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Tracy Ladd

Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in Argo

Best Single Line of Dialogue Ever: Argo f*ck yourself. – Argo

Personally, I will quietly judge a movie on whether or not there are any good quotable lines concealed in the dialogue.  The movie doesn’t really have to be good to provide some great lines that can be worked into everyday conversation.  That being said, my favorite single line of dialogue uttered in a film this year goes to Argo.  Given, it’s not something that can shouted from the rooftops in a crowded plaza, but it can definitely be used in a more casual atmosphere.  Plus….it’s funny.

Best Dialogue Delivery: “Mama’s not the law….I’m the law” – Dredd

Even though the previews to Dredd showed that this wasn’t just a rehash of the Stallone version, there was still a lot of apprehension about the film overall.  Those fears were put to rest however, once the film was released and proved that Karl Urban had what it takes to don the coveted helmet.  Hearing his delivery of the “I’m the law” line cemented the fact that he was indeed the perfect choice for the role.  There is no Judge Dredd anymore…..that film is dead to me (although it was dead to me the minute I watched it way back when).  There is only Dredd.

Worst Adaption of a Book: One for the Money

I read this book quite a few years ago.  As a matter of fact, I read the bulk of the Stephanie Plum books.  They are full of quirky characters, humor and ridiculous situations.  None of which the movie had.  The film itself was probably the flattest, most horribly cast film I’ve seen in a long time.  Since there are about 8,000 books in the series, I just hope the studio doesn’t get the bright idea to try it again.  This is actually a book series that would be best served as a television series only.

Best Bong: The Cabin in the Woods

This coveted award goes to Marty’s travel coffee mug bong.  By far the most creative use of an everyday item I’ve ever seen.  The best part was seeing other people’s reaction when they realized what it was.  I watched Cabin on Blu-ray with a friend of mine who knew nothing about it and his reaction was priceless.  Said reaction involved clapping, pointing at the screen saying “THAT’S AWESOME!!”, then having me rewind it so he could see it again.  Classic.

Most Ridiculous Film That I Loved: Lockout

I’m fully aware that this film is really an Escape-From-New-York-in-space.  I’m also fully aware that it was preposterous at best.  Still, I loved it.  It made me laugh and the action was actually pretty good.  Guy Pearce also had the silly one liners (which we know I love), a ridiculously big physique and an attitude to match.  All that combined made it totally worth the price of admission.

The Most Appropriate Title Award: The Five-Year Engagement

It’s not often a film comes along that can be described by its title alone.  As much as I love Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement felt exactly like that.  I saw this in the theater originally, but it wasn’t until I watched it again at home that I realized just how long this movie is.  The run time is only 2 hours and 4 minutes, but it feels like it’s so much longer.

Best Use of the Cardigan: Lawless

Tom Hardy amazes me with each movie he’s in.  In Inception he was the suave forger with bad fashion sense.  In Warrior, he was the tormented estranged brother who had a penchant for hoodies.  In The Dark Knight Rises he was….well he was Bane and he rocked that face mask.  But in Lawless he pulled off what only a select few can do…and still be taken seriously.  He rocked the Cardigan.  Don’t let the sweater fool you, this is not a man to mess with.

The Stinky-Cheese Award: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

The film itself wasn’t great to begin with and from what I could tell, didn’t really follow the book very closely at all.  There is one scene however, that pushed it over the edge and turned it into the odoriferous pile of garbage that it was…..the scene with the horses.  My God in heaven….I had to summon my willpower from the depths of my soul to NOT throw popcorn at the screen during this scene.  It was so bad, it made me angry.

The Don’t-Go-There Award (aka Creepiest Locations EVER!): The Woman in Black/The Chernobyl Diaries

This is actually a tie between a film I actually really liked and one that I loathed.  The production design team for The Woman in Black seemed to go out of their way to create a truly chilling location.  I know for a fact that if I ever came upon that house, there is no way in hell I would enter.  Some places just beg for you to stay as far away as possible.  This would be one of those places.

Even though The Chernobyl Diaries was nothing but a steaming pile, the idea of filming in such a location is rather creepy.  Abandoned towns, military installations, amusement parks and the like become incredibly unnerving when nature begins to encroach and take over what once was an area bustling with people.  Unfortunately, The Chernobyl Diaries failed to deliver any real scares….or a decent movie for that matter and it also gets the Waste-of-Money Award.

Biggest Disappointments: Tie

There are two films that really didn’t come through for me this year.  The Bourne Legacy would be a worthy entry into the Bourne franchise and a good start to a new character.  However, it turned out to lack what really made the Bourne franchise what it is.  The film spent way too much time in neutral and needed to speed things up a tad.  Perhaps if they continue on with Jeremy Renner’s character, the next film will be better.

The other HUGE disappointment for me was Prometheus.  I wasn’t expecting it to be Alien or Aliens for that matter, and I didn’t hate it….but I didn’t love it either.  I was so looking forward to this film and couldn’t wait for it to be released.  Then I saw it.  Perhaps it suffered from the hype machine, but the fact remains that it wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be.

The Favorites: Various

There were several films that came out this year that I absolutely adored.  Obviously The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were great, as was Cabin in the Woods.  But I have to say that if pressed, my ultimate favorite movie this year (at least so far) is Argo.  It was intense yet humorous.  The cast was stellar, as was the writing.  Ben Affleck has become quite the filmmaker and I really hope he’s recognized for his efforts here.  Plus….it’s got that one line.  How can you not love it?

If I had to name a second, I’d go with Skyfall.  After the disappointing turn in Quantum of Solace, this was a great return to form for James Bond.  Daniel Craig proved once again, why he was the best choice to take on the iconic role and the direction that Skyfall points the character in make me anxious for the next film.

The Self Parody Award: The cast of The Expendables in The Expendables 2.

Working in little jokes and quips throughout the film worked in its favor although may have been lost on younger viewers (their loss).  Especially corny and awesome was Chuck Norris making reference to the ridiculous Chuck Norris facts.

The Trailer Overkill Award: Savages

There was a period of about three months where EVERY SINGLE MOVIE I saw in the theater was preceded by this trailer.  I had to sit through it so many times, I didn’t even want to see the film when it was finally released…..and I didn’t.  From people I’ve talked to, that ended up being a good thing.


Steven Neish

A Dangerous Method 5

The Tropic Thunder Award for going “full retard”: Keira Knightley

While Ben Stiller’s Speedman exemplified the inherent dangers in what the film termed “going full retard”, Keira Knightly this year showed that a no-holds-barred approach to mental and physical retardation could also be brave and dignified decision to make. Playing the part of Sabina Spielrein in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Knightly developed a vocabulary of ticks and compulsions that are as difficult to watch as they are utterly arresting. It remains one of the most jarring, uncomfortable and remarkable performances of the year.

Best Animated Film: ParaNorman

2012 has been another extraordinarily strong year for animation, with stalwarts Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks Animation and Aardman releasing some truly outstanding films. It was Laika who went one step further, however, with stop-motion Hallowe’en treat ParaNorman, the story of one young outsider who can communicate with the dead, much to the chagrin of his conformist parents and shallow sister.

Combining beautiful animation, immersive 3D and a script that goes to some surprisingly grown-up places, the studio somehow managed to create a film that was even better than 2009’s Coraline. It’s a real shame that the considerably less commendable likes of Ice Age, The Lorax and Hotel Transylvania eclipsed it at the box office.

An Award For Outstanding Achievement: Dreamworks Animation

Initially written off as Pixar with pop-culture reference, DreamWorks Animation have languished at the bottom of the uncanny valley for years as a result of lacklustre fare such as Shark Tale and Shrek The Third. Since bringing us Kung-Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape To Africa in 2008, however, the studio has completely upped its game and changed direction.

Drawing on the talents of executive producer Guillermo del Toro, advisor Roger Deakin and composer John Powell, they finally struck gold with How To Train Your Dragon in 2010. This year, DreamWorks Animation have paid lip-service to its earlier days with the wonderfully wacky Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted while continuing further down the path to becoming THE American animation studio to be reckoned with courtesy of Rise of the Guardians.

Highest Concept: Tie

While Man On A Ledge proved almost as exciting as it sounds (with even Elizabeth Banks shooting down a fan’s misplaced praise of it on twitter), there were two high-concept movies this year that actually delivered on their preposterous premises. The first, Sharks In A Shopping Centre (or Bait 3D, to give it its actual name), is an antipodean actioner that pits Him From Twilight and Her From Step Up 3 against two Great White Sharks after they are washed into the city’s mall during a tsunami. Iron Sky, meanwhile, saw an unlucky astronaut kidnapped by Nazi’s living on the moon. From their lunar base, they mount a full scale invasion of Earth that really must be seen to be believed. In a good way.

Most Annoying Character: Greta Gerwig as Violet (Damsels in Distress)

With Wes Anderson and Tim Burton each back on the scene with a new ensemble of quirky, over-stylised caricatures, 2012 was always going to be a closely fought battle for this particular accolade. But this year’s award must surely go to Greta Gerwig’s phenomenally grating turn as Violet in Whit Stillman’s insufferable Damsels In Distress.

As the title suggests, she is by no means the sole offender, a quartet of ever more unlikely characters ensure that there is always someone to despise onscreen. While her co-starts affect English accents and talk at length about the spelling of Xavier, however, Violet annoys the most with her infuriating attempts to start a dance craze while clutching a bar of soap.

Best Reboot: The Amazing Spider-Man

There’s little point decrying the deluge of reboots, retcons and reimaginings that continue to pour unwanted into cinemas, so perhaps it’s about time we started praising the ones that got it at least slightly right. After all, amid the year’s dross Dredd proved a decent reintroduction to Judge Joseph, Skyfall chose celebration over continuity to great effect and Ridley Scott got it half right with his problematic — but still powerful — Prometheus.

The biggest success was in my opinion Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-man, a film which overcame a muddled story and echoes of familiarity to breath new life, personality and relatability into Sony’s flagship superhero franchise. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone succeeded where Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst previously hadn’t; they were likeable, funny and charming in their roles.

The Fairest Of Them All: Mirror Mirror

If we’re being honest with ourselves, for anyone not embroiled in the world of gossip columns and anonymous hate mobs Rupert Sanders’ Snow White And The Huntsman was a huge bore. Like one big, long, long, long computer game cut-scene, it was all pixels and very little personality, the lighter elements of the Disney classic (or even the Grimm fairytale behind it) sacrificed at the incongruous alter of The Twilight Knight Rises. Compare and contrast that with Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, a camp confection that made your head spin and your teeth fall out, and you at least have a film that will keep you entranced from beginning to end. They may suffer from similar issues — largely of the style over substance variety — but Singh at least has the good grace to cast Nathan Lane and stick a sing-song over the end credits.

Asim Burney

The Dictator victory

The Law of Diminishing Returns: The Dictator

Although the trailer and teaser had quite a bit of potential Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic characters have been getting worse and worse since Borat, and  I fear he has lost his spark for the foreseeable future and will instead focus on dramatic roles.

The Dictator is great premise forced into a rom com mold with a highly unlikeable romantic pairing with Anna Faris playing a political activist/ ethical caterer to the UN, the Dictator never really delivers on the promise of Wadiya as soon as the Dictator looses his clothes (quite literally).

The “I beg you to give me an Oscar” Award: Rampart

A great performance by Woody Harrelson is pretty much all that Rampart has going for it. Tackling big issues like racism, infidelity, alcoholism and violence with the not-so subtle touch of Paul Haggis’ Crash. Rampart just muddles along begging to be an academy award contender but never has the narrative drive or point to make it remarkable. A movie going nowhere and a waste of an amazing cast.

The Little Gem of a movie, impossible to market Award: Goon

Sean William Scott starrer Goon, is about good hearted buffoon that packs a mean punch but has no real goal in life but find his calling by joining a bottom of the league Ice Hockey team. Even when writing this summary I know how much the story sound hackneyed but the movie has so much heart, that it completely won me over.

I don’t enjoy sports movies and I have never watched a hockey match in my life (not even of the Mighty Duck variety) but this small gem of a movie delivers so much more than any plot synopsis or marketing campaign could convince you. Great performances by Alison Pill, Lieb Schreiber and good ole Sean William, unfortunately still paying his dues for breaking out with American Pie’s Stiffler. The guy has some great skills if people hadn’t noticed in Welcome to The Jungle and Role Models and here he proves it again.

The no one saw this coming Award:  21 Jump Street

Just recall the moment when you first heard they were making a feature length movie of 21 Jump Street, and then remember your reaction when you heard Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum where starring in it?  It wasn’t good was it.

How things can change in a year, and this is the year of Channing Tatum and his redemption started with 21 Jump Street, a movie no one was hedging any bets on but was one of the best comedies of the year and has amazing rewatch value even if the cameo’s were no surprise.

The deserves a 2nd chance as soon as the geek hate dies down Award: John Carter

Probably my most contentious pick but seriously this movie wasn’t that bad was it? Badly marketed-yes, weird naming convention-yes, too long-yes. But it still has enough going for it as an old school adventure story especially with a very strong female lead by Lynn Collins..

Although this might have killed Andrew Stanton’s career for a bit, I just never understood the vitriolic hate geeks had for this movie. I mean there are far worse movie that came out this year…Battleship, This Means War, Safe House anyone?

(Of those long jumps were super bad)

The You Ain’t Seen Drop kicks until you Saw these Drop Kicks Awards: The Raid Redemption

Seriously, dude gets guillotined on a door, hashtag NuffSaid. Must watch and best action movie of the year. All Hail Gareth Evans. I cant wait for Berandal!


Gary Phillips

Captain America The Avengers

Total geek out of my face movie experience award: Avengers

Brought me back to my childhood and made me feel stupidly happy afterwards award: The Muppets

I’ve never seen a film like it (in a good way) award: Head Hunters

The F*** you, you balls’d it up award: Prometheus

The cant wait till Christmas to see it award as it will probably be my favourite film of 2012: Django Unchained

The ‘Bugger, I cant rewind the film cause I’m at the cinema, what did they just say?’ award: Dark Knight Rises. Bane, Gordon and Batman various scenes.

The Stick it up your arse Expendables, this is a proper action film award: The Raid

The ‘I felt incredibly satisfied after walking out of the cinema’ award: Looper

The Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz award: The Master

The surprise success film of 2012: Dredd

The marmite film of 2012: Cabin on the Woods

Most anticipated one of 2013: Elysium

Rob Keeling

The Campaign

Biggest Waste of Both Cast and Premise Award: The Campaign

On paper it was such a good idea. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis going toe-to-toe in a Congressional race that gets dirty. There’s so much comic potential to be mined from the murky world of politics and both the lead actors are incredibly funny when at their best.

I had this one earmarked as a must-see comedy for months before it came out as, truth be told, I’m something of a fan of the frat-pack, Apatow/Philipps comedy genre. That’s why it was so disappointing that the end result was such a massive damp squib. I think I may have laughed at most once, and even that was a guilty titter at Will Ferrell punching a baby. The Campaign was incredibly un-funny and felt like a massive missed opportunity.  At the end, I wasn’t angry, just disappointed.

Grotesquely Horrendous Teen Movie That Made Me Want To Gouge My Eyes  Out Award: Project X

Oh how loathsome these three kids were. From start to finish they did nothing but make me feel contempt for everybody younger than me. The characters completely bereft of morals, respect for other people and general common sense. In fact, they had no redeeming features whatsoever. There were no hidden secret good intentions; they were just obnoxious spoiled cretins and what’s more, they didn’t make me laugh even once.

Perhaps most offensively, the message of the film appeared to be, “BE POPULAR, WHATEVER THE COST. EVEN IF IT F**KS UP THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, BE POPULAR AT SCHOOL.” Truly awful.

The Nail-Biting Tension Award: Argo

I can safely say that it’s been a good while since I’ve been as nervous watching a film as I was during Argo. Despite knowing how it ended, I was still watching Affleck and his mates trying to work their way through an Iranian airport through my hands, and I mean that quite literally.

It was incredible, edge-of-the-seat, blood pumping tension in a film that was dripping in suspense throughout. I barely exhaled during the final twenty minutes and those escapees weren’t the only one celebrating when that bloody booze was allowed to be served.

The Best Comeback To A Stupid Question Award: Moonrise Kingdom
“Was he a good dog?”??

“Who’s to say?”

Honestly It’s Just Something In My Eye Award: The Muppets

I can’t explain exactly why but there was something about the final poignant performance of ‘Rainbow Connection’ at The Muppets’ telethon that really got to me. I realise that this is fairly ridiculous and make no excuses in that regard, but as Kermit crooned the lines “Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me,” even my black, black heart was melted a little.

Maybe it was the dire straits the Muppets found themselves in and the bittersweet acceptance of that situation which was echoing in Kermit’s singing. Who knows for sure, but I tell you, one day he will find that bloody Rainbow Connection, you mark my words.

Pleasant Surprise of the Year Award: Silver Linings Playbook

I was not expecting great things from this at all. More fool me for going in with ill-advised preconceptions though as it was a funny and touching romantic comedy which has currently elbowed its way into my 2012 top ten.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are on great form throughout and most impressively, Robert De Niro actually looked interested for the first time in about 15 years. A balance was deftly struck between the issues of mental health and the humour found in this particular scenario by director David O. Russell.

Also, without going into too much detail, there’s a truly wondrous feel-good moment towards the end of the film too which couldn’t help but raise a smile. It just goes to show, you should never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a film by its name and poster.

The David Lynch ‘What The F**k Just Happened Here’ Award: Holy Motors

I watched this fairly recently and truth be told I’m still not entirely sure now what to make of it all. It’s a visually stunning and incredibly striking movie which stays with you long after you’ve finished watching it. The moment when Mr Merde emerges from the sewers like a bizarre mix between a leprechaun and a crack-head, was the most gobsmacking sequence of the lot, but even taken as a whole, Holy Motors really is an assault on the senses.

I’m sure bigger thinkers than I understood perfectly what the whole movie was truly about, but in a way I don’t think it really matters. It was the most enjoyable assault on the senses I’ve had in a long time

The “Tell Me They Aren’t Going To……Oh God, They Have” Award For Commitment to the Cliché:  Trouble With The Curve

So consistently dull, predictable and riddled with cliché it actually made me a bit angry. There’s a bit towards the end when a ‘twist’ of sorts happens and it was so telegraphed and cheesy I audibly broke ranks and blurted out “Oh come on” at the screen.

If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother, it really is a colossal waste of everybody’s time. John Goodman, Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, you’re all so much better than this. Timberlake….well….the jury is still out.

Little Indie Gem Award: Safety Not Guaranteed

I cannot recommend this little comedy drama enough. There are funny moments sprinkled throughout, but it’s also got a sweet and charming centre which will instantly just win you over. Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza are perfect in the two lead roles and have a wonderful onscreen chemistry. The Sci-Fi elements are worked into what is essentially a low-fi indie picture superbly and the ending feels just right. If you haven’t seen it yet, I heartily recommend it.

The Unremittingly Bleak Award: Killing Them Softly

I have a strange affection for unrelentingly bleak movies. I guess that says quite a lot about me personally really. However there’s just often something about movies that don’t sugar-coat events, that don’t believe in happy endings and which are willing to let anything happen to its main characters, which just make for gripping stories.

In this case, the dreary and drab backstreets of New Orleans are the staging for a series of often violent confrontations between all manner of seedy and unsavoury underworld types. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel and no fairytale ending in sight. It is brutal and downbeat drama at its very best.

The Beyond Unremittingly Bleak to the Point Where It’s Kind of Inspiring Award: Amour

If you’ve seen Amour then you will probably know exactly where I’m coming from here. It’s an incredibly hard watch at times but the strength of the love that exists between Georges and Anne in Michael Haneke’s film, is incredibly touching. It is a hard-hitting film for the most part as illness, the spectre of death and the harsh realities of caring for an extremely sick person, are all laid bare in unflinching detail. Yet through all the tragedy there is an inspiring story of love and devotion which steadfastly cannot be worn down.

A powerful and affecting movie which I may never watch again, and I mean that in a good way.

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