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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Skyfall and Lincoln impose their might; Award season candidates begin their arrival

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.

***Being a member of one of the voting accredited film critic associations recognized by the studios for year-end awards, a ton of “For Your Consideration” screeners will be viewed up until Christmas time; all vying for award nods/momentum heading into the 84th Academy Awards***

So as noted just above, the below rankings are going to expand at a rapid pace over the next 6 weeks as studios posture for award recognition from select film critic groups (just in case the note above wasn’t clear). Therefore, be sure to scroll down to the “Review” section of this weekly column to see what “little guys” are also playing with the notable “big boys” such as Skyfall and Lincoln.

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. Argo
8. Looper
9. Game Change
10. Skyfall
11. Lincoln
12. The Avengers
13. The Secret World of Arriety
14. Red Tails
15. The Grey
16. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
17. Friends with Kids
18. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
19. The Raid: Redemption
20. Flight
21. Arbitrage
22. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
23. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
24. Big Miracle
25. Think Like a Man
26. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
27. Brake
28. Robot and Frank
29. Hope Springs
30. Rock of Ages
31. The Sessions
32. A Late Quartet
33. Wreck-It Ralph
34. HeadHunters
35. Hemingway and Gellhorn
36. Mirror Mirror
37. People Like Us
38. Magic Mike
39. Total Recall (2012)
40. House of Ghosts
41. The Campaign
42. Ted
43. Celeste and Jesse Forever
44. V/H/S
45. Pitch Perfect
46. Snow White and the Huntsman
47. The Words
48. Safety Not Guaranteed
49. 21 Jump Street
50. The Master
51. Sinister
52. This Means War
53. Citadel
54. God Bless America
55. The Three Stooges
56. Gone
57. Resident Evil: Retribution
58. The Queen of Versailles
59. The Amazing Spider-Man
60. Blue Like Jazz
61. For a Good Time, Call…
62. Frankenweenie
63. Ruby Sparks
64. American Reunion
65. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
66. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
67. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
68. Katy Perry: Part of Me
69. Butter
70. The Expendables 2
71. Ice Age: Continental Drift
72. Juan of the Dead
73. Prometheus
74. Hysteria
75. Cloud Atlas
76. The Dictator
77. Chasing Mavericks
78. Safe
79. Searching for Sonny
80. The Man with the Iron Fists
81. End of Watch
82. Brave
83. Lawless
84. The Hunger Games
85. John Carter
86. Wrath of the Titans
87. Dead Dad
88. Ingenious
89. Underworld: Awakening
90. The Devil Inside
91. The Possession
92. The Other Son
93. Dredd 3D
94. Seven Psychopaths
95. Premium Rush
96. Father’s Day
97. Livid
98. The Five-Year Engagement
99. Downtown Express
100. Sparkle
101. Savages
102. Sound of My Voice
103. Project X
104. Men in Black 3
105. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
106. Anna Karenina
107. Paranormal Activity 4
108. The Tall Man
109. Hit and Run
110. Hotel Transylvania
111. Piranha 3DD
112. Dark Shadows
113. The Raven
114. The Bourne Legacy
115. [Rec] 3 Genesis
116. Silent House
117. Won’t Back Down
118. That’s My Boy
119. Darling Companion
120. Bully
121. Here Comes the Boom
122. The Watch
123. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
124. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
125. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
126. Trouble with the Curve
127. Lockout
128. Fun Size
129. The Woman in Black
130. Little Red Wagon
131. The Vow
132. Man on a Ledge
133. Step Up Revolution
134. Extraterrestrial
135. The Lucky One
136. Contraband
137. The Samaritan
138. Act of Valor
139. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
140. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
141. Safe House
142. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
143. To Rome with Love
144. The Apparition
145. House at the End of the Street
146. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
147. Taken 2
148. Why Stop Now
149. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
150. Kill List
151. Chernobyl Diaries
152. Haywire
153. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection
154. A Thousand Words
155. Alex Cross
156. Joyful Noise
157. Battleship
158. Wanderlust
159. Barricade

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 write-up)


The 143 minute saga sees the atmosphere of Ian Fleming’s famed character evolve with the times, yet also stick to what elevated the suave and daring secret agent to pop-icon status. And this is all balanced effortlessly by director Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition).

LINCOLN (my review posting later this week – Google it)

Steven Spielberg depicts President Abraham Lincoln’s life in the final months of the Civil War.

After a graphic, and well-choreographed, battle sequence in the opening stages, the rest of this 150 minute historical dramatization is driven by wordy political posturing. For history buffs, seeing how the political tactics back then such as lobbying, discussions in the rowdy House of Representatives between nearly untamed Republicans and Democrats, etc., are quite informative, and amusing, as they methodically get unveiled.


Alright, it’s a nice story on (news) paper. But that’s where it probably should have stayed; because cinematically speaking, this sucker is a technical disaster. Hell, the story takes place in Tampa, yet it was shot in South Carolina. No respect…but that’s another story.


A forbidden love-affair amongst aristocrats in 19th century Russia lays it on pretty thick. The drama of betrayal and forgiveness is amplified as a steroidal Shakespearean tragedy. While having some solid performances, the dialogue delivery is just way too over-dramatic and never really goes anywhere aside from the obvious. However, the environment in which the screenplay articulates the story is worth suffering through the depressing and frustrating journey. In what looks to be set in a traditional theatrical play-house, the intertwining of set pieces is an act of brilliance. One minute you’re watching a horse race in a theatre setting and then it seamlessly transitions into an elaborate set piece that escapes from the confines of the theater. Tough to explain with words, but it’s a technical rarity to behold.


A cold, callous, and creepy horror tale out of the Ireland and the United Kingdom, actually is thoughtful and suspenseful when compared to the lackluster crap the genre has spit out this year.


When three reporters from a Seattle magazine head out to track down a guy who placed an ad for a time travel companion, this blunt, snarky and well-paced comedy actually keeps you interested from the opening minutes. Try to think of Kevin Smith’s work from the ’90s such as Chasing Amy.

The 2012 Movie Rankings: Skyfall and Lincoln impose their might

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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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