Progress Report: Winter 2012 in Film

By Jordan Magrath

Click here for a complete list of the 21 movies I’ve seen from January 1-March 31, including their grades.

Missed: Haywire, Footnote, In Darkness, The Island President, The Kid with a Bike, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, & This is Not a Film

Honorable Mentions: Boy, The Grey, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, & The Secret World of Arrietty

Top 5 Movies (Alphabetical Order):

“21 Jump Street”

This remake of the TV series (of the same name) had a lot to overcome.  For me, I thought it looked way too ridiculous.  However, it became very obvious from the start that this ridiculousness was intended.  The film took off with hilarious moments and over-the-top plot turns.  Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill were the perfect (to my surprise) duo to play the dysfunctional cops that would infiltrate a high school drug ring.  Although I still wouldn’t say this film is for everyone, it definitely is for my specific demographic.

“Chronicle”

Superhero/Comic Book movies have saturated the movie market.  Although they still aren’t quite as popular as romantic comedies, each year we get a crop of these genre movies on the horizon.  This year, we have “The Avengers,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and, of course, “The Dark Knight Rises.”  However, “Chronicle” flew under the radar, maybe because it’s not exactly a superhero or comic book movie.  However, this found-footage movie deals with three teens as they develop telekinetic powers.  Grounded more in reality, “Chronicle” follows the likes of the “X-Men” franchise in an equally as cool way.  Starring relatively unknown actors and using a low budget, the film was a huge critical and monetary hit.

“The Hunger Games”

Has there been a film as anticipated as “The Hunger Games”?  Arguably, no.  The book series took off (especially in the past six months), which catapulted the buzz to extraordinary levels.  With every pop culture hit, there will be a fair share of haters.  However, “The Hunger Games” delivers the goods.  From the outside, it looks like a blockbuster-type movie.  Though it does feel blockbuster-y at times, Gary Ross does a great job honing in on a brutal story that should make most fans happy (that sentence does sound weird).  The book’s details aren’t sacrificed too much, Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen really well, and it dones a pretty unique style, making “The Hunger Games” worth the buzz.

“Friends with Kids”

Easily comparable to last year’s “Bridesmaids,” “Friends with Kids,” was a well-casted, well-written, and genuinely funny romantic comedy.  While it lacked a story that I found surprising, the characters and jokes made up for it.  Adam Scott plays the male best friend to Jennifer Westfeldt.  These two decide to have a baby together in order to skip the relationship rut that comes after the newborn.  In theory, they can have the kid, raise it separately, and get on with their respective dating lives.  The most interesting part was seeing how the other couples (their other best friends) dealt with their relationships after they had children.  Romance is still the focal point of the drama, but there are other things going on.

“The Raid: Redemption”

While you may have heard of every movie on the list up to this point (maybe not the honorable mentions), there is a good chance you haven’t heard of “The Raid: Redemption.”  I was stoked for a bunch of early quarter films (with “The Hunger Games” being #1), but this film has been on my radar for awhile.  It was given high praise on the festival circuit.  When I finally saw the film (in a theater with four total people), I was blown away.  It’s all action – from guns to knives to fists.  It may be overly violent (and more for men), but I don’t know if I’ve seen a pure action movie that has been this good.  Seeing it in theaters may be tough, but get around to this movie before the end of the year for sure.

There you have it.  If there are any other movies I’ve missed, please let me know!

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