It’s that time of the year folks, where people like me list up their best/favorite movies of the year. I already did my list of my disappointing/worst movies of the year (go check it out) but now it’s time to put the list of movies that were my favorite. Past years I’ve done lists and I always had a “best” (best is like that because it’s my personal opinion) movie of the year but this year has proven to be difficult because for me there has been a lot of great movies this year. So instead of numbering the top ten or twenty, I’m just going to put them in alphabetical order.
First up, Honorable Mentions
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: I loved the book and when I saw the movie I understood why they made changes but part of me still felt like seeing some of the things they cut out make it to the big screen. Benjamin Walker did a fine job of playing Lincoln and the action sequences, more notably the so called “Waltz of Death,” were really cool to see.
Act of Valor: Many people had a lot to say about this movie. Praising its action sequence but not to fond on the acting despite not having real actors. I looked pass that and still found a lot of fun to have with the movie.
Brave: Pixar keeps impressing all of us with the way they keep making great animated films that really stick with us and the upgrade to all their animations. The movie was truly stunning visually and the story can really get you to at least tear up (don’t lie!)
Django Unchained: Tarantino has bought his A game once again but this time dealing with the topic of Slavery. The cast of Foxx, DiCaprio, Waltz and Jackson just pushed the movie over the edge. However, the length really bothered me and just about everybody but I still enjoyed it enough to make the list.
Flight: You can’t go wrong with Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis. The movie was very drama heavy and Washington did an amazing job, as always, playing up his character.
Haywire: From what I can remember this had some hype for the fact that it had Gina Carano making the jump from MMA to film. However, not a whole lot of people saw it which is a shame really because it was a really good movie. The fights really made this movie, more specially Carano and Fassbender’s hotel room brawl, and with Carano’s background, J.J Perry’s choreography and Steven Soderbergh’s directing ability they put on a hit. It also showed that Carano can hold her own and can be the next big female action star.
John Carter: Although not the heavy success that Disney hoped for at the box office, mostly do to bad marketing, I still found this highly entertaining and those that saw it agreed too. I hope Disney doesn’t quit on this potential franchise because it probably the most underrated movies this year.
Killing Them Softly: Would you think hit-men have problems like all of us? Well they do. Although that’s not the main point of this movie it does bring up some cool stuff besides what happens when you cross the wrong set of people (aka Gangsters). Brad Pitt also gave a terrific performance and the last minutes of the film just gave me chills.
Lawless: Filled with great performances by the whole cast, the film showed the highs and lows of making moonshine and the legend of the Bondurant Brothers. Besides the performance the movie was very beautiful to look at as well.
Lockout: Luc Besson has always made fun entertaining dumb fun action movies and this was another on to add to the list. Add Guy Pearce as the uncommon action hero and it was really fun to watch.
Premium Rush: This one kind of flew under the radar when it came out in late August but the movie was very entertaining and had a very cool concept behind it.
Prometheus: Just because it didn’t make my Best/Favorite movies side, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. I was able to look over the hype that A LOT of people put on this and I think that’s why a lot of were “disappointed” when they saw the movie. Looking past the hype the movie had fantastic performances by Rapace and of course Michael Fassbender.
Red Dawn: I know a lot of people were vocal when it came out that this would be remade. Then it got delayed due MGM financial issues and had to replace anything Chinese to North Korean because the Chinese film market is starting to become big for American films. Nonetheless, I still found this movie a lot of fun and had a good time watching. Also, the movie had lot things different from the original almost making it its own movie.
Seven Psychopaths: Martin McDonagh did a great job with “In Bruges” and followed it up with his great dark humor brutal action film. The performances by everyone like Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson made the movie that much better.
Sinister: When a movie starts off the way this one did, you know it’s going to be a creepy movie. Sinister pulled off the creep factor and what happens when you become obsessed with something too much.
The Amazing Spiderman: I think a lot of doubts were at ease when this finally came out. Although we never really saw the highly promoted “Untold Origin Story” the movie still was pretty good. Garfield’s Peter Parker was in my opinion better than Maguire’s and the chemistry between him and Stone’s Gwen Stacy really made the movie for me.
This Means War: I’m not going to lie I thought this wasn’t going to be any good but I gave it the benefit of the doubt because of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Thankfully I was wrong. I had a real fun time watching this movie and laughed a lot.
The Possession: As much as it being a horror movie it was also a family drama and not in the normal horror movie sense of the word. It really dealt with how a broken family would pull together. Add in a creepy old foreign ladies voice, eerie lighting and I was very crept out.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: When you think of spy thrillers you probably think of Bond or Bourne movies but TTSS played it probably a little closer to what really happens. With a great British cast and compelling dialogue scenes it certainly was a good film.
Before you read the list I should point out movies that I’m pretty sure would have made the list (or at least a place on the Honorable Mentions) if I had seen them before I put out this list.
Sound of My Voice, Zero Dark Thirty (if it came out widely this year), Life of Pi, The Master, and Cloud Atlas
Now, it’s time for the best of the best. Remember these are in alphabetical order.
Argo: Based on the true story of how the CIA did indeed get people out of war torn country Ben Affleck proved he can be a great director no matter what you give him. Great scenes and suspense really made this movie one of the best this year.
Chronicle: A new fresh take (yes there is an Akira connections we get it) of what would happen if somebody got superpowers. Would they use it for good or evil? Josh Trank and Max Landis answered that with one of the most impressive superhero movies that doesn’t have the label Marvel or DC attached to it.
Dredd: A much more grittier and dark toned movie than the terrible Stallone version, it prove that the Judge Dredd character can make a great film. Although not a box office success the movie did find a pretty big following for those who saw it. Also it should be noted that Karl Urban did an amazing job with his Dredd and it also goes under the list of “Underrated movies of the year”.
End of Watch: I’ve been a big fan of David Ayer (writer/director of Harsh Times, director of Street Kings and writer of U-571, The Fast & The Furious, Training Day, S.W.A.T) for a while now. I really liked what he did with the camera work and how real and different this movie felt from his past cop films.
Goon: Probably one of my surprise pick/movie of the year candidate. Goon was not just a hockey comedy but also have some fun brutal action sequences.
Headhunters: Swedish crime thrillers are all the rage nowadays. Starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and now this. However, the only thing that they have similar is that they are Swedish. But if you’re in to great crime thrillers, amazing twists, and some dark humor then you should definitely check this out.
Looper: Time travel movies are always a hard sell but Rian Johnson managed to bring a great film that just happens to have time travel. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis gave some of the best performances this year and bought a lot of depth to their characters which also made the movie a great character piece.
Lincoln: One of the hardest things for a historical fact based drama is keeping the audience interested because we already know the outcome. Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis’s terrific performance as Abraham Lincoln didn’t make that a factor at all. Truly one of the best films this year
Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson has done yet another quirky film and I had a lot of fun watching this movie about young love.
Safe House: Another surprise pick of the year is one from new director Daniel Espinosa (Swedish film Snabba Cash) that stared Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. The trailers got me into watching it but the end result of the film was much more than I thought it would be.
Silver Linings Playbook: With great performances from the cast of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence the movie was a great story and funny. Not to bad for a movie I hardly knew nothing about.
Skyfall: The third of the Daniel Craig ‘Bond’ movies and probably one of the best. Craig has proven that he is the best Bond and had a great dark tone that made the movie more emotional and powerful.
Sleepless Night (aka Nuit Blanche): A great French film that proves how far a father will go for his love one in one night at club.
Ted: Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy and American Dad finally made the jump from the small screen to the big screen with this hilarious comedy that didn’t feel like a longer Family Guy episode but its very own thing.
The Avengers: It took almost five years to finally bring this ambitious adaptation of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” to the big screen. Of course who better to bring it than fan favorite nerd Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Serenity, Dr. Horrible). Besides the movie bringing everything some of us could ask for, it also set up the future of Marvel films or as Marvel is calling it “Phase 2.”
The Cabin in the Woods: Delayed for three years due to MGM financial troubles, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s much anticipated horror movie finally came out and for many it did not disappoint but for other it probably did. For me, one of the best things about this movie was its real “theme” and how they executed it but also the classic Whedon sense of humor.
The Dark Knight Rises: Arguably one of the best endings to a trilogy and one of the best trilogies to be made, Christopher Nolan made Batman cool again (at least on the big screen).
The Expendables 2: The movie was a lot more tongue-in-check then the first one and maybe for the best. With some over the top action and cheesier one-liners the movie was everything more than the first movie should have been.
The Grey: Although it came out at the beginning of the year, Joe Carnahan’s survival thriller is still easily one of the best of the year. Liam Neeson gives a tremendous performance as the lead dealing with the weather, other survivors and deadly wolves.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: A new trilogy is upon us and it’s off to a good start. I was not really that excited to watch this but I’m glad I did because it was way better than I thought it would be and I’m looking forward to what Jackson and Co. bring next. Also for a long movie it really just flew by.
The Raid: Easily one, if not the best, action movie this year. Filled with amazing and brutal fight sequences it became one of my favorite martial arts action movies ever.
Wreck-It Ralph: The best animated movie of the year is also the best video game movie that’s not based on an actual video game. Disney has managed to make another great animated movie (along with the short before the movie actually starts) with great animation and story.