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Movies of 2012 [FB]
Jan 3rd, 2013 by Dan

cinema

(Photo by jimmymac333)

Man do I love me some movies, guys. The following listing of my favorites is not limited to movies that were released in 2012, but rather what I saw in 2012 that I most want to talk about.

Prometheus – I’ve never seen a movie from the Alien franchise, but something about the trailers and the Fassbender hype made me want to catch this one in the theaters. After failing to get most people interested, Ian and I caught this flick. Look, guys, it’s not the greatest movie out there, but Fassbender is amazing, the movie is stunning, and that emergency “caesarian”? Absolutely terrifying and awesome to watch. I want to make everyone watch that hyper tense scene.

The Cabin in the Woods – Kind of related to the previous movie, but I don’t really watch horror/monster movies. They’re not my thing. The buzz on Cabin was so great that I had to face my fears and step in. What I got was a brilliant subversion of the horror genre with Whedon’s fingerprints all over it. It’s not really that scary and I honestly believe that everyone should suck it up and check this flick out. You’ll never look at a horror movie the same way.

Young Adult – The first of these flicks to have actually come out in 2011, Diablo Cody’s look at a thoroughly unpleasant woman seeking to reclaim her glory days is relentless in its brutal look at the awful person that Charlize Theron plays. The absolute kicker is in the scene where Patton Oswalt’s character’s sister effectively destroys the character progress Theron has made. Watching everything shift into place on her face was probably the best acted moment I saw this year.

The Descendants – Or the movie that convinced me that George Clooney was brilliant and that Shailene Woodley had real acting chops. It’s a beautiful family movie with an almost tacked on real estate sideplot that doesn’t quite tie in like I think they wanted it to, but it’s full of great performances and it’s definitely worth seeing.

Higher Ground – I’ve been enamored with Vera Farmiga ever since I saw her in Up in the Air, so I had to check this movie out. It’s about a woman constantly searching for meaning, but frustratingly never able to find it. She plays the part with a lot of emotion and subtlety and I just adored every minute of the performance.

Martha Marcy May Marlene – Fits in thematically with the previously mentioned movie since it’s also about a girl so lost that she ends up involved in a cult (to be fair, Higher Ground is about a fundamentalist Christian sect). Elizabeth Olsen plays the confused, frightened escapee with great skill as her brain struggles to reconcile what is real with what was brainwashed into her head. Of course you also get to contrast the horrible, but peaceful cult with the materialistic and unfulfilling real world that alienated Olsen in the first place. The film is most notable to me with how it closes. Is Olsen in her right mind and is the cult actually about to exact vengeance or not?

Wanderlust – The first truly slight movie on this list, Wanderlust has David Wain’s quasi-troop at their funniest. It’s not gonna win any Oscars, but Wanderlust is a happy, fun movie filled with funny people. I mean, any movie that makes me like Jennifer Aniston has got to be worth mentioning.

The Five-Year Engagement – Sure, it’s just shy of a standard rom-com, but this flick is getting special mention for the fine work of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt. Those two are amazing.

Goon – A hockey epic for the modern day. I have almost zero complaints about this movie. It tugs on all the heartstrings with a story as far from cloying as possible. It’ll make you laugh, wince, and maybe cry, but you’ll love it.

21 Jump Street – Who knew that Channing Tatum was secretly hilarious? It’s probably getting a little too much credit, but this is a genuinely funny movie that I expected to be completely idiotic and forgettable.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – My first Duplass Brothers film. I guess they call this kind of indie film mumblecore, but that’s kind of reductive. It’s a sweet story about brothers, which is the kind of thing I’m a sucker for.

The Avengers – The biggest movie of the year! Do I even have to talk about it? I want to give props to Mark Ruffalo for being brilliant as Bruce Banner and, hey, while we’re at it, I thought ScarJo did a fine job too (so did everyone else).

Argo – A strong competitor for my favorite flick of the year. Who doesn’t love a heist flick? Especially one that’s actually based on real events. 70s facial hair, great, tense performances, and international spy intrigue. It goes to show that you don’t need James Bond flair to make a good, exciting espionage movie. Plus “Argo fuck yourself” is a great line.

Lincoln – Another heist flick, but this one is about getting votes for the 13th amendment. Everyone you could possibly think of is in this flick, but I think its fatal flaw is the whole biopic aspect of it. Lincoln was an incredible man, I don’t doubt that, but in this movie he’s never wrong, always gets the last word in, and is generally a god among men. Worth seeing.

Holy Motors – Gets the WTF? Award this year. Truly bizarre in a way that only French cinema dares. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s also brilliant. The accordion segment was pretty sweet too

Pitch Perfect – I love movies about music or singing. I don’t care that this is the most stereotypical, formulaic plotting out there. Obviously there’s gonna be discord, one girl is devoted to the old way while the new girl has a revolutionary way to look at things and, guess what, she’s right! Look, who cares about that? Rebel Wilson is hilarious and Anna Kendrick is super charming. Don’t fight it, just enjoy.

Django Unchained – I’m not above stating that this is the most important movie of the year. I’ve heard that some of the events depicted in it are exaggerations of the horrors of slavery. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t live in the 1800s, but I think that this movie is properly intense and strikes the right balance between over-the-top violence and the real gravity of the situation. Cristoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson all deserve recognition for their amazing performances. If you’re only gonna see one movie on this list, make it this one.

What I’ve Been Doing 3 Dec 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 3rd, 2012 by Dan

Lincoln Memorial

Which is the greater monument: the movie or the…monument? (Photo by MarkusR)

Four score and seven seconds ago I started trying to come up with a clever line to write here. As you can see, I failed.

Movies

Lincoln – I’ve talked to lots of people about this movie and it’s one I feel better about recommending the more I think about it. Sure, Lincoln himself may or may not have been as epic a figure as the movie makes him out to be (dude is like a god in this picture), but the political intrigue and heist-like nature of the vote makes for good cinema. Now if only it didn’t feel quite so awkward to have all these great white men saving black men…

TV

The Amazing Race – Watched Abby and Ryan get eliminated from their race in Amsterdam. That was brutal to see them so badly screwed over by flight issues, but they were pretty unpleasant, so…Having enemies makes for good reality tv, right? Now what do we have…I also watched the first three episodes of the first season. Holy cow are there plenty of highly unlikeable folks in that…

New Girl – Sure seems like a lot of shows are addressing the late pregnancy thing. I wonder why that’s all in the zeitgeist right now…or maybe I’m just of an age where I notice it more?

Parks and Recreation – The sight gag with the balloon Leslie and Ben was brilliant. I really love Eagleton episodes.

The League – Not the most exciting or adventurous episode, but I definitely dug the way the guy in the wheelchair was obsessed with his legs.

Homeland – Didn’t see last night’s, but the one where they took down the terrorist cell at the cafe had me thinking that the show was playing its hand too early. I can’t even imagine what the next three episodes will bring for the show, especially now that they’ve revealed that the CIA’s end goal is to murder Brody once his usefulness is up.

The Mindy Project – I really do think this show is on the upswing. Mindy Kaling is probably the funniest person on screen most of the time and the Morgan and Danny characters are also very funny. The rest of the cast is still growing on me.

Glee – I found myself saying (multiple times, mind you), “This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen” during the past two week’s episodes. Guys, “Gangnam Style” is played out and, worse, Marley’s got to be some kind of idiot to think that her body is getting bigger in the span of days. It’s dumb and it feels like a setup for all those “very special” episodes Ryan Murphy loves to do on Glee.

NTSF:SD:SUV::
– Alan Tudyk, Alison Brie, and Jake Johnson? Fantastic two episodes. I loved ‘em.

Childrens Hospital – Wow, I really didn’t remember the 28 Days Later amnesia spoof. My memory of this show is apparently very vague.

How I Met Your Mother – I dug the dance sequence in the S7 opener. Glad Netflix finally has it.

Music

Been listening to a lot of Channel Orange. “Bad Religion” is one of my favorite tracks

Frank Ocean’s pretty good. Check him out.

Books

The Revolution Was Televised – Alan Sepinwall’s book on the way that tv’s been changing and evolving has been pretty interesting so far. I’m still in the proto-stages where he talks about the precursor shows and the first real new drama, Oz. Seems very cool.

A Confederacy of Dunces – Ignatius is growing on me. I dig the way that he’s sabotaging Levy Pants.

Video Games

Nintendo Land – Played for hours at Ian/Morghan’s place. Hadn’t realized that the coop games require Wii Motion Plus, but I forgot my adapters. The other games were super fun though. Definitely a great multi game. Hopefully I get to play some with Eric and Danielle too, but there’s always Christmas.

Donkey Kong Country Returns – I don’t think it’s as good as the old SNES games, but it’s got some nostalgic music and I’ll keep checking it out.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Got back into the recording game. Lots of fun even though my rust caused some terrible performance.

FTL: Faster Than Light – I nearly killed David with laughter over my terrible Mantis B gameplay. Lots of fun.

New Super Mario Bros. U – Acorn Plains was too easy and they sure seem to distribute a ton of item blocks, but I’ve been having lots of fun playing with Min. We’ve quickly gotten back into our wii habits. Lots of fun.

Sleeping Dogs – I didn’t realize that my files had been corrupted, but that provided about an hour of frustration until I tried that and realized I had to redownload files. So far it seems pretty cool. Can’t wait to see how the story develops.

Team Fortress 2 – Got rolled in a few rounds with Lee. Lots of fun, but I was doing pretty poorly.

The Old Republic – Started working on my Sith Warrior because I was thinking the Vette relationship would be neat. Locking quick bars for F2P for non-subscribers is weak, by the way. Bad move, guys.

To the Moon – A quick four hour game/interactive fiction. I was led to believe that it was more incredible than it was, but perhaps that’s just in the pre-Walking Dead world of games. The story is good, mind you, and quite funny in places, but it’s not going to win any awards or terribly surprise you. Not a terrible way to spend four hours, but I wouldn’t expect anything mind-blowing.

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