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The Worst of 2012: The Movie People Who Passed Away

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It's inevitable that as time goes by, we will lose some of our favorite stars. And yet, year after year, it never gets any easier to look back on the great entertainers who had died over the previous 12 months.

Still, it's important to remember the legacies of the people who enhanced our own lives over the years with their talent, style and love of cinema. Here's a look at some of the many wonderful Hollywood talents who passed away in 2012. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

The Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2012

On the Road IFC Films

Let's close the year with something really meta, shall we?

Art really starts imitating itself when there's a Top 10 list of Top 10 lists. But really, with so many Top 10 lists out there, we felt it only appropriate to consolidate our favorites into one handy location. And then, sometime down the line, someone can make a Top 10 list of the best Top 10 Top 10 lists. It boggles the mind, doesn't it? And it should. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

Staff Picks: Brooke Tarnoff's Top 10 Movies of 2012

Warner Bros / Weinstein / Focus

As much as I love the chance to impose my taste upon the world — and I really, really do — the day I have to commit to a final top 10 list is never fun.

I see a lot of movies; some of them are pretty terrible, but the majority fall somewhere on the spectrum between good and amazing. My personal best-list starts with at least 25 candidates, and I slowly yank out movies I really enjoyed until I reach 10. It's painful. Like plucking eyebrows painful. (But not really — dudes, you have no idea how much that actually hurts.)

And then there are the screenings I've missed — I'm positive "Zero Dark Thirty" would be at the top of the list... I just haven't seen it yet.

So, I'm sorry, Kathryn Bigelow — you're not in here, though you should be. "Take This Waltz," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Smashed," you're the finest of indies; you deserve a place, but there's no room at the inn. And "Wreck-It-Ralph," you sweet lug, I loved you almost enough. May we meet again, someday, on Blu-ray.

Universal

10. 'Pitch Perfect'

This is not a good film, exactly. It's silly, often nonsensical, has befuddling plot holes and relies a little too heavily on ethnic stereotypes for laughs. That said, it's the first movie in who-knows-how-long I've seen in the theater twice in one week. And then once the week after. (And maybe once after that, as well.) The soundtrack is phenomenal, though I'd have sworn I hate a capella, and Anna Kendrick is so ridiculously real-person charming, I could watch her sing the phonebook... as long as someone was beatboxing her accompaniment.

 

Lionsgate

9. 'Cabin in the Woods'

I'm no fan of slashers, but I'm a huge fan of writer/producer Joss Whedon, writer/director Drew Goddard, and clever twists (à la early Shyamalan, sans resemblance à latter day Shyamalan) so I approached "Cabin in the Woods" with an open mind. Still, I was unprepared for how much I could love a slasher – I don't care what you say, it's still a slasher: people get slashed – based on the genre-bending elements of humor, fantasy, whip-smart writing and those twisty, twisty twists.

 

 

Fox

7. 'Chronicle'

I thought I was over the found-footage thing. Actually... I never really thought I was under the found-footage thing. But "Chronicle," hardly a pioneer of the medium, used the device so cleverly, so seamlessly, I felt I was actually seeing a new form of fiction. The few moments where the technique stretched the movie's credibility were balanced by engrossing performances, including Dane DeHaan's heartbreaking turn as a maladjusted teen learning to control his newfound superhero powers. What seems, on its surface, to be a gimmicky comic book action movie is actually a nuanced depiction of an innocent kid's descent into villainy — a character that's all too familiar in the real world.

The Avengers Marvel

7. 'The Avengers'

A superhero supergroup and nerd-god auteur Joss Whedon: two great tastes that taste AWESOME together. "The Avengers" contains the best features of its single-hero predecessors and corrects some of their failures: it retains the wit of "Iron Man" (filtered and refined through Whedon's iconic voice) and the bravado of "Captain America," and despite Marvel's repeated "Hulk" failures, finally finds the perfect green goliath in Mark Ruffalo. Yup, somehow, amidst the charisma of Tony Stark, the black-clad posterior of Black Widow and the arrow-flinging gun show that is Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, Ruffalo is the smash hit of "The Avengers." (Get it? Smash? Yeah... sorry.)

Also Check Out: NextMovie's 25 Best Movies of 2012

TriStar

6. 'Looper'

Spoiler alert: time-travel isn't a real thing. But that hasn't stopped sub-par sci-fi movies from explaining their pseudo-science into the ground. One of the amazing things about "Looper" (aside from some exceptional performances, a riveting plot and a physical transformation so incredible I didn't recognize Joseph Gordon-Levitt though I had just met him for an interview) is the grace with which it backed off from its own time-travel logic. "If we start talking about it, then we're going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws." Indeed, Angry Bruce Willis From the Future. Indeed.

Moonrise Kingdom Focus Features

5. 'Moonrise Kingdom'

You either love or hate Wes Anderson movies; there's really no middle ground with his style of adorable absurdity. As you might have guessed from his presence on this list: I love him, and I really loved "Moonrise Kingdom," though (or... because?) Anderson out-twees his twee-est "Royal Tenenbaums" scenes by making his latest film entirely about children who listen to age-inappropriately cool music and attempt to elope. It's weird, it's stylish, it's nostalgic without any resemblance to my actual childhood or the childhood of any person I've ever met… and I could watch it every day for a week without getting bored. (Plus, it makes me wonder where Anderson goes from here. My suggestion: well-spoken toddlers in jaunty berets, working out their issues. French accents wouldn’t hurt, either.)

Fox

4. 'Life of Pi'

I put off seeing this as long as I could; I'm one of those people who can't handle animal deaths in movies (p.s. If you're like me, this is the greatest resource you'll ever find) and I was given to understand that "Pi" features CGI creature casualties by the boatload. Literally. I'm glad I disobeyed the instincts of my tender lady-heart for two hours; Ang Lee's visually stunning adaptation — genuinely a breathtaking big-screen spectacle — was worth any mourning I may or may not have done over a certain fictional zebra. Suraj Sharma (as the titular Pi during the most important parts of his narrative) is something special, too. So, yeah. I loved it. Just... don't talk to me about the goat.

Weinstein Co.

3. 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Who knew Bradley Cooper had it in 'im? The pretty boy who once brought us gems like "All About Steve" and "He's Just Not That Into You" was shockingly brilliant in "Silver Linings Playbook" as Pat, a bipolar wreck of a man, fresh from a court-mandated stint in a mental health facility. Despite the grim circumstances — his female lead is Jennifer Lawrence as a brittle, short-fused young widow — the movie is hopeful, funny, uplifting. Watching Lawrence emote, after excellent but glacial performances in "Winter's Bone" and "The Hunger Games," was the icing on a Globe-nominated cake. A silver lining, if you will.

Summit

2. 'Perks of Being a Wallflower'

I read a lot. A lot. A looooot. So believe me when I say this is a big deal: "Perks," the book, was my favorite for about a decade, and it still has a permanent place in my top five. The novelist, Stephen Chbosky, adapted and directed the movie; it's faithful enough to satisfy die-hard fans like me, with enough adjustments to show that Chbosky has allowed his work to evolve. His story remains a moving elegy on adolescent isolation,  a love letter to the precocious and the peculiar. It will touch the heart of anyone who was a little sad or a little strange in high school, whose friends were their lifeboats, who felt the wind in their hair and knew, for a moment, what it meant to be infinite.

Warner Bros.

1. 'Argo'

1970s beards and tan suits have no right to be this riveting. "Argo" proves that Ben Affleck, while decent as an actor and fair-to-middling as a tabloid personality, is one hell of a director. The tension he infuses into a Wikipediable true story is remarkable. Affleck also plays the lead, Tony Mendez, a real person who led the far-fetched rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, using a fake sci-fi movie production to cloak his attempt. Even though the mission's outcome is now a matter of public record, the implausibility of its success makes "Argo" more than a nail-biter – "Argo" is a whole-finger-biter. Thanks, Affleck. I needed those.

 

NextMovie Senior Editor Brooke Tarnoff also sings in a band, regularly ignores off-leash laws in the park with her dog, and reads zombie fiction like it's her job. (It's not.) Follow her on Twitter.

Filed Under: Best of 2012

Staff Picks: Kase Wickman's Top 10 Movies of 2012

FilmDistrict

I don't believe in feeling guilt over what movies I like. Many critics and bloggers and other people who get to say with a straight face that they get paid to think about movies all day will tell you all about "important" movies and other milestones they feel are underappreciated by mainstream audiences, but I personally don't feel like I'm above having a good time at the movie theater.

You won't see "Zero Dark Thirty" on this list, nor will you find "The Master," though I saw both and enjoyed them and took something away from them. They just aren't movies that I can see myself wanting to enjoy again (ever again), unlike the 10 titles that made my admittedly somewhat fluffy year-end list.

2012 was a banner year for movies, and the hits just keep coming (thanks for the time off, winter break! You would need to call in sick to see the array of awesome holiday offerings coming at us before year's end). Read on for my list of my top 10 picks for the year. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

Staff Picks: Breanne L. Heldman's Top 10 Movies of 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower / Pitch Perfect / Argo Summit / Universal / Warner Bros.

2012 has been the best year in movies since I can remember. Seriously.

As many fellow movie journalists, critics and enthusiasts have already mused, narrowing down a list of favorites to 10 has been particularly difficult this year. In the end, though, my top five were a lock. When I saw my favorite movie of the year back in August, I said I had a hard time imagining that any movie would beat it. And much to my surprise (and chagrin), a good three or four gave it a real run for its money (even though it didn't make much money, but more on that later).

Some movies I might have imagined to make this list faltered (I'm looking at you, "Les Miserables") and some little movies you've probably never heard of (like "The First Time") I wanted to support by having them rank, but just couldn't keep them high enough on my list. In the end, there could only be 10, and here's how my list shook out. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012

The 10 Most Criminally Underseen Movies of 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed FilmDistrict

This has been a pretty darn good year for movies. Awesome blockbusters ("The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises"), hilarious comedies ("Ted," "21 Jump Street") cool indies ("Moonrise Kingdom," "The Master") and hot dramas ("Lincoln," "Argo") have battled for attention in the media and at the box office. It's really been an embarrassment of riches.

But you know what else is an embarrassment? The fact that because of the crowded box office slate, some of the best movies of the year were hardly seen at all. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

Staff Picks: Kevin Polowy's Top 10 Movies of 2012

Argo Warner Bros.

Crafting a Top 10 Movies of the Year list always presents a little bit of a conundrum: Do you include the greatest films created, technically and artistically speaking, or do you go with the ones you simply enjoyed the most? It's the "best" versus "favorite" argument.

I tend to lean toward the latter and highlight the movies that had the most emotional impact on me, be it through laughter, shock, thrills or tears.

Maybe it also helps to give less heralded movies some shine. "Argo" is probably a better film than "Ruby Sparks." But honestly, I enjoyed "Ruby Sparks" more. "Argo" will be on everyone else's list, and you may not have heard of "Ruby Sparks" or "Searching for Sugar Man," movies you'd probably really like.

So here are my 10 favorite movies of the year. And hey, at least I can always cheat with some Honorable Mentions. "Argo" made it there. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012

The 10 Worst Movies of 2012

John Carter / Snow White and the Huntsman / That's My Boy Disney / Universal / Sony

As we established in our list of the 25 Best Movies of 2012, it was a pretty great year at the multiplexes.

But in what you are about to read below, well, there is no "good."

Some of these actually didn't do too badly in the box office and one might incite some rage from a certain fan army (sorry guys, but our whole staff agreed!), but either way, we want to know what you think. Read up on our 10 clunkers of 2012 and hit up the comments section below with your two cents. Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

The 25 Best Movies of 2012

The Silver Linings Playbook / 21 Jump Street / The Dark Knight Rises The Weinstein Co. / Sony / Warner Bros.

Like every year, 2012 seems to have gone by far too quickly. But, unlike almost every year, 2012 was filled to the brim with great movies. From moving dramas and unforgettable indies to shockingly worthy comedies and actually super superhero blockbusters, Team NextMovie really had a difficult time narrowing down our 25 favorite flicks of the year.

In fact, the only thing we all agreed on unanimously was what film should sit at the very top. What was it? Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features

The 10 Best Movie Tumblrs of 2012

Jean Sleeping on People Jean Sleeping on People

There are about a billion tumblrs out there, covering everything from hilarious cat pictures (there are quite a few of those, actually) to how to restore a first generation Ford Mustang to stunning facts about the sun. If you have an interest in a topic — any topic — chances are someone's blogging about it, for better or worse.

There are quite a few movie-related tumblrs out there, too, and finding the ones that are worth a damn — either for valuable info or just as a way to pass the time in the most amusing way possible — can be a daunting task. Here are the 10 from this year that definitely warrant regular return visits. And don't forget to check out our official Tumblr in the meantime! Get More »

Filed Under: Best of 2012 Features
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