Year End Movie Cram Session

With the end of the year approaching and most blogs and newspapers and other outlets already releasing their top 10 lists, I always find myself excitedly rushing to catch up with movies I missed throughout the year… while keeping up with the late-year prestige releases. Some might find this to be a chore, but I always end up having a lot of fun discovering movies I didn’t know about or think I’d enjoy. Oh sure, there’s the occasional tedious bore too, but that just makes the real surprises that much more enjoyable. As of this writing, I’ve seen 48 movies that would be considered a 2012 release, which is actually a little low compared to the past few years, perhaps because I didn’t end up at any film festivals this year. So I’ve got some catching up to do, and fortunately, there are lots of good movies coming up or already available on streaming… Indeed, the latest episode of Filmspotting SVU has covered this very topic, and some of their streaming choices have an overlap with my choices below…

Current Releases or Coming Soon

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Duh. To be honest, I’m rather annoyed that this book, the shortest and simplest of all the LotR novels, is being dragged out to three movies… but on the other hand, it looks pretty good too. Seeing this tonight, actually.
  • Django Unchained – The “D” is silent. It also stands for “Duh”.
  • Zero Dark Thirty – A movie that I was originally not that excited about, but more recent trailers are definitely more compelling and it’s getting a lot of buzz too. Most feedback seems to indicate that it’s a great movie, but there’s some controversy over the portrayal of torture in the films. Not having seen the movie, I will refrain from any sort of judgement on that, but at the very least, I think it could provide for some interesting discussion.
  • Save the Date – Tiny indie romantic comedy. I’ve actually heard good things. Release looks to be limited, but I believe it will be showing up OnDemand.
  • Life of Pi – I originally dismissed this based on what I thought was a pretty awful looking trailer, and to be honest, I’m still not very enthused about this movie. That being said, I’m hearing good things from critics, so maybe it’s worth a shot. Who knows if I’ll actually get off my butt to see this, but it’s possible…
  • Jack Reacher – Tom Cruise’s shenanigans aside, I’m actually a big fan of Christopher McQuarrie as both a writer and director (even on films people hated, like The Tourist), so I’m interested to see what’s up with this one.
  • John Dies at the End – A movie I’ve been looking forward to all year long will finally come out in a limited theater run and OnDemand. To be honest, while I enjoyed the book, I didn’t totally love it… but director Don Coscarelli always intrigues me, and everything I’ve seen about the movie so far has been pretty great.

DVD/BD and Streaming

  • Killer Joe – This small thriller directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey (who is having a surprisingly good year) got some attention when it was released, but I was never able to find it in theaters. Comes out on DVD/BD this week.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – This documentary about the world’s greatest Sushi chef comes highly recommended, and it’s on Netflix Instant. Definitely need to catch up with this one.
  • FDR: American Badass! – Ah yes, one of Kaedrin’s Weird Movie of the Week picks finally becomes available (not sure how long it’s been on Netflix Instant, but now I definitely need to check this out).
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – Lots of critics seem to love this movie, but they’re also careful to call it deliberate and slow and difficult to get through… things that don’t usually work for me. But again, it’s on Netflix Instant, so I might give it a shot.
  • Lockout – AKA Spacejail! Honestly not expecting much out of this, but hey, it sounds fun in a so bad it’s good kinda way.
  • Casa de mi Padre – I remember hearing about this Spanish language Will Ferrell movie when it came out and wondering what the heck was going on… Figured it might be worth giving this a shot.
  • Penumbra – A movie I missed out on at last year’s Fantastic Fest, but which I do want to catch up with.
  • A Separation – I suppose it’s technically a 2011 film, but I do really want to see this film at some point. Even if I can’t count it towards 2012, there’s always my best 2011 movie of 2012 award!
  • Silent Night – Ah, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a homicidal Santa movie.

And there are probably a dozen other lesser efforts that I’ll probably check out as well, but the ones above seem to show the most promise. I’m probably missing some good stuff as well. With luck, I’ll hit that magical 70-80 number of movies that it usually takes to actually compile a top 10.