All the Films that I saw in 2012 Ranked and Commented

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. (122 mins.)
“ Absolutely one of the best movies of the year. A terrific romantic-comedy drama with wonderful performances by the entire cast. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are funny, sweet, and you root for them to get together. Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver are also wonderful as the parents. I found myself really caught up in the story, and even appreciated when the story went ridiculous with the gambling plot. See the movie.

Grade: A ” - smith-d-c
Les Misérables (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever. (158 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
“ My most anticipated movie not just this year, but for the past 20 years did not disappoint. If you don't like musicals or heavy emotion, stay away, everyone else enter into the most intimate epic powerful and spiritual musicals ever filmed. The performances are all terrific. Everyone nails the acting, however this is not the definitive singers movie and if you look for perfection this is not that movie, but the fact that some of the singing was not perfect made the story even more emotional for the everyman. I was blown away by Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, and Hugh Jackman. Russell Crowe is a great actor and his presence carried the film even if his voice is more gravelly and less refined, but still clear and on pitch. But it is Tom Hooper's style is the real star here, filmed in closeups and with steady cameras in the middle of the scene takes you into the emotion without cutting and the epic shots were breathtaking. This is challenging and daring directing interpretation of the classic. Well done and one of the best pictures this year.

Grade: A- ” - smith-d-c
The Master (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. (144 mins.)
“ I really liked this Paul Thomas Anderson movie and was fascinated by Joaquin Phoenix as a depressed sociopathic veteran and I am so glad he's back to films after his destructive behavior for his career. Phllip Seymour Hoffman is extraordinary as the charismatic charlatan, he follows. The movie is just a good drama that is well-written and performed.

Grade: A- ” - smith-d-c
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. (93 mins.)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
“ A very emotionally draining but wonderful story of survival in squalor. Both the girl and the father were completely believable. I don't think that this a political movie so much, as a fable of how a community comes together to help each other during devastation. The more fantasy elements sometimes work well and sometimes are head-scratching but this is one of the most original and heartbreaking stories this year.

Grade: A- ” - smith-d-c
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel. (86 mins.)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
“ What a delightful surprise this movie was! Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson are terrific and the story is sweet, romantic, funny, and well directed. I loved the idea that we are never sure if Mark Duplass is crazy or not, but the film makes us believe him until the end. I really enjoyed this small little but fun film.

Grade: A- ” - smith-d-c
The Grey (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step. (117 mins.)
Director: Joe Carnahan
“ A very exciting, tragic, and fascinating movie about man against nature. Liam Neeson makes a strong lead but I found that I really liked all the characters and rooted for them to survive. The ending didn't spoil anything, but I left wanting more. A real surprise in the realism of nature and having some experience with wolves, they also got that right. Joe Carnahan does a great job also with directing.

Grade: B+/A- ” - smith-d-c
The Avengers (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity. (143 mins.)
Director: Joss Whedon
“ A fun action packed popcorn entertainment with no substance or realism or sometimes logic but a good time, nonetheless.

Grade: B+ ” - smith-d-c
The Raven (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality. (110 mins.)
Director: James McTeigue
“ You have to know the Poe stories to appreciate this highly suspenesful mystery thriller. I went to see it because it has been so long since I saw a good procedural thriller and got my money's worth. While John Cusack is good as Poe, I thought that Luke Evans stole the movie as the cop. He will be someone I will look out for in future movies. This movie has almost nothing to do with Poe's life and is not a biography but it is a good suspenseful thriller.

Grade: B+ ” - smith-d-c
Prometheus (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone. (124 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ Perhaps one of the most dividing movies of the year. I thought 90 minutes into the movie it was one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever, Ridley Scott visuals were amazing and Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace were compelling leads. Unfortunately, logic is thrown out the window during her birthing scene and then goes on some tangents until the end, especially with the Guy Pearce cameo. I do think that it a worthy entry into the Alien franchise and the best one since Aliens.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ You either love everything with Wes Anderson or hate his films. I find that I'm somewhere in the middle. The story is charming as a kind of Romeo and Juliet meets Lord of the Flies and a coming of age story. Edward Norton and Bruce Willis are terrific as the scoutmaster and cop. The children are charming if a little dry in the acting. I liked the look of the film and the New England setting, but like most Wes Anderson films I found that everything that happened and said was quickly forgotten two seconds after leaving the theater.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
The Hunger Games (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death. (142 mins.)
Director: Gary Ross
“ Jennifer Lawrence is a star and she carries this entire film. The story is quite interesting and it has a lot of resonance to the reality tv culture of today. While the acting is quite good, I did have some problems with the less than great special effects and the hand-held camera that was used during the action scenes, but Lawrence is so good that I rooted for her all the way.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Brave (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse. (93 mins.)
“ Pixar's latest story of mother and daughter relationships is quite good. The movie moves along briskly in two parts and the anthromorphisising is well done and quite funny. The marketing should have promoted the mother/daughter relationship more because that is really what the film is about. It's not Pixar's best but still quite good.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Looper (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination. (113 mins.)
Director: Rian Johnson
“ A twisted sci-fi hitman fantasy that is heavily influenced by Stephen King. Both Levitt and Willis are great and the story kept me interested but it was often overcomplicated and hard to follow.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
The Dictator (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. (83 mins.)
Director: Larry Charles
“ This is a wacky funny movie that tries to make a political point but ends up angering you at the end. However, there are so many laughs in this movie that I ended up enjoying it, despite the message. Anna Farris continues her great comic performances with this movie and the early scenes in the fake country are hilarious satire that Mel Brooks or Woody Allen would love.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
ParaNorman (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. (92 mins.)
“ A good rental with a terrific group of characters. It reminded me of films of the 80s, like the Goonies or a Joe Dante movie. I think sometimes the message and its attempt to be hip for the modern audience hurt it, but overall I enjoyed the film.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Killer Joe (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance. (102 mins.)
“ Okay this movie is filled with the most despicable people ever. There is nothing redeemable in any character from one of the most disgusting white trash families, but the performances are excellent and the film-noir story of a family hiring a killer to murder their mother to collect the insurance money is compelling and fascinating. Matthew McConhoughy is excellent as the title character hit man and brings to mind Robert Mitchum, Gina Gershon also gets a powerful but sick and disturbing scene involving a chicken leg is also really good, are are Emile Hersh and Thomas Hayden Church provides a lot of the comedy. This is not a film for everyone, but for a dark, disturbing, adult movie, it's pretty good.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically altered spider, he gains newfound, spider-like powers and ventures out to solve the mystery of his parent's mysterious death. (136 mins.)
Director: Marc Webb
“ The years most unnecessary remake, although the movie does it well of telling the origin story and the Frankenstein element of the Lizard, but each scene gave me deja vu and Garfield is not as sympathetic as Tobey Macguire. Also I felt that Rosemary Harris looked and sounded more like Aunt May than Sally Field. It's not bad but not necessary.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Hope Springs (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship. (100 mins.)
Director: David Frankel
“ Two terrific lead performers dominate this movie. There is a lot of honesty in the marriage and Steve Carrell is a good mediator. I found myself caught up in rooting for Tommy Lee Jones' character to connect with Streep. However, the rating was completely off on this movie, this is a rated R movie because of sexual content.

Grade: B ” - smith-d-c
Argo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980. (120 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
“ While the first part is spectacularly filmed and exciting, the Hollywood scene is hilarious, the final act where the hostages escaped has one too many preposterous climaxes and the film becomes propaganda for Jimmy Carter. Also, I never felt the hostages were in danger when they are arguing about the type of wine to have with dinner at the embassy.

Grade: B- ” - smith-d-c
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Selina, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane. (164 mins.)
“ Nolan still is more interested in atmosphere and grim reality than actually creating a superhero movie and the middle section drags as Bruce Wayne metaphorically struggles to climb out of pit, but I thought Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Michael Caine did a good job.

Grade: B- ” - smith-d-c
The Woman in Black (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. (95 mins.)
Director: James Watkins
“ Creepy atmosphere and good performances by Daniel Radcliffe and Ciran Hinds. The story doesn't completely work but the director does a good job with giving a sense of dread.

Grade: B- ” - smith-d-c
Skyfall (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (143 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
“ James Bond is now an drunken alcoholic thuggish Bourne replica but the franchise still is nostalgic for returning to its glory days. I enjoyed some of the movie, particularly the action scenes and some of the performances such as Ralph Fiennes and Judy Dench but felt that it was spending too much time recognizing the movie roots rather being in that spirit of good escapist entertainment. It drags at times and feels heavy in subject. Please note I also a miserable cinema experience paying big bucks to see it opening weekend only to be watching the film on projection the size of a tv screen.

Grade: B- ” - smith-d-c
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen. (127 mins.)
Director: Rupert Sanders
“ This film is spectacular to look at and the cinematography is great. It's too bad that the story and overacting by Charlize Theron and underacting by Kristin Stewart ruin the movie. It is also crammed with special effects and way too much flying metal pieces. However, I liked the action scenes, the tone of this Snow White version, Chris Hemsworth is good as the Huntsman, and the movie has a brisk pace.

Grade: B- ” - smith-d-c
Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The life, career and music of singer Katy Perry as we follow her on the California Dreams World Tour. (93 mins.)
“ I saw this out of curiosity because I heard of Katy Perry but didn't know her story or music. Let me say that this is a good documentary because I feel that I learned about Perry and she seems like a good person. However, when she put on a concert, I was disappointed in the music. The songs are so bland and boring to listen to. I think she has a lot of talent but she needs to write more personal songs and less bubblegum.

Grade: movie - B / music - C- ” - smith-d-c
Lincoln (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. (150 mins.)
“ A two and half hour lecture on the passing of the 13th amendment. I found it belonged more in a museum than on the screen. I found the film kind of static in terms of Spielberg's direction, lots of interior rooms and non-stop talking without sounding like conversation. Also I felt it seemed to be made by Liberal writers preaching to me saying that this was once the Republican party, and my how you've strayed. Daniel Day Lewis is fine but I always find that I never really enjoy his performances because of the effort that he puts into the role and comes across as mannered, give me the oscar performance. A disappointment for me, personally.

Grade: C ” - smith-d-c
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods. (95 mins.)
Director: Drew Goddard
“ Although I was initially shocked by the twist of the movie, not knowing anything about it beforehand, I found that my fear went away and it became more and more silly with messages of apocalyptic doom in overdone CGI scenes and the characters were not appealing. A disappointment for me.

Grade: C ” - smith-d-c
The Lorax (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. (86 mins.)
“ A very average colorful animated environmental message film. The problem with Dr. Seuss films is that they don't understand the language and the way that it speaks to children, instead what we get is an ADD cute animal and celebrity voice over film that stretches a 60 page rhyme book into a political agenda movie.

Grade: C ” - smith-d-c
Casa de mi Padre (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Scheming on a way to save their father's ranch, the Alvarez brothers find themselves in a war with Mexico's most feared drug lord. (84 mins.)
Director: Matt Piedmont
“ Was this a comedy? Everything is played completely straight in this Spanish film parody, except the direction and production design, i.e. cheap. An interesting film experiment but few laughs.

Grade: C ” - smith-d-c
Dark Shadows (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection. (113 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
“ Tim Burton and Johnny Depp attempt to bring a popular gothic 60's soap to the screen. Depp is great as Barnabus, but the movie meanders along to a 70s soundtrack, can never decide what tone it wants to take, and is unsatisfying in the end.

Grade: C ” - smith-d-c
Mirror Mirror (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright. (106 mins.)
“ Big disappointment. Nice costumes but bad Snow White version. Unfunny, boring, trying to be hip, and over the top. Julia Roberts is not the wicked queen and is very bland while Nathan Lane is playing it as if a stage play. I much preferred Snow White and the Huntsman, however no one can top Disney's version or television's Once Upon A Time for the best interpretation of this classic.

Grade: C- ” - smith-d-c
The Three Stooges (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
While trying to save their childhood orphanage, Moe, Larry and Curly inadvertently stumble into a murder plot and wind up starring in a reality television show. (92 mins.)
“ Wow, is this bad! Three actors trying to sound like the original trio, which weren't that funny to begin with. The movie is three separate shorts like the original with boring stories, unnecessary and dated cameos, preachy message of "don't try this at home", and gross out Farrelly brothers humor mixed with family entertainment.

Grade: D ” - smith-d-c
21 Jump Street (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring. (110 mins.)
“ 20 minutes in I heard the "f" word over 500 times, there was no plot. I hated the characters and the film didn't make me laugh.

Grade: F ” - smith-d-c
Ted (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, now must decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori. (106 mins.)
Director: Seth MacFarlane
“ I hated this movie! Completely unfunny and teaches terrible, cynical values with nothing but drugs, poop, and comic violence that is way too violent to be funny. A.I.'s teddy bear is more comical and less a pain to in the company of. Why would Mila Kunis stay with this jerk? I don't know. It made me mad that both critics and the public embraced it, because it made me sad.

Grade: F ” - smith-d-c
Wrath of the Titans (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world. (99 mins.)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. (88 mins.)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. (124 mins.)
Director: John Madden