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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Hitchcock, The Collection, 28 Hotel Rooms and a mob of Independent Award hopefuls

Posted by Joe Belcastro On December - 1 - 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.

***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***

As noted just below, the frequency of the rankings will be published twice a week due to the sheer volume of awards season screenings. The Collection was the only wide release yours truly was able to see, but there’s a small army of independents from the minor leagues and mid-majors (second-tier studios) that were judged. And 28 Hotel Rooms was a very nice surprise.

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

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

HITCHCOCK

Audiences get a flavoring on Hitchcock’s lifestyle, both past and present, but a lot of it is just glossed over. But to be fair, the focus is just on the events surrounding the making of Psycho; so you can’t blame the screenplay for not elaborating on certain elements of his lifestyle that are intriguing; simply because a barrage of flashback sequences can interrupt the flow of the presentation (see J. Edgar). For the Hitchcock fans, the pacing and mechanics (i.e. cinematography) nearly emulate how the good director would have shot this particular flick if he were alive today.

THE COLLECTION

If Saw 2 fornicated with a ‘90s slasher flick, The Collection is what would pop out – complete with birth defects (mechanical errors). The writers of Saw IV-VVII are in full control of this horror flick that takes place in a twisted abandoned hotel, with the sole guest being a silent masked torturer of sorts. All things considered, it’s literally a tolerable watch; as it moves quickly, has some decent and bloody kills, and is equipped with some demonic set pieces. It won’t win any awards…and that includes the dreaded Razzie (anti-Oscars).

DRAGON

What looks to be a standard martial arts movie (and should have been) tries a bit too hard, and therefore, is flying all over the place. The storytelling is jagged and there isn’t a ton of action to keep one’s attention. And if you haven’t guessed, the plot line, while mildly interesting, is told in a scatter-brained manner (poor edit), and by the end has one feeling like they’ve wasted your time. It’s not painful, but this was in dire need of a solid technical polish.

UNION SQUARE

Without Mira Sorvino putting on a show as a troubled and obnoxious train-wreck, this 80 minute feature would have warranted a theater walkout. The story blows and it’s essentially on repeat; for the setting primarily takes place in NYC apartment as Sorvino drops-in on her sister (Tammy Blanchard) and her straight-and-narrow fiancé (Mike Doyle). Performances are there, but the storytelling and premise is a simple bore.

TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE

It’s over-the-top randomness and crudeness provides a few “laughing with noise” moments. But even with an assortment of cameos (Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte, David Koechner, etc.), this is just recycled stoner/moronic-stupidity.

THE INVISIBLE WAR

Tackling a sensitive, and downright shocking, subject matter (rape in the military – specifically women), this documentary captures your attention after the first victim utters just a few words. And the amount of data presented will baffle and possibly outrage you. The filmmakers easily make a compelling case with hard facts and candid discussions with select victims and lawmakers in Congress. One thing that is missing though is a rebuttal from the people (military brass) that “sweep” this issue under the proverbial rug. If we had a counter-argument, this may have been the best documentary of the year.

GINGER & ROSA

There’s a philosophy woven through this piece that centers around two teenagers (Elle Fanning & Alice Englert) in England, dealing with the threat of a nuclear war back in the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And while the direction of the subplots (domestic infidelity) is fairly obvious, the ensemble cast (Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening, Alessandro Nivola, Oliver Platt, and Timothy Spall) can keep you invested in this semi-emotional dramatic telling.

ONLY THE YOUNG

So if Beavis and Butt-Head tried to be semi-serious, rode skateboards, and pontificated about relationships in a skin-deep sort of way (shallow)…would you want to watch? Probably not. And that sums up this documentary that seems nearly scripted in the same vein as The Virginity Hit yet tries (edited & cut) to have a storyline similar to the skateboard comedy Grind. But nothing is humorous. Bottom line: You know those moments where you think it would be cool to document what and you’re friends are doing because it would make people laugh? Eh, not so much. With that being said, the brief 72 minutes does keep you slightly curious on where they’re going with this (a.k.a. mildly amusing people watching).

28 HOTEL ROOMS

Chris Messina will one day be in consideration for a gold statue in February. He and Marin Ireland do riveting work in this hotel-affair saga. The entire movie takes place in five-star hotel rooms across the country as the cheating characters rendezvous for passionate love-making. And when feelings become involved, emotional arguments take center stage in the same setting. When you find yourself rooting for people doing deplorable acts, the filmmakers are definitely doing something right in the delivery. The only plot hole if you will, is noticed towards the end, revolving around why & how Messina’s character is able to still sneak out of his married life to visit his also-married mistress in different cities. A little more background was perhaps needed here.

TCHOUPITOULAS

I’m fine with documentaries just filming footage and having very little narration. But at least film something worthwhile and articulate a point! Taking random home videos, and having an affinity for the zoom button, does not qualify as a notable doc. Even if half of it follows three inner-city youths walking around the New Orleans nightlife. While it’s almost admirable just showing reality, it’s important to have some type of purpose or agenda. In other words, keep your home vids to yourself or at least have the sense to realize that you actually captured something that could possibly engage others. Just saying…

the collection1 The 2012 Movie Rankings: Hitchcock, The Collection, 28 Hotel Rooms and a mob of Independent Award hopefuls

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