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Bo is an avid connoisseur of the entertainment industry, pop culture, and social networking. His voice is the written word, music is his soundtrack, and his passion is the power of visual imagery. When not writing for The Hudsucker, Bo works as a content marketer for software company ExactTarget.

Top 10 Films of 2012

The months of January and February are well known in the entertainment industry as an opportunity for studios to highlight the award nominated films of the past year. With the upcoming Academy Awards and reflection on all that 2012 had to offer cinema attendees, let’s review some of the best works in film that have been released in the past 365 days.

Warner Brothers Pictures

10. The Dark Knight Rises

Easily one of the best reviewed films of the year, the final chapter in the “Dark Knight” trilogy has received little to no award recognition. While it remains the darkest chapter of the story, both cast and crew spared no efforts in their attempts to live up to the high quality that the first two films brought. While we all knew it would be difficult to top Heath Ledger’s “Joker” from the previous film, new characters like Tom Hardy’s “Bane” and Ann Hathaway’s “Catwoman” added some new dimensions to the Gotham City that director Christopher Nolan has so expertly crafted these past few years. Suspense, action, social and political commentary, and the occasional laugh made this blockbuster a crowd pleaser, not to mention a testament to IMAX entertainment.

20th Century Fox

9. Lincoln

Years in the making, Steven Spielberg finally got around to making the American history tale about the president for which it is named. And having the talents of Daniel Day Lewis behind the iconic beard certainly adds to the delivery of an expertly-written script that takes the story of the Civil War off of the battlefield and into the courtroom. Easily the most noticeable performance is that of Tommy Lee Jones, a leader in the Republican Party’s fight to abolish slavery. At this point in Spielberg’s career, he can do no wrong. This film just makes us glad he is exploring stories outside of the “Indiana Jones” universe.

The Weinstein Company

8. Silver Linings Playbook

No one would have expected a romantic comedy in the form of Silver Linings Playbook to get Oscar attention when it was released a few months ago. David O. Russell proved the skeptics wrong by developing a quirky, fun story about love in all the wrong places. A star-studded cast, including Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker bring this Philadelphia story to life with such energy and realism that the audience feels they are just as invested in the plot as the characters are. Consider this the most pleasant surprise to come out of 2012.

The Weinstein Company

7. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino, the once video store clerk, has build such a cult following that he doesn’t have to fight much for viewership. Instead, this auteur can spend his time mashing genres together between strands of long dialogue, while directing the talents of actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson. His latest adventure is set in the pre-Civil War wild west, as two bounty hunters seek to free the enslaved wife of the younger. Like all Tarantino epics, blood and guts are plentiful, but the soundtrack and humor are enough to make even the queasiest film-goer open up their wallet.

Universal Pictures

6. Les Miserables

The classic musical gets the big screen treatment from English director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) in this Academy Award nominated film. A plethora of well known actors and actresses bring this French Revolution tale to life. Hugh Jackman and Ann Hathaway soar, while Russell Crowe seems to miss his mark. The most extraordinary part of this well-produced film is that actors sang live on set, as opposed to lip synching to pre-recorded audio. The audience can tell the difference, and they love it. The scale of art direction for this work can only be described as epic, allowing viewers to be fully transported to the mid-1800′s for nearly 2 and a half hours.

MGM Studios

5. Skyfall

Following the incredible failure that was Quantum of Solace, this film is James Bond for the 21st century, complete with award nominations in the categories of Best Original Song and Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins at his very best). Sam Mendes brings his British talent to one of the best Bond films yet, which many consider to have finally rebooted the series from films of years past. New characters spice up the 2+ hour roller coaster ride of chase scenes, explosions, and shootouts, leaving the viewer both satisfied and pumped with adrenaline.

TriStar Pictures

4. Looper

Another surprise hit of 2012 was Ryne Johnson’s sci-fi thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. This film is both exciting and thought provoking, as the adventure explores the concepts of time travel and the future of society. The big question is this: How much would it cost to convince you to kill your future self? No spoilers in this review, as the plot is full of twists and turns. The biggest impression to walk away with is the realism of life in the 2050′s world that has been portrayed. Is that the path the world is currently on?

Warner Brothers Pictures

3. Argo

The #1 pick for many critics comes in the form of Ben Affleck’s greatest cinematic contribution to date. The story of US embassy workers hiding in Iran for months during an uprising is told with exquisite detail. The twist in this film is the true story that was covered up until only recently pegs Hollywood as the real heroes, as an undercover group posing as a film crew undergo a tense rescue operation at the climax of the film. John Goodman and Alan Arkin stand out for supporting performances, but the real star is Affleck as a director. He has certainly come into his prime with a few hits under his belt. As a stand-alone film, this work is brilliant. As an Oscar contender, we should be more cautious.

Focus Features

2. Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson returns to the live-action film category with the coming-of-age tale that follows two youngsters that run away on a Northeast Island to be in love, and the diverse group of adults that chase after them. Anderson nails it with a witty script, dedicated cast, brilliant performances, and set design and cinematography that stand out more than any other film of the year. Unfortunately, this talented director still tiptoes around the Indie genre to the extent that it limits award recognition. Still, this film remains one of the best reviewed in 2012, and one of this author’s all-time favorites.

20th Century Fox

1. Life of Pi

And then there was Ang Lee. The adventure of going to a film that you know hardly anything about and had very little intent to see can pay off ten-fold when it is a surprise hit like Life of Pi. Based the book of the same name, this emotional roller coaster touches subjects that stretch from religion to symbolism, and all without hardly ever leaving a closed set. The green screen work and 3D technology that went into this film make it the most visually appealing work to come out of 2012, and a shoo-in for Best Visual Effects Oscar. Lee is able to capture an incredibly powerful performance from his young actor who is usually reacting to digitized animals that really aren’t there. This is powerful stuff. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come as close to enlightenment through cinema as a film will allow you from this year.

Happy movie watching, cinephiles!


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