Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year-End Roundup 2012

It's that time! 2012 will soon be gone, and 2013 will get all up in our business. I'm sad to see it go, as 2012 has been a banner year for Net-flixation! I shattered all my records for hits in a month, and in a day, repeatedly, and I've posted more often than every other day this year.

But I should probably just get to it. Office parties, Santacon, presents, end-of-year business... We're all busy, so I'll stop being so pleased with myself. It's time for a review of the year in movies (for me). I still haven't thought of categories better than what I've used since 2010's Roundup... nor did anyone suggest other categories for me to consider, so if you don't like the sections I have, it's partly your fault. And I gave the winner for "Biggest Vicarious Disappointment" an embed to a Fan-made Gem by the How It Should Have Ended crew...

Oh, well - Enjoy!:

Best New Movie (that I actually saw) - Looper. Which I still haven't reviewed yet. I'll get the DVD and review Johnson's hit soon after. It was imperfect, but incredibly surprising - and I loved Rian for creating a new work instead of every freaking 2012 movie being a reboot, remake or a franchise effort. I'm ashamed I haven't covered it yet. Let's move on, shall we?

Best Out-of-the-Blue Release - Sironia.

I try not to include, in these lists, the work that I do for other sites - in this case, Man, I Love Films. I can't help it, though. By taking over responsibility for their indie movie reviews, I've been exposed to a great many pictures that I never would have heard about - much less seen - otherwise. I loved a lot of those pix, but Sironia really stands out. It's the only 5-star review I've given over there.

For one thing, I only chose Sironia because I watched Angel, which introduced me to the slender acting powerhouse that is Amy Acker. Based solely on her being a lead, I chose this relationship drama, and got floored by how intelligent and touching it was. I had a great time watching it, and my review reflected the same. Please rent/buy it, if you haven't already; you'll have no regrets...

Most Internal-Conflict-Causing Film - The Cabin in the Woods.

Wow, Acker's in this one, too.
I saw this movie at the amazing Night Hawk theater in Williamsburg, with my good friend Scott G. We enjoyed the hell out of this experience, so I was conflicted in different ways than usual. I was laughing so hard I scarcely cared that the end progressed stupidly/unevenly, and it was never especially scary - as a "horror movie" should be... Cabin was a fun pic, despite its flaws, and was meant to be watched on a massive screen, surrounded by friends.

My inner struggle, then, was the point where I realized that this would only be "WB-movie scary" (e.g., Disturbing Behavior), and that there were still tons of plot problems, but that I should just enjoy how clever and funny it was. Finally, I was as pleased by tCitW as I was upset that the movie sat on the shelf for years while MGM went through financial problems. This feeling was even stronger since it would have been out earlier, if not for the studio's choice to convert it to 3-D - a decision which they later reversed. Grr! Argh!

Worst Movie - Piranha 3D.

I'm pretty sure this was the worst time I had watching a movie this year. My review says it all. This should have been an easy triple, if not home-run. I mean, honestly, if all you want to do is film some inventive, gory deaths and show naked women, you're working in the only genre that will really let you do that.

The depth they gave Kelly at the start was great, but it went nowhere.

Instead, 70% of the picture could've been filmed by first year kids at film school. It starts out with very clever, smart humor, but then P3D hit puberty and became a total dick. It was a childish, rack-tacular effort with a gradually worsening sense of plotting and pace. The often amateurish, impossible-to-ignore CGI undercut that whole "B-movie feel" that the creators were going for. Nor was it as scary as it should have been, and - aside from showing that Kelly Brook is a fine actress - Piranha 3D didn't make up for it.

It was all the more horrible considering that the opening of the film felt like it had some potential depth and unexpected intelligence. What a poor effort.

Best Theatrical Re-release - Oddly, I can't remember if I saw any this year; I don't think I did. I'm not sad that I skipped out on the Pulp Fiction re-release because I saw it three times when it first came out. But I think Memento got a callback this year, and I am annoyed that I missed making my second viewing of Nolan's first hit a theatrical experience; I have few favorites that I've only watched on a big screen.

I know, it sucks that I have two categories I can barely fill out, but I'll attend a bunch of re-releases in 2013, so I'll have my pick next December...

Best Re-watch - The Faculty.

Such silly exposition scenes are a horror standard. It could've been an evil book.

I remembered The Faculty as a fun horror film; great cast, sweet effects. I hadn't watched it in ages, tho... Somehow, my memory didn't do it justice - it's the s--t and I'm so, so glad I chose to see it again...

It's always nice to see Jon Stewart in a movie, and Salma Hayek gets a role that totally underplays her frightening sexiness. The cast is exceptional, the script is pretty tight, and the tone is great. Damn, just describing it sorta makes me want to watch it again.

Best I-Should've-Seen-This-Before - Where Eagles Dare.

I'm already thinking of NOLF and Danger 5.
As you can read in my review, WED was an excellent film. It was thrilling, a detailed display of the setup to a major commando operation. And I loved the internal conflict between and among the various Nazi and SS officers. It's only the third Richard Burton performance I've ever seen, so I was as happy for a chance to understand his appeal as I was to revisit young Clint in action.

I also loved the film's pace, transitioning from relatively sedate to all-out combat. I was astounded by the way this movie played out its final 30 minutes...

Best Unanticipated Rental - Lockout.

Imagine if Escape From New York had a trailer that made you expect something like 1995's Judge Dredd. It's not just that one movie is good and the other movie is bad. It's a rare feat these days to get a quality picture with even serviceable plot, action, and tone when the trailer makes you expect a "stop after 10 minutes unless I'm sarcastically laughing so hard it hurts" experience.

Serves me right for pre-judging, I guess - though I will continue to skip out on Rob Schneider films...

Biggest Vicarious Disappointment - Prometheus.

Yes, a bonus Fan-made Gem since I was late with my Xmas review.

I don't want to be repetitious. I just mentioned this film last Friday, and made some of the same points I'm about to make now: I bitched about P when it was first announced (doesn't Scott's "it has some alien DNA" line seem painful now? (read the second paragraph, last sentence)); & I complained when the trailer came out; yet I was sad after reading DJ's review.

It's hard to call a movie a big disappointment when you expect it to suck, but it's all the worse to hear that a respectable director has filmed a bunch of scenes where everyone's behavior only makes sense if they all recently suffered concussions. For a man of Ridley's experience, that sort of stupidity in script and story is forgiveable if he were inexperienced or the studio rode right over him. Prometheus sounds like a total waste of time.

Most Embarrassing Moment - The first is that I haven't come up with better categories for these Year-End Roundup posts, and that I'm mostly relying on the ideas I came up with in 2009, when I had to improvise because I hadn't seen one single new release in the theater...

The second came in September/October, when I prepared an entry on Pixar letting Youtube host their 6-7 minute short, "Partysaurus Rex," for free and in full. I decided to delay the post and it got pushed back for months - I like to save some fan-made gems for a rainy day, y'know?

I suggested the video to a coworker, yet didn't watch it myself. Flash-forward to two weeks ago, and I'm eagerly planning to watch the clip and then post it - yet it was pulled. It was only a promotional move for the release of Pixar's second Shorts DVD! Man, did I feel dumb...

I could've shared the whole thing with you! For two weeks, anyway...

At least I've learned the valuable lesson of posting the "too good to be true" entries as soon as I can. It's tough when I have a backlog of great Gems to show off, tho...

Well, that was 2012, for me, in movies. Thanks for reading, everybody! I have new posts ready for every remaining day of this year. My (late) Holiday review will go up tomorrow, while this week's Question entry will be pushed to Saturday.

I have 16+ posts ready for January (seriously, my Looper review might have to go up in Feb). I expect, however, I will need a rest in March or April. I worked my ass off - 203 posts with at least 4 more to go - and the last "break" I had from my blog was the first quarter of this year... And back then, I still published 8, 11, and 8 posts in those months!

I hope you all have had an excellent 2012, and I hope you all have a great New Year! Drink responsibly if you're a jerk when you're drunk, or you're driving, or you can't control yourself like you should; drink irresponsibly if none of those apply to you. Keep reading this site and comment and suggest my incredible amazingness to your friends and whatnot.

I wish you a magnificent 2013, unless you're a bigot or an abusive person,

PEACE! (on earth)
Half a Film Student


  1. Don't feel bad about the category recycling - this was an eclectic round-up, and it seems like you've had an interesting time movie-watching this year, even if there haven't been a ton of theatrical trips.

    I haven't seen either, but was that supposed to be about Piranha 3DD instead of 3D? Main reason I'm confused is because I know the sequel came out this year, though also because I'd thought the first one was supposed to be pretty fun. I bought the Blu-Ray at a Blockbuster closing awhile back (for a dollar or so), but still haven't gotten around to watching it.

    You got me sucked into watching no less than three How It Should Have Ended vids again. Damn, those are almost always excellent.

    1. =) I can't tell you how many movies I missed because of (a) hourly billing at work, (b) long hours, and (c) flaky friends. But I know I'm going to have some time off on New Year's Day, and I'm going to take care of at least two missed opportunities then (Hobbit and...?).

      It was 3D, the first one, which I watched for the first time this year when it got onto Netflix Instant. I tell you, it begins as a pretty fun, funny movie, then it becomes the horror movie it thinks its supposed to be - which is too typical yet low-rent to make up for how time-wastingly childish it is. I can't fault anybody for buying it for $2; if you hate it, you can probably trade it back in to Amazon for more than that.

      Hahaha! I'm glad these Fan-made Gems have some traction with people other than me!


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