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The 2012 Movie Rankings: End of Watch, Trouble with the Curve, and Dredd 3D populate second-tier

Posted by Joe Belcastro On September - 24 - 2012 0 Comment

Everyone waits until the year is over to compile their “Best of whatever” movie lists. This has become a mundane practice. Time for a bit of a change, kids.

This past week of releases would almost lead one to believe it was amateur hour. And that’s with an assortment of accomplished talent populating these new flicks. End of Watch had the players but the coaching (director) severely held them back. Trouble with the Curve executed a dated and uninspired game-plan. Dredd 3D knew who it was, but ended up getting predictable and forced the issue at times. And House at the End of the Street is now at the house at the end of this ranking list.

Also earning some playing time, is a 2009 film fest indie product co-starring Jeremy Renner before he blasted into the “mainstream.” Getting a shot in the late Fall will be Ingenious.

The new releases for the respective week will have a capsule review at the end of the column. An updated list comes out every Monday. Here’s how things are shaking up so far in 2012:

1. Chronicle
2. The Dark Knight Rises
3. The Cabin in the Woods
4. Moonrise Kingdom
5. Side by Side
6. ParaNorman
7. The Avengers
8. Red Tails
9. The Grey
10. Game Change
11. The Secret World of Arrietty
12. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
13. Friends with Kids
14. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
15. The Raid: Redemption
16. Arbitrage
17. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
18. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
19. Big Miracle
20. Think Like a Man
21. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
22. Brake
23. Robot and Frank
24. Hope Springs
25. Rock of Ages
26. HeadHunters
27. Hemingway and Gellhorn
28. Mirror Mirror
29. People Like Us
30. Magic Mike
31. Total Recall (2012)
32. House of Ghosts
33. The Campaign
34. Ted
35. Celeste and Jesse Forever
36. V/H/S
37. 21 Jump Street
38. Snow White and the Huntsman
39. Resident Evil: Retribution
40. The Words
41. The Master
42. This Means War
43. God Bless America
44. The Three Stooges
45. Gone
46. The Queen of Versailles
47. The Amazing Spider-Man
48. Blue Like Jazz
49. For a Good Time, Call…
50. Ruby Sparks
51. American Reunion
52. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
53. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
54. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
55. Katy Perry: Part of Me
56. The Expendables 2
57. Ice Age: Continental Drift
58. Juan of the Dead
59. Prometheus
60. Hysteria
61. The Dictator
62. Safe
63. Searching for Sonny
64. End of Watch
65. Brave
66. Lawless
67. The Hunger Games
68. John Carter
69. Wrath of the Titans
70. Dead Dad
71. Ingenious
72. Underworld: Awakening
73. The Devil Inside
74. The Possession
75. Dredd 3D
76. Premium Rush
77. Father’s Day
78. Livid
79. The Five-Year Engagement
80. Downtown Express
81. Sparkle
82. Savages
83. Sound of My Voice
84. Project X
85. Men in Black 3
86. The Tall Man
87. Hit and Run
88. Piranha 3DD
89. Dark Shadows
90. The Raven
91. The Bourne Legacy
92. [Rec] 3 Genesis
93. Silent House
94. That’s My Boy
95. Darling Companion
96. Bully
97. The Watch
98. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
99. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
100. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
101. Trouble with the Curve
102. Lockout
103. The Woman in Black
104. The Vow
105. Man on a Ledge
106. Step Up Revolution
107. Extraterrestrial
108. The Lucky One
109. Contraband
110. The Samaritan
111. Act of Valor
112. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
113. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
114. Safe House
115. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
116. To Rome with Love
117. The Apparition
118. House at the End of the Street
119. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
120. Why Stop Now
121. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
122. Kill List
123. Chernobyl Diaries
124. Haywire
125. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection
126. A Thousand Words
127. Joyful Noise
128. Battleship
129. Wanderlust

Not Screened: One for the Money, Casa De Mi Padre, Chimpanzee, High School, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Nitro Circus 3D, Cosmopolis, Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure, The Cold Light of Day

REVIEWS (click on title for full review)

DREDD 3D

It doesn’t have much to offer except a good old-fashioned one man army wiping out inept losers with high-powered artillery. The script isn’t that sharp, for the character’s actions (especially the slew of antagonists) just make no sense whatsoever. Still, its unplugged approach (scaled back budget) is an improvement from the 1995 creation. And way the hell better than this year’s genre mate, Lockout.

END OF WATCH

A bro-mance that wants to combine the gritty drama of a Training Day with all the crude immaturity of a 21 Jump Street movie. Its scattered graphic bloody nature and constant cussing, feels like you’re watching a gruesome survival horror movie at times, too. The 109 minutes also has the annoyance of a Paul Greengrass flick (Bourne sequels), due to the hand-held camera work.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

About as charismatic as baseball uniforms and as clever and articulate, as a politician’s speech. And sticking with the baseball analogies, this story is as meaningless as regular season game in May or June.

HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (No formal review. Because all I needed was one paragraph.)

Why it’s trying extremely hard to be different from the normal “house with a secret/past” plot, it becomes indirectly laughable in its generic attempts. Jennifer Lawrence appears to be lost in this setting. The only noteworthy engaging performance is done via Max Thieriot’s mysterious character. Problem is, when the main story is pushed off to the side, Lawrence and Thieriot’s interaction with each other sounds like a poor man’s version of a Twilight love saga (and that’s pretty broke). A couple cheap jumps occur even though you know they’re coming, but that does not make-up for the fact that this executed in a manner that makes an early Friday the 13th sequel look award-winning. But at least the reveal was disguised somewhat decently. Yet again, the directing looks like something a high school film student would produce. Actually, I probably just insulted some high schoolers by comparing their work to this mess.

INGENIOUS

After doing a festival run in 2009, this is actually going to hit limited theaters around the holiday season. The viewing experience plays similar to the character arc of its two leads (Jeremy Renner and Dallas Roberts). Struggling to avoid the typical working life by trying creating a unique product out of their homemade office, this tale – based on true events, is acted realistically and is appropriate for the times we currently live in. It takes a while to get your mind and/or heart involved, but once the second-half kicks in, this causally snags your attention despite its routine delivery.

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