Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 in Review (Part 5): My Own Movie Awards

This Janu - oh, my... it’s already February!  And I still have 3 or 4 of this left to do!  Let me continue (and, hopefully, conclude) this February this series of articles that would recap or evaluate some (if I have the time, then all) of the highlights of 2012 that involved, concerned, compelled, and/or fascinated me… this is the fifth part…

Forget the Oscars.  This is the first ever “Bernels.”

I’ve already picked out my top movies of 2012; so this time, I will be picking out winners by categories relating to the movies of the past year.  The categories are not necessarily similar of those being given out in the Academy Awards or Golden Globes.  This is just for fun, with only one criterion in picking out the categories and winners: my preference.  

Let’s begin.

Best Movie Moment: The Avengers’ Final Battle

There’s no other movie moment that gave me such feeling of rapturous delight and spellbound absorption as much as that part of the Avengers where the team squared off with Loki and the Chitauri in New York City.    Every Avenger shined:  Iron Man being awesome was already a given, because ever since Robert Downey Jr. portrayed him in film, we expect nothing less of the character but cocky and witty awesomeness.  Captain America was impressive in his solo film, but we all know that Cap shines most when he does some captaining with the Avengers, and this was brilliantly shown in that sequence, as he makes a clear battle plan for efficiently fighting the Chitauri.  Thor is arguably the most powerful Avenger (but, like Superman, is holding off his full power), and this was also displayed well in that sequence.  Black Widow and Hawkeye were not merely supplementary or “padding” for the roster but were showed to have the chops of being great A-list superheroes, despite not having any superhuman abilities.  And Hulk… more about him later. 

I’ve watched that sequence in The Avengers no less than a dozen times, both from watching the entire film over again and forwarding the film to that point where Loki and Stark were trading banters.  Shows how much I loved this movie moment. 

(In fact, writing about it now compelled me to watch it again. LOL)

Runner-Ups: Cabin in the Woods’ Horror All-Stars Havoc, Pencak Silat fest in The Raid: Redemption 

Best Movie Hero: Hulk (The Avengers)

Yes, every Avenger shined in the movie, but the Hulk stole every scene he’s in.  The scene where he tossed around the arrogant Loki like a ragdoll was reason enough to become my pick as best male movie character.  

Hulk, despite being one of founding members of the team, is never a fit for team play.  He is an unpredictable, uncontrollable Weapon of Mass Destruction.  Therefore, as a WMD, he is a powerful and dangerous threat to both enemies and the side he’s on.  This is what Hulk on a superhero team brings.  And this interesting element has been perfectly depicted in the movie.  That’s why, when Cap was instructing the Avengers on their battle plan, Cap’s command to Hulk was merely “Smash.”  And he did.     

Runner-Ups: Dr. Schulz (Django Unchained), 007 (Skyfall), Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)

Best Movie Heroine: Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

I’m always a sucker for strong no-nonsense female characters.  And Katniss is one of them.  She is tenacious, independent, and intelligent.  Toughened by having a hard life, her primarily concern is survival and she has no room for unnecessary things like romance.  Being a survivalist, her instincts and will carried her through in making the right calls during the Hunger Games – a televised free-for-all deathmatch among teenagers – allowing her to stand tall in the end.    

Runner-Ups: Selena Kyle (Dark Knight Rises), 

Best Movie Villain: Mad Dog (The Raid: Redemption)

The movie The Raid: Redemption was a treasury of intense fight scenes – the best piece of close combat epicness I’ve seen in a movie for a long time.  And two of the three best fight scenes have Mad Dog (the right hand man of the drug lord who the SWAT protagonists were targeting) in it.  The word badass is being thrown a lot by people – including me – these days, but Mad Dog brings justice to this adjective.  He is a tough, brutal, and proficient fighter who finds great thrill in fighting and killing with his bare hands.  He is so confident with his skills and capabilities that he willingly puts himself in a handicap so that the fight and the kill can be more stimulating for him.  Bane is a badass villain, being able to break Batman’s back; but if he finds in a fight with Mad Dog, my money is on Mad Dog. 

Runner-ups: Loki (The Avengers), Bane (The Dark Knight Rises), Gollum (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

Best Movie Villainess: Madame Thénardiers (Les Misérables)

There are not much fascinating female villains to choose from in 2012’s pool of movies, so this is almost just a “winner by default” pick.  I adore Helen Bonham Carter, so I pick her character in Les Misérables.  Along with Sasha Baron Cohen, they enjoyably played the dirty, dishonest husband-and-wife thieving duo, the Thénardiers, lighting the mood of the generally gloomy and dramatic musical.   

Best Animal Character: Richard Parker (Life of Pi)

Richard Parker – never just “Richard” or “Parker”, but always “Richard Parker” – is the name of the tiger that shared the experience of being stranded at sea with the main character, Pi.  I love how cleanly the tiger has been animated into the movie; it was so realistic that Pi’s interactions with him throughout the movie were effectively emphatic. 

Best Cameo: Moose (Step Up Revolution)

I decided to watch Step Up Revolution because of three reasons: a) I am greatly entertained of great dancing, b) my date loves dancing, thus, she likes Step Up movies and wanted to watch this new one, and c) Moose’s cameo.  Moose is definitely the most charismatic character that ever appeared in the Step Up franchise that a mere cameo of him makes me excited.  

Runner-Up: Stan Lee (The Amazing Spider-Man)

Most Hilarious Character: Ted (Ted)

Ted, the movie and the character, is the most hilarious movie and most hilarious movie character of the year.  I’ve never been a fan of Seth McFarlane.  I’ve always looked at Family Guy as an inferior Simpsons rip-off.  And McFarlane’s brand of humor, crude and unclassy though funny, has never appealed to me.  But put that kind of humor on a teddy bear magically brought to life and it works!  There’s something riotous about a typical adorable teddy bear having a vulgar mouth and lifestyle. 

Best Movie News: Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Star Wars 7 in 2015!


Most Terrible Movie I’ve Watched: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ugh.  What a shame.  I never expect this sequel to be an awesome superhero flick, but I was nonetheless hoping it was, at least, going to be a mediocre but “okay” superhero movie like its predecessor.  Ghost Rider is one of Marvel’s most intriguing properties, and this movie just crapped on it.  With the exception of that scene where Ghost Rider converted a huge crane into a gigantic flaming machine, the entire movie was total garbage.  There are definitely worse 2012 movies than this, but I haven’t gone to see them, knowing they’d be terrible.  With Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, watched it, and wished I didn’t.     

Best Direct-to-Video Animated Movie: The Dark Knight Rises Part 1

Since Paranorman was included in my top 10 movies for the second-half of 2012, I already implied that it’s my pick for best animated movie of the year.   So, instead, let’s have a “Best Direct-to-Video Animated Movie” category instead.  Superman and the Elite made the top movies of the first-half edition, but it isn’t the best.  It’s The Dark Knight Rises Part 1, which was released during the second half of the year.   It didn’t make the second half edition’s top 10 because movies are packed at that time and there are just better movies than it for it to be considered.  Nonetheless, it is arguably one of the best animated superhero movies ever made.  Based on Frank Miller’s classic, the story tells of a 55-year old Bruce Wayne who was forced to come out of retirement as Batman.  Part 2 (which is even better than Part 1) was released in January 2013.    

Best Action Scenes: The Raid: Redemption

My preference for a terrific action scenes are more on close-combat martial arts than Michael Bay explosions.  And I’ve already mentioned that The Raid: Redemption has among the best fight scenes ever made in the history of action movies.  The action scenes were savagely realistic, sustaining the movie’s testosterone intensity from start to finish. 

Most Romantic Movie: Silver Linings Playbook

“The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I'm sorry it took me so long to catch up. I just got stuck.” 

If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.

Movies I Wanted to Watch on Theater but Missed: Titanic 3D

When Avatar was released, there was still no 3D theater here in my hometown.  And when it was re-released for special screening a week after the opening of the first 3D theater here, I still wasn’t able to see it.  Whether you love or hate Avatar, you can’t deny that critics praise James Cameron when it comes to the use of 3D.  And I’ve yet to see the visual thrill that Cameron can do with the 3D medium.    This past 2012, he decided to re-release his classic Titanic in 3D.  And reviews said that it’s “3D conversation done right.”  That kind of praise was intriguing.  Considering that based on experience, most 3D conversions I’ve seen end up as “pop-up book” visuals, I really wanted to experience this hyped 3D conversion of Titanic for myself.  But I missed it.  Can’t remember why.  Maybe I had no money when it was released, or I had not time.  The reason doesn’t matter, the fact is I was not able to see it.  And it kind of sucks that I still have to wait for Avatar 2 to see if the hype about Cameron’s 3D prowess is totally warranted.         
Most Underrated Movie: John Carter

Regardless of what the box office returns for this movie imply, regardless of what critics say of it, John Carter was a good and enjoyable sci-fi flick – one of the best films of 2012. 

Movie That Would Have Made My Top 10 Movies of 2012 List IF I Was Able to Watch It in 2012: Django Unchained

If you’ve read the second half edition of my top 10 2012 movies list, you would know that there were movies that I wanted to watch in 2012 but wasn’t able to, thus, were not able to be considered for the top 10.  But, if you notice, those movies – Life of Pi, Les Misérables, Silver Linings Playbook – are being considered here in “The Bernels”.  It’s because I was able to watch them already as of writing.  You might even consider “The Bernels” a “Top 10 Movies of 2012 (Post-2012 Edition)” (Hmmm. That actually sounds good. Might try it next year.)  However, among those movies, only one would have made my final top 10 if I was able to watch it in 2012 (thus, would have qualified for the final top 10 picks), and that is Quentin Tarantino’s Western, Django Unchained.  It would have taken the number 7 spot.  I really love a good Western story and amazing Western gunslingers, and this movie has both.  The characters were fascinatingly compelling, the gunfights were exhilarating, and the dialogues and monologues were very engaging.                

(Bonus!) Coolest Movie-Related Stuff I Found in the Internet:

2012 marked 007’s 50th anniversary in film.  To commemorate it, somebody made this awesome GIF of all Bonds doing the trademark post-movie 007 gunshot.    

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