Anthony Hopkins

From A to Z – The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.

Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.

Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:

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Hitchcock

by Alan Rapp on December 7, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Hitchcock
  • IMDB: link

“And that, madame, is why the call me ‘The Master of Suspense.'”

hitchcock-posterBased on the book by Stephen Rebello, director Sacha Gervasi‘s Hitchcock is more centered on director Alfred Hitchcock‘s personal life and the enormous stress of his widely unpopular decision to follow up North by Northwest with Psycho than the actual filming of the movie. The result is insanely well-cast and immensely enjoyable study of the famous director and the most important woman in his life, his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).

The film succeeds beyond my expectations on the strength of three terrific performances. Hopkins, no stranger to throwing on prosthetics to play a larger than life historical figure (Nixon), is transformed into the famous director who is equal parts genius and spoiled child. Mirren is perfect as the loyal wife, who has never gotten her due for being Hitchcock’s most trusted collaborator, who simply wants to spend a little time with a charming old friend (Danny Huston) working on a new project. And Scarlett Johansson brings more than just a pretty face to her portrayal of Psycho actress Janet Leigh who never loses her professionalism even when the director crosses the line.

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Thor

by Alan Rapp on May 6, 2011

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Thor
  • IMDB: link

thor-posterThere are quite a few challenges and obstacles laid at the feet of Thor given its main character and choice for both leading man and director. Could Kenneth Branagh direct an action-heavy comic book film? Could Chris Hemsworth carry the movie? Would Thor look cool or ridiculous as a live-action character? Is there another important post-credit sequence? How large is Jeremy Renner‘s role in the film? Would the movie start out the summer season with a whimper or a bang?

We need not have worried. Yes, Hemsworth does a great job carrying the weight of the film. Yes, Branagh not only succeeds in the character-driven scenes but also with the film’s not inconsiderable amount of both humor and action. Yes, Thor looks good. Even the character’s more ridiculous features (such as spinning the hammer to create whirlwinds and tornadoes) come off as impressive and very, very cool.

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