Top 10 Films Of 2012

by Michael Cook ([email protected]) 98 views 

In addition to writing and talking about politics, I’m also a longtime movie buff. For the past two years I’ve served as a movie reviewer every Friday morning for KARZ-TV and in 2012 I viewed over 100 films.

Over the holidays, I took a little time and compiled my top 10 favorite films from 2012.

My Top 10 Films for 2012:

10. Ted
A raunchy, and adults only, film from the creator of TV’s “Family Guy.”  Since he was 10 years-old, Mark Wahlberg has had a real live talking Teddy Bear with a crude and inappropriate mouth and their friendship is straining Wahlberg’s 4-year relationship with his girlfriend played by Mila Kunis.  This was the funniest movie I’ve seen all year.

9. Beasts of the Southern Wild
I stole the description of this wonderful film from the Sundance Film Festival website: Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.

8. The Imposter
In a small Texas town in 1994 a 13-year old child vanished.  Three years later he turns up in Spain and the family is ecstatic to have found him and arrange for his return home.  However, it’s not their child, but a 23-year French con artist who convinces them he’s their son.  If this shocking story wasn’t true, you’d have a hard time believing it.  This documentary interviews the family, the con artist and at it’s core remains a mystery that will keep you guessing.

7. Robot and Frank
Frank Langella plays a retired cat burglar living alone in small New England town in the not too distant future.  His children force him to accept a robot into his home since he’s not doing a good job at taking care of himself and needs someone to look after him.  Frank initially resents the robot, but then discovers he can train it to break into homes and Frank decides to come out retirement.  The film masterfully and respectfully covers the struggles of getting older and how it’s an experience we’ll all one day share.

6.  Safety Not Guaranteed
An anonymous classified ad is placed looking for someone to travel back in time with, claiming they’ve done it before and the safety of the potential time traveler is not guranteed. The magazine employees decide to track down the person who placed the mysterious ad and discover he’s just a grocery store stocker – or is he?

5. Looper
One of the most inventive sci-fi films I’ve seen in quite some time.  Set in Kansas, 30 and 60 years in the future, gangsters send back in time people they want killed and those that do the deed are called Loopers.  Joseph Gordan-Leveriitt is a Looper and as part of his job must kill his own self sent back in time.  The older version of Leveritt is played by Bruce Willis.  This is one of those films that are difficult to explain in one paragraph, but worth seeing to learn about the movie’s twists and turns.

4. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson directed this whimsical tale of two twelve-year-olds in the 1960’s who fall in love and run away from home and hide out in the woods of the island they live on.  The town searches all over for them and in the process begin to understand some of their own struggles. It’s a classic Anderson film in terms of set design, cinematography and themes.

3. Argo
Ben Affleck’s third outing as a director, and as with his two previous films, this one is top-notch.  “Argo” is based on the true story of the CIA’s efforts to rescue 5 Americans hiding in Iran at the Canadian Amabassors residence in the midst of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.  Affleck plays a CIA agent who concocts a plan to have the Americans pose a Candadian film crew and smuggle them out in plain sight. This tense and well-paced thriller is smartly directed and supporting actors John Goodman and Alan Arkin should receive Oscar nominations for their portrayal of old Hollywood insiders who help Affleck produce the fake movie cover story.

2 . Searching for Sugarman
In the early 1970’s, a folk singer, Rodriquez, released two albums that were critically acclaimed, but were commercial failures.  Rodriquez was dropped from the record label, quit the music business and faded away.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Rodriquez, his records made their way to South Africa and his music became the soundtrack of the white community opposed to apartheid.  In that country of 40 million people, Rodriquez was bigger than Elvis but he never knew it and South Africans believed an urban legend that he had committed suicide.  This documentary is the true story of his fans search for him and turns out to be an uplifting story of acceptance and second chances.

1.  Zero Dark Thirty
From the same director of “The Hurt Locker”, it’s the story of the CIA’s 10-year search for Osama bin Laden.  Jessica Chastain stars as the CIA agent who doggedly pursues bin Laden, overcoming obstacles created by enemies and even allies.  Even though you know what eventually happens, this thriller keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat.   It opens in Little Rock on January 11.

On last Friday’s KARZ-TV’s morning show I covered my top five films.  Click on this link to see the video.

What were your favorite films from 2012?   Please email them to me at [email protected].