excellent.

Watching The Avengers battle each other is geek heaven (so that’s what would happen if Hulk fought Thor) and that’s only the first half of the movie.

All players are on top form with ‘The Hulk’ being the showstealer. It was very entertaining to see Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor, Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Agent Maria Hill, Agent Phil Coulson and Director Nick Fury all interact with one another.

I went into The Avengers with unfairly high expectations, due to all of those that were involved. It was only a matter of minutes after the film started that I was put at ease. I never imagined that it was possible to put onto the screen, what I was watching.

2. Argo

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman
Director: Ben Affleck
Released: 31st August 2012

Argo, based on a true story and starring Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Adam Arkin, tells the astonishingly true story of how a CIA ex filtration specialist attempts to free six Americans who have taken shelter in the home of the Canadian Ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis.

After years of being one of those actors that was hit and miss with people, who would have thought Ben Affleck would become one of the most sought after great directors in the industry. After his last film The Town received so much acclaim and award nominations everyone was wondering if it was just a fluke. Affleck once again took on double duties with directing and starring and didn't disappoint.

The cast of veteran character-actors is worth the price of admission alone. With the likes of Philip Baker Hall, Bob Gunton, Michael Parks, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, this is easily one of the best casts of 2012.

Affleck shut up his critics, proving The Town was no fluke. This film proves that Affleck can make bigger films than just Boston crime dramas. His style of bringing tension is the classy formula of the film.

Brilliant directing, acting, story, writing and some fun sci-fi references throughout takes Argo into the realm of one of the best films to come along in some time. I would be extremely disappointed if Argo did not get a mention in the Academy Awards.

1. The Dark Night Rises

Star Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman
Director: Christopher Nolan 
Released : 12 Jul 2012

The final chapter of The Dark Knight trilogy doesn't disappoint. TDKR is a true cinematic experience to behold and its huge production is quite breathtaking to view. The movie exceeded my expectations in terms of action, writing and entertainment.

For the first time in the trilogy, Batman wasn't at his peak. This gave a chance to Christian Bale to show off his acting skills without the mask and he did a fine job. The veterans Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine went about their job as if it was just another day at the office. Joseph Gordon-Levitt who portrays an ordinary police officer, pulls of an unexpectedly awesome performance. Tom Hardy was the main villain "Bane" completely exceeded my expectations. One of the best superhero movie villains, I've ever seen. The terror caused by him is completely believable and quite menacing. Most people miss Heath Ledger as The Joker but comparing the two is unfair as the two characters are totally different. Anne Hathaway did justice to the role of Selina Kyle. When she beats up men, it is believable and you don't roll your eyes. She's feminine and powerful in her own way. She doesn't have a huge role but a very important one.

The soundtrack definitely adds a very special edge to the total film experience. Hans Zimmer, as usual, never disappoints.

Finally, the show stealer of this movie is Christopher Nolan and no words will do justice to the talent of that man. TDKR may have a few loopholes but nevertheless gives you the feel that you are watching something special and it is a perfect end to the epic trilogy.

P.S 'The Dark Knight' trilogy is better than the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy if every aspect is considered.

Honorable Mentions: 

Cloud Atlas

Premium Rush

MVP of Hollywood 2012: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Just go over my list again. JGL has acted very well in The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln, Looper and Premium Rush. I remember JGL playing the role of 'Tom Solomon' in '3rd Rock from the Sun' as a child. Since then, he has come a long way. Not only does he impress us with his acting, his choices of movies are very good. It's a goo thing that he wants to keep experimenting and doesn't want to be stereotyped to any particular genre. 2012 wouldn't have been the same without John Blake (TDKR), Wilee (Premium Rush), Joe (Looper) and Robert Todd Lincoln (Lincoln). For those who are unfamiliar with his works, do check out ‘(500) Days of Summer (2009)' and 'Brick'(2005).


10. Ferrari Ki Sawaari

9. Shanghai

8. Talaash

7. Vicky Donor

6. Paan Singh Tomar

5. English Vinglish

4. OMG: Oh My God !

3. Kahaani

2. Barfi

1. Gangs of Wasseypur

Honorable Mentions: 


Jab Tak Hai Jaan

MVP of Bollywood 2012: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Well honestly, anyone who has seen movies this year will agree with me. A guy who has done many small forgettable roles has taken Bollywood by storm, this year, by playing various commendable roles. 'Nowaz', as he is better known in the industry, outperformed Aamir Khan in 'Talaash'. Who would have expected that someone else would get more cheers than Aamir Khan in a movie. That man can't do any wrong. His movies this year include Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar,  Gangs of Wasseypur, Chittagong and Talaash.  Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur, Chittagong & now Talaash. I can see him getting the best supporting actor for 'Talaash' & give Aamir Khan (for 'Talaash) and Ranbir Kapoor (for 'Barfi') a run for his money in the best actor category for his commendable performance in 'GOW 2' (It's another thing that awards mean shit to Aamir). That man has places to go. *touchwood*


Anonymous said...

shanghai sucked big time!

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Shanghai is a very good movie, my anonymous reader :)

Antoine shane said...

I really liked your list of Top 10 Hollywood movies of 2012! Yeah some of them got OSCAR awards because of good story lines. Do you know if any old vampire movies have won this prestigious award?

Post a Comment