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Pop Off: Year end countdown

By Brendon Field
On January 21, 2013

Between the end of last semester and today, plenty of interesting things have occurred in the world of movies. There were Oscar nominations, the renewed debate about on-screen violence, Jodie Foster's speech at the Golden Globes and the "Zero Dark Thirty" controversy. So I can't think of a better way to kick off this column in 2013 by of course, writing one last time about 2012. It's time for the obligatory year end countdown; here are my Top 5 Films of 2012.
5. "Lincoln:" No film has more accurately and effectively portrayed the world of American politics. It exposes as well as glorifies its dirtiest aspects to show how our government put forth progress amid our nation's darkest hour. In the middle of it all is Daniel Day Lewis portraying Abraham Lincoln with the poetic aura that we always imagined of our legendary president. It is riveting from start to finish, with excellent supporting performances from Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. It is Steven Spielberg's best film since "Schindler's List."
4. "Moonrise Kingdom:" This is a film that boldly combines the real, surreal and fantastical elements of love and adventure. The result is a touching and exhilarating piece like no other. Director Wes Anderson specializes in offbeat but relatable characters, and "Moonrise Kingdom" contains his best set yet. It's a heartfelt tribute to childhood innocence and the fragile magic that's created with human compassion. It also contains one of the greatest third acts in all of cinema.
3. "Cloud Atlas:" Three months later, I'm still trying to figure out how this movie worked. Combining six genres, six completely different stories, having them all be told by a small central cast and having them all interconnect with masterful multi-layered storytelling, and to cram it all into three short hours. Other films have tried, but none have succeeded, at least not anywhere near this level. It contains all the grandeur of an art-house film without any of the pretentiousness. Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski's direction needed to be nothing less than flawless, and they delivered.
2. "Looper:" I never would have thought a film about time travel and assassins would have touched me so deeply. Many science fiction stories go big, putting the fate of the world at stake, and while "Looper" steps on that ground, it focuses on the source of those stories, hard cut human drama. The characters, every one of whom can be sympathized with, are woven delicately together in a complex story that turns several unexpected corners and builds to a perfect climax.
1. "The Cabin in the Woods:" The film can be summed up with one word: brilliant. A brilliant premise, brilliant screenplay, brilliant cast, I could go on forever. It triumphs as a horror story, a tribute to horror stories, and a critique of horror stories; together and separately. It's a very cerebral piece, egging the audience to analyze, but doesn't sacrifice the fun. The traditional rule with horror films is the smarter, the better. I have not seen a horror film, or many films of any other genre, more genius than "The Cabin in the Woods."

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