Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ABANDONED THEATER: Danny's Top 20 Films of 2012

Hello, everyone! I am taking a break from my usual music-related writings to step in on YPOIW's Abandoned Theater segment, which, as the title suggests, focuses on films. This is a list of my top twenty favorite films of 2012 along with very brief blurbs for the top ten. Thanks for reading!

- Danny Spiteri

20. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

19. The Secret World of Arrietty

18. The Dark Knight Rises

17. Django Unchained

16. Bernie

15. Argo

14. Silver Linings Playbook

13. This is 40

12. Amour

11. Wreck-it Ralph

10. Paranorman

The makers of 2009's exceptional Coraline return with Paranorman, a well-intentioned depiction of misunderstood children that also serves as an immaculately animated and genuinely humorous film for all ages.

9. Skyfall

Sam Mendes brings a fresh voice to the admirably durable James Bond franchise, employing magnificent cinematography and top-notch contributions from actors both fresh and familiar to the series to create what is by far one of the best Bond films to date.

8. Cloud Atlas

Although it doesn't execute its thematically dense plot quite as coherently as it could, Cloud Atlas is nevertheless an enthralling, memorable film that mostly realizes its ambition.

7. Looper

Looper is a stylish tech-noir film that succeeds both as a thrilling action movie with an engaging plot and exciting sequences and as a demonstration of how desire can eventually corrupt a person.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

From a distance, The Perks of Being a Wallflower could seem like a generic entry in the indie teen movie genre, but rather, the film transcends its clichés with irresistibly charming performances and emotionally resonant themes.

5. Seven Psychopaths

Martin McDonagh's followup to 2008's In Bruges is a witty piece of satire that smartly makes commentary on Hollywood films, also utilizing its all-star cast to great comedic effect.

4. Beasts of the Southern Wild

An aesthetically beautiful, exceptionally paced coming-of-age story, Beasts of the Southern Wild is not only a promising debut from director Benh Zeitlin, but also an excellent showcase for young lead actress Quvenzhané Wallis' stunning performance.

3. Holy Motors

Parallels between "the stage" and "real life" have been drawn before, but Holy Motors expresses them via a highly surreal and bizarre lens, comparing the cinema to reality in a thought-provoking and surprisingly relatable fashion.

2. The Master

Never shortchanging its expertly developed characters, The Master is an intricate exploration of faith, loneliness, and the often confused search for fulfillment, featuring superb performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, as well as typically masterful direction from one of modern cinema's most respectable names, Paul Thomas Anderson.

1. Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson has been fine-tuning his signature style of quirky indie film making over the course of his filmography, arriving at what is arguably his finest film yet with Moonrise Kingdom, a gorgeously framed, tastefully heartwarming, and appropriately funny tale of love between two outsider-esque children.