Today, I sit down at the ole virtual roundtable to discuss the films that have come out so far this year. The participants are all very knowledgeable, and I suggest you check out their own blogs/websites after reading this insightful post.
What are your favorite films of the year so far?
George (me), Remote Access: I’m counting A Separation, Tomboy, and The Interrupters as 2012, and they’re all at the top of my list right now, and they’re probably on the list to stay.
Jennifer, jenkakio.com: My favorite films so far are The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Moonrise Kingdom.
Charles, Cinematic: If I had to pick my three favorite films of the year thus far, they’d be Moonrise Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises, and Beasts of the Southern Wild. All of them are fantastic films that are likely to make my 10 Best list for 2012.
Andy, andywatchesmovies.com: Moonrise Kingdom is the top, followed closely by Beasts of the Southern Wild. Both films are incredibly touching stories (I was not expecting to cry during Beasts of the Southern Wild) but Moonrise Kingdom is just so much fun, it’s almost impossible not to watch the movie with a straight face. Rounding out the top five would be The Dark Knight Rises, Cabin in the Woods, and The Avengers which are all great summer movies.
What are some of the best performances you’ve seen so far?
George: Basically everyone from A Separation was amazing. Zoe Heran‘s performance in Tomboy was a revelation. I also quite liked Jack Black, an actor I’m usually not that fond of, in Bernie. And call me in love, but Charlize Theron is on a roll with Young Adult last year and Prometheus this year.
Jennifer: I can’t get over Tom Hardy‘s performance as Bane (The Dark Knight Rises). His eyes are so expressive and the way he stands with his hands resting on his vest. Super powerful.
Charles: This one is tough. I loved both Bill Murray and Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom. I was also really impressed by Quvenhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, who felt believable in her role, something uncommon in most child actors these days.
Andy: Again, it’s going to be the leads in Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild. I’ve always been a huge fan of using non-actors in films because they can often give tremendously realistic performances.
Which films are you most looking forward to viewing that you’ve missed so far?
George: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Moonrise Kingdom, and oh… I don’t know…
maybe Brave? Even though I haven’t seen a Pixar film in the theater since Up, and I still haven’t seen Cars 2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, now that Jen mentions it.
Jennifer: Marley (Bob Marley Documentary), Safety Not Guaranteed, and The Hunger Games.
Charles: I missed A Separation in theaters, though it technically came out in 2011. I already pre-ordered in on Amazon so I should watch that soon.
Andy: I’m sad that I haven’t seen Brave yet and now it seems I’ve missed my chance to see it on the big screen, but I don’t mind picking it up on blu-ray when the time comes. Same with Amazing Spider-Man but I’m not all that excited for it, I just feel like I need to see it. Even though I’ve already seen it, I want to see The Dark Knight Rises again on the IMAX, which I expect to be a vastly different experience… Does that count?
Which films are you most looking forward to viewing that have yet to come out?
George: The Master (Mr. Maya Rudolph’s new film), Django Unchained (Tarantino’s latest), and because I found the ads during the Olympics completely adorable, The Odd Life of Timothy Green. If it’s anything even remotely close to my #2 film of last year, Hugo, then I’ll love it. And it looks like it might be… it looks magical.
Jennifer: The Hobbit, Skyfall, and Django Unchained.
Charles: If I had to pick three, it’d be Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Django Unchained (I’d really like to put The Master on my list).
Andy: Since I loved Coraline, I’m really hoping that Paranorman is a hit, I think it looks like a great time. The Master looks like it’s going to blow my mind, and Paul Thomas Anderson hasn’t let me down yet. Finally, Wreck-It Ralph combines my favorite things, video games and Disney. I’m actually going to be in Disney World around the time of its release, so that’s extra awesome.
Which films would you suggest to avoid this year?
George: I didn’t like Chronicle, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from seeing it. Anyone who doesn’t like to cry at the movies should probably avoid the brilliant documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, though.
Jennifer: Total Recall (remake) and Haywire.
Charles: I suggest missing John Carter. Though the film got more criticism than it deserved just because it flopped in the box office, it doesn’t make it excusable for having an aimless story and bad acting.
Andy: I actually haven’t seen any films yet this year that I would say to avoid. I thought Ted would be a dud, but it was pretty good!
Any other thoughts?
George: I was taken aback by how good 21 Jump Street was, considering how sophomoric the jokes they put trailer were. Never judge a book by its cover, I guess! Otherwise, please seek out Grandma, A Thousand Times. It’s a charming little documentary that might just melt your heart.
Jennifer: I didn’t realize how much I love action movies so much. I haven’t seen any horror movies, which is my number one favorite genre.
Charles: Yes I only saw a bit of To Rome with Love in the movie theater, and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I can’t say that the criticism was invalid because I didn’t see the entire movie, but I now am a little surprised about the negative reviews.
Andy: It will be interesting to see if the lower-budget films of the year can overtake the blockbuster beasts. The Hunger Games will likely get a lot of nominations but I thought it was just OK.