Mamo #285: 2012 Unchained

Happy new year! Mamo casts its eyes back on the year 2012, the year in which the Avengers assembled, the Dark Knight rose, and the words “Mayan apocalypse” turned out to be referring to Taylor Kitsch’s career. The Matts give a broad survey of what worked, what didn’t work, and what were (in our wide and varied opinions) the best films of the year.

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  1. My list, for those that need the text:


    Jiro Dreams of Sushi
    Le Tableau
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Robot and Frank
    Far Out Isn’t Far Enough
    Frances Ha
    Great Expectations
    In the House
    Cloud Atlas
    Not Fade Away
    Django Unchained


    The Bay
    Spring Breakers
    The Dark Knight Rises
    The Hobbit
    The Hunger Games
    The Avengers
    Snow White and the Huntsman


    At any price


    Bourne legacy


    • Happy to see Prometheus at Number 1. Thats my favorite movie of the year as well. I re-watched it over Christmas break and it totally holds.

      I love the visuals, the sense of mystery of the alien world, the engineers, the medipod sequence, the android David and the sympathetic Elizabeth. The scientist and the geologist are little goofy. But in a movie that delivers on so many levels to focus on the negatives seems absurd to me.

      Fastbender is obviously brilliant, but I think Noomi Rapace’s Dr.Shaw is my favorite character. She manages to channel Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and be her own strong character simultaneously.

      I was shocked reading through the top 10 lists from critics that this movie is totally absent. There is no doubt in my mind that this movie’s standing will improve with age.


      Damon Lindelof not being involved in the sequels is upsetting to me. He says not working on the sequels is a scheduling conflict. The cynic in me wonders if this is a reaction to internet fanboys. If internet reaction is the motivating factor behind him stepping down from writing duties I think that is really sad.

  2. Didn’t have a positive reaction to ParaNorman, myself, though it was visually striking. I found it far too preachy, and that always kills the movie for me. I thought there was some better animation this year.

    Matt will not be surprised to learn that, in spite of it’s stunning visuals, Dark Knight Rises left me very cold. It has some great sequences, but it may actually be my least favourite of the Nolan Batman trilogy.

    Glad to see you both included the much-maligned Prometheus on your lists. I liked, myself.

    • I think in ParaNorman’s case I found it just preachy enough, given the subject. I can see your point, though. On the pure animation aspect the only thing I found more striking was my other pick, Le Tableau.

      • I just managed to catch ParaNorman on the New Year’s Eve and also wasn’t crazy about the way it ended. It was still a decent movie and absolutely amazing visually, but I was hoping for the story to be better. Perhaps, I had set my expectations too high after it getting so much praise?

        I personally liked Frankenweenie a lot better, but I remain a fan of Tim Burton (despite avoiding Dark Shadows). Stylistically, Frankenweenie wasn’t anything new, but typical Tim Burton style, but I happen to like that style a lot.

        Back to ParaNorman, with this movie and Coraline, the studio Laika has become quite the solid contender when to comes to stop-motion movies. I look forward to seeing what Laika does next (I think 2014 is when their next movie is set to come out).

  3. My favorite movies of the year in no particular order:

    Cloud Atlas
    Cabin In The Woods
    Shut Up And Play the Hits
    Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
    Indie Game: The Movie
    Cockneys Vs Zombies
    The Hobbit
    Much Ado About Nothing
    The ABCs of Death

    I don’t think I’ve ever put this many documentaries on my top movies before. All 3 docs hit a core nerve for me.

    Never saw and have potential to make it onto my list as favorite movies from 2012:
    Moonrise Kingdom
    The Raid: Redemption
    Chasing Ice
    Robot & Frank
    Django Unchained

    Also on my list to see from both high to low art:
    The Master
    Iron Sky
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    Total Recall (I’m curious enough to at least want to see the first act before I pull the plug… also I hear despite the CGI, Toronto landmarks make a number of appearances)
    Rec 3: Genesis
    West of Memphis (I guess it has a wider release in January)

    Biggest disappointment:
    Dark Knight Rises
    Probably not just 2012, but likely one of the biggest film disappointments for quite some time. I mean it’s up there with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Star Wars prequels, where I enjoy the earlier films so much but dislike the later film so very much. Christopher Nolan really “nuked the fridge” with his one.

    On the flip side there is Prometheus, a beautifully mess of a movie. I plan on getting it on blu-ray, but like the last 2 Alien movies, it is both really good and bad. It’s disappointing that Ridley Scott couldn’t reach the heights he was going for (in my opinion but to each their own), but still managed to kickstart some interesting conversations and debates with his movie.

    I disagree with Matthew Price about Cabin In the Woods not gaining anything from re-watching it. Mainly the last 3rd of the movie which is just so visually rich with so much happening on screen that it is hard to take it in all at once and each time I watch it, I pick up something that I missed previous times. I have a feeling that Cabin in the Woods will be the movie from 2012 that I re-watch the most further down the road.


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