We are at the end of the year, so I thought I would go back over the list of movies that I have seen and give a quick rundown of my favorites. There is still one from this year that I would like to see and I may not have time to squeeze them in, Zero Dark Thirty. Unfortunately, Zero Dark Thirty is playing in limited release and is not in Dallas, so I will have to wait to see it in January when it goes national.
10. Salmon Fishing in Yemen
I was won over by the performances in this film. I really enjoyed Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor together. This is one of those movies that is not afraid to have a happy ending and I like that. There is so much to enjoy here so I recommend this; it’s perfect for any weekend.
I have been critical of Pixar in the past. I did not enjoy Ratatouille, Cars or Cars 2. Because of this I was extremely pleased with Brave. The animation is gorgeous and being set in Scotland won me over immediately. Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson are perfect as a mother and daughter that just can’t seem to see things from each other’s point of view. There are not a lot of children’s movies about mothers and daughters and Brave finally gives us a film about that dynamic. It is also refreshing to see a movie for kids about a nuclear family, since this is also a rarity. Well done Pixar; this is fun for anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale. For more on Brave go here.
Even thought this is on the list at seven, it does not mean that I did not like this film. This is one of the best comic book romps ever. The casting is perfect and it all works, no matter how silly the story might be. This film will leave you excited to see the next time the Avengers assemble. My full review can be found here.
7. Moonrise Kingdom
I enjoy Wes Anderson movies yet I am different than a lot of people in that I do not love The Royal Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic. This year I could not wait to see Moonrise Kingdom because, from the moment I saw the trailer I knew I was going to love it. I did not get to see it in the theaters, but that is the beauty of Netflix. This is a melancholy masterpiece. The story of identity, love and acceptance will leave you in tears if you let it; and as predicted, I loved this movie.
Ben Affleck has been making a name for himself as a world-class director over the last few years. First he gave us Gone Baby Gone, then The Town and now he has branched out with his political thriller Argo. Affleck has not only directed but stared in this movie and everything he does works for me here. His casting is perfect and the story could not me more timely. Argo is a wonderful adult film that will leave your heart racing and your mind thinking long after it is over.
5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
There is not a movie that has had greater scrutiny this year than The Hobbit. So many critics gave this movie dismal reviews and yet the public has responded in droves. This movie lives up to it’s predecessors. The moment it starts you are back in Middle Earth. There could have been some editing down and there are a few moments that I did not love (Rock people and the last bit in the cave with the goblins), but over all it is worthy to stand alongside the other Lord of the Rings films. The messages of love holding back evil in the little things that people do every day is a powerful reminder. The Hobbit is fun from start to finish and will leave you longing for part 2 and 3. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on The Hobbit check out, The Observation Lounge episode, Wizards and Dwarves and Hobbits and Orcs and Goblins Oh My!.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
This was the film I was most worried about. Ending a film franchise is one of the hardest things to do. Many have complained about Nolan’s last Batman film, but I am not one of them. I believe this is the best film in the group. This is a film about Bruce Wayne and the coming to terms with the consequences of creating the symbol of Batman. The questions of truth and living a lie come to the forefront, leaving each character grappling with the choices they have made in the previous two films. This was the end that surpassed every expectation I had for Batman’s final chapter. My full review is here.
3. Silver Linings Playbook
I have just gotten a chance to see this film and everything that I have heard about it is true. This is an amazing film. The acting is superb. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are spot on as people going through intense emotional and psychological issues. I was not sure how I they would work together on screen since he is 15 years her senior, yet she never for a moment lets you believe that she is not his equal.
This movie portrays so well the truth that putting our faith in the wrong thing always leads to heartache and disappointment. The things that we put our faith in need to be secure enough and big enough to withstand that faith. The answer of the film is partially correct, putting our love, trust and faith in the right person. What is missing is that it cannot be a human being. No human can ever fully or completely love another and not disappoint them in some way. There is only one thing that can fully sustain our full trust and faith, the immutable and unchanging God. Only he can full know and love us as the way our hearts desire.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)
The Craig era of Bond has been the closest we have ever come to seeing the origin story of the most famous spy in the world. Sam Mendes has created one of the best Bond films ever. From the opening shot to the closing credits this film is gorgeous! This is Bond at his best; very few gadgets, spectacularly maniacal villain and supporting characters that truly have a place to shine. Mendes should be praised for giving Dame Judy Dench so much to do, she is truly the Bond girl of this film. Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are all welcome additions to the cast and will be great assets to the future films. This works not just as Bond movie, but also as a movie that has something to say about our world. It asks tough questions about how we respond to the scary, shadowy world we live in and because of this it deserves to be on every top ten list out there.
No movie this year was more moving or more timely than this one. Coming out right after the election it was a painful reminder of how far politics has fallen in the United States. Lincoln was not afraid to use the power of the presidency to make this country better for the people, all the people. Daniel Day-Lewis is outstanding as Lincoln, showcasing home-spun wisdom while at the same time not being afraid to use ruthless political acumen in passing the 13th amendment, Lewis is perfect. Steven Speilberg has created a American masterpiece. My full review is here.
What where your favorite movies of the year? Leave me comment and let me know so I can make sure to see it!