My 2012 Movies in Retrospect, #23-16

Everyone knows January is National List Month on the Internet, that sacred tradition when the previous year’s creations must be remembered, recapped, and ranked. I’m not immune to the impulse myself. I like movies. I like making lists. It’s bound to happen. For fun-related reasons, since 2000 I’ve kept track of every movie I’ve seen in a theater, year by year. My list is shorter than a real critic’s because no one pays me to go see every release. I do what I can within my means and according to my curiosity level.

The final tabulations reveal I saw twenty-six films in theaters in 2012. However, three of those were officially 2011 releases and are therefore disqualified from being ranked on my 2012 Movies list. Any films I saw on home video — 2012 or otherwise — are also disqualified due to lack of theater. In addition, Les Miserables is disqualified from inclusion because I’m planning to see it this weekend, which will purportedly not fall in 2012. My movie-ranking rules are few, but there they are.

Part one of this three-part miniseries begins with the films I loved least. Links to past reviews and musings are provided for the twenty movies I previously discussed after MCC was launched. Apparently I only saw three 2012 releases prior to April 28, 2012. Blame it on the first-quarter release wasteland.

On with the reverse countdown:

Wrath of the Titans23. Wrath of the Titans. The explosions were clearly the star of the show. The labyrinth lent a welcome assist as the explosions’ chief henchman. The underworld was lacking, and perhaps should’ve spent more time as an understudy to the underworld from Spawn. Now that was a classy underworld, one that really chewed the scenery but was nonetheless generous to its costars, much more of a team player.

The human cast, on the other hand, was largely wasted, and sometimes blocked our view of the real stars. Except for Toby Kebbell’s mild comic relief, the non-CG actors mostly made bold pronouncements at each other, while every move they make requires a bombastic sound effect. Sam Worthington swats at someone, and BOOM! The most nondescript Ares in film history pummels a foe, and SEISMIC THUNDERCRACK! A sleepwalking Liam Neeson tosses lightning darts, and CORE MELTDOWN! Anyone blinks twice, and GATLING GUN! Mostly this felt like a video game sequel to a video game based on the first film. The graphics were bright and easy to absorb, but I get antsy and bored when that’s all I’m doing.

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MCC Request Line #2: “Dredd”

Welcome to the sophomore installment of our recurring feature in which I’m accepting viewing or reading suggestions from MCC readers and sharing my results in the interest of entertainment science. Today’s suggestion came from Senator Brett, photographer and Thought-of-the-Day thinker extraordinaire.

Karl Urban IS Judge Dredd IN "Dredd"Today’s subject: Dredd, the movie industry’s second attempt to adapt the iconic British comics character to the silver screen. The first attempt had okay visual effects, Sylvester Stallone reprising Cobra in funnier clothes, and Rob Schneider. Incredibly, the new version has fared even worse at the American box office, possibly because of rampant fears of an uncredited Schneider cameo.

What I knew beforehand: In a post-apocalyptic future, the grim and gritty Mega-City One sprawls across the land, contains hundreds of millions of inhabitants, too many of them evil. Whatever government remains has essentially given up on ruling and created an army of Punishers — duly authorized judges, juries, and executioners. The savings to taxpayers must be enormous. Judge Dredd is the best and angriest of the bunch. One of his frequent coworkers is Judge Anderson, a blonde with psionic powers. They kill crime.

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