It seems like every year a majority of the movies that I find myself liking the most come out in the latter half of the year. Maybe I just forget how well I like movies released earlier in the year, but maybe I'm just a sucker for Oscar season movies. Either way, before that kind of movie starts being released, I want to make a list. Because I really do love lists, all of these movies are deserving of some additional praise, and I don't want to wait another 5 months to make another countdown. Waiting for stuff sucks.
#10 - The Intouchables
A lighthearted dramedy about a wealthy triplegic and the friendship that develops between him and his unconventional caretaker. Feel-good movies rarely are able to make feel feel as good as this one did, and though there's really nothing original about it, the writing, performances, and musical score were all good enough to keep that from being an issue. It's by no means great, but it left me with a good feeling, and for me, that was enough.
#9 - Moonrise Kingdom
In 1965, a young boy and girl run off together to live on their own in the wilderness as their families and local police attempt to catch up with them. Another very enjoyable movie from Wes Anderson, this is another that just makes me feel good when it think about it. Often funny, equally absurd, and always charming, this movie has a great cast filled with great characters, and that wonderful, whimsical Wes Anderson style that I've grown to love.
#8 - The Dark Knight Rises
The final installment in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. This movie is filled with flaws, it's not nearly as thrilling as The Dark Knight, and it's far too long... But that doesn't mean it wasn't awesome. The acting is great, this time featuring much more character development than the last one. I must say, I was hoping for more out of this movie, but not even my excessively high expectations could ruin it for me.
#7 - The Amazing Spider-Man
Reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise. As much as I enjoyed the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, I genuinely believe Andrew Garfield alone was enough to make this as good as any of the original trilogy. Far more emotionally resonant than most superhero movies, the acting was great, the effects were *ahem* "effective", and it was significantly darker than most Marvel movies. There may have been some minor flaws, but this is the Spider-Man movie I've been hoping for.
#6 - The Grey
A group of oil drillers' plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness as they have to fight to survive the harsh conditions and territorial wolves. Liam Neeson's performance is incredible in this movie. I'm not usually a big fan of survival movies, but this one was intense all the way through to the ending, which was quite possibly the best scene in any movie so far this year. The music is great, the acting is great, and the setting is brutally effective. I can't say I wasn't surprised at how well this movie turned out, and even after repeat viewings, it still floored me.
#5 - Good Night Good Morning
A simplistic pseudo-romantic drama about two people talking on the phone and begin to connect over the course of an evening. Only two actors get a decent amount of lines, and they both deliver excellent performances. What really makes this movie work is how simple and believable the dialogue is. It all felt genuine, and the actors were perfect in their roles. I love movies like this.
#4 - Chronicle
Found footage superhero movie. Found footage movies usually seem to stay in the horror genre, so seeing them branch off into more serious fare had me curious. I watched it, and I loved it. The acting is all great, with Dane DeHaan playing one of the most fantastic, complex characters of the year. Definitely an unconventional approach to the superhero genre, but one that I think turned out great.
#3 - The Avengers
The culmination of Marvel's Iron Man movies, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Incredible Hulk, And Thor. Thanks to the excellent writing/direction of Joss Whedon, a movie that I originally thought was going to suck turns into one of the best, and the most entertaining superhero movies I've ever seen. Actually, for pure entertainment value, I would say this is the best superhero movie ever made.
#2 - The Cabin In The Woods
I couldn't describe the plot of this movie in a single sentence even if I tried! And it's because of that that I liked this movie so much. It twists every horror stereotype, adding to it with a great sense of humor and more plot twists than you could ever hope to predict. This whole movie was so brilliantly devised, and with the exception of possibly going too far near the ending, I really can't make any complaints about it. And several months after having initially seen it, it's only earned my respect more.
#1 - The Raid: Redemption
Is there really any point in going into the plot of this movie? It's one of the most action-oriented movies I've ever seen, and it's partially because of its lack of plot that makes me love it so much. I admire the simplicity of it. This movie knows exactly what it is, and that is an action movie. It starts off and almost immediately jumps into the action, not really stopping for more than a moment until it's over. I normally don't care for such action heavy movies, but this one worked too well. It was never boring (which was miraculous) and as the action shifted about halfway through, my interest stayed the same -- through the roof. It's definitely my favorite movie of the year.
And that's it. Not the most eloquently-phrased post I've ever made, but I'm tired, and everyone looking at this is only here to skip through and see what made it onto the list, anyway, so I guess it doesn't really matter. And yes, I know, this is the best list ever.