‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Gets the Honest Trailer Smackdown

- 12-10-13Film, Funny Videos Posted by Jason McAnelly

honest trailer

Those crazy kids over at Screen Junkies are at it again, bringing the Internetz community yet another Honest Trailer.  So what poor, unsuspecting movie gets the axe this time?  Well, if you’ve read the fkn title to this article you know already that it’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Scroll down to get a better understanding of what this flick was really all about. (more…)

The First ‘Hobbit’ Movie Could Have Been Even Longer! Check Out These Extended-Cut Scenes

- 10-21-13Film Posted by Jason McAnelly

hobbit goblin king

With three movies, each of them more than two hours long, one would wonder how in The Shire Peter Jackson could manage to have even more footage that was actually cut from The Hobbit series.  But, alas, some of those scenes you saw in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were even longer.  Today we bring you 12+ minutes of even more Hobbity goodness.  Check out the videos below:

The first focuses mainly on certain Dwarven events taking place at Rivendell:

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‘The Hobbit’ – 1 Book, 3 Movies, and a $561 Million Budget So Far

- 10-04-13Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

The_Hobbit__1580983a

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made just over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, a tremendous success no matter what way you look at it, and a good sign for Warner Bros, the studio that took a chance on Peter Jackson to catch lightening in a bottle for a return sojourn through Middle Earth. With two movies to go, what could possible be the dark cloud in this bright sky?

How about $561 million in production costs on the trilogy so far? That’s the number Variety reported after obtaining financial documents filed in New Zealand, home base for Jackson and all things Hobbit related. That $561 million (or $676 million in New Zealand money) covers all aspects of production through March 31st this year, so it doesn’t cover the recent reshoots, the majority of post-production on part 2 The Desolation of Smaug or any of the post on part3, There and Back Again.

How does that compare to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy? Good question.

MORE AFTER THE BREAK

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‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Extended Edition Blu-ray – AKA “The Desolation Of Wallets”

- 07-31-13Cool Stuff, Film Posted by James Daniels

hobbit-extended-600x767

I can’t be the only one who’s now wishing they waited before buying the first Blu-ray iteration of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Unfortunately, I don’t get to movies much, home video is my bread and butter, and I NEEDED to see this sumbitch!

Here’s what Hobbit and LOTR director Peter Jackson had to say when the U.S. release of this extended edition was announced:

I’m thrilled that the Extended Edition will give fans the opportunity to experience certain key scenes in the film as they were originally shot, as well as an abundance of special features. It’s exciting to present this expanded and enriched version of An Unexpected Journey to allow fans to fully immerse themselves in the movie, before seeing the second part of the trilogy.

Apparently the Extended Edition will feature nearly 9 hours of bonus material, including commentaries by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens; a featurette on the awesomeness of New Zealand (which may be identical to this one, already available online), and five-odd hours of behind-the-scenes “Appendices”.

As for the new footage, little is known… Oh, apparently there’ll be some nekkid people, and the scene below between Bilbo and Elrond (courtesy of Comic Book Movie), but other than that, they’re keeping quiet about what’s been added to the film itself.

The full Blu-ray set will run you $54.98, and be available for purchase on November 5th. The Extended Edition will be available as a download starting October 22nd.

Source: Bleeding Cool

 

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Extended Edition Deets, Plus New Images From ‘Desolation of Smaug’

- 06-26-13Film Posted by Sarah Moran

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As we close in on the theatrical release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – just under six months until December 13th! – it’s about time we learn the details of what’s coming in the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, releasing a month earlier in November.

In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, all decked out in its hobbity splendor, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh dished on what we’ll see in the much anticipated extended edition,

You are going to get some serious Dwarvish disrespect of the elves at Rivendell.

You are going to get more of Hobbiton. We always wanted to wend our way through Hobbiton, but in the end Bilbo has to run out of the door.

You are going to get more Goblin Town, and the Great Goblin singing his song. It is a great song, but it was just another delay in terms of moving the story along.

A number one hit from the Goblin King. Barry Humphries is going to rise up the charts.

We are putting things in the extended cut that are going to play straight into the second film, like this character Girion, who is defending [the city of] Dale using black arrows against Smaug. And the black arrows play a part in an ongoing story, for they are the one thing that can pierce the dragon’s hide.

There are also issues with [king of the elves] Thranduil (Lee Pace). We get some of the reason why he and the dwarves had a falling out – to do with these white gems…

Judging by the added content that leads directly into Smaug, it sounds to me like this extended edition of An Unexpected Journey is a must buy for those awaiting the sequel with bated breath.

Plus, who wouldn’t be interested in that Goblin King song? I don’t know why they didn’t release it as a single.

For a look at the newly released images from The Desolation of Smaug, straight off the pages of Empire, hit the jump!

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Yo Viggo, Why Weren’t You in ‘The Hobbit?’

- 05-29-13Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

Aragorn-screencap

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey featured a lot of folks who appeared in The Lord of the Rings trilogy but had nothing to do with the Hobbit story, folks like Saruman, Galadriel, Elrond, and Frodo, and future installments of The Hobbit will feature the return (preturn?) of Legolas. But what about Aragorn? Was their no room for King Elessar Telcontar of Gondor in the prequels?

Well, The Guardian went out and got a genuine answer for the curious from Aragorn’s portrayer, Viggo Mortensen.

“Before they started shooting, back in 2008, one of the producers did ask if I would be interested. I said, ‘You do know, don’t you, that Aragorn isn’t in The Hobbit? That there is a 60-year gap between the books?’”

Bazinga! Take that Hollywood producers. Viggo Mortensen, with logic, for the win.

But alas, it would have been cool to see Mortensen suit up as Aragorn, right? Perhaps you disagree (and I encourage you to weight in with your opinion below).

Source: Blastr

‘Hobbit’ and ‘Fringe’ Lead the 2013 Saturn Awards

- 02-20-13Film, TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey

Nerdy flicks didn’t get much love for this Sunday’s Oscars, but nerd love is implied when the Saturn Awards nominations are announced. Of course this is an award specifically designed and set-up to celebrate achievement in sci-fi, fantasy, action and horror, but maybe we’ll just take what we can get.

In the film categories, the winner was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The first chapter in Peter Jackson‘s prequel opus is the easy front-runner with a total of nine nominations, including Best Fantasy Film, Best Direction for Jackson, and Best Actor for Martin Freeman. The Hobbit will face off against Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi, which also scored a Best Fantasy Film nomination as well as a Best Performance by a Younger Actor nomination for star Suraj Sharma, as well as seven others nods for a total of eight. Coming in third was the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, which was nominated Best Action/Adventure film as well as additional nods in acting categories for Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench. In all, Skyfall received seven Saturn nominations followed closely by dualling superhero flicks The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises with six apiece.

In TV, the dearly departed Fringe was the big winner with six nominations including Best Network Series and acting nods for series stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble. Serial killer drama Dexter secured five nods, including acting noms for star Michael C. Hall and guest stars Ray Stevenson and Yvonne Strahovski. And it’s a three-way tie for third with Breaking Bad, Revolution and The Walking Dead each nabbing four nominations.

For the complete list of categories and nominees scroll down. As to when the hardware will be handed out, that’s TBA.

Best Science Fiction Film

Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Chronicle (20th Century Fox)
Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games (Summit / Lionsgate)
Looper (Sony Pictures)
Prometheus (20th Century Fox)

Best Fantasy Film

The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony Pictures)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight)
Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)
Ted (Universal)

Best Horror/Thriller Film

Argo (Warner Bros.)
The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate)
The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)
The Woman in Black (CBS Films)
Zero Dark Thirty (Sony Pictures)

Best Action/Adventure Film

The Bourne Legacy (Universal)
The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Les Miserables (Universal)
Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Taken 2 (20th Century Fox)

Best Independent Film Release

Compliance (Magnolia)
Hitchcock Fox (Searchlight)
Killer Joe LD (Entertainment)
The Paperboy (Millennium)
Robot and Frank (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Safety Not Guaranteed (FilmDistrict)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Focus Features)

Best International Film

Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Chicken With Plums (Sony Pictures Classics)
The Fairy (Kino Lorber)
Headhunters (Magnolia)
My Way Well (Go USA)
Pusher (Radius)

Best Animated Film

Brave (Pixar / Walt Disney Studios)
Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Studios)
ParaNorman (Focus Features)
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios)

Best Actor

Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Craig, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables (Universal)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty (20th Century Fox)
Ann Dowd, Compliance (Magnolia)
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight)
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games (Summit / Lionsgate)
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight)
Naomi Watts, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Michael Fassbender, Prometheus (20th Century Fox)
Clark Gregg, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Ian McKellen, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)

Best Supporting Actress

Judi Dench, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Gina Gershon, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (Universal)
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy (Millennium)
Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Performance By a Younger Actor

CJ Adams, The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Walt Disney Studios)
Tom Holland, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Daniel Huttlestone, Les Miserables (Universal)
Chloe Grace Moretz, Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.)
Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight)

Best Direction

William Friedkin, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Rian Johnson, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Ang Lee, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Joss Whedon, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)

Best Writing

Tracy Letts, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
David Magee, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Joss Whedon, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate)

Best Production Design

Hugh Bateup, Uli Hanisch, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Sarah Greenwood, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
David Gropman, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Rick Heinrichs, Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.)
Dan Hennah, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Eve Stewart, Les Miserables (Universal)

Best Editing

Stuart Baird, Kate Baird, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Alexander Berner, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Bob Ducsay, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
John Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy (Universal)
Tim Squyres, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)

Best Music

Mychael Danna, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Danny Elfman, Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Studios)
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Thomas Newman, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Howard Shore, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)

Best Costume

Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Kym Barrett, Pierre-Yves Gavraud, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Sharen Davis, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Paco Delgado, Les Miserables (Universal)
Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Make-Up

Heike Merker, Daniel Parker, Jeremy Woodhead, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Julie Hewitt, Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight)
Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
David Marti, Montse Ribe, Vasit Suchitta, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Naomi Donne, Donald Mowat, Love Larson, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Jean Ann Black, Fay Von Schroeder, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Lionsgate)

Best Special Effects

Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Jeanie King, Burt Dalton, Battleship (Universal)
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Chris Corbould, Peter Chiang, Scott R. Fisher, Sue Rowe, John Carter (Walt Disney Studios)
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer, Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Cedric Nicholas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Courbould, Michael Dawson, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Network Television Series

Elementary (CBS)
The Following (Fox)
Fringe (Fox)
Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Revolution (NBC)
Supernatural (CW)

Best Syndicated Cable Television Series

American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Dexter (Showtime)
Leverage (TNT)
The Killing (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Best Television Presentation

Breaking Bad (AMC)
Continuum (Syfy)
Falling Skies (TNT)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Ken Follett’s World Without End (Reelz)
Mockingbird Lane (NBC)
Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz)

Best Youth Oriented Series on Television

Arrow (CW)
Beauty and the Beast (CW)
Doctor Who (BBC America)
Merlin (Syfy)
Teen Wolf (MTV)
The Vampire Diaries (CW)

Best Actor

Kevin Bacon, The Following (Fox)
Billy Burke, Revolution (NBC)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
Joshua Jackson, Fringe (Fox)
Timothy Hutton, Leverage (TNT)
Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead (AMC)

Best Actress

Moon Bloodgood, Falling Skies (TNT)
Mireille Enos, The Killing (AMC)
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Charlotte Riley, Ken Follett’s World Without End (Reelz)
Tracy Spiridakos, Revolution (NBC)
Anna Torv, Fringe (Fox)

Best Supporting Actor

Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Giancarlo Esposito, Revolution (NBC)
Todd Lasance, Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz)
Colm Meaney, Hell on Wheels (AMC)
David Morrissey, The Walking Dead (AMC)
John Noble, Fringe (Fox)

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter (Showtime)
Sarah Carter, Falling Skies (TNT)
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Laurie Holden, The Walking Dead (AMC)
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Beth Riesgraf, Leverage (TNT)

Best Guest Starring Role in a Series

Blair Brown, Fringe (Fox)
Terry O’Quinn, Falling Skies (TNT)
Lance Reddick, Fringe (Fox)
Mark Sheppard, Leverage (TNT)
Ray Stevenson, Dexter (Showtime)
Yvonne Strahovski, Dexter (Showtime)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Release

Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (Atlas Distribution/Fox)
Chained (Anchor Bay)
Cosmopolis (Entertainment One)
The Possession (Lionsgate)
A Thousand Cuts (Lorber Films)
Touchback (Anchor Bay/Starz)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Special Edition Release

Jaws (Universal 100th Anniversary Edition) (Universal)
Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (Sony)
Les Vampires Classics Edition (Kino International)
Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner)
Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire (Kino International)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Collection

Alfred Hitchcock (The Masterpiece Collection) (Universal)
Battle Royale (The Complete Collection) (Anchor Bay)
Bond 50 (The Complete 22 Film Collection) (MGM)
Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series (MPI)
The Ultimate Buster Keaton Blu-ray Collection (Kino Lorber)
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (Universal)

Best DVD/Blu-ray TV Series

In Search Of: The Complete Series (Visual Entertainment)
Logan’s Run: The Complete Series (Warner)
The River: The Complete First Season (ABC Studios)
Shazam! The Complete Live-Action Series (Warner Archive)
Spartacus: Vengeance (The Complete Second Season) (Starz/Anchor Bay)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Seasons 1 & 2) (Paramount)

Source: Blastr

Only if You Buy ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ on DVD/Blu-ray Will You See the Early Preview of ‘Desolation of Smaug’

- 02-06-13Film Posted by Sarah Moran

The-Hobbit-Blu-ray-3D

Marketing, it always comes down to marketing. Any money. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will soon be available to enjoy in the comfort of your home through a variety of different mediums: digital download, DVD, and Blu-ray; but only the DVD and Blu-ray combo packs get you the exclusive early preview of The Desolation of Smaug.

Here’s An Unexpected Journey‘s release breakdown, courtesy of Collider,

Warner Bros. has announced that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be arriving on Digital Download on March 12th.  For those who want to wait a week, the film will arrive on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 2-Disc DVD Special Edition on March 19th.

So, for those clinging to the need for physical copies, of which I’m one, you’ll need to wait another week. But, you’re week of waiting will earn you a front seat to the Peter Jackson-hosted, live first look at The Desolation of Smaug on Sunday, March 24th at 3:00 PM EST. It’s all made possible because of the Ultraviolet code available with the purchase of the DVD or Blu-ray. Y’know, the code that gives you a digital copy of the movie which I’m guessing you never, ever use. Now it has real value, but again, you’ll only get one if you buy the Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. And you can’t share the code with friends, it’s a one time use kind of thing.

Below the cut you’ll find the specs for each available version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Which will you be grabbin’? You could wait for the expected Extended Edition released later in the year, but then, no early Smaug preview. Oh, and don’t expect any of these to play at 48 FPS. I don’t know if that’s even possible, yet!

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Nerdy Movies Don’t Get Much Love From Oscar

- 01-10-13Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning in Hollywood by future Oscar host Seth McFarlane and sidekick Emma Stone, and surprise, surprise, there wasn’t much love for nerdy movies outside the technical categories.

One nerd came out very well though. Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln got the most nominations with an even dozen, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. Following closely behind Lincoln is Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi with 11 nominations, among them Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and several technical award nominations.

For the more nerdy minded fair, two movies tied for the most nominations. The more prestigious was Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, which scored five nominations for Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz, who won the award in the same category for Inglourious Basterds three years ago. The latest James Bond film Skyfall was also nominated for five Oscars including Best Cinematography, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Best Song for Adele‘s theme song.

The once mighty Oscar force of Middle Earth and Peter Jackson proved not to so powerful in the case of The Hobbit. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which received only three nominations for Best Make-Up, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects, a far cry from the 11 awards that the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, won in 2004. Snow White and the Huntsman won two nominations, one for Best Costume Design and one for Best Visual Effects.

As for the biggest film of the year, box office-wise speaking, The Avengers, Marvel’s heroes received only one, singular nomination for Best Visual Effects, an award it also shares with Prometheus, which is that film’s sole nomination. And to all Dark Knight Rises haters, you’ll be pleased to know that Christopher Nolan’s final Batman received none.

In the animation categories, Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Wreck-It Ralph were nominated for Best Feature, while Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, Head over Heels, Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”, and Paperman were nominated for Best Short. So, for the record, in about a month its possible that The Simpsons might have an Oscar to their credit. (Possible, not likely. But I guess we’ll see.)

The Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday February 24, 2013.

Source: EW

 

The Top 10 Nerdy Films of 2012

- 12-31-12Featured, Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

We like to think that it’s a nerds’ world at the movies, and certainly there’s been a lot of press in the last few years to back that up, but in 2012 it seemed especially true.

Developing a Top 10 List of the best of the nerdiest films this year was no easy feat, even with high-profile disappointments like Prometheus, John Carter, and The Amazing Spider-Man, but we were still able to do it. Some of these titles maybe obvious, but they all have one thing in common, they prove that in the genres of sci-fi, horror, fantasy and action, the year 2012 was far from the end of the world. Cinematically speaking, at least.

Here’s the Top 10 Nerdy Films of 2012.

1. The Avengers

Can we take a minute and appreciate the mere fact that this film even managed to exist, let alone be as good as it is? First of all there’s the logistical feat of getting all these characters and actors co-ordinated onto a single soundstage. Then there was the Hail Mary hiring of Joss Whedon, a man known more for his TV work and his one movie based on one of his TV shows than for blockbuster filmmaking. And finally, there was the shattering weight of expectations; billions of dollars and a decade of work all riding on The Avengers not just being done, but being done well and then doing well at the box office. The result was not just the third biggest box office hit of all time, but the closest thing a major summer tentpole flick can get to being an auteur work. Every inch of this film had Whedon’s fingerprints on it, and his voice never gets lost amongst the action and effects. So complete was Whedon’s influence on the film that Marvel bucked its own trend and hired him immediately, not just for the sequel, but to be the overseer of the entire Marvel Movie Universe on the Disney end. Forget the Whedonites! Hollywood, Joss is your master now.

2. Skyfall

It was a long time waiting for the latest Bond movie, and while I’m not sure I’d stamp Skyfall as the best Bond movie of all time, I think we can all agree that it sufficiently washed the taste of Quantum of Solace out of our collective mouths. On the occasion of the character’s 50th anniversary of his big screen adventures, the franchise’s producers, and director Sam Mendes, managed to put together a Bond flick that was strangely familiar while continuing down the bold path set by Casino Royale. Bond himself is treated to a complex arc that questions his abilities and his dedication, and M becomes the most unusual Bond girl as Her Majesty’s finest tries to keep his boss’ sins from coming back to kill her. A charismatic villain in the person of Silva played by Javier Bardem, as well as the addition of new supporting players like Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw as the stalwart new Q, and you have the rare Bond movie where you’re just as engrossed by the non-action scenes as you are by the action. Even the fact that film’s climax bears a little resemblance to a more lethal Home Alone scenario does nothing to diminish the greatness of the Skyfall.

3. The Cabin in the Woods

Finally freed from bankruptcy purgatory, The Cabin in the Woods came out this past spring and gave us a new cult classic from director Drew Goddard and officially kicked-off what was to be the year of Whedon. More than that though, The Cabin in the Woods is perhaps the most effective deconstruction of the horror genre since the first Scream, and if it had been more successful at the box office, it would have been just as significant a game changer. Instead, Cabin will have to stand as a bizarre, though effective, reboot of The Evil Dead. Five pretty young people go into the woods where they awaken an ancient evil from beneath their dilapidated cabin. But the gag is there’s a second story running concurrently, a secretive group of some kind of instigators both controlling and observing the action and fate that befalls our young heroes. Or are they the heroes? Really the stars of the film are the Statler and Waldorf-esque Hadley and Sitterson played by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, and where as in different hands these two would definitely be played for villains, in Whedon and Goddard’s script they’re the unsung, under-appreciated heroes of the story. Ultimately though, Cabin may have been undone by marketing; if you went into the film cold it was a joy, but the trailers and the ads gave a lot away. And you scoff at J.J. Abrams for his secrecy…

4. Django Unchained

Yes, I will cross Spike Lee – who’s films I enjoy immensely – in order to include Django Unchained on this list, after all, if it’s a year with a Quentin Tarantino movie, it’s probably going to end up on a couple of lists like this. Continuing to cut a bloody swath of revenge and historical revisionism across cinema, Tarantino takes us to the final years of slavery in the American South prior to the Civil War, and like his previous film, Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino cares not for meandering asides, or anachronistic music selections, but is instead focused on getting us to the blood curdling – and blood spilling – finale. Of course, he makes us earn that visceral violent thrill by navigating a slew of quirky characters and silver-tongued dialogue scenes, which is all part of that QT-charm. Tarantino veterans like Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson hold up their end, while Tarantino rookies Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio look like they’re having a ball, DiCaprio in particular seems to be relishing the role of the villainous Calvin Candie. And like most of Tarantino’s past endeavours, Django is an Easter Egg filled treasure trove of call backs, homages and cameos that require more than one viewing in order to catch them all. But of course you’re going to see this again and again because it’s Tarantino and you wish you were half the movie nerd he is.

5. Indie Game The Movie

Much has been said – and written – about independent musicians and filmmakers, but what about independent game makers. This documentary focuses on three different stories, each offering some kind of insight into the struggles, creativity and commitment of these bold few who shirk the big gaming houses to strike out on their own. One surprising aspect of the film is the way it peels back an industry that the mainstream still doesn’t really understand. The average guy on the street has at least a basic knowledge of the Hollywood studio system and the functioning of big record companies, but gaming? Well it turns out the difficulties translate across media. The other thing that translates is the passion. Even if you’re not the world’s biggest gamer, the subjects speak the language or art, whether it’s trying to maintain some semblance of artistic license, battling your former d-bag partner to be allowed to preview your game at a trade show, or simply working 16 hour days and apologizing to your wife with a promise that when you’re done it will all be worth it. It’s an inspiring tale of creative pursuit and the incredible effort to beat the competition and get your game in front of the most eyes. And they say there’s nothing artistic about video games.

6. Chronicle

It’s strange that in a year with so many big budget superhero movies in theatres that one of the best should be a low budget job starring a bunch of unknowns in a 90 minute film stylized to look like a home movies and CCTV footage. But there it is, and there is was. Chronicle, although late to the whole “food footage” trend, which this year alone included The Devil Inside, Project X, The Chernobyl Diaries, V/H/S, and Paranormal Activity 4, had the benefit of being one of the few none-horror offerings in the genre. On top of it all, it offered compelling character drama, a realistic spin on superhero archetypes, and blockbuster action on an art house budget. So complete was Chronicle’s impact on the genre that star Dane DeHaan was recently cast to play Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man sequel, and director Josh Trank was hired to direct Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot. But none of that would matter if Chronicle didn’t click on a basic level. It comes down to a question that’s plagued fanboys since the dawn of super-powers, would you use your powers for your own ends like Andrew, or would you use them to help others like Matt?

7. The Dark Knight Rises

I’ve heard a lot of people call this movie the Return of the Jedi of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and I think they meant it as an insult. I know a lot of people were disappointed that despite the hype, Rises didn’t change their world forever, but following the unprecedented heights of The Dark Knight how could it? Of course It couldn’t, and also not helping the situation is this false, Highlander-ish beef between Rises and The Avengers, as if there can only be one film to rule the nerds for all time. If you read Drew McWeeny’s two-part analysis of the film, I think it’s pretty much spot-on. What Christopher Nolan did, and I think fantastically to his credit, is take the Batman mythos and re-purpose it to be a realistic and human three-act epic. Sure, Bane and Talia’s revenge plot disguised as class warfare was perhaps overly complicated, but how often do movie crime plots revel in simplicity? Have none of you seen The Usual Suspects? So let’s focus on the positive: the film’s compelling emotional beats, all the comic book Easter Eggs worked in by the Nolans, and honestly, wasn’t Anne Hathaway the Catwoman of your dreams? In the end, what we got with Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was a competent, compelling, and artful cinematic telling of the Batman story with a thoroughly well-thought out beginning, middle and end. Besides, don’t we all know the alternative?

8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

What was really unexpected about The Hobbit was the split between critics and fans; the former appraising the film with a collective sense of ennui (and serving it a 65 per cent “fresh” Rotten Tomato rating) and the later eagerly enjoying the return to Middle Earth after a long, 11-year wait. I concede I found myself somewhere in between while watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Any point that deviates from the main thrust of J.R.R. Tolkien’s first book is difficult to wade through, but whenever the story focuses on Bilbo and the dwarves’ journey to the Lonely Mountain is golden. So much so that I was disappointed by the time we get to the end and realizing I’d have to wait another year for part two. Technically, the film is brilliant. The photography, the effects, and the score are all amazing, and how awesome was it to have Gandalf back in grey mode (and essayed perfectly by Ian McKellen)? New players like Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo and Richard Armitage as would-be dwarf king Thorin are fine additions, and Andy Serkis owned as Gollum once again. In a case of the good far outweighing the bad, The Hobbit definitely leaves you wanting more, and Peter Jackson’s command of Middle Earth lore is indeed unquestionable. I think though there’s still a question of whether or not three movies is too much of a good thing. I guess we’ll see next Christmas.

9. Dredd 3-D and The Raid: Redemption

For me, it’s hard to separate these two movies, so they make the list together (which technically makes this a Top 11 list, and I know that, don’t bother pointing that out). Both are about cops who enter a building to bust a drug kingpin only to have it turn into a multilevel battle royale for survival. In Dredd, the cop just happens to be Judge Dredd, and in a feat of resurrection nearly impossible, director Pete Travis washed away the memory of Sylvester Stallone’s ill-fated attempt to turn the comic into a film back in 1995. As for The Raid, the Indonesia/US co-production was hardcore in a way that Hong Kong used to do best. The visceral bone-crunching fight scenes plus the various personal stakes amongst the cops and gangsters make this a bloody, claustrophobic and an all-too satisfying action flick that U.S. filmmakers are rarely capable of. As for Dredd, the 3-D makes this look like a big Hollywood effort, but it can be as rough and raw as any indie action effort. Like Chronicle, Dredd proved there’s a lot that can be done on a small budget, and certainly you don’t need a big budget to make the ultra-dystopia Mega City One a reality. Sometimes, when it comes to action movies, getting more bang for your buck gets you more bang for your buck.

10. Looper

Time travel is hard to pull off, but in director Rian Johnson’s first foray into genre filmmaking, he proves that he can cram a lot of ideas and inspiration into a single, two-hour film to create what maybe the best time travel thriller since 12 Monkeys. Now I’ve been a big fan of Johnson’s work for a while now, from the high school-noir Brick to the fanciful con-comedy Brothers Bloom, so maybe I can see past the logical fallacies because the filmmaker knows how to spin a good yarn. But I prefer to think it’s because Looper is a brainy, twisty and fun sci-fi film that, granted, isn’t as concerned with the snake eating its own tail minutiae of time travel as it is being a compelling character piece. For instance, some found the Bruce Willis-ish make-up worn by Joseph Gordon-Levitt to be kind of creepy, but I choose to believe that’s a compliment, like, “It’s creepy how much Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks like Bruce Willis.” But JGL’s spot on impression of Willis is just one aspect of one great performance that includes good work by Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Garret Dillahunt, newcomer Pierce Gagnon and Willis himself. If you sat there counting the paradoxes you’re missing the point because Looper is The Terminator masquerading as Goodfellas. Or vice versa.