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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Looper lands high; Won’t Back Down barely stands up; Hotel Transylvania checks out

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.

With just three months left in 2012, the onslaught of holiday/award season flicks are about to hit all of us in the coming weeks. And in preparation for this, yours truly gave this list a thorough vetting to make sure everything is where it needs to be so to speak (i.e. Why did I rank Resident Evil 5 so high initially? Is Wanderlust and Battleship still the worst these green eyes have seen?, etc., etc.).

Obviously, this past Friday’s releases (Looper, Won’t Back Down, Hotel Transylvania, and Pitch Perfect) also came into play; as each of them landed across the full spectrum of the below list.

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. Looper
8. The Avengers
9. Game Change
10. The Secret World of Arriety
11. Red Tails
12. The Grey
13. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
14. Friends with Kids
15. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
16. The Raid: Redemption
17. Arbitrage
18. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
19. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
20. Big Miracle
21. Think Like a Man
22. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
23. Brake
24. Robot and Frank
25. Hope Springs
26. Rock of Ages
27. HeadHunters
28. Hemingway and Gellhorn
29. Mirror Mirror
30. People Like Us
31. Magic Mike
32. Total Recall (2012)
33. House of Ghosts
34. The Campaign
35. Ted
36. Celeste and Jesse Forever
37. V/H/S
38. 21 Jump Street
39. Snow White and the Huntsman
40. Pitch Perfect
41. The Words
42. The Master
43. This Means War
44. God Bless America
45. The Three Stooges
46. Gone
47. Resident Evil: Retribution
48. The Queen of Versailles
49. The Amazing Spider-Man
50. Blue Like Jazz
51. For a Good Time, Call…
52. Ruby Sparks
53. American Reunion
54. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
55. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
56. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
57. Katy Perry: Part of Me
58. The Expendables 2
59. Ice Age: Continental Drift
60. Juan of the Dead
61. Prometheus
62. Hysteria
63. The Dictator
64. Safe
65. Searching for Sonny
66. End of Watch
67. Brave
68. Lawless
69. The Hunger Games
70. John Carter
71. Wrath of the Titans
72. Dead Dad
73. Ingenious
74. Underworld: Awakening
75. The Devil Inside
76. The Possession
77. Dredd 3D
78. Premium Rush
79. Father’s Day
80. Livid
81. The Five-Year Engagement
82. Downtown Express
83. Sparkle
84. Savages
85. Sound of My Voice
86. Project X
87. Men in Black 3
88. The Tall Man
89. Hit and Run
90. Hotel Transylvania
91. Piranha 3DD
92. Dark Shadows
93. The Raven
94. The Bourne Legacy
95. [Rec] 3 Genesis
96. Silent House
97. Won’t Back Down
98. That’s My Boy
99. Darling Companion
100. Bully
101. The Watch
102. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
103. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
104. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
105. Trouble with the Curve
106. Lockout
107. The Woman in Black
108. The Vow
109. Man on a Ledge
110. Step Up Revolution
111. Extraterrestrial
112. The Lucky One
113. Contraband
114. The Samaritan
115. Act of Valor
116. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
117. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
118. Safe House
119. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
120. To Rome with Love
121. The Apparition
122. House at the End of the Street
123. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
124. Why Stop Now
125. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
126. Kill List
127. Chernobyl Diaries
128. Haywire
129. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection
130. A Thousand Words
131. Joyful Noise
132. Battleship
133. 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)


It would work as a nice story in a newspaper or a feature on 60 Minutes. Even though the cast receives an A for their efforts, this bullet-point screenplay just doesn’t translate as a cinematic product.


Writer/director Rian Johnson decided to tackle a concept that can usually lead to gaping plot holes and continuity nightmares: Time travel. Very few flicks can maneuver in this arena (Back to the Future, Star Trek reboot, 12 Monkeys were successful ones); but Johnson’s tight script manages this tricky concept in a thoughtful manner.


If you would prefer a 3D animated film that has the allure of walking through a haunted house yet doesn’t have the gumption to stimulate the mind in the slightest – or is just simplistic enough for younger audiences to follow (admirable) – Hotel Transylvania is an ideal 91 minute excursion.

As for everyone else who enjoys the atmosphere of the Halloween holiday, and wants to receive an entertaining mental charge – and still have wholesome, and clever, fun – go see ParaNorman.

PITCH PERFECT (review coming this week)

Fans of GLEE will dig it. People who liked the raunchy female humor found in Bridesmaids – though toned down here – will be able to get into this. And admirers of coming-of-age flicks set in college can relate as well. Just like the title suggest, these 110 minutes are “Pitch Perfect” (mostly).


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Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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