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In the eight years I’ve taken on the regular duty of reviewing movies, 2012 just might have been the best. It wasn’t easy compiling a top 30 list for a 12-month period of so many diverse, outstanding films. I found myself having to make some absolutely painful snubs, including “Flight,” “The Sessions,” “The Hobbit: An Expected Journey,” and a little cinematic masterpiece by the name of “21 Jump Street.” In the end though, I managed to narrow the list down to the 20 titles that best encompass 2012 in all its glory. If you’re still behind on the movies of yesteryear, consider this your ultimate movie guide to 2012.
"Les Misérables” has had a long, arduous journey to the silver screen. It’s been in the works for so long that at one point the film was going to be directed by the now retired Alan Parker, who made the original “Fame” and 1996 adaptation of “Evita.” After decades of rotting in development limbo, the cherished musical finally sees the light of day via the artistic eye of director Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech. Hooper’s interpretation of “Les Misérables” is a majestic experience composed of enormous sets, elegant costumes, and pitch perfect performances from the entire ensemble. This may very well be the most triumphant movie musical since the genre made a comeback a decade ago with “Moulin Rouge!” and “Chicago.”
Roger Michell’s “Hyde Park on Hudson” often feels like two separate movies. One film is about Franklin Roosevelt’s love affair with his sixth cousin. The other is about King George VI and his first visit to the United States. The problem is that “Hyde Park on Hudson” can never decide which of these stories is supposed to be the A plot and which is the B plot. The narrative as a whole thus suffers with neither storyline meeting their full potential. The fact that the film centers on several fascinating real-life individuals only makes the results more disappointing.
Peppered with fun facts and cheeky asides, actor Roger Moore’s book looking back on the golden anniversary of James Bond on screen is a treat for 007 fans. He takes us on a lively spin around the milestones of cinema’s longest-running franchise in “Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies” (Lyons Press).
A couple years ago, Meryl Streep played an aging woman rekindling the bond with her estranged husband in “It’s Complicated.” “Hope Springs” shares a similar premise in addition to casting Streep as a veteran woman seeking romance once again. While this is familiar territory, “Hope Springs” actually manages to improve upon “It’s Complicated” in almost every department. Where that romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers was basically an extended episode of a sitcom, this film has much more believable characters and situations. It moreover offers a frank look into the lives of a couple in their twilight years.
Performers wanted for Nov. 20 Block Party