I’m going to start off by saying that “genre” in this case is anything from superhero to science fiction to horror. So you will see a mix of them all on the list. You will hear this list on The Gorram Nerd Hour where Brian and I discuss it. Next week I will be giving you my bottom 10. But, for now, here we go –
10) The Dark Knight Rises – Batman Begins was the greatest Batman origin story put on film. The Dark Knight was a great movie with a lot of suspense and an amazing performance by Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight Rises had Bane, Catwoman, Talia Al Goul, a reluctant Batman and no sense of dread…even when the city was being held hostage. But it still managed to be a very good movie. Not the best of the trilogy but a fitting end to the Christopher Nolan era of Batman.
9) The Avengers – Joss Whedon did what was nearly impossible. He took all the established Marvel characters from previous movies that Marvel owns the rights to and gave them the chance to shine individually and as a team. The movie itself is both funny and exciting. It’s not the greatest thing Whedon has ever directed. That honor goes to the pilot episode of Firefly. But the man did what few people could ever hope to do in bringing The Avengers to life.
8) Chronicle – Josh Trank and Max Landis deserve a lot of credit. Found footage movies are Hollywood’s answer to low budget filmmaking anymore. And they tend to be made by low rent directors who wouldn’t know how to tell a traditional story. Not true with these guys. The made a found footage movie with a twist. This was like watching a polished film but still kept the grittiness of the found footage sub-genre. The script by Landis was great. Trank’s directing was spot on. It was a wonderful debut film from some talented guys who I hope won’t disappoint in the future.
7) Silent House – Yes, I admit that the film was very predictable. But I saw the film more as Elizabeth Olson’s journey than the outcome. And what a performance she gave. The movie solid from beginning to end anchored by a powerhouse performance.
6) Dredd – I remember seeing the awful Stallone movie based on this character back in the 90’s. When I heard they were rebooting it with Karl Urban I was pleased. Then I found out it was being directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland and I went from pleased to excited. The character stuck closer to the comics while the story itself deviated. Urban’s performance was amazing. That man deserves more love from the geek community. Between Chronicles Of Riddick, Star Trek and Dredd the man is a champion of geek cinema.
5) Prometheus – If I didn’t lose you by putting TDKR and The Avengers so low on the list this one will probably make you think I’ve lost it. I’m sorry but I love Prometheus. It’s smart movie making. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindeloff set out to make a cerebral summer movie and succeeded on all counts.
4) John Dies At The End – I remember when this book came out and I fell in love with its strange, funny and irreverent take on the genre. The movie, written and directed by Don Coscarelli, captured the feeling of the book expertly and got amazing performances from the entire cast. The movie is not for everyone. If you’re a fan of Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep or the Phantasm series you’ll love it.
3) Safety Not Guaranteed – I couldn’t help but find a cute photo of Aubrey Plaza for this part because the movie will make you fall in love with her. The film expertly made with great performances. It’s close to not being considered “genre” but I feel it needs to be included. Mark Duplass was amazing as the man who may be crazy or he may be able to time travel. This movie needs to be seen.
2) Cabin In The Woods – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard crafted a story that was not only a traditional horror film but something completely different and original. If anyone ever tries to make a sequel I will save up my money, fly to wherever you live and shoot you in the face.
1) Looper – I cannot say enough good about this movie. Rian Johnson’s directing was perfect. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were amazing. The story was smart and engaging. Emily Blunt was great. There was a really cool time travel/action story as well as a wonderful emotional arc for the characters that pays off beautifully at the end. The movie was genre filmmakers on a budget should aspire to. I know it inspired me to keep plugging away at what I do.
There you have it, folks – My top 10 genre films of 2012. Don’t forget to tune into The Gorram Nerd Hour to hear me and Brian argue about the list.