Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 in Tweet Reviews

This was number 1...
As anyone who follows my twitter feed (@teddroe y’all!) will confirm with a grimace, I have an annoying habit of tweeting movie reviews. I started doing it in spring  of 2010 on a lark—at the time I didn’t know what to tweet, and felt like I should do something—but quickly realized that I quite enjoyed it. To be clear, at no point have I thought that anyone cared what I thought, but it became a great way to organize my thoughts about a film, and to be able to go back later and see a brief record of what I saw, when, and what I thought of it. There might possibly be a movie or two that I haven’t tweeted since then (perhaps one or two that I was embarrassed to be on record as having see…or liked), but I’ve gotten into a pretty solid habit of it over the last three years and I ain’t stopping anytime soon.

The 3rd annual I’m Right Awards are about six weeks away, and that’s when I’ll write about and celebrate the great films (and Silver Linings Playbook) that came out in 2012. But first, we’re going to quickly go over not what came out in 2012, but what I watched in 2012—though obviously there’ll be a wee bit of overlap.

So without further ado, a list of everything movie review I tweeted during 2012. I started giving number grades about a quarter of the way through, and I haven’t altered any of these. I stand by most…but not all, not completely. I’m 98% sure this is everything I saw, but even if it isn’t, per above, I ain’t telling.

(Okay, so that was a little further ado…)


Les Diaboliques: A very well-crafted and only mildly implausible thriller that was just a little too high on the spookometer for me. 6/10

Cedar Rapids: I'd like it for the Wire references alone, but also a pretty funny coming-of-age (late 30s edition), friendship story. 7/10

The Babysitters: While its points about the failings of both genders aren't new, at least it tries to tell them in an edgy way. 6/10

Capitalism, A Love Story: Like all of Michael Moore's oeuvre, its a manipulative ego trip with a ton of good points. 6.5/10

The Artist: Director Michel Hazanavicius--proving dialogue is for chumps since 2011. What a lovely little film. 7.5/10

Nine: How a cast this talented made a movie so mind-numbingly mediocre is a more interesting question than anything in the movie. 6/10

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Difficult to follow and visually bland, but the intricate plot is quite rewarding with enough effort. 7/10

The Abyss: Technically very impressive (as expected from JCams) but the plot is messy and the characters pretty two dimensional. 6/10

Tron Legacy: Ho-hum plot that might have been better served as a reboot than a sequel, but spectacular visuals and music. 6/10

The Game: Fincher gets a little too cute with twists in his follow-up to Se7en, but still a very competent and enjoyable thriller. 6.5/10

Girl w/ Dragon Tatoo: Fincher's sharp direction make it slightly but noticeably better than the already very good original. 8/10

Taken: I wish we could get a movie where Liam Neeson kills half of Europe that didn't hinge on such a crassly manipulative premise. 5.5/10

A Dangerous Method: Fascinating character relationships and acting don't entirely make up for the lack of any real plot. 6.5/10

The Virgin Suicides: Coppola hits a bunch of weird notes, resulting in a very odd film tonally. But it works quite well, somehow. 7.5/10

January—14 movies


The Endurance: Other than Liam Neeson's narration, nothing really to separate this from any standard interesting hist. channel program. 6/10

Midnight in Paris: A little slight and prob too much Woody, but a very charming little film. Fits nicely with 2011's nostalgia theme. 7/10

War Horse: Plays out almost exactly as you'd think, but Spielberg is good enough that the predictability isn't a huge problem. 6.5/10

Moneyball: Might just my baseball apathy, but I wasn't particularly drawn in by the story. The Oscar nomination for Hill is puzzling. 6.5 C+

Lucky: An absolutely twisted dark comedy starring my doppleganger Colin Hanks that, while good, felt a little undercooked. 6.5 C+

Hot Tub Time Machine: A bunch of actors I like (John Cusack notwithstanding) having fun in a pretty funny movie. With a GREAT title. 6.5 B-

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover: Sumptuously grotesque revenge/food movie pretty thoroughly earns its NC-17. May or may not be satirical. 7.5 B+

The Girl Who Played with Fire: A disappointingly large step down from TGWTDT, with a much less interesting and occasionally nonsensical story. 6 C.

Warrior: A mix of intense and brutal action with some truly outstanding, heavyweight acting. A short 140 minutes. 8 A-

February—9 movies


The Last King of Scotland: Fictional elements fit in sometimes fitfully with the real ones, but still interesting and very well-acted. 6.5 B-

Easy A: Droll sense of humor makes the 3rd Act switch to serious a little ponderous, but Emma Stone is good enough to overcome it. 6.5 C+

John Carter: Takes itself too seriously for a movie as fundamentally goofy and cliche-rific as it is. 5.5 C-

March—3 movies


Exit Through the Gift Shop: Fascinating documentary about street art. And commercialism. And some other stuff, courtesy of Banksy. 8 A-

April—1 movie


Captain America: Utterly average, blandly predictable and by-the-numbers superhero movie, works best as a prequel. 6 C.

The Avengers: Spectacularly well-made and incredibly entertaining, it's EXACTLY what everyone wanted it to be. 8.5 A

The War Zone: A tremendously raw, disturbing, and powerful story is hindered by amateurish camerawork and acting from the lead. 7 B

Aliens: Expertly paced and incredibly tense, and one of the (if the THE) best female-lead action films of all time. 8 A-

Secret of NIMH: Many strong parts, but runs into a common problem of 2D animated adventures--not enough time to tell its story. 6.5 B-

The Seventh Seal: Unsurprisingly interesting, but I have trouble engaging with films that are both old AND subtitled. 7 B

Brick: A pretty standard gritty noir murder mystery, but brilliantly set among high school students. 7.5 B+

The Dictator: Manages to stay consistently funny and shows an admirable disdain for any sort of traditional character development. 7 B-

Days of Heaven: Not a particularly compelling story, but Malick's gorgeous camerawork and thematic strength are more than enough. 7.5 B+

Chronicle: "Found footage" does a great job of making this superhero/villain origin story seem fresh. Nice to see Seattle get blown up. 7 B

MiB 3: Big step up from the 2nd, but that's not saying much. Still struggles to find the fun of the original, but not a chore to watch. 6 C

Cars 2: What do you get when you take away the best parts of a mediocre movie and focus on its most annoying character? Crap. 5 D+

Fantastic 4 2: Interesting only to the extent that one enjoys analyzing surprisingly thorough ineptitude. 4.5 D

American Wedding: Competently done cringe comedy and pleasantly familiar characters--if you enjoyed 1&2, little has changed. 6 C

May—14 movies


Bridesmaids: Fill the void of really funny, mature/raunchy comedy headlined by women. Oscar nod for McCarthy is odd, but she is funny. 7 B

V C Barcelona: Some very strange subtextual opinions about women aside, its a nice little acting/city showcase. 6.5 C+

The Tuxedo: Painfully stupid and unfunny spy parody that, like most of the Hollywood things he's done, totally wastes Jackie Chan. 5 D.

Hunger: Powerful and artistically shot film about the Irish prisoners in the Maze, anchored by a powerhouse Fassbender performance. 8 A-

Badlands: Malick's beautiful debut film is both simple and ambitious, and is an impressive start to his ideosyncratic career. 8 A

Safety Not Guaranteed: PNW-based little indie doesn't have a great ending, but it's funny and touching. Nice to see Plaza, who's great. 7 B-

Prometheus: Outstanding setup and looks great in 3D, but 2nd half is riddled with plot holes and frustratingly unanswered questions. 6.5 C+

Snow White & H: Some visual flair, but the material is ill suited for such a dark tone. As violent, dark fantasy goes, its rather bland. 6 C

50/ Moonrise Kingdom: It's nice to see Wes Anderson use his powers for good, as he does in this lovely and surprisingly sweet tale. 8 A-

Cross of Iron: Feels like it could have used a harsher editor, but as a Paths of Glory-ish war movie, it works quite well. 7 B.

Brave: Felt oddly unlike a Pixar movie, esp the humor. Still, despite likeness to Brother Bear, works fine as a distaff Finding Nemo. 7 B

Sleeping Beauty (2011): Admirably ambitious, but terrible execution makes it fall into a weird, pretentious abyss that it can't escape. 4 F+

March of Penguins: Very well done, but tough to see why it was a theatrical doc instead of a particularly good Animal Planet special. 6.5 B-

Traffic: A stylistic antecedent of movies like Crash, Babel, and Syriana, but much more nimbly directed and thematically elegant. 8 A-

Happy-Go-Lucky: Meandering, too-long plot, but great and very funny lead performance by Sally Hawkins makes it worth it. 6.5 B-

June—15 movies


Wrath o/t Titans: Decent, stupid disposable spectacle with a weirdly good cast and a surprisingly effective climax. 6 C.

Margin Call: Best Spacey role in years anchors a take on the 2008 collapse that isn't nearly as dumbed down as it could have been. 7 B

Paradise Lost: Impressively thorough (if understandably overlong) documentation of the Robin Hood Hills murder trial. 6.5 B-

Persepolis: Satrapi's fascinating autobiographical film works great as both character study and portrait of Iranian culture and history. 8 A

Spider-Man 4--The Cynical Grab for Cash: Utterly soulless but generally competent. Also surprisingly hilarious, usually intentionally. 6 C

Hairspray: It's colorful and energetic, but unless seeing John Travolta in drag and a fatsuit is a draw, there isn't much else. 6 C+

Push: Doesn't quite all come together, but at least it tries to be halfway smart and not stupid Hollywood schlock. 6.5 B-

Eternal Sunshine: Brilliant, beautiful, and touching without being false. So many opportunities to do something stupid, and never does. 9 A+

Dark Knight Rises: If it isn't the masterpiece of its immediate predecessor, its still a fitting capstone to a pantheon movie trilogy. 8.5 A

July—9 movies


Casa de mi Padre: Rarely laugh out loud funny, but as a parody of low-budget films (with dozens of "mistakes") it's quite clever. 6.5 B-

Total Recall ('12): It looks great and a solid setup, but someone forgot to write in anything interesting into the last 45 minutes. 6 C.

Paranorman: Forgettably watchable for 2/3 of its run length, but suddenly becomes surprisingly gripping and affecting during Act 3. 6.5 B-

The Campaign: Unfortunately not quite funny enough to make up for for how facile the plot is. The ending is particulary disappointing. 6 C-

August—4 movies


Beasts/Southern Wild: Obviously the work of a new director, but most parts work and there's clear talent. Excited for next project. 7.5 B+

A Matter of Life and Death: Certainly one of the more imaginative (and romantic) films about death, has a ton of great moments. 8.5 A.

Millennium 3: With the least interesting government conspiracy in movie history, continues the disappointing sequels to Dragon Tattoo. 6 C+

Ace in the Hole: Billy Wilder's compelling and wickedly cynical 1951 attack on media sensationalism does David Simon proud. 8 A-

Punch Drunk Love: Though never uninteresting and Sandler is legitimately great, I found its oddness self-indulgent and distracting. 6.5 C+

Lawless: Somewhat messy, especially in the first half, but still more than solid. And did I just like a Shia LaBeouf performance? 7 B

The Lorax: It's as if the writers were dared to come up with the stupidest possible way to adapt the book. They succeeded admirably. 5 D+

Hanna: Not a fan of where the script goes toward the end, but much of the movie--including Ronan and the direction--is stupendous. 7.5 B+

The Master: A layered, oblique, and thought-provoking character study that, like really all of P.T. Anderson's work, has no real plot. 8 A-

Looper: If it wasn't quite as airtight as I wanted, it's still a tremendously original, well-executed (pun intended), and smart film. 7.5 B+

September—10 movies


Dark Shadows: The cast (especially Eva Green) look like they're having a great time, which is good because I wasn't. 5.5 C-

Frankenweenie: Solidly competent, but I was having trouble really latching on to anything in the story--and I'm a dog person. 6 C

Argo: A few too many Hollywood flourishes, but an exceedingly well made, tightly wound, and eerily timely thriller nonetheless. 7 B+

October—3 movies


Cloud Atlas: Ambitious and fitfully compelling, but not nearly as cohesive as I'd like. Two of the segments are total wastes of time. 7 B

Skyfall: With the brilliant choice of Sam Mendes to direct, everything falls into place--this is easily the best Bond movie I've seen. 8.5 A

Wreck-It Ralph: Amusing and clever, but doesn't quite have the narrative or character strength we're used to from Disney/Pixar. 6.5 B-

November—3 movies


Lincoln: DDL's (unsurprisingly) amazing performance anchors a story that wrings surprising amounts of drama from a legislative vote. 7.5 A-

Killing Them Softly: Delightfully cynical (if a little ponderous) and violently profane take on the American economy and 2008 election. 7 B

Life of Pi: Atonement-style 3rd Act twist really didn't work for me at all. Sure was pretty though, and the CGI tiger was amazing. 6.5 C+
...and number 93.

Bernie: The inspired, documentary-like approach and Black's surprising performance make a standard true-crime story very watchable. 7 B
Sliver Linings: A painfully contrived and artificial screenplay ruins some really enjoyable performances by Cooper and Lawrence. 5.5 C-

The Hobbit: Considering how inferior the source material is to LotR, that PJ captures as much magic as he does is pretty remarkable. 8 A

Magic Mike: Points for originality, but weird directing, bland acting (though not from CT or MM), and a total lack of a plot knock it. 6 C+

Les Mis: Some singing issues from Hugh and Russ (and Hooper REALLY likes close-ups) but aside from that it's enjoyable and powerful. 7.5 B+

December—8 movies

2012—93 movies

That the first and last movie I saw in 2012 both had French names and started with “Les” is an utter coincidence. I swear

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