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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Rise of the Guardians leads Thanksgiving releases

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 voting member of one of the 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***

Last week’s rankings included many of this past week’s Thanksgiving arrivals (Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Red Dawn, etc.), save for Rise of the Guardians. And as the smaller studios continue to pepper yours truly with their award hopefuls for 2012, all will be viewed and tossed randomly over the next few weeks. Plus, the upper-echelon has been receiving second & third looks, as it is being constantly tweaked as the year continues to marinate in yours truly’s mind.

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

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

REVIEWS/NEW ARRIVALS (click on title for full write-up and/or info)


Only true problem with Rise of the Guardians: 97 minutes.

Yep, the run time, and therefore, edit, is the one thing that technically holds this back from being an animated cinematic marvel. This needed to reach the two-hour mark. While the themes easily get across, the at times choppy and rushed storytelling bumps this down a few notches from the “epic” labeling.


Anchored, and therefore elevated, by entrancing performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, this story about a 1st grade teacher and Arts & Entertainment journalist (Aaron Paul) – who are married and love getting stumbling drunk – is short, sweet, and surprisingly powerful at certain turns. There’s not much to it, and it can feel like an underdeveloped Lifetime Network sitcom; yet it keeps your attention thanks to a riveting display by Winstead in a fairly unoriginal drama. In the end, it’s a solid independent effort.


It’s constructed in the same vein as last year’s Oscar nominated Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, which chronicled the erroneous handling of the “West Memphis Three” criminal investigation. That said, Central Park Five, while very intriguing and factual, kind of forces a cinematic presentation together.

Rise of the Guardians

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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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