Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, superheroes, secret agents and videogames – it’s ten movies that have most pleased our inner nerd this year.
In the hands of a lesser director, Avengers Assemble could have collapsed under the weight of its all-star cast and gigantic budget, but Marvel pulled off a masterstroke in recruiting comic geek Joss Whedon to helm this blockbuster. The Buffy creator’s vast knowledge of the source material, coupled with his capacity for humour, make this most likeable superhero movie in a year with no shortage of them.
The best time travel action-thriller since Van Damme’s masterful “Time Cop” (OK, we’re joking – sorry JCVD), Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mafia hitman who kills targets sent back from 30 years in the future. When his future self is sent back (in the form of Bruce Willis) to close the loop, things get truly weird.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ends in satisfying fashion, with the Caped Crusader saving Gotham City from Tom Hardy’s terrifyingly brutish Bane, tangling with Catwoman and linking up with “Robin”. It’s as gorgeously filmed and presented as you’d expect given Nolan’s track record, and if Avengers Assemble is the “fun” superhero outing of 2012, TDKR is its way more serious – and seriously impressive – cousin.
Joss Whedon again, here as the producer and co-writer of this horror film with a twist. When five teenagers go to the backwoods for a weekend away, we can all guess what’s going to happen – or can we? Much like Scream back in 1996, The Cabin In The Woods plays with our expectations concerning the horror genre, leading to lots of knowing nods, chuckles and more than one scare.
Bringing in Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes was a genius move on the part of the Bond producers, and the twisty, tightly-plotted Skyfall is arguably the best 007 outing since Daniel Craig stepped into the agent’s tuxedo. Gadget fans will also be happy to see the return of Q, with Ben Whishaw making the role of the tech-obsessed MI6 quartermaster his own.
The Dark Knight Rises
Yes, Prometheus isn’t as good as Alien, to which it’s a sort of precursor, and the characters are incredibly annoying, but we’re talking geek films here, and Ridley Scott’s sci-fi tale is suitably geeky with all its exploration of first contact, the origins of humanity and so on. Also beautifully shot, as you’d expect from Scott.
The only documentary on our list, this follows developers of independent videogames, peeking behind the scenes at a process that, even if you’re an avid gamer, you probably don’t think about that much. Make no mistake: the life of a developer, particularly in the indie scene, is not one of glamour and messing about, but back-breaking technical work that has a heavy toll on one’s life – and that’s all on show here.
The Cabin In The Woods
Delightfully bonkers, Iron Sky concerns a group of spacefaring Nazis that, in the final days of World War II, fled to the dark side of the Moon. In 2018, having built a space armada, they return to Earth to fight once more. Don’t rent this Finnish film expecting anything other that entertaining silliness, and you won’t be disappointed.
Banishing memories of the Sylvester Stallone debacle in which Judge Dredd showed his face (really, Sly?), this one snuck in under the radar, proving far more faithful to 2000AD’s vision of the USA’s dark future. Gritty, brutal and fully deserving of its 18 rating, it shows Dredd as the comic books intended him to be – a deadpan psychopath – while giving rookie Judge Anderson the character arc necessary to pull in “normal” viewers. Writer Alex Garland, who previously brought us The Beach, 28 Days Later and Sunshine, was a fine choice.
OK, so we know The Hobbit isn’t out yet, and therefore we can’t tell you with 100 percent certainty if it’s actually good or not – but come on, this is Peter Jackson getting the old gang back together to create the first part of what promises to be another epic fantasy trilogy. From a technical standpoint, we also can’t wait to see what The Hobbit’s 48fps frame rate – double that of normal films and a first for a major movie – looks like.
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