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Brian’s Undeniably Sexy & Irresistible Top 10 Films of 2012

For my Top 10 list of favorite films from the calendar year of 2012 I decided to take the high road.  What I mean by that is in these annual posts I also tend to pick on and rip apart all the films I either hated or was utterly disappointed by in the current calendar year.  Not this year!  I’m not spreading any more animosity into the world than ultimately necessary.  I feel I did that enough this year.  I’ll do what it takes to make this world a better place so therefore, rest assured, my Top 10 list is not only more harmonious and peace loving than previous years gone by, but also greener too.  I know you all print these lists out so now without my endless, rambling rants and complaints you’ll have less paper to waste.  Hey, what can I say?  I’m a changed man!

No, but seriously.  I think we had our share of “Worst” lists on the site this year here, here and here.  I pretty much agree with every one of them.  There wasn’t much that made me excited at the box office this year.  I don’t know if it was because of my erratic mood swings or the fact that I’m getting older (wah!), but the following list of ten movies was very hard for me to compile because quite frankly I didn’t care for much this year at all.  It was a big year for historic Blu-ray releases (see my Top 10 list here), but not so much for me at the movies.  I was let down and disappointed FAR too many times than I care to rant about here.

I hope you all enjoy all my selections below and are able to leave me a treasured comment or two below (much appreciated) or else you can always check out the Best and Worst of 2012 according to the entertainment industry’s authority, Entertainment Weekly (especially made for our staff reviewer Aaron), at http://www.ew.com/ew/package/0,,20326356,00.html.

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* HONORABLE MENTION * – COMPLIANCE – Compliance asks the most primal of questions in life.  How far would you go?  How far would you go to prove your innocence?  How far would you go under the direction of the law?  How far is too far before you question your own morals and scruples?  Okay.  Well, maybe it’s not that simple after all, but I’ll tell you this…it makes one hell of a great feature that I can’t wait to revisit again when it comes out on Blu-ray.  From its Insidious-like synths to its pushing the boundaries of morality, Compliance is a slow burner that effectively makes you squeam and feel rather uncomfortable in your seat in akin with the ginormous amount of N-words thrown around in Tarantino’s Django.  You kind of sink in your chair and think oh my God, is this really happening?  Yep!  It really is.  And what makes it even more disturbing is the fact that Compliance is based on a true story.  How do you like those apples?  If this one never came to a theater near you this year, make sure you make time for it on Blu-ray this coming January.  There’s a reason why Entertainment Weekly ranks this in their top 25 movies you must see before the Oscars.  Get my drift?  In the meantime, make sure to check out our exclusive interview with Compliance‘s producer Tyler Davidson over here.

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10) THE COLLECTION – What can I say?  I love my horror films.  Let me clarify that.  I love horror films done right.  It came down to this one, Compliance (see above) or even the hilarious 21 Jump Street in the coveted number ten slot, but ultimately I sided with this one as I had a very strong connection with it and would give my left nut to be able to work on the production of a third film (please say there will be one!).  The same way people rave about the nighttime Shanghai scenes in Skyfall is the same way I feel about some of the cinematography in this film.  The film’s fiery conclusion is embedded in my mind as well as one of the most bad-a$$ memorable shots of 2012 where the Collector (for lack of a better name) is standing there in the doorframe with his automatic weapon pointed in the air and two dogs on either side of him.  I got goosebumps when I saw that imagery on the big screen and I can’t wait to revisit this one again on Blu-ray next year.  If you are a big fan of the originality of the first film, The Collector, then I don’t think you will be disappointed in this sequel.  It kind of has that Saw II vibe to it, and I love it for what it is…a gorefest for the eyes that aims to please hardcore Saw-like horror fans and no one else.  And for all you movie geeks out there, you might even notice the lead character here, Josh Stewart, as Bane’s right hand man (mercenary) in The Dark Knight Rises.  Check out Aaron’s exclusive Screamfest review here.

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9) ARGO – Hark!  Who goes there?  It is I, Ben Affleck, also known as the artist Bennifer.  Alright, here we go.  I have a love hate relationship with Benny.  First, he delivers this freshman gem of a piece with Damon back in the days.  You may have heard of Good Will Hunting, right?  What a powerful film.  Then he goes on his what I would call Gerard Butler sabbatical of making crap movies for a while.  And then all the sudden The Town comes out and he has my undivided attention once again.  When I first saw his 70’s haircut and beard he was accosted with in the Argo trailers, I just knew this was going to be into this one.  You see, Ben has this innate ability to produce tension in his films and it grips you like none other.  So I guess what I am saying, and I can’t believe I am admitting this, I’m looking forward to whatever his next project is.  For all you doubters and haters…Argo f#%k yourself.  I never thought I’d be tipping my hat to a political thriller (not my proverbial cup of tea), but for now check out our theatrical coverage here and here and decide for yourself.

8) THE RAID: REDEMPTION – Here’s one feature that when I first heard about it I knew I had to see it.  I travelled 1,200 miles to check this one out on the big screen.  I’m not known for my extreme love of foreign picture films, but this one was being heralded as one of the greatest martial arts films ever for it’s non-stop and unbelievable action sequences.  There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to check this one out.  And ladies and gentlemen…it doesn’t disappoint.  It made my Top 10 list, after all.  As long as you understand that no one man can ever survive something like this, there’s no way you can’t have a good time with this one.  And that’s the secret here.  It’s a nothing but a good time.  You have to accept the nonsensical violent action sequences for what they are…ENTERTAINMENT.  This one has one of the most bad-a$$ final boss fights in cinematic history, in my opinion.  People I ask to watch this on Blu-ray with me just sit there in awe with their jaws dropped at the fast paced, non-stop, bone-breaking action unfolding in front of them.  It’s quite a sight to behold.  And I guess it’s also safe to say that if you like 2012’s Dredd, which I did not, you’ll like this one even more because you just got to think of it as one of the most amped up and testosterone-pleasing flicks ever produced.  And for what it’s worth, I can’t believe they made this for under half a million.  I CANNOT believe it.  Check out Aaron’s full theatrical review here and Scott Wampler’s SXSW exclusive coverage here.

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7) THE WOMAN IN BLACK – I know I’ll get a lot of slack for including this one, but hey…I’m the same guy who shamefully had Columbiana on their Top 10 list last year, right?  So what’s it about this film that keeps me intrigued after repeat viewings?  While I’m not a big Harry Potter fan or even a Daniel Radcliffe one for that matter, I just feel this Hammer entry was very well crafted and compelling.  It had a solid story (okay Radcliffe’s acting could have been a tad better) and some moments of tension that truly mattered to me and that’s a rare quality when you are talking about the majority of horror films that are usually more humorous than they are scary.  I really wanted to know who the woman in black was, why all the kids were dying and how to stop her.  I think I got that and more with the film’s shocking ending that most may dismiss as depressing, but it’s really quite the contrary when you think about it.  Check out Aaron’s full theatrical review here.

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6) SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – Want to talk about brilliant screenwriting?  Well if so, look no further than here.  There’s nothing like praising a film about screenwriting.  Oscar!  And as far as Christopher Walken goes…it’s probably one of his finest performances ever.   The trio’s chemistry between Walken, Farrell and Rockwell just clicked naturally like the Bee Gees soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever does.  Despite the film’s slow pace, there’s no denying its Tarantino-like charm, this one just cries watch me again if for nothing else so you can learn how to immaculately craft scripts and of course…tackle that writing block like you’ve never seen before brought to life on the big screen.  Try this remedy.  You may just like it.  It’s multi-layered and multi-dimensional.  It reads more like an Inception piece, but without the dream sequences.  This is a screenwriting movie for all the aspiring screenwriters out there.  That’s probably why I identify so well with it.  Check out our full theatrical reviews here and here.

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5) DJANGO UNCHAINED – Nothing like waiting to the last minute, huh?  I just checked this out yesterday morning before heading to my parents for Christmas dinner.  Talk about an orgasmic feast of sight and sound on the silver screen!  Careful…that D is silent!  And best of all, 2 hours and 45 minutes went by like nothing.  Try that with The Hobbit and you’ll fail miserably.  This is definitely one of my favorite Tarantino flicks to date, from the perfectly fitted soundtrack to the tension and calamity that Quentin is famously known for…it’s all here!  The ever brilliant acting of Christopher Waltz, Jaime Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson is so sharp that you can cut a coconut with their performance.  Like usual, with a Tarantino film, things just snap from the tension ridden rubber band dialogue scenes he creates and the explosive over-the-top action sequences he skillfully weaves in.  This one grabbed my attention from start to finish, never letting go…and I am not a fan of westerns at all, but guess what?  I came right home and bought the film’s soundtrack immediately.  As they say on Adam Green’s Holliston, TITS!  Check out Aaron’s full theatrical review coverage over here.

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4) PROMETHEUS – Never has the cinematic community been so divided in my recent memories.  It’s almost like there are three acceptable categories here and it’s totally okay to be in whatever one you want because no one can criticize you for your opinion when it comes to this highly anticipated flick.   There’s the I hate it, I love it and the it’s okay acceptable ways of thinking.  I wanted to like this one so much, but why it took multiple viewings to really appreciate the beauty of Prometheus, I have no idea.  Sure…it could have been a much better film (with that whole first screenplay being rewritten), but ambitious desires aside, it still kicks a$$ in the breathtaking cinematography department and in the hearts of Alien fans everywhere…at least I hope it does.  There’s no denying that it shares similar Alien universe DNA and there are those few horrific moments that make it worthy of such praise…I believe.  Regardless of what you think, if you’re curious, check out our fully divided theatrical reviews here, here and here.  And you know what they say…”big things have small beginnings.”  Here’s hoping the eventual sequel quiets all the haters out there.

3) THE AVENGERS – Hulk SMASH!  And that’s exactly what this group of superheroes did at the box office too.  After a dismal and boring outing for Captain America in 2011, in my opinion, I was expecting the worst.  It wasn’t until I saw Cabin in the Woods that I had a glimmer of hope that just maybe Whedon could deliver and craft a tale worthy of Earth’s mightiest heroes.  And low and behold he did.  BAM!  He actually fleshed out and told a compelling, albeit not without flaws, story that balanced the many onscreen characters and their vastly different personas, traits and psyches.  Bravo!  Bravo!  He also managed to create a Hulk we cared about and connected with too.  Bravo!  Bravo!  Bravo!  I’m very interested in seeing where this universe goes next as we move into Phase 2.  I just hope all the actor contracts hold up and no one flakes.  Fingers crossed.  Go get them Josh!  Check out our full theatrical reviews here, here and here.

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2) CABIN IN THE WOODS – Please welcome one of my new favorite screenwriters in the industry…Mr. Joss Whedon everyone.  Can I get a round of applause?   Without divulging any spoilers for those who have been living under a rock and haven’t seen this one yet, I just love the way this film took all the past horror film clichés and turned the genre on its head with its originality and the way it furiously came at you with balls-to-the-wall action for one hell of a Earth-shattering ending.  It’s like Whedon just took Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell concept and said let’s just see how far can I go with this in every possible direction and he somehow managed to cohesively self-contain that monster, God-like attitude and endless direction into one feature film.  I’m in complete awe and I bow down to Whedon and forgive him for Serenity and Firefly.  Check out our full theatrical reviews here, here and here.

1) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – Shazam!  Surprise!  Surprise!  Don’t blow up that bridge, Quinn!  Now granted, let’s make sure we are on the same page here.  The Dark Knight Rises is NOT The Dark Knight.  Far from it!  It’s not even what I would normally consider a 5-star movie, but it means so much more to me than you will ever know so that’s why it’s number one on my list here.  The Dark Knight Rises was my most anticipated film of the year, but seriously, how does one top The Dark Knight?  You can’t.  I don’t believe it’s achievable or even remotely possible.  The stars and cosmos just aligned perfectly back in 2008 and it will be a long time before we ever see something of that caliber again in my opinion.  Now with that being said, The Dark Knight Rises, regardless of what the haters say, did do a lot of things right.  Sure there were enormous plot holes, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a film of this scope so compelling and rich in character development and even the insane amount of extras used in pivotal scenes for that matter.  I know.  I know.  Character development.  This is a comic book film.  Argo f#%k yourself.  This is SO MUCH MORE.  Nolan did the impossible in my book.  He created a trilogy that rivals my childhood favorites of Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  I never thought that it was possible, but I deeply cared for the character of Bruce Wayne and his story arc.  Disagree with me all you want, but Nolan crafted an ending here that goes down as one of the greatest cinematic endings in my opinion.  He took me from the lowest point imaginable (weeping) to utter hysteria (tears of joy) in a sheer matter of seconds and for that I will always be extremely appreciative and a dedicated disciple to his craft.  There are so many one-liners in The Dark Knight Rises, that I’ll never grow tired of watching it and I swear…I’m going to find myself one day in that Gotham Rogues stadium scene.  It’s inevitable.  R.I.P. Batman.  You deserved the long-earned break.  And thank you Chris for continuing to deliver movie magic every two years.  Your work means more to me than you’ll ever know.  Check out our full theatrical reviews here, here and here. Holy long paragraph, Batman!

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And that ladies and gentlemen is my fiery conclusion to this year’s Top 10 list of my favorite films in 2012.  I hope you enjoyed the ride and please feel free to leave comments of praise or hate below.  No one’s judging you.  I’m the one on trial here.  And for what it’s worth, there are only two films I regret not catching this year, End of Watch and the French film, The Intouchables, and of course Zero Dark Thirty, but officially that doesn’t open until next year so those limited engagements in far off lands can Argo f#%k themselves.  LOL.  Happy New Year!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

5 Responses to “Brian’s Undeniably Sexy & Irresistible Top 10 Films of 2012”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    It helps that I like-to-love every movie on the list and no doubt share a few, but what I really love is that it’s YOUR list and you are honest about it. Sure no one else is going to have The Woman in Black on their list, but dammit, you do, and good for you. Nicely done.

  2. Brian White

    Wow! THanks for the sincere comment, Aaron. I appreciate it!

  3. Gregg

    Amen to that, Aaron. I’m kind of bummed I won’t be able to to see Django Unchained before my list arrives, but I think all of us here deal with that this time of year. There’s always that one that escapes our grasp that would’ve changed the list. Last year it was The Artist for me. I’ll also be missing out on Hitchcock and Jack Reacher.

    The Raid was rockin’ and rollin’ for me until the film went in a very different direction with its over-the-top martial arts. It wasn’t quite Crouching Tiger over-the-top, but it wasn’t realistic either and I was hoping for the film to stay the course. Decent movie overall though.

    Still kicking myself for not seeing Seven Psychopaths. Ah, Prometheus. I loved the first 20 minutes, then it started falling apart for me. Loved the Anunaki references in it.

    Cabin in the Woods was a lot of fun. That may just be on my list…hint, hint.

    Brian, well written dialogue in your list. Whether I agree or disagree, it was entertaining as usual. One last note; The Woman in Black kind of bored me, but I do have to say I thought Radcliffe did a good job. I’m not a Potter fan at all, but I liked seeing the lad shed that character’s skin and do something completely different (I’m glad someone gave him the chance too).

  4. Brian White

    Wow! Thanks so much for your detailed and insightful comments Gregg. I appreciate them.
    I hear you on Raid, but it was exactly the kind of movie I was hoping for…pumped up over the top action galore.
    I just can’t stop thinking about Django. While listening to the soundtrack this morning I have this longing and craving to revisit the film as soon as possible. QT in my opinion is just the master of dialog. He creates such tension on that wire and when it snaps it’s always welcomed. Wow. Such a good flick. Had I seen Django a few more time there’s no telling how much higher it could have made it on my list.
    I do kind of wish I have seen Les Miserables now. Been hearing really good things about it, minus Russell Crowe.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Wow, me and Aaron crossed streams on a couple of films on this list, too.

    I missed Argo in theaters and really want to see Compliance.