Half the year is now gone, so it’s time to announce arguably the five best movies released in the first half of 2012, which promised to be a great year for movies, and so far doesn’t disappoint. Check out the top 5 list below, and if you happened to miss any of these cinematic gems, catch up as soon as you can. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Indonesian action masterpiece placed at No.1 … GO SEE IT NOW and prepare to be blown away.
1. The Raid: Redemption
Rating: 10 out of 10
Simply said, Gareth Evans’s The Raid is the real deal! It starts off at a frenetic pace and never lets go, quickly turning itself into a shockingly brutal, ultra-violent, tense and thrilling adrenaline rush of a movie, that features some of the best action scenes ever put on film. Considering the movie’s low budget, the technical quality of The Raidexceeds expectations big time. Evans’s truly innovative direction features an impressive variety of camera angles, razor-sharp editing and camera movements so vigorous, they’ll spin your head off. The big, old, dark, filthy building is the ideal setting for the hard-edged story, the amazing soundtrack and crisp sound effects match the high-octane intensity of the film, and the bluish, almost violet, tint of the cinematography has a subtle stylishness about it that takes the visuals to another level. Although there’s little character development the main character, Rama, played by Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais, is so brave, bold, good-hearted and likable, you can’t help but fall for his character.
2. The Avengers [3D]
Rating: 9.75 stars out of 10
Sorry The Dark Knight fans, but Marvel’s superhero gathering, The Avengers easily outshines every other entry into the popular genre. The effectiveness of the otherwise familiar story lies in the ideal balance of its script. Not only the script is smart, humorous and wonderfully-written, but it allows each of its characters to develop equally and shine on their own. Technically, The Avengers delivers and then some. Whedon’s direction is so stylish, diverse and accomplished, it’s hard to belive that this is only his second feature film. Some of the scenes seem impossible to shoot, but at the same time they feel effortlessly-executed. The rest of the action is first-rate as well, and the CGIs are astoundingly polished and pretty much flawless, apart from the 3D, which is good, but rather unnecessary. The cast is superb in their roles. Hemsworth, Evans, Ruffalo, Johansson and Renner all do a stellar job, but Robert Downey Jr. is the one that steals the show. Hiddleston also turns in a strong performance as the malicious villain, Loki.
3. Prometheus [3D]
Rating: 9.00 stars out of 10
Ridley Scott’s most talked-about movie in years, can be considered a prequel to Alien as it’s similar in style and has a last-minute connection with it, but it also works as a standalone piece, that deals with a completely different subject about discovering the origin of mankind. Although Prometheus leaves more questions than it provides answers, it’s still a constantly intriguing and quietly absorbing sci-fi horror with a taut, thoughtful, and intelligent story that grabs your interest from the very beginning. Even from the stunning opening sequence you could tell that Prometheus will be yet another striking—looking movie from Scott. There’s a certain sophistication about his direction, that makes the film gorgeous to look at, especially in 3D, but in a subtle sort of way. The cast is absolutely stellar. Noomi Rapace delivers an engaging performance as the clever and daring, yet fragile scientist, Elizabeth, Idris Elba is superb as the spaceship captain, Fassbender is perfectly-cast as the insensible android, and Ms. Theron draws the viewers’ attention every time she shows up on screen.
Rating: 8.25 stars out of 10
So far, we’ve had tons of POV/Found Footage horror films, but Josh Trank’s debut feature, Chronicle, has to be the first-ever sci-fi flick shot in this style. Luckily, the hand-held filming technique adds some authenticity to the already clever story with a refreshing spin on the concept of superheroes. While the first half of the film is mostly “fun,” where the characters enjoy their newly-gained superpowers and play harmless games with them, the second half gets a whole lot darker—the anger unleashes, the violence starts to dominate, and the consequences become disastrous. The chaos-fueled superpowers match well with Trank’s inventive direction, the special effects are pretty much impeccable, and the action scenes are exciting and heart-pumpingly spectacular, featuring lots of smashed cars, destroyed buildings, fast moving objects and even Superman-like flying. Both, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan deliver solid and convincing performances, but Dane DeHaan stands out as the anti-social teenager, Andrew, who tries to cope with his repressed anger, aggressive father, deathly sick mother and out-of-this-world telekinetic powers all at once.
5. The Grey
Rating: 7.75 stars out of 10
Every once in a while a film comes along, that grabs you instantly and throws you into an experience so deeply compelling, that you forget about everything else. Joe Carnahan’s thoughtful, intelligently crafted effort, The Grey, is one of those movies. It’s a fight for survival against harsh nature under terrible circumstances, so believably depicted and so emotionally profound, it will make you experience the struggles of the characters in a way you don’t expect to. The movie is not only constantly intense, but also scary, in a realistic sort of way. While the remote location, snowy environment and whistling blizzards are enough to give you the chills, it’s the wolf attacks that are truly frightening. Set in Alaska, The Grey is just as visually astounding as it’s chilling, featuring stunning locations and a beautifully bleak cinematography with some shots that will take your breath away, plus, Carnahan’s smooth, yet taut direction, keeps the narrative tense, neat and in focus.. Liam Neeson delivers a powerhouse performance as the despaired man who revives his faith in order to survive, and the supporting cast is pretty much on par.