Progress Report: Summer 2012 in Film

This is the third installment of the year (you can read the Winter one here and the Spring one here).  For the purposes of timing, this report includes movies from July 1 to September 30.

Overall, I saw 18 different movies (although I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” six times and “Looper” twice).  You can read a full list of the movies I saw (with grades) here.

Missed: Celeste and Jesse Forever, End of Watch, The Intouchables, Killer Joe, Lawless, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Queen of Versailles, Robot & Frank, and Searching for Sugar Man.

Honorable Mentions: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, The Bourne Legacy, Dredd, The Imposter, Liberal Arts, ParaNorman, and Savages

Top 5 Movies (Alphabetical Order)


“Compliance” is a classic love-it-or-hate-it movie.  Some will find the movie haunting and profound (like me), but just as many will be completely turned off.  The story follows a couple fast food workers who are completely duped by a fake police officer.  The lengths these characters go to are absolutely horrifying.  And, it’s even more horrifying when you find out the story is at least partially true.  I’m being purposefully vague, but I highly suggest that anyone interested in psychology should see this movie…even if it’s only once.

“The Dark Knight Rises”

I think it’s ridiculous the amount of flak fired at “The Dark Knight Rises.”  Yes, it’s the sequel to one of the greatest movies (a movie I consider my absolute favorite), but there are certain preconceived notions that should be thrown out before watching it.  Before I went to the “The Dark Knight Rises” for the first time, I was hoping it would wrap up the trilogy nicely.  I was also hoping for an exciting and gritty movie, as well as some great performances.  In the end, I was very impressed with how well Christopher Nolan hit everything I was hoping for, regardless of how it compared to “The Dark Knight.”


Rian Johnson is the future of Hollywood…and in no way is this a bad thing.  Coming off two good movies (“Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom”), Johnson went to work on his sci-fi time-travel movie “Looper.”  Personally, I think this is his best movie to date, as he blended multiple genres into a thoughtful and well-rounded movie.  Rather than getting caught up in the science part of time travel, Johnson instead focuses on the characters, making the story more enticing (and a lot less confusing).  It’s definitely one of this year’s bests.

“The Master”

Before “The Master,” hit theaters, I decided to revisit/catch-up on Paul Thomas Anderson’s filmography.  Although I’d seen “Magnolia,” “Punch-Drunk Love,” and “There Will Be Blood,” a second viewing of all three was even more enjoyable (especially “There Will Be Blood”).  However, I was blown away with “Boogie Nights,” which still stands as his greatest movie (in my opinion).  If anything, this year’s “The Master,” continues to showcase PTA’s brilliance.  While it’s a dense and somewhat frustrating movie, there is so much to grapple with, making “The Master” an undeniably rich experience with an awesome duo (Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman).

“Sleepwalk With Me”

Besides probably Louis C.K., Mike Birbiglia is my favorite comedian.  For once, he’s not a comedian that relies on sex jokes or cynicism to get laughs.  His fresh style, mixed with his great story-telling ability, makes him such an entertaining performer.  Now, he’s decided to take his interesting life story (which revolves around his crazy sleepwalking disorder) to the best mode of story-telling: film.  His hit off-Broadway show and novel weren’t enough, making “Sleepwalk With Me,” his crowning achievement of autobiographical humor.  It’s a fun little story with a surprising amount of heart…although Birbiglia fans shouldn’t be surprised with any of those compliments.

Have anything to add?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

See you next quarter!

One comment

  1. Nice choices.

    I’m actually not familiar with “Sleepwalk With Me,” but I’ll have to check it out. I’m glad you included “Compliance” on here. I also found it haunting and profound, and I hope to see more movies like it.

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