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The 2012 Movie Rankings: The year’s Best and Worst


The 2012 Movie Rankings: The year’s Best and Worst

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.

If yours truly did not have to cover other topics in addition to penetrating every crevice of film industry (Hollywood, independent, local, etc.), this growing monster of a list might have reached around 240 flicks screened. But since this guy still likes to eat, have some sort of social existence, not look like a stoner (bloodshot eyes), and pay the bills in a timely fashion, we’re cutting this sucker off now.

For those just arriving to this weekly party, the goal was to emulate the college sports ranking system. As new 2012 releases invaded theaters each Friday, an updated ranking list would be unveiled on Monday. Being a member of accredited film critic associations, and privy to advance studio screenings and award screeners, just about all the major releases along with a plethora of independent entries were given a thorough look, and in most cases – a review (Google me), by these green eyes.

And since these rankings are solely based on my opinion, here’s a little peak in how to gauge my more-or-less thought process for the films of 2012:

Something I had to answer about all year is how Chronicle maintained its place atop the list since February. Ever since I’ve been reviewing movies, one hits me as the year’s best; but it’s usually released within the last three months of the respective year (For example: Last 3 years were Moneyball, The Social Network, and Up in the Air). Chronicle, which will more than likely not make any critics top 10, or even 20 for that matter, resonated with me because it cleverly innovated what I considered to be a tired genre: Fake/found-footage shenanigans.

That reasoning/rationale is why a movie like Cabin in the Woods hung around in the top 10 as well. The horror genre is on life-support, yet the filmmakers behind this gem found a creative way to breathe life into the near-dead concept. And when you see/hear the same formula over-and-over each year, encountering flicks that were conjured up with heavy doses of inspiration, and as an added bonus – being technically sound, they just won me over this time around. Plus, people need to understand, some (keyword: SOME) critics/reviewers still allow the “entertainment” factor to weigh heavily into their review process. Hence why the documentary, Side by Side (not likely in the running for Best Doc at the major award shows), landed so high, due to the riveting nature it projected out.

All that being said, here’s a few other brief snippets of my “interesting” perception:

-The top 13 are all worthy of being considered for a Best Picture nod

-The top 100 are works I would encourage most to see despite some flaws (Rating-wise: Some received just 3/5 stars)

-Movies 101-154 had potential and have “something” to admire about them. But they just couldn’t bring it all together

-Movies 155-187: Meh. Try harder.

-Movies 188-bottom: Essentially crap and not sure how many of them got past “greenlight” status

The new releases for the respective week will have a capsule review at the end of the column. Here’s how things played out in 2012:

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

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


With Gus Van Sant at the helm, and Matt Damon co-writing and starring, this combo has been a recipe for something worthwhile. Well, at least once (i.e. Good Will Hunting).


Disaster flicks, most of them apocalyptic and fantastical, are usually laced with cheap thrills and mediocre acting. But what if someone tried to do something different? And therefore, articulate The Impossible?

Telling the true story of a family that actually experienced a catastrophe – the 2004 Tsunami in South Asia – the 114 minutes smack every emotion in your body. You’ll sit there tensely as the pure horror of the situation is captured intelligently through the lens. And the performances of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, along with the young Tom Holland, can break your heart in this gripping reality of survival.

By the way, the make-up artists and set-designers deserve some February golden statue consideration.

Cabin In The Woods

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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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