2012 Is Nearly 25% Gone

One-quarter down, three-quarters to go. Almost. Two weeks left but it’s all over but the shouting. The Hunger Games is the last film of any real intrigue set to open in March. The way I see it 2012 has delivered six films of serious distinction and seven or eight that could be called pretty good, not bad or relatively decent.

I’ve singled out 43 films in all, not counting Hunger Games. I’m 100% certain I’ve missed something. Please, have at it.

Best So Far: Haywire, Miss Bala, Michael, Rampart, 21 Jump Street, The Grey (6)

Won’t See It Until Monday Night: The Hunger Games (1)

Good or Relatively Decent But Curiously Not Enough To Inspire Any HE Jottings: Jeff Who Lives at Home, Declaration of War, Coriolanus, Footnote, Friends With Kids, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Woman in Black (7)

El Floppo, And…Okay, Tolerable In Certain Respects: John Carter (1)

Entirely Decent Tony Scott Film With An Ending That Underwhelms: Safe House (1)

Mildly Gripping: Silent House (1)

Mildly Likable, Amusing: Wanderlust (1)

Mute Nostril Asian Martial-Arts Agony: The Raid: Redemption (1)

Best Docs: Undefeated, Bully, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Pray for Japan, The Island President (5)

Slow-going: Turn Me On, Dammit!, 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2)

Lesser Dardennes: The Kid With A Bike (1)

Unfulfilling, Irksome, Bad: Contraband, Red Tails, Man on a Ledge, One for the Money, Flowers of War (5)

Labored, Less-Than-Likable Family Relationship Dramas: Being Flynn, The Snowtown Murders, Boy, The Deep Blue Sea, W.E. (5)

Didn’t See (Apologies): Chronicle, Act of Valor, The Forgiveness of Blood (3)

Avoided Like Plague: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Let the Bullets Fly, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, A Thousand Words (4)

  • Carl LaFong

    Apparently Completely Forgotten After Only a Week: John Carter

  • Eloi Wrath

    I’d have paid cash money to read a Jeff Wells review of Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.

    It’s so completely bizarre even by their standards. Not as funny as the show, but that ‘brown bath’ shrim sequence is perhaps the most nightmarish and surreal thing I’ve ever seen. I was drunk at the time which added to the horror.

  • scooterzz

    i would have included ‘casa de mi padre’ and ‘goon’ on the ‘mildly likeable, amusing’ list….

  • DuluozGray

    Rampart was 2011.

    And oh yeah, it stunk. Really don’t get the love for this incoherent movie.

  • Jesse Crall

    @DuluozGray: Really? Probably my #10 from last year and I thought Harrelson and (in a tiny but mesmerizing role) Ben Foster deserved a nod. Very brutal, very warped…it trades more on atmosphere and character probing than narrative. You can call that a weakness but I thought Moverman’s style and the performances were superb enough to carry the film through.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    I first saw Rampart in Toronto last September, but it had its initial limited release on February 10, 2012.


  • actionman

    Wow. You gotta see Chronicle. Shocked you skipped it. The Grey is definitely the best film of the year. Also, sorta surprised you didn’t check out Project X, a film I think is pretty remarkable on many levels. Haywire was very enjoyable, and as you say, Safe House was as good as a Tony Scott knock-off is gonna get. You would laugh your ass off with Act of Valor. Perfect Sense was also gripping and very well made.

  • DuluozGray

    JW, I thought it was eligible for Oscars for 2011? No?

    Jesse Crall, as far as “bad cop” movies go, Rampart was awful. Fuck, even Street Kings was better than this dreck. Harrelson was okay, nothing great. And Ben Foster? Are you serious? He’s in the movie for 10 minutes, at most, and does nothing. The script was incomprehensible, convoluted, and 100% uninvolving. Structurally, it was a mess. And the direction was awful and called attention to itself, like that terrible 360 degree camera panning in that one scene with Buscemi. I like the stuff with Harrelson driving around, and the way they shot/edited the club scene, and that’s about it. Maybe it was a case of being overhyped, but no one I knew who saw it liked it. It was just weak.

  • actionman

    Oh, and I wish Miss Bala had opened in CT. Can’t believe not one theater booked it.

  • Raising_Kaned

    You need to see Chronicle, Wells. I’m about halfway-convinced you’ll be resistant to it due to the young characters, but it’s really the only film of 2012 that really DEMANDS to be seen thus far, IMHO (I liked Haywire well enough, too, but — like almost all of Soderbergh’s pics — it’s predictably a little light on an emotional urgency level).

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Mmm, as decent as Chronicle was, I suspect Jeff will have a typical “Fanboy stuff eeh” reaction, followed by a “not bad, mezzo mezzo” and then “fanboys need to be purged” paragraph. And then maybe something about how the Andrew boy had poor fashion sense, or was a twerp who deserves it, or needed to eat more or something.

    The Jeff review I’m looking forward to is GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  • Ray

    Second (or fourth?) the Chronicle call. Definitely the second-best movie I’ve seen this year so far (after The Grey).

    It’s something different….. it’ll do really well on video.

  • MikeSchaeferSF

    Not sure if it counts as “first quarter” of 2012 but I saw “Detachment” last nite on VOD and was surprised by how much I liked it.

  • http://fromthefrontrow.net Matthew Lucas

    Best film so far this year – “The Turin Horse.” And the rest of 2012 will be hard pressed to top it.

  • Jason Michelitch

    “Beasts of the Southern Wild” seems like a significant film perhaps missed?