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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

2012 flies by, leaving behind cinematic hits and misses

It seems so sudden, but 2012 is already halfway gone, and with it, some of the extremely exciting slate of 2012 movies has already been released. There have been many highlights, but also some sore spots. If you’ve missed some of the best and worst films to come, don’t fret. The Pretentious Film Majors staff have cast their votes, averaged their scores and are counting down the best and worst movies of 2012 (so far)!

The Pretentious Film Majors ranked ‘The Cabin In The Woods,’ a horror film starring Kristen Connolly and Chris Hemsworth , and the best film of 2012.

 Best

5. You may have seen movies just like it before, but “John Carter” is a well-made throwback to the broad and simple but epic and exciting fantasy/sci-fi adventure films from decades ago. Complete with a John Williams-esque score by Michael Giacchino, the movie effortlessly builds up the intriguing world on the Red Planet and does not lose sight of the main character’s journey to become John Carter of Mars. Watching “John Carter” is euphoric in a way that very few big-budget spectacle-based movies have been able to deliver on. -Liam Holleran

4. Little was expected of this action-comedy update of the classic ’80s TV series, but in the hands of surprisingly capable writer Jonah Hill, “21 Jump Street” turned into one of 2012’s most satisfying comedies thus far. Extremely self-aware but careful not to play on that angle too much, “21 Jump Street” features extremely charismatic lead performances from the film’s writer, Hill, as well as Channing Tatum, who could not have been more perfectly cast in the “former high school jock” role. Tatum has some of the film’s biggest laughs, but it’s a thrill throughout, even in its most ridiculous moments. -Zachary Shevich

3. After a three-year hiatus, Wes Anderson returns with the whimsical “Moonrise Kingdom.” The film follows the adventures of Suzy and Sam (played by newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, respectively), two troubled 12-year-old lovebirds who decide to run away from their home on a New England island. As a result of their fleeing, a search party (consisting of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and a team of Khaki Scouts) spreads over the island to find the pair. Quirky and inventive, “Moonrise Kingdom” includes all of Anderson’s typical idiosyncrasies and will certainly make wistful viewers long to relive their childhood in a similar way. -Caitlin Wiederkehr

2. The moviegoing public has been anxiously awaiting “The Avengers” since 2008, when Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) approached Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) in the post-credits scene of Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” about the Avengers Initiative. Comic book fans have been waiting their whole lives to see Marvel’s premier superhero team assemble on the big screen. Thanks to Marvel Studios and the incredible Joss Whedon, we were bestowed with an epic gathering of heroes and Hollywood’s A-list like we’ve never seen before, all in a cinematic experience that drew in people from every demographic, elevating it to the third highest-grossing movie of all time. To put it plainly, “The Avengers” is a great ensemble picture with a delightful script and action that Michael Bay wishes he could match. -Ben Silverio

1. “Cabin in the Woods” is well on its way to being a cult favorite despite being a critical darling. A perfect collaboration between director Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon, this film perfectly blends comedy and horror. It is perfectly aware of its genre while still offering a fresh take on its admittedly cliche plot. Long delayed by the bankruptcy troubles at MGM, “Cabin in the Woods” is not only one of the most original horror movies of 2012 but also one of the funniest. To spoil it would be to ruin it. -Caleigh Flynn

 

Worst

5. “The Woman in Black” may be an old-fashioned ghost story, but its execution and plotting is no different from other cheap jump scarefests designed to appeal to the masses. The film as a whole is underwritten in the arc of Daniel Radcliffe’s lead and padded with extended bits of his protagonist stuck in the mansion with a titular malevolent spirit. The story is also so overdone that it makes everything deadly predictable. Despite an ominous setting in the Eel Marsh manor, the film resorts to many cheap jump scares rather than finding effective ways to build tension or frighten the audience with something truly memorable. -Liam Holleran

4. Filmmakers have been trying for decades to capture Edgar Allen Poe’s essence, his wit, his tone, and his knack for all things dark and scary. “The Raven” is admittedly, an honest attempt. In the same vein as the “Sherlock Holmes” movies, “The Raven” pits Poe (played by John Cusack) against a serial killer inspired by Poe’s most gruesome works. “The Raven” wants to be “Se7en” but comes off as an overblown, poorly acted thriller with an obvious conclusion and no scares to be found. The best you can say, especially with the attention paid to costumes and sets, is, “They tried.” Edgar Allen Poe’s distinct style remains elusive. -Caleigh Flynn

3. The current trend of reimagined fairy tales in movies and television has had few successes and many flops. In “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Universal’s take on the classic tale of Snow White starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, falls under the latter category. Most were quick to blame Stewart based on her prior work; however, it was a horrendous script and an excessive run time, among many other things, that led to the downfall of “Snow White and the Huntsman.” This movie had all the necessary parts of the Snow White tale, like the cast of characters and the poison apple, but nothing worthwhile happened. I could go into detail explaining what specifically “Snow White and the Huntsman” did wrong, but I’ll only say that parts of this movie moved so slowly that it literally put me to sleep. If you’re planning to see a Snow White film released this year, do yourself a favor and watch “Mirror Mirror” instead. -Ben Silverio

2. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s obsessive passion project to bring the cult favorite gothic horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” to the screen ended up representing the first big misfire of the summer movie season. Depp’s quirky, weird shtick is really wearing thin along with Burton’s trademark surreal strangeness. Add onto that a great cast wasted on miniscule parts (especially the lovely Eva Green) and a story that is equally basic and convoluted along with jarring shifts from irreverent comedy into full-throttle horror. “Dark Shadows” ranks with “Land of the Lost” as one of the most confused and disappointingly bad TV adaptations to be released in recent years. -Liam Holleran

1. Stop. Right now. Step away from the DVD, ticket booth, YouTube player, what have you. Walk away from this terrible piece of cinema (I feel bad calling it that; it deserves its own terrible category with the likes of “Twilight”). “Ultrasonic” is the worst film I have seen outside of high school film courses. Depicting a man with hyperacute hearing abilities who teams with his brother-in-law in a hunt against government mind control, this film kills itself with an intrusive score, acting flatter than the lack of visual color, and the worst excuse ever for a twist ending. If you’re looking for a terrible film to laugh at, I urge you to funnier grounds; however, if you want to cringe at on-the-nose dialogue and bash your face against a brick wall along with the twist ending, “Ultrasonic” is the film for you. -Sean Quinn