From Batman to emotional hit men, 2012 was a great year for the movies; here’s Derry Journal film reviewer, Andrew Quinn’s top 10.
10 - Avengers Assemble
Director: Joss Whedon.
Starring: Robert Downey Jnr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth.
Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk - what’s not to love about this film? Nick Fury brings all of the superheroes together under the name of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.
It’s a great combination of action, comedy and great special effects.
9 - Killing Them Softly
Director: Andrew Dominik
Starring: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and James Gandolfini.
Jackie Cogan (Pitt) is brought in to dish out justice after three small time criminals rip off a mob protected card game.
Pitt’s performance is one of his best and the film’s social commentary on a failing America is viciously honest if a tad laboured.
8 - Ruby Sparks
Directors: Jonathan Daytons and Valerie Faris.
Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan and Chris Messina.
Award winning novelist, Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) rids himself of writers’ block by creating a female character, Ruby Sparks, (Kazan) on the pages of a book.
Perhaps the best love film of 2012 and amazing performances from Dana and Kazan make it a real one not to miss.
7 - End of Watch
Director: David Ayer.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez.
Two young L.A.P.D. police officers are marked for death by a Mexican drug cartel after they stumble upon a large firearms and drugs cache. One of 2012’s must pulsating and entertaining films made even better by the on screen chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena.
6 - Sightseers
Director: Ben Wheatley.
Starring: Alice Rowe and Steve Oram.
To describe Tina (Rowe) and Chris (Oram) as an odd couple would be an understatement. They travel across the north of England in a caravan, killing anyone who rubs them up the wrong way.
It’s the best comedy of 2012 and the fact it featured at the Foyle Film Festival is a sign of just how important the event is to Derry.
5 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson.
Starring: Martin Freeman, Sir. Ian McKellen and Graham McTavish.
The first in the Hobbit trilogy, it follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) as he sets out to help a band of dwarves reclaim their homeland from the dragon, Smaug.
It’s as good as any of the films from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Freeman is outstanding as Bilbo Baggins.
4 - Looper
Director: Rian Johnson.
Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.
In 2074, when the mob want rid of someone they send the person back in time, 30 years previous, where they are killed by a ‘Looper’. Disaster strikes when Looper, Joe, (Gordon Levitt), is one day faced by his older self (Willis).
One of the most original films of 2012 and whilst Gordon-Levitt is excellent is a real return to form for Bruce Willis.
3 - SKYFALL
Director: Sam Mendes.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench.
Bond’s (Craig) loyalty to Queen and country is tested when M’s (Dench) past comes back to haunt her putting MI6 under attack.
Bardem’s Bond baddy, Silva, is perhaps the best ever and decision to focus on the origins of Bond is inspired. The finale is beautifully shot and it’s a great combination of traditional mixed with modern.
2 - ARGO
Director: Ben Affleck.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Scoot McNairy, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston.
A retelling of the real life teaming up of the CIA and the Canadian government after a group of Americans escape the US Embassy in Tehran during the 1980 Iranian revolution.
Argo is brilliant and it supports the opinion that Affleck is one of the most talented directors around. Oscar nominations will ensue.
1 - THE DARK NIGHT RISES
Director: Christopher Nolan.
Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman.
It wasn’t to everyone’s liking but ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was the perfect ending to what is arguably the greatest trilogy ever made.
Set eight years after Batman (Bale) has disappeared, terrorist Bane (Hardy) is intent on the destruction of Gotham City.
Batman is forced to resurface when Bane reveals that he has smuggled a nuclear bomb into Gotham.
The only thing standing between Bane and the obliteration of Gotham is Batman and his loyalty is tested when he’s left with no choice but to help the very people who have labelled him an enemy.
British born director, Christopher Nolan, is at the top of his game in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Everything about the film oozes style, class and excellence and it’s without doubt one of the most satisfactory conclusions to any trilogy.
Whilst ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ were films about Batman, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is essentially about Bruce Wayne’s struggle to find peace.
Tom Hardy’s performance as Bane is so skilled and sinister that it could be argued that he surpasses Heath Ledger’s Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’. Bane is evil beyond belief and thinks nothing of crushing a man’s skull with his hands.
Bane’s appearances on screen are amongst the most enjoyable the movie has to offer and the music used to announce his arrival is outstanding.
Admittedly, when I read that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Selena Kyle I rolled my eyes; I honestly didn’t think she’d be up to the task.
However, Hathaway is excellent and her portrayal as the not to be trusted jewel thief is yet another jewel in the movie’s rather twinkling crown.
The film’s ending is without doubt immensely satisfying and not at all implausible. All of a sudden you realise that you are not watching a stand alone third film but instead it brings, what appeared like incidental scenes from the first two films, together and makes them relevant and poignant.
From the action sequences to the soundtrack, from the performances to the fight scenes, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ joins movies like ‘Inception’, ‘Memento’ and ‘Batman Begins’ as an all time classic.