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Films that nearly made the list.
From my review:
"At last. Finally are we back in Middle-Earth. After several years in development hell, Peter Jackson takes us back to one of the most beloved and magical worlds in cinematic and literature history. Jackson did justice to J.R.R Tokien's The Lord of the Rings roughly ten years ago and the expectations for The Hobbit couldn't be any higher. Jackson decided to split The Hobbit into three separate films, including some other stuff Tolkien wrote, as well as Jackson's own artistic choices. And what we have here is the first film, An Unexpected Journey. The first step on this magical journey. For fear not, this is not the Lord of the Rings fans The Phantom Menace. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a magical film. It's not necessarily as good as The Lord of the Rings, but it's exactly what I hoped it would be. It's a whole different journey and it's a good one.
Opening up with Ian Holm returning as old Bilbo Baggins, as he tells the tale of how the dwarfs lost their home, Erebor, to the dragon Smaug, which is quickly followed by Elijah Wood returning as Frodo, talking to Bilbo. It all takes right before the opening scene of The Fellowship of the Ring. And from there I'm mostly sold. The opening prologues might occasionally feel a bit strange and overlong, but it's impossible to deny the impact it immediately stroke me with. I was back in the universe instantly. It's a powerful way to open the film and it got the exact right amount of majesty to it. The nostalgia, seeing it's about ten years since I saw this world at cinema, kick right in as well. Giving me a huge grin on my face, one that lasted through the entire film."
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Cloud Atlas (2012)
Cloud Atlas may have some structure problems at times and it might be slightly confusing to keep track of the different actors throughout the different times, but this is a film that should praised. You do rarely come across a film with such high ambitions on a thematic, emotional and visual level as Cloud Atlas has. This is just fantastic film making.
A collection of stories spanning thousands of years apart shows us how the actions of different persons impact one another in the past, present and future. The film works around this philosophical question with great care, showing us how everything can be connected without shoving anything down your throat. It's beautiful and emotionally engaging to witness the evolution of these souls as they wander around throughout different times, while changing in to the better person. And man, if that musical score is not one of the most beautiful and most fitting film scores in recent years, then I honestly don't know. Cloud Atlas does honestly deserve much more words about how great it actually is, but I'll just finish with this: this is thoughtful, emotional, cinematic joy.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Films like this doesn't come very often. A rare, mesmerizing, warm, whimsical and beautiful film about dreams, friendship, young love and the need to sometimes get away from everything. It's a film that perfectly manages to hit the right spot in my heart, while still be capable to evoke awe and wonder.
The script is delightful and its turned even more delightful by the magical camerawork, editing and musical score, making Moonrise Kingdom feel like a child's dream. It's a wonderful feeling. The characters might lack some realism, but with two gorgeous young leads, they manages to charm me into oblivion. This is a magical film.
Tim Burton is a genius when it comes to animation (or films in general, if you ask me). I'm a huge fan of stop motion and this is quite possibly one of the best stop motion films I've ever laid my eyes on. A beautifully crafted, magnificent 3D horror adventure in elegant black & white.
Frankenweenie is a cute, heart-warming, macabre and extremely weird horror film for children, while remaining a wonderful homage to older horror classics for adults. But that's not to mean that we can't take part in this emotional journey or get affected by the massive amount of warmth that Frankenweenie offers. I love Tim Burton.
The Hunt (2012)
The Hunt or Jagten as it's originally called in Denmark, is a damn good and more importantly, it's an important film that raises several difficult questions about some very strong and tough topics. This is a powerful film, emotional and effective film that's occasionally hard to watch due to its gripping and realistic tackle on the subject.
Mads Mikkelsen's performance is outstanding, and it's emotionally difficult to watch how the society unfairly treats him in this film. This is an uncomfortable film, and that's exactly why you should see it.
The psychological issues that The Perks of Being a Wallflower raises occasionally might not work that well with me, as I feel it's partly out of place in this film. But that aside, this is a terrific film. Probably one of the best in this genre. Boasted by strong performances, a smart, charming and clever script, and heartfelt emotion, this was a wonderful experience.
It's one of those few films that I feel I can relate to in many ways. We might not have the same high school culture in Norway, but like the lead character, I could strongly relate to the confusion and awkwardness that comes around in this age. How its like to not be one of the "popular" kids and how troublesome your first real love can turn out to be. Rarely have I felt a connection like that.
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained may not be as perfect as Inglorious Basterds, but this is a bloody entertaining film. Quentin Tarantino is an entertainer. He makes films for the audience. He goes out in full gear and creates a film filled with so much energy. A true crowd pleaser. It's bloody, memorable, bold and stylish. It's a long film, but it manages to be perfectly paced without boring me for a second.
Tarantino is a master at creating memorable characters. His writing abilities combined with outstanding performances from the cast is one of the many ingredients in this delightful film. If it were up to me, I would have given an Oscar nomination to Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Christoph Waltz (who rightfully deserves his.) The thing that annoyed me about it was that Tarantino just had to show up in front of the screen. He can't act. Nevertheless, film is about entertainment and this was fucking entertaining.
Zero Dark Thirty is not only a very strict, tense, suspenseful and gripping thriller. It's also a history lesson that gazes over the hunt for what was the worlds most wanted man with pure intelligence. As well as being devilishly entertaining and extremely interesting, Kathryn Bigelow has created a film that, not only portrays one of the most important historical events in recent years, but also raises several difficult questions. This is a thought-provoking film, and if you're able to follow the complexity of the details that led to Osama bin Laden's demise, I can't see why you won't be thrilled, fascinated or intrigued by this film.
Bigelow could easily have taken the easy way out and simply created a standard Hollywood military-thriller, but instead she's delivered us a film that goes beyond simple entertainment. Zero Dark Thirty is a film that, as I said, poses several important moral and political questions. Thankfully, Bigelow has decided to not let the film have its own opinion of those matters. Leaving the discussion entirely up to the viewer and the audience. Zero Dark Thirty does show what a huge power quality filmmaking can have on people. This film should provide for some interesting discussions. If one is able to survive the nerve-wrecking finale, that is.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This is how to create a brilliant rom-com. Instead of stuffing the film with those whimsical, silly and now downright annoying things that seems to massacre that genre, David O. Russell creates a rom-com that's grounded in reality. Everything in this film feels real. And that's because it features top-notch performances, a superb script that manages to tackle troublesome thematics while being emotionally engaging and humorous, and efficient directing.
This is one of those rare film experiences that manages to suck me in from the very first second. I loved every second of it, and if every rom-com from now on will be able to provide the same kind of freshness, affection and humour to them, this genre should have quite good future. But somehow, I doubt that any other film in that genre will be able to live up to the new standard set by Silver Linings Playbook.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
From my review:
"Christopher Nolan does the impossible. When no one thought it would ever be possible to create a superhero film that's better than The Dark Knight, Nolan dishes up The Dark Knight Rises. Which is actually better, and therefore the best film in what's definitively the greatest trilogy in the history of cinema. It's a more than worthy conclusion to Nolan's Batman films and it is exactly the conclusion that we dared to hope for. I pity the fool who attempt to reboot or continue these films. Because there is hardly anything that can compare to what Nolan managed to do over these three films. After Joel Schumacher's terrible films, Nolan did indeed resurrect this hero and have now raised the bar for superhero films. The Avengers tried to set a new standard earlier this year. In my opinion, it didn't come anywhere close, but if it did, then surely The Dark Knight Rises have exploded those again. This is the ultimate superhero film.
Nolan is easily one of the most ambitious filmmakers living today and The Dark Knight Rises might just be his most ambitious film so far, at least it is the largest. While being larger doesn't necessarily always mean it's better, that's easily the case here. It's slightly better than The Dark Knight because it is much larger. The spectacle in The Dark Knight Rises is tremendous, gorgeously filmed with amazing special effects (and not overusing CGI). Nolan shows us yet again a very different, but exciting way of showing action. The way he edits the convoluted story by showing different action in different scenes at the same time, and how he still manages to keep the action and suspense trough the entire running time is spectacular. The Dark Knight Rises doesn't just work as a brilliant comic book film, or as an excellent way to conclude a trilogy, it's a brilliant action film as well. I've seen several people complaining that Nolan doesn't manage to direct action very well, but I do think that's just ridiculous. Surely, he doesn't exactly produce the most glorified action sequences, but that's simply because he doesn't need that in his films. He directs action and fight scenes that feels and looks real. There is a fight scene in this film between Batman and Bane. Where Bane breaks Batman's back. It's just wonderful... This is a scene that is almost just simple boxing, but still it is easily one of the greatest fight scenes in cinema. Just because it feels real. It feels like they are actually beating each other!"
Read the rest HERE
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