2012 Movies

by Tim Van Schmidt

The Odd Life of Timothy Green ***

Here’s another production custom-made to pull the heart strings. A couple who REALLY want a child can’t conceive, so they place handwritten notes detailing their best wishes for the child they won’t have in a box and bury it in their garden. Magically, a boy grows out of the spot in the garden where the box is buried and he demonstrates all the qualities they wished for. The new, very desperate-to-please parents then live out a fairy tale of experiences with their “son,” who has leaves growing out of his legs.

The calmest character in the movie is the young boy, of course, played with a kind of spaced-out wistfulness by CJ Adams. His calmness also has a kind of smugness to it as his “parents” become unglued by everything that happens. It’s the heightened state of agitation that the eager-beaver parents- played to the hilt by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton- maintain throughout the story that degrades a creative idea into another melodramatic fantasy. It’s sweet and emotions are freely summoned by the same sort of cinematic clich├ęs that riddle “War Horse.” Lightweight.

Directed by Peter Hedges…2012…105 min…featuring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, M Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith, Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, James Rebhorn, Common.

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies ***

This movie- apparently a direct-to-video knock-off- surprised me. I enjoyed its tongue-in-cheek quality.

The whole thing is just ridiculous from the beginning- Abraham Lincoln is cast as an experienced zombie killer and he takes time out from writing the Gettysburg Address to put down an outbreak of the undead at a key fort location. His chosen weapon is a scythe and he wields it with the same Presidential authority he uses to rally his team of agents as well as trapped Confederate soldiers to defeat the flesh-eating horde.

There’s plenty of head chopping going on here, but in between there are some dramatic elements that amuse and surprise. Famous characters from history get grouped together with Abe including a young Teddy Roosevelt, a stubborn Stonewall Jackson and an annoying John Wilkes Booth, adding to the surreal quality of the yarn. And who’d of thought Abraham Lincoln would have such a hot former flame in his past?

The make-up here is heavily exaggerated, the dialogue is stiff and the acting is almost painfully deliberate, but somehow the whole thing is entertaining.

Directed by Richard Schenkman…video 2012…96 min…featuring Bill Oberst Jr. (as Abraham Lincoln), Kent Igleheart, Rhianna Van Helton, Debra Crittenden, Bernie Ask, Chris Hlozek, Jason Vail, Christopher Marrone, Don McGraw, Canon Kuipers, Baby Norman.

Silver Linings Playbook ***

Directed by David O Russell…2012…122 min…featuring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles.

Mad Men Season 5 ***

Created by Matthew Weiner…2012…13 episodes…featuring Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, John Slattery, Kiernan Shipka, Robert Morse, Jared Harris, Alison Brie, Christopher Stanley, Jessica Pare.

Game of Thrones Season 2 ***

Created by David Benioff, DB Weiss…2012…10 episodes…featuring Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams, Michelle Fairley, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Jack Gleeson, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Richard Madden, Donald Sumpter, Mikolaj Coster-Waldau, Julian Glover, John Bradley.

Dead Season **

Directed by Adam Deyoe…2012…85 min…featuring Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns.

Flight ***

Directed by Robert Zemeckis…2012…138 min…featuring Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood.

Skyfall ****

James Bond comes back battered and hurting.

Directed by Sam Mendes…2012…143 min…featuring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw.

Argo ****

A dramatization of a joint effort between the United States and Canada to extract six American embassy workers who escaped being rounded up in the famous hostage crisis in Iran.

Directed by Ben Affleck…2012…120 min…featuring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin.

Moonrise Kingdom ***

A boy and a girl follow their fancy and set off to make a life for themselves in the wilderness of their home island, setting off confusion among the parents involved and the authorities.

Directed by Wes Anderson…2012…94 min…featuring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Wedward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban.

Life of Pi ****

Directed by Ang Lee…2012…127 min…featuring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Rafe Spall, Gerard Depardieu.

Android Insurrection **

Directed by Andrew Bellware…2012…featuring Juanita Arias, Nat Cassidy, Joe Chapman, Rebecca Kush.

Savages ***

Directed by Oliver Stone…2012…131 min…featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Jonathan Carr.