While it may seem like I just threw up some screen grabs from the web (true to an extent) it took a while to compile this because I didn't want to just pick the obvious shots, or worse yet, promotional stills. These were selected because I either thought it was either the most impressively photographed or captures a visually memorable moment. There's something for everyone here, serving as a reminder that bad movies can contain unforgettable images. I may have found The Hunger Games to be a Battle Royale with cheese, but I scoured the web for a screenshot of the film's one true moment of genuine intensity that was singled out in my review (and was shocked how quickly it turned up). Similarly, after a spectacular pre-title and opening credit sequence, Tim Burton's Dark Shadows went straight downhill so it's easy to guess which image I chose to include. Those two films were at least fascinating near-misses. Others weren't so lucky, not even warranting placement here.
As hard as it may have been to find the right screen captures, what might be harder for audiences is trying to seek out some of the actual films, specifically lesser known titles many still don't even know exist. And I partially contribute to this problem by sometimes not reviewing certain films because I assume no one knows what they are, or if they do, have little interest in seeing them despite my enthusiasm. That's something that really has to change on my end. And considering 2012 was one of the stronger years for independent cinema in some time, and there are more media options than ever for watching movies, it's still kind of depressing just how hard it is to seek these out, or at least determine WHERE to seek them out.
For my money, two of the year's best films were the criminally little seen Take This Waltz and Bernie, which featured Earth shattering performances from Michelle Williams and Jack Black (yes, Jack Black) respectively. Anyone who saw those movies know that both these actors could easily be handed gold statues right now, with hers arguably being overdue. But I'm betting far more casual moviegoers have no idea both titles are currently streaming on Netflix and that's through no fault of their own. This increasing problem of not able to see anything was discussed on a recent episode of Movie Geeks United! and they sure hit the nail on the head. And sometimes it's not just limited to smaller films, with some giant Oscar contenders literally not being seen in certain areas of the country for months. That (and admittedly some laziness on my part) has often contributed to many of my viewing and reviewing droughts over the past year. Readers of this blog are loyal and on the look out for quality movies so I'm more likely to add that fourth star to one I feel really needs it and hasn't gotten enough attention elsewhere. From where I sit, that's always seemed like a fair policy, even as I still struggle with the balancing act of reviewing more mainstream releases and smaller, potentially overlooked titles.
The shots below aren't labeled but have been placed in order by release date, from January to December. Most are easy to figure what film they're from. Others? Maybe not so much. As I said, I tried not to be obvious. Click here if you need to cheat. Consider this your unofficial 2012 movie photo album. Happy New Year!