Meeting the delightful Sir Ian McKellen and the legendary Sir Patrick Stewart are undoubtedly my top film-related moments of 2012. Cinema wise, I saw 24 films at the cinema last year, just short of the 25 I saw at the cinema in 2011. As always, there are films that I missed that I wish I had seen, but that’s why I’m signed up to LOVEFiLM; I’ll add them to my rental list and see them this year instead.
My Top 5 Films of 2012
I can hear the disbelieving gasps from here but yes, I have ranked The Hunger Games as my No 1 film of 2012 ahead of Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises!
Since seeing it at the cinema in March, I have watched it a further two times at home and read the trilogy by Suzanne Collins: 2012 was the year that I became a huge The Hunger Games fan.
As I wrote in my review on it, I was late to The Hunger Games party but I’m very glad that I finally got on board: “For me, every minute was compulsive viewing, and this is partly due to Lawrence’s stunning performance: she was a brilliant casting decision.”
Jennifer Lawrence is a young actress whose star is greatly on the rise, and with such fantastic films under her belt as The Hunger Games, Winter’s Bone and Silver Linings Playbook under her belt, this meteoritic rise is very much deserved.
The battle for my No 2 spot was very hotly contested, but The Amazing Spider-Man just clinched it. Skyfall is an excellent addition to the Bond film franchise, bringing it back nearly on line with the excellent Casino Royale. However, Andrew Garfield’s stunning turn claimed the No 2 spot. Garfield has done to Spider-Man what Christian Bale did to Batman: he’s brought a well-loved comic book hero right into the 21st century with added grit and style.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the film I was looking forward to the most in 2012. As regular readers of my blog know, The Lord of the Rings is what really got me into film and is something that I re-watch every year. Like the majority of other Ringers, I couldn’t wait to return to Middle-earth with An Unexpected Journey.
My expectations were high and, happily, Peter Jackson and his team didn’t let me down. It didn’t have quite the same immersive impact as The Fellowship of the Ring, but then watching An Unexpected Journey was always going to be a very different experience to the first time, at 13-years-old, that I watched The Fellowship of the Ring.
The Dark Knight Rises was an excellent finale to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, with Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard providing excellent support in the form of Bane, Selina Kyle and Miranda Tate. The Dark Knight is undoubtedly the strongest of the trilogy, with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises tied for second.
PS. Apologies for not writing a review on The Dark Knight Rises. I honestly can’t give a reason as to why I didn’t write one!
The grand total
When I signed up to online film diary Letterboxd, I wrote in my biography section the following: “I always wondered how many films I see in a year so this is my online diary, starting 1st January 2012.” Courtesy of Letterboxd, I can reveal that I saw 155 different films in 2012. I’m not sure how this rates with other people but it works out to nearly three films a week.
Taking a look at all the films I watched, this is how it breaks down:
- First film watched in 2012: Jurassic Park
- Last film watched in 2012: Moonrise Kingdom
- 38 films previously seen re-watched
- 12 films were given a ★★★★★ rating
- The lowest rating (★) was given to 2007’s Mister Lonely
- Four films (Pandorum, Die Another Day, Friends with Benefits and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) were given a ★★ rating
Looking forward to 2013
As always, there are a number of films that I am eagerly anticipating this year. Top of my hit list is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is due out in the UK on 13th December, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, due out 22nd November.
10 other films I don’t want to miss
Oz the Great and Powerful (8th March)
Dir Sam Raimi Starring James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis
L Frank Baum’s 1900 novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ has been adapted and reimagined many times, the most well known of which is the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. A personal favourite of mine is the 1995 parallel novel ‘The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire, of which the musical has now been adapted.
Sam Raimi takes us back to Oz but, like Maguire, does so from a new viewpoint. Oz the Great and Powerful takes place before the events of 1900 novel and the 1939 film.
Jack the Giant Slayer (22nd March)
Dir Bryan Singer Starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor
This film has been knocking about for a while, with the main characters being cast back in February 2011. It will finally make it onto the big screen in March and will tell the story of Jack, a young farmer who leads a rescue expedition in the mysterious land of the giants.
Following on from Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror, fairy tales are hot property at the moment. Indeed Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner will be appearing as Hansel and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, due out at the end of January. Bryan Singer primarily works in the comic book genre, so I am hoping that Jack the Giant Slayer will take inspiration from Singer’s X-Men: First Class and be a witty and stylish affair.
Star Trek Into Darkness (17th May)
Dir JJ Abrams Starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch
Since it was announced there was to be a sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, the rumour mill went into overdrive as to what the plot could be. In November, Paramount Pictures released this delicious teaser: “When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.” Well, beam me up, Scotty, let’s go!
The Great Gatsby (17th May)
Dir Baz Lurhmann Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire
I know embarrassingly little about F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel except that it’s set in the 1920s and revolves around Jay Gatsby, a young millionaire. However, I am a fan of period dramas and Leonardo DiCaprio, so this is well up my street! With Baz Lurhmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet) directing, you can be assured that this adaptation will be a lavish affair with beautiful costumes and a stunning score.
Man of Steel (14th June)
Dir Zack Snyder Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Immortals‘ Henry Cavill suits up and dons the famous blue and red to be the third British actor to tackle one of comic book’s most loved characters.Plot details have been few and far between but what is known is that Russell Crowe is Jor-El, the biological father of Superman and that Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are Jonathan and Martha Kent, his adoptive parents.
As with Jack the Giant Slayer, I am most excited about this release because of its director. Zack Snyder did an incredible job with 300 and Watchmen and I hope he brings the same moody style to Man of Steel.
World War Z (21st June)
Dir Marc Forster Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse
‘Zombie apocalypse’: I never thought that Brad Pitt would ever star in a zombie film, having appeared in very few horror films in his career. Come to think of it, the only horror film that pops into my mind is 1994’s Interview with the Vampire. Then again, he has been diversifying in his more recent roles, with such varied films as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Inglorious Basterds and The Tree of Life.
World War Z sees Pitt as a United Nations employee who travels the world trying to find a way to stop the pandemic that is defeating armies and collapsing governments as they try to prevent social collapse.
The Lone Ranger (9th August)
Dir Gore Verbinski Starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer
I think it’s down to my age – I’m a spritely 24 – but I really don’t know much about ‘The Lone Ranger’ radio and TV series except that it’s set in the Wild West and is about a masked ex-Texas Ranger who rides a white horse called Silver.
This latest adaption sees Armie Hammer (The Social Network, Mirror Mirror) take the title role, supported by Johnny Depp as his Native American companion, Tonto. The plot is yet to be revealed in detail, but what is known from the trailer is that the Lone Ranger survives a shoot out and begins a fight against corruption.
Elysium (20th September)
Dir Neill Blomkamp Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Since 2010’s The A-Team there has sadly been a lack of the fabulous Sharlto Copley on our screens. Elysium sees him reunited with his District 9 director, Neill Blomkamp, in a science fiction film set in 2159 about the ruined planet Earth and Elysium, a pristine man-made space station. Matt Damon takes the lead as ex-convict man-on-a-mission Max with Copley supporting Jodie Foster’s government official as the villainous Kruger.
The Seventh Son (18th October)
Dir Sergey Bodrov Starring Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges
The first film adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s 2004 novel ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’, the first in his 11-book series of the same name, The Seventh Son revolves around John Gregory (Jeff Bridges), a Spook who fights against the Dark. After an extremely powerful witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), escapes from her imprisonment it is down to John Gregory and his young apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), to stop her.
Ben Barnes is an actor that I can take or leave at the moment. The real draw of this film for me is Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges. I haven’t seen Bridges on the big screen since 2010’s True Grit so I’m very much looking forward to seeing this.
Thor: The Dark World (30th October)
Dir Alan Taylor Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston
Thor was one of my favourite films of 2011 and, for me, Chris Hemsworth’s Nordic crusader was quite the scene stealer in last year’s The Avengers. Thor: The Dark World promises more of the same, with the original cast returning with the addition of Christopher Eccleston as Malekith the Accursed, the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim.
Alan Taylor takes a break from directorial duties on HBO’s Game of Thrones and takes the reins of Thor: The Dark World, his first feature film in 10 years. Even though I’ve read the whole series of novels, I’ve only seen season 1 of Game of Thrones as I don’t have Sky. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the season and I hope that Taylor brings some of Game of Thrones sex appeal and grit to Thor: The Dark World.