It’s June 28 and I recently saw Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, bringing my total for the year to 16 films through five and a half months. For some reason, I feel like I’m behind. As of now I’ve seen just over 50 film from 2011 and I haven’t even reached half that this year.
I made this below list with the help of Flickchart.com, which if you have any interest in keeping track of what movies you’ve seen, you should check it out.
- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: Another excellent romantic (dark?) comedy from Steve Carell in his post “The Office” career. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), the movie gives a look at how everyday people may react when they find out the world will end in three weeks. This isn’t “Armageddon” or “The Core,” no one is going to be saved. You get to feel a range of emotions through the film’s hour and a half run time, sort of like going through the five steps of grieving. If you’re not seeing this for Carell or Keira Knightly, see it for the very entertaining supporting cast who make up the eclectic people Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightly) meet on their journey to find the people they love.
- The Avengers: Four years and five movies led to this and it didn’t disappoint. Aside from a clunky opening (which flows better upon second or third viewings) the culmination of Marvel’s “Phase 1” runs on all cylinders. Everyone characters gets their due (except for Cobie Smulder’s Agent Hill) and many of the short comings of the earlier films are vastly improved upon. Marvel went in the right direction with Joss Whedon, let’s just hope they don’t give him the short end of the stick later like their previous directors.
- Chronicle: Not the “found footage” film I was expecting. It takes the film style made famous by “Cloverfield’ and “The Blair With Project” and gives it a new, yet believable spin, making it one of the best super hero movies in a few years. The writing from Max Landis and the direction of Josh Trank elevate this $12 million movie to more than what the commercials made it out to be. With some of the most clever use of camera work I’ve seen, very good special effects (except for one shot involving a baseball) and impressive acting chops from Dane DeHaan make “Chronicle” my biggest surprise so far of 2012.
- The Cabin in the Woods: More Joss Whedon. An entertaining riff/criticism on a genre I usually could not care less about. Well worth the wait for a film that had sat on the shelf for years thanks to MGM’s financial problems.
- 21 Jump Street: A hilariously self-aware “reboot” of the 1980’s drama that starred Johnny Depp. I had never been a fan of Channing Tatum before this film and with three other films out this year, it looks like Tatum is doing a bit of image makeover, stealing this film from the typical funny guy, Jonah Hill.
- Men in Black III: Just so you remember, the original installment came out in 1997, when I was the grand old age of six. Though it was plagued by starting production with an unfinished script, the finished product never had a disjointed feel to it and is ultimately superior to its 2002 predecessor. With an uncanny performance by Josh Brolin as a young Agent K and a really charming display by Michael Stuhlbarg, MIB III proved there was still something left in the tank after 15 years.
- The Five-Year Engagement: A bit on the long side, but still an enjoyable movie with strong performances by Jason Segal and Emily Blunt. I would watch it again just to see Blunt and Alison Brie talk in their Elmo and Cookie Monster voices.
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Basically the “Cowboys and Aliens” of 2011, just a lot better. There are areas of the plot that felt rushed and underdeveloped, but it didn’t hurt my enjoyment of it. Props to Benjamin Walker for his strait faced portrayal of Honest Abe, whose transformation into the older version of the 16th POTUS is remarkable thanks to make up work. One thing I couldn’t help but think after watching this film was that Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who portrays Mary Todd Lincoln, could be an exceptional young and even older Princess Leia (I’m not condoning remaking the Original Trilogy, it’s just a thought.).
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Going to be one of this year’s under rated movies, just a really fun afternoon matinée movie.
- The Dictator: This might be the most timely comedy I’ve ever seen, coming a year after the deaths of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong Ill and Gadaffi.
- The Grey: Just like “Chronicle,” this film directed by Joe Carnahan and starring Liem Neeson, surprised me. The commercials I saw for it just made it out to be “Liem Neeson fights wolves.” That’s not the case. It’s a movie about dealing with depression and how it plays into your will to survive. I wasn’t expecting much, but I feel better for having watched it. Though I don’t see myself watching it again any time soon.
- American Reunion: Better than “American Wedding,” and puts good use to Sean Williams Scott’s Stifler, portraying him and his womanizing ways as out dated.
- Red Tails: I love George Lucas, but this was just a bad movie. The dog fighting is incredible, but that doesn’t make up for a lacking screen play and less than stellar acting.
- Chimpanzee: Nothing real compelling about this documentary. Tim Allen has some good moments as its narrator, but there’s nothing very memorable here.
- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: The sequel everyone but Nicholas Cage wasn’t asking for.
- Snow White and the Huntsman: Some captivating visuals, but not even that could keep my eye lids from drooping during this Kristen Stewart film. I hadn’t felt the need to fall asleep during a movie this much since “Fast Five” last year. Chris Hemsworth is the first of The Avengers to follow-up the $600 million behemoth and it’s pretty fair to say he is one of the few positives about this film. Charlize Theron isn’t too shabby as the villain.
It’s only June, so we still have a lot of the summer to go. “Ted” comes out this weekend and not long after The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters making it the first web head film in five years. Marc Webb, who helmed one of my favorite movies “500 Days of Summer,” directed and Andrew Garfield stars as Peter Parker. I loved the first two Sam Raimi films and despised the third, I’m looking forward to seeing it on July 3rd, but I honestly can’t get myself very excited for it.
What are your favorite films of 2012 so far? What are you looking forward to in the second half of the year? The Dark Knight Rises? Skyfall? Let me know.