It's that time again when we look back at the films of the previous year and 2012 was an interesting one with highlights scattered throughout the year.
All up I saw 40 movies at the cinema, on par with 2011, although only 11 managed a score of 8/10 or more but a total of 23 scored 7/10 or above. So it's been a reasonably good quality year.
Here's the top 5:
1. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (10/10).
Setting a new standard is my first ever 10 and as it was pointed out to me 'if you can't fault it you have to give it a 10'. Charlie is a 'wallflower', a quiet, unassuming and somewhat closed off teen who begins freshman year in high school having recovered from the suicide of his best friend. He eventually strikes up a friendship with Patrick and Sam, two seniors who open Charlie's eyes to the world. It doesn't sound a 10 on the surface but it's a much deeper story than that, delicately told and is led by a stunning performance from Logan Lerman as Charlie. Couldn't fault it one bit and is easily the movie of the year.
2. The Iron Lady (9/10)
While overall not the most accessible movie given the flashback method, it is the absolute performance of the year by Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher that not only saves the film but makes it memorable. You have to pinch yourself at times to remember that it is actually Streep in the title role, she's that good. The movie tells the story of the rise of Thatcher in a male dominated political world and while it could have done a better job of making it engaging it was still outstanding and a worthy runner-up.
3. The Avengers (9/10)
Say what you like about Batman but Joss Whedon set a new standard for superhero movies when he, finally, joined Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow to form The Avengers. Proving a superhero movie can have action and intelligence, this was a great ride giving each character a significant role and not pushing one into the background. We knew Joss Whedon would do a great job - you just have to look at Buffy - and all I can say is bring on the sequel.
4. Shame (8.5/10)
Being about addiction, this is far from everyone's cup of tea but it is definitely a highlight from 2012. Brandon is a successful New York businessman whose life outside of work is dedicated to servicing his addiction for sex. He goes to great lengths, even shutting out his family, to satisfy himself. His world is turned upside down when his sister arrives unannounced (though we do hear her call him a number of times, he ignores it). Michael Fassbender is amazing in his role and while it is disturbing, with a shattering end scene, Shame is in many ways an important film.
5. The Hunger Games (8.5/10)
Somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the top five, the first of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins was thoroughly enjoyable and had me eager to read the books (sadly the second one isn't so great but let's hope the movie is better). Katniss and Peter are chosen to represent District 12 in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death of 24 teens with only one winner staged by the Capital as a way of keeping the peace following the downfall of America. Not knowing much about it helped, I guess, but it is a very well put together action, of sorts, film and certainly a better introduction to its series than Twilight was.
Honourable mentions: Argo (outstanding), Looper (intelligent sci-fi), The Intouchables, The Dark Knight Rises (good series finish, bad villain choice), Margin Call, Arbitrage and Ted.
Surprise of the year: Pitch Perfect. Wow, who would have thought a Glee-like musical could have been so much fun and so well written and performed. One of the more fun experiences at the movies in years. Runner-up Rock Of Ages - ditto.
Flop of the year: Killing Them Sotfly. Overhyped, disjointed, somewhat dull.
Other thoughts: James Bond is going downhill with Skyfall definitely not up to scratch and unnecessary remakes/adaptations were far too common (Spiderman, Total Recall and Snow White).