Best New to You Movie of 2012
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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As we close the book on another year it's time to look back briefly and talk about the year we finished. Since movies are my other passion apart from games, I thought they deserved their moment in the sun as well. So what was your favorite movie that you watched for the first time in 2012?

I pulled my information from here. Feel free to join us each month to talk about movies you enjoyed.
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1. Board Game: Avengers Mighty Battle [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Ben Lott
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Mason
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Best of the Best



1. The Avengers - This isn't even close! I love the Avengers so much that I willingly paid to see it twice in the theater and tried to convince a friend to go see it a third time. This movie had everything. It included great characters, witty lines, and heart-pounding action. I found myself laughing out loud, near tears at one moment, and enthralled by the special effects. I could gush all day, but I'll simply leave it by saying this may be the best super hero movie of all time. Since that's a genre I love, the Avengers is nearly perfect for me.

Ranking the Rest


2. Wreck-It Ralph - Makes video games simultaneously modern and nostalgic, and entertains all generations.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man - Saves a dying franchise with amazing style.

4. The Artist - Brilliantly uses a silent film as a medium to talk about the death of silent films.

5. Midnight in Paris - Absolutely charming tale that made me wonder why I've never seen a Woody Allen film.

6. Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension - Another hilarious story strictly for fans of the show.

7. Skyfall - Exciting final chapter in the new Bond's origin, although it felt very isolated from the other films.

8. Safety Not Guaranteed - A character drama that explores regret and how decisions from our past make us who we are now.

9. The Hunger Games - Overly zealous work to include every event from the book winds up stripping it of emotions.

10. Source Code - A film that feels like it runs a little too short, especially when you stop it where the story truly should end.

11. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - An exploration of tragic loss winds up being just a little too emotionally manipulative.

12. Here Comes the Boom - Silly movie with loads of cliches and slapstick, yet I found myself rolling with laughter from time to time.

13. One for the Money - Poorly executed film, which absolutely fails as a comedy, yet it still works in a small way as a mystery.

14. The Dark Knight Rises - Great action and intriguing story-telling is slightly spoiled by being overloaded with predictability.

15. Real Steel - Speaking of predictable, this film has superb CGI, but is almost a carbon copy of other films in the genre.

16. The Social Network - Intriguing tale kept me engaged throughout, too bad the characters were so unlikeable.

17. Red Dawn - Might work if the characters weren't so annoying, and if the ending felt a little more satisfying.

18. The Descendants - A dysfunctional family goes through a dysfunctional goodbye, kind of made me uncomfortable as a viewer.

19. Argo - Kept me riveted despite the fact that I knew the end, too bad the lead actor is terrible.

20. Trouble with the Curve - Good casting, but a couple of effective jokes might have made this more than completely forgettable.

21. Leap Year - Stereotypical romantic comedy which is bland, and never once convinced me of the attraction between the leads.

22. Brave - Colossal letdown from the geniuses at Pixar, and it only managed to make me crack a smile once or twice in the whole film.

23. The Bourne Legacy - Continues the level of action from the prior films, but just stops at the end without resolving anything.

24. Hugo - Still not sure which movie they should have made, the boys or the film makers, but combining them didn't work.

25. A Thousand Words - Eddie Murphy is clearly doing something wrong when I can't even recall one moment of this film less than a year later.

26. Life of Pi - Focused too extensively on pointless floating when there was an important story they relegated to less than 30 minutes of film.

27. Taken 2 - Unconvincing in every single aspect from the hero, to the villains, and even the fight sequences between the 2.

28. The Lorax - Thankfully it wasn't preachy, but the story was still poorly executed and made the titular character a bit part.

29. Haywire - Impressively athletic fight scenes don't make up for the missing story.

30. War Horse - Cheezy boy-and-his-pet tale that got overhyped simply because of the director's name.

31. The Tree of Life - Is "artsy-fartsy nonsense" too short of a comment to make?
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2. Board Game: Lincoln's War [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:6765]
Darrell Hanning
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Jacksonville
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Lincoln
Three actors take what might otherwise be a rather dry affair, and bring the movie to life - Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field (who no doubt would be a more renown actress if she had only included a one-syllable middle name all these years).

This Lincoln is less god-like, and therefore a much more convincing portrayal of the man than most. Yet, his faults only serve to underscore his greatness, rather than detract from it.

Avengers
A fun romp, its trail liberally littered with Joss Whedon's terrific dialogue, but (perhaps necessarily) without full freedom by him in introducing twists and turns in the story. Still, I at least can forgive him this shortcoming, so long as I get to keep seeing Scarlett Johansson kick ass in leather, and keep hearing Robert Downey Junior's steady patter of irony and sarcasm. And the scene in which the Hulk humiliates Loki is - outside the comic books - undoubtedly the best expression of what the Hulk is that I will ever witness.
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3. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:593]
Joe Gola
United States
Redding
Connecticut
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Moonrise Kingdom, hands down.

The other stuff I saw in the theater:

Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows
The Artist
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Avengers
Dark Shadows
Prometheus
Brave
The Amazing Spider-Man
Skyfall
Django Unchained

My favorite Netflix rental: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

Worst movies I saw all year:
2-Headed Shark Attack
Bernie
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
The Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses
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4. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:224]
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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I often hate this kind of question. I just didn't see many movies this year, at least not that I remember. So the "best new to me movie of 2012" would be "The Artist." I had high hopes based on the academy award and all that, and while it didn't disappoint me, I would still classify this as a "very good but not quite great" movie. Other movies I saw this year in the same category of "not quite great but still well worth watching" would be "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Happy-Go-Lucky."

I almost said "Wreck it Ralph" was my favorite because I was expecting so little from it, but really it was just the surprise of how fun such a basically dumb movie can be that made it seem better than it was. "The Hobbit" had too many problems even though parts of it were great.
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5. Board Game: WildLife [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1662]
Robert Rossney
United States
San Francisco
California [CA]
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This was an extraordinary year for movies. It's hard for me to remember all the big Hollywood movies I thought were really really good: Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi, certainly, Oscar-bait like Lincoln and The Master, crowd-pleasers like The Hunger Games and The Avengers, Martin McDonagh's hilarious Seven Psychopaths, and Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino's best movie in a decade.

But there were some amazing little movies too. Like Killer Joe, which is about as dark as dark comedy gets, a twisted, ugly, hellacious little film that starts out with matricide and then somehow gets much, much worse. And yet it is also hysterically funny when it's not horrifying, and sometimes even when it is.

And Sound of My Voice, a claustrophobic, spooky, paranoid movie that starts out with under-equipped investigative reporters infiltrating a cult and then gets stranger and stranger until the bottom falls out. Keep your eyes open for Brit Marling. She seems likely to have a very interesting career.

But there were two winners, and it's hard to choose between them.

One is A Separation, which answers the question, "What if Anton Chekhov lived in modern Teheran?" This starts out as a simple, sad little slice-of-life story about a marriage falling apart because the wife wants to emigrate, but then one small thing after another happens, and before the movie ends there's been enough suspense for two Hitchcock movies and a tragic portrait of small helpless people ground up by impersonal bureaucracies. I sat in the theatre watching it with a growing sense of astonishment as everything about the movie - the characters, their problems, the performances, the cinematography, the sound - got deeper and deeper with every passing minute. By the end I found myself thinking that this must have been what people felt like watching Ikiru in its first run, and feeling very, very fortunate to be sitting where I was.

And while at the time I thought it was the best movie I'd seen in twenty years, in the end it wasn't the best movie I saw this year.

That movie was Benh Zeitlin's electrifying Beasts of the Southern Wild. I don't even know how to describe this. It's absolutely astonishing. It's certainly the most magic-realist thing I've ever seen: it's a movie in which the magic is real and the real is magic. It is wild in every respect, from the insane production design (and I mean that literally; the production looks like it was designed by a person who is actually insane) to the fantastically vivid cinematography to the hair-raising, ferocious performances by Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis, who is Sissy Spacek at the peak of her abilities crammed into a six-year-old African-American girl.

When I saw it, people in the theater were weeping before the opening credits. And not because it's sad, but because it's overwhelming. I'll remember that shot of Hushpuppy running towards the camera with fireworks in her hands until the day I die.

Sure, it had its flaws. Personally, I think that the movie's brief foray into the real world was disastrously wrong-headed, and really if you think about the plot very hard none of it makes a lick of sense. It doesn't matter one bit. I've been watching movies for half a century and I can't remember seeing anything like this one.
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