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The 2012 Movie Rankings: Playing for Keeps, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook


The 2012 Movie Rankings: Playing for Keeps, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook

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***

After a slew of indies and docs entering in earlier this week, some of the more notable contenders are starting to arrive:

Silver Linings Playbook benefited from game performances from the cast while Kathryn Bigelow’s cinematic chronicle of hunting down Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, may earn her another gold statue in a few categories. And although it’s not spectacular by any means, the spoiled critics (award screener overload), are being a bit too harsh on Playing for Keeps.

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

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


Documentarian Eugene Jarecki presents a detailed case about the history regarding the war on drugs. His research is thorough and his delivery is sound; but he could have used an editor to trim this up his wordy ramble as this comes to a close (starts talking in circles). That said, all the angles (informative, testimony from both sides, etc.) are combed through in this on-screen journalistic piece; which in turn provides decades of factual information.


The only time yours truly wants to see Gerard Butler on the screen is when he’s pummeling multiple human beings to a bloody pulp. But just as he wins over a bunch of soccer moms in this hybrid rom-com (mature and wholesome), he now has my acceptance as multi-genre performer (because he was worried about my approval). ). For people that remember 1989’s Parenthood, that’s the tone of this playful comedy with romantic/coming-of-age undertones.


It’s essentially a 90 minute acting reel for Common. And he’s awesome in it, as he goes through an array of emotions. Problem is that the script/story is fragmented and simply amounts to a montage of scenes that have no real rhyme or reason. His young partner-in-crime, Michael Rainey Jr., also shows some solid talent in this clichéd tale about a man with a jaded past, who comes home after prison and attempts to start anew, yet his checkered past still haunts him.


Director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) did extensive homework on the decade long pursuit of Osama bin Laden. Set predominantly in CIA offices out in the war-torn Middle East, the first half of the flick watches agents harshly question an assortment of detainees in the efforts to find bin Laden’s whereabouts. Weaving into those sequences is the bureaucratic element; in which one persistent agent (Jessica Chastain) had to deal with, as she feels constant pressure from people who answer to the President. The latter half authentically shows the eventual operation that led to, SPOILER ALERT, the death of mastermind behind 9/11. With some gritty acting and natural looking performances from the entire cast (some known, some not), Bigelow tops her 2010 Oscar winning flick. Jason Clarke (Lawless) is excellent in this by the way.


If you can deal with the French subtitles, and enjoyed flicks such as The Sessions or even Rain Man, this is a real treat. Witty, intelligent, and blessed with commanding performances from the two leads, this was a story that you just don’t want to end really. In other words, here’s your winner for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards.


Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is a tandem to be reckoned with in this candid dramedy. While it has trouble transitioning at certain turns in the screenplay, there are laughs to be had and some substantial conversations with an all-star cast (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and a Chris Tucker sighting). The script kind of sells out in the end with cliches, but the journey – specifically the written dialogue – in getting to that point is fairly engrossing.

The 2012 Movie Rankings: Zero Dark Thirty

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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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