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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Les Miserables, This Is 40, Red Hook Summer and more

Posted by Joe Belcastro On December - 10 - 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.

As more independent flicks enter the 2012 movie fray, a few marquee releases such as This Is 40 and Les Miserables arrived to be in consideration for respective film critics’ associations year-end voting deadlines. Besides those two notables, due out around Christmas time, Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer The Weinstein Company’s Quartet, and a unique documentary titled The Imposter, all made a decent impression when compared to the 200 films reviewed/screened by yours truly up to this point.

***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***

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

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

RED HOOK SUMMER

This is Spike Lee as his best. Crisply shot and having a documentary type feel to it, this inner-city drama presents provocative views of religion through a sturdy group of compelling characters (a small parish priest, a gang member, and two grade-schoolers – one middle-class, the other born in the projects). Powerful performances and articulate story arcs really draw you in as if you’re listening to a passionate debate.

LES MISERABLES

It’s produced on a grand scale and is dressed fairly well. Yet director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), looks as if he bit more off than he could chew with such a large production. Add in a mixed casting bag belting out empty songs and all you get is a pretty girl without a whole hell of a lot to say (substance).

LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR

A documentary that has a variety artists ranging from musicians such as Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Chuck D (Public Enemy), to comedian Lewis Black and skateboarder Tommy Guerrero, all yapping about how since 1980, America has changed (with a focus on the arrival of Ronald Reagan as President). The universal point this army of artists are attempting to make is that through their craft, they provide a voice that urges people to think outside the norm. It’s an admirable, and true, message; but you basically are thinking, “No shit” the entire time. In other words…this isn’t news. But it is a nice reminder that bold thinking could be the way to go.

AFTER LUCIA

This film out of Mexico doesn’t really have anything going on in the first 45 minutes. It’s about a father and his 16 year-old daughter, who relocate to a new suburb after the sudden death of his wife. As it goes through the motions, with the focus being on the daughter for the most part, the 2nd half of the story is shockingly suspenseful and becomes downright emotional. Essentially, it transitions into a graphic story about the sensitive topic of bullying. And it can get you fired up in an assortment of ways. Just a shame the first half was a lame duck.

THIS IS 40

Judd Apatow takes two side-players (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) from his 2007 comedy “Knocked Up” and depicts his vision of what being married at 40 entails in today’s society. Leslie Mann gives her best performance in her Apatow days, and Albert Brooks does some hilarious supporting role work here. Thing is though, the tone of this, in what comes across as a bipolar script, can you get confused on whether you should be laughing or not. And that alone makes this an awkward, though kind of provocative, watch. Apatow casts his own kids in the flick, and let’s just say that raunchy apple does not fall from the realistic tree…both of those two (Maude and Iris Apatow) do a solid job.

QUARTET

If “quirky British comedy” means anything to you – armed with accomplished talent (Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, and Michael Gambon) – then you know what you’re getting here. This takes place in a lavish retirement estate that houses some of the most revered performing opera/musician stars. It’s kind of a refined version of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While the ending is a bit clichéd and rushed together, everything unfolding prior is quite enjoyable; mainly due to Billy Connolly charismatically, and sarcastically, stealing the show.

THE IMPOSTER

This documentary is delivered in a style that is commonly seen on the History and/or Discover channels. With live testimony from all the parties involved in this baffling 194 disappearance case that took place in San Antonio, Texas; spliced with reenactments of pertain moments from the past, this is one of the most riveting documentaries, from a technical point-of-view, seen in some time. It fails to fully answer some of the questions it poses towards the end, but that does not take away from attractive nature of the case and sound storytelling by the filmmakers.

Les Miserables The 2012 Movie Rankings: Les Miserables, This Is 40, Red Hook Summer and more

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