So far, it’s been a pretty lackluster year. The highs are so high, and the lows so bottomless, that the middling, mediocre center has been particularly problematic. Imagine eating a three course meal, where the dessert was fantastic, the appetizer awful, and the main course merely serviceable, and you get the idea. Naturally, this makes rummaging through the wreckage of any celluloid season that much more maddening. On one hand, the pros stand out significantly. So do the cons. But how do you handle those in the middle. Does something like ParaNorman, perhaps the best family film of the year, earn a place, merely because it’s better than the rest of the kid flick claptrap out there? Does a long simmering horror show like [REC]3 deserve acknowledgment, even though it’s been released around the world for months?
It’s always hard, but we’ll give it a shot anyway. Granted, before we go forward, it’s important to state that we couldn’t see everything the Cineplex had to offer. We skipped a couple anklebiter epics—Madagascar 3, Ice Age 4—since, in our opinion, they are remnants of franchises well past their prime. We skipped other examples of the genre as well as (The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Oogieloves) basically on a lack of interest. On the other hand, there are many honorable mentions to take into consideration, such as Pixar’s pleasant Brave, as well as some few would champion (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and That’s My Boy, anyone???) as well as the usual compendium of outright mediocrity. So, when 2012 is written, these will be the films we think people will remember, both in a very good and a very bad way… and here’s hoping the rest of the year can save us from such seesaw aesthetics.