Label Culture has decided to bring you a rundown of our best films from 2012: The blockbuster hits and those more unknown which are still not to be missed!
The Dark Knight Rises
Long awaited, the third Batman film did not disappoint: It was full of twists and confusion, scenes of incredible action and a fantastic ending. Tom Hardy, possibly the biggest man of all time, is an amazing villain in the character of Bane, if a little difficult to understand at times. Christopher Nolan keeps the epic feel from The Dark Knight, which was also a massive hit in 2008. As of September, the film had made a gross profit of over a billion dollars, 160 million of which was just in the opening weekend! One of the great things about these films is the fact that they actual all tie in with each other. We once again see the villains from Batman Begins and we’re feeling the effects from Harvey Dent in the previous film. Even Michael Caine has his moment to prove what an amazing actor he is and as an audience, we’re a lot more connected to the characters. Unlike the others, this film had a strong emotional feeling with it, both in hero and villain, especially as it was the climax of the Batman franchise. The link to Robin at the end is enough to keep our excitement going for years and was a great idea from Nolan and the DC franchise. There’s more to come from them we feel…
My personal favourite of this year, the only word for this film is epic. Marvel’s films have always done the comics justice, from X Men to Spiderman. Some of the characters from this film starred in their own features, each of which has been a great success and so it was going to be a great moment when they all were thrown in together. It’s the ultimate action/adventure film, appealing to all ages with amazing scenes of action and destruction as well as humour and a great plot. It’s grossed even higher than ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with an incredible $1.48 billion! We were all hesitant about the film, it had the potential to be brilliant with so many amazing characters but it could have so easily gone wrong. There was so much ego and importance coming from the individuals that it had to be clever to make a film where they were not the star. Joss Whedon gets the balance exactly right to give them all a decent screen-time and how they work together. With a second film revealed for 2015, hopes are high that we’ll be delivered another film of this quality, though I’m a little dubious. This first film had such an impact; it will be hard to beat.
Possibly the most hyped film this year, Skyfall could be called the best Bond film of all time. It takes on a different style from others: instead of saving the world or a country from a huge threat, it is about saving one woman from the repercussions of the decisions of her past. We see a lot more into the characters, M is developed in greater depth and we see where James Bond grew up and their connection to each other. Hopefully I won’t ruin it for anyone when I say the ending is a hugely emotional moment for lovers of Bond and Judi Dench. I feel that Daniel Craig really comes into his own as Bond in this film, whereas I wasn’t so sure in his first two features. Though it hasn’t been out for long, as of November it had grossed $221 million. Though this doesn’t seem a lot in comparison, these are American figures and Bond was probably a much bigger film in Britain. This film, just like the latest Batman, sets us up with the characters we love for following films reintroducing Moneypenny and Q, the latter of which I felt was always a great character in the films, especially when played by John Cleese. It’ll be great to see where the franchise takes us next after such a highly rated film.
The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
Released on December 13th, The Hobbit is another eagerly awaited film. Lord of the Rings was such a hit with fans of the books and others alike and so it’ll be great to see if The Hobbit can add to this legacy. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins, a highly rated actor by both the industry and myself and I’m sure everyone is thrilled to see the return of Ian McKellen. They have decided to split the book into three films, an idea not that popular with film-goers, but it seemed to work for both Harry Potter and Twilight, and may serve to do the books a proper justice. Having not seen it yet, it’s hard for me to say if this film will be one of the best, but I could not ignore it in my choices when it has been so talked about, and with such mixed reviews. It’ll be good to see the film and actually see if it has a place on this list; I have high hopes, after all, the prequel worked extremely well for the amazing X Men series with Origins and even for George Lucas with Star Wars.
The Hunger Games
Unexpectedly, this film became quite a hit. I hadn’t heard of the books until the film was suddenly everywhere and then I thought it was about time I became acquainted. I saw the film before deciding to indulge in the books and I was actually really pleasantly surprised. It was interesting, fast-paced with an original plot idea. I think it was this new storyline that made the film so successful because it’s different. The idea of the arena and the fight is also ideal for screen and makes an exciting film. The fact that it is part of a trilogy also means that the ending is full of suspense, setting us up for the next film with a sinister, mysterious feel that will create a great anticipation for the next instalment. Catching Fire, in my opinion, is also the best book so I’m keen to see the adaptation. The film, as of June, grossed $672 million, no way near as much as these other blockbusters but still, a considerate amount! Whether it’s the next Harry Potter or not, I’m not sure. But the films are certainly worth watching if they live up to the story of the books.
And Those Less Obvious
I loved this documentary film, the director Kevin MacDonald really did his homework and I feel that it’s a really amazing tool for learning a little more about the man so synonymous with cool, culture and the power of message. I rushed to the cinema to watch this when it came out, and was not disappointed. Containing interviews with the most important figures in Marley’s life, it gives us a real insight as to how the man really behaved and what he was like as a person. Everyone should watch this because his music is so widely enjoyed, his face adorns the walls of so many Loughborough bedrooms and his culture has spread from Jamaica throughout the world and endowed our own with a new way of looking and thinking. What more could we ask for in this time of Christmas cheer, than a nice little presentation on how the great man lived. Shove that in your stocking and smoke it!
This action packed feature follows the events of the 1979 Iranian revolutionary invasion of the American embassy. We are informed that in order to get CIA into the country, a staged filming has been planned; it’s a kind of movie-in-movie scenario, which is a really interesting notion, and one that allows for certain light-heartedness. A really great plot, featuring the magnificent John Goodman of The Borrowers andThe Flintstones fame,and the ever talented Actor-Director Ben Affleck, however, Argo is one that we may easily miss out on being exposed to, due to the density of the plot content. It is a little heavy going, but it has its humorous moments. Give it a go with an open mind and you may love it, I certainly did!
Silver Linings Playbook
Another little gem, and one largely ignored by the public, Silver Linings Playbook grossed a mere $6,209,767 (£3,876,757.54) compared to The Dark Knight Rises’ staggering $1,013,114,000 (£632,487,070.20). Bradley Cooper of The Hangover fame portrays Pat Solitano, an ex-mental institution patient, who returns to life with his mother and father, to enjoy a life of American Football viewership, and reconciliation with his ex-wife. Solitano encounters the equally troubled Tiffany, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games, and the pair bond. One of the more light-hearted films on my list, Cooper is great as a mental patient. This is a nice, easy going film, and one to lift the mood a little after you have watched all these other darker films on my list. Let’s face it; sometimes we need a little light relief!
Okay, I admit, this one may be a little Blockbuster-y, however, it is not to the same scale as your Dark Knight Rises or Skyfall. As a result, I feel compelled to include this film in my list-of-the-less-obvious. Here marks the return of the powerhouse that is Ridley Scott to his Alien franchise. A team of explorers forage for the truth concerning human origin on planet earth, travelling to the planet LV-223 as directed by an ancient map, discovered by the explorers back home. Dark and brooding, the film is able to effortlessly combine original, grandiose cinematography, with the dystopic, dark world of 1979’s Alien. Fassbender is exquisite in Prometheus as the robot, David; always threatening, his famously clenched jaw and Aryan features add a steely, chilled unctuousness to his character. Prometheus is definitely one for a cold December day in your pokey little uni room, when you want a little of the fantastical to adorn your preparation for Christmas.
One of this year’s great casts, Lawless cleaves the line between authority and, well, lawlessness, as the unconstrained Bondurant brothers (Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf and Jason Clark) meet their match in the form of the corrupt Special Agent Charlie Rakes (Guy Pierce). The brothers achieve their aims through knuckle dusters and gasoline, whilst the fierce Rakes questions if we have ‘any idea what a Thompson submachine gun does to a mortal’. It appears that the Bondurant boys have indeed met their match. In this cool film, we follow the infamous Bondurant moonshine business in prohibition-era Virginia, complete with great action scenes and beautiful women. Perfect for those enamoured with the very current Tom Hardy, who is effortlessly powerful and cold as ice as Forrest Bondurant, the calm-headed leader of the business. It is nice to see a film of this type with no Al Capone or John Dillinger figure; this really is a film about unity and friendship. It is something a little different for students, but don’t, as the brothers do, feel the need to pepper your evenings with moonshine production… beer is cheap and exquisitely legal, go for that stuff instead!