The Top 5 Movies of 2012

January 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

The Top 5 Movies of 2012


2012 is over and I’ve finally caught up enough to make my ‘best of’ picks.  There are some movies I regret missing but overall, I saw more than 30 movies released in 2012.

Before I mention my top 5, I wanted to acknowledge some awesome movies that just missed the cut.

ARGO | Review

LIFE OF PI | Review



TED | Review

Click here for a complete list of all my 2012 reviews.



Click here for my review.

Skyfall narrowly edged out Django Unchained purely because of the nostalgia it brought back to the Bond franchise.  Casino Royale is one of my favorite movies period but Skyfall felt like a better reboot.  Classic James Bond movie.


Click here for my review.

I was blown away by Looper’s style and originality.


Click here for my review.

A smart and fascinating look behind the scenes of one of the most important events in recent memory.


Click here for my review.

The end of an era.  Though the film didn’t rise above The Dark Knight, it still wrapped up a legendary film series I’ll cherish forever.


Click here for my review.

I saw The Avengers 3 times in 7 days.  Two of those were matinee viewings before work…  By myself.  I absolutely adored The Avengers.  It was, by far, the most fun I had in theaters in 2012.

Bring on 2013!

Click here for the review archives.

Click here for The Bottom 3: The Worst Movies of 2012

The Top 5 Movies of 2012 | The Athletic Nerd

All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment

January 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment


“The shadows betray you because they belong to me!”

We waited years for the follow up to 2008’s The Dark Knight and what a follow up it was.  The Dark Knight Rises was a thrilling way to bring Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to an end.  It was a bitter sweet end as Nolan’s brilliance will never again guide a Batman movie.  It’s a series of epic films that brought us so many incredible moments.  So it’s fitting that my favorite movie moment of 2012 come from The Dark Knight Rises.

XTRA | Check out my review of The Dark Knight Rises

XTRA | Top 10 Moments: The Dark Knight

All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment | Bane vs Batman The Dark Knight Rises

The second that gate slammed behind Batman trapping him in a cage with Bane, I was at the edge of my seat.  It was time for a battle we were promised for years.  Bane vs Batman.  Who would come out on top?  Would Bane break batman’s back?  Could Bruce Wayne rise to the challenge?

It’s my favorite fight in the entire trilogy by far because of the physical threat Bane is to Batman.  He’s trained by the same people and angry.  I’m pretty sure Bane would win in a fight with Ra’s Al Ghul.  Regardless, it was fantastic to watch a fight that Batman could lose.  The suspense of the scene is truly remarkable and the lack of a sound track adds to the phenomenal atmosphere.  Not too mention, Bane’s clever taunting of Bruce Wayne throughout the battle.

My favorite movie moment of 2012.  Bane vs Batman.

XTRA | The Athletic Nerd on The Dark Knight

All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment

All Time Best: Best Movie Trailer 2012

January 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

All Time Best: Best Movie Trailer 2012


I wake up every morning with the hope that another big trailer has arrived.  It doesn’t happen every day but it’s always exciting when it does.  No matter what type of movie the trailer is promoting, I can’t resist hitting play.  I love trailers.

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XTRA | YouTube’s Top 10 Trailers of 2012

Selecting the best trailer of any given year is tough with so many standouts in 2012.  For me, (with respect to Skyfall) it came down to two:


REVIEW | The Dark Knight Rises | Top 5 Moments: The Dark Knight Rises Trailer #3

Of all the trailers for The Dark Knight Rises, this one was my favorite.  Everything from the opening score to the frantic finale was amazing.  I’m still having trouble accepting the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.  However, I think that’s why my favorite trailer of 2012 is…


Top 5 Moments: Man of Steel Trailer #2

All Time Best: Best Movie Trailer 2012 | Man of Steel Trailer #2

It’s time to get excited for Christopher Nolan’s NEXT franchise.  (Or at least a franchise he’s heavily involved in) I was absolutely blown away by the Man of Steel trailer.  Director Zack Snyder looks to have truly delivered a Superman we’ve all been craving for decades. (Sorry Superman Returns but it’s true)

I absolutely adore the tone of this trailer and we FINALLY got some great looks at Henry Cavill as Superman.

Top 5 Moments: Man of Steel Trailer #2 | Superman 2013

This is hands down one of the biggest events of 2013 and certainly one of my most anticipated summer movies.  It’s safe to say I don’t need much more convincing after a powerful trailer like this.

Congratulations Man of Steel.  You’ve made it a lot easier to get over the end of The Dark Knight Legend.

XTRA | Top 10 Summer Movies 2013

More 2012 trailer breakdowns:

Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer #1

Top 5 Moments: Pacific Rim Trailer #1

Top 5 Moments: Iron Man 3 Trailer #1

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer #2

All Time Best: Best Movie Trailer 2012

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time

September 21, 2012 at 7:29 am

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review


I loved The Dark Knight Rises.  Many did.  I thought it was a worthy conclusion to The Dark Knight trilogy.  Coming out of the theater I felt like the third installment came close but ultimately did not surpass 2008’s The Dark Knight.  However, I saw that film three times on opening day.  It took a little while to finally see Bane torment Gotham again but I’m happy I did.  It’s an incredibly ambitious tale.  It has it’s flaws but it was so much fun to watch and that’s what summer blockbusters are all about.

XTRA | Over 20 posts on The Dark Knight

I decided to compile a list of 10 things that stood out watching the film a second time.

Honorable Mention: I want to play through Arkham City again.

10. “So that’s what that feels like.”

A lot of people raved about Anne Hathaway’s performance as Catwoman.  I’m one of them.  I think this is by far the best Catwoman we’ve ever seen on screen.  I laughed when she disappeared on Batman leaving him to ponder how people feel when he disappears on them.  Catwoman added a completely different energy to the series that worked.  I wasn’t a big fan of her up beat music though.  I didn’t think it fit with the rest of Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

9.  A subtle mention of The Joker would have been nice.

There is a novelization out there that claims that The Joker is the sole inmate in Arkham during the events of The Dark Knight Rises.  It also hints that he may have escaped.  Either way it would have been nice to reference where the legendary villain was after The Dark Knight’s credits rolled.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

8. “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.”

Bane vs The Joker.  Who had the better introduction?  Overall, I think The Joker’s intro was better but Bane wins for sheer brutality.  Tom Hardy’s performance is tremendous as his eyes tell the story of a violent and ruthless man.  I’m so happy they fixed his voice.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

7. I wish Alfred was in it more.

I understand why he doesn’t play a larger role in this film but Michael Caine was brilliant as Alfred throughout the series.  It would have been nice to see him in a couple more scenes.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

6. Bane is ruthless and it’s awesome.

“Search him.  Then I will kill you.”

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be that nameless henchmen who knows there is nothing he can do to escape Bane.  It’s not like he can sulk and apologize to the man.  It’s a terrifying thing to tell someone and that’s what makes Bane a fantastic villain.  Tom Hardy’s delivery here is awesome.  He’s so calm about it.  I loved that scene.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

5. Gordon looks hilarious climbing in and around that truck.

Come on.  Tell me you didn’t find it a bit humorous watching Gordon climbing around that armored truck as it speeds down the road?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

4. They really never found the Bat parked on that roof?

I wish Batman hid The Bat somewhere else.  I just can’t see people missing it.  I suppose we were just meant to go with it.  Much like Batman suddenly appearing in Gotham after climbing out of The Pit.  If it’s so difficult to get out of the city how is it any easier to get in?  And when did he find time to make an elaborate fiery design of the bat symbol on that bridge.  Again, it’s just a movie, so I went with it.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

3. Bane’s death was WAY to abrupt.

A villain is only as good as his final moments.  The Joker’s final moment was incredible with his maniacal laughter echoing as he dangled above the city he tried so hard to corrupt.  Ra’s Al Ghul’s final moment with his eyes closed was fantastic as well.  Here we don’t even get to see Bane go down at the hands of Batman and it came out of no where.  It’s a shame.  I don’t know if there is a better way for him to go down without hurting the story but I was disappointed.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

2. “The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Bane vs Batman was incredible.  Their first encounter will go down as one of my favorite fight scenes in any movie.  Period.  The reason is because of Bane’s constant taunting.  Exposition has never been so much fun.

“Let’s not stand on ceremony here.  Mr. Wayne.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

I remember back when Batman Begins was released and people were complaining about the fights being to frantic and shot with too many closeups.  I didn’t have a problem with them but this fight was so different.

“I am The League of Shadows.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

It all leads up to an iconic moment from the comic books in which Bane breaks Batman’s back.  Expertly choreographed fights can only take you so far on the big screen.  Add in incredible characters and you raise the stakes to amazing heights.  Watching Batman fight Bane was worth the wait.

1. Is this the last great Batman movie?

One of the greatest trilogies we’ve ever seen is over now.  This is the last time we will visit Nolan’s remarkable vision of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader.  I loved that the third film was so closely connected to the first.  Everything came full circle.  Batman was meant to inspire others.  Anyone could be Batman.

We will never get a Robin movie staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it doesn’t matter.  The Dark Knight’s legend lives on in Gotham.  (How bad ass was that statue by the way? I’ll bet that thing is in Christopher Nolan’s basement right now.)  Even though the ending felt rushed, (which is a compliment considering the film’s epic length.) it was a fitting end to the story.

So the question remains…  Is this the last great Batman movie?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

Who will rise up and take over the franchise when it inevitably reboots in a few years.  Will we respond to a different set of rules?  What kind of Batman will we see next.  People will line up regardless.  I know I will but it remains to be seen if they will reach and exceed expectations like Nolan’s trilogy has.

Time will tell.  Thankfully, we will have Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises forever.

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The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve

July 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012


I woke up yesterday morning with a smile on my face.  After years of anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises had arrived.

Earlier in the week, I realized that my work schedule and free time only gave me one opportunity to see the film before next week.  Waiting a 7 days was simply unacceptable.  I had to know how the legend ended.  I was beyond excited to see how Christopher Nolan would conclude his epic and incredible Batman trilogy.  So, I raced to a computer and picked up the only two remaining seats in a nearby theater and waited until my 12:01 am screening. The first available showing.

Finally a sequel to The Dark Knight.  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Movie events like The Dark Knight Rises reminds of me how much I love to go to the movies.  It’s such an amazing experience to follow a project for years and finally get see the results on screen…

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

That is why I’m so saddened today.

This morning I woke up intending to write a review about why I love going to the movies.  But instead I was greeted by a tragic headline that changed everything:

38 shot and 12 dead when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater near Colorado…

A midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises…

This review is no longer about how much I love to go to the movies but rather, how lucky I feel to have the opportunity to do so.  I can’t even imagine what those people and their families are going through today.  One person decided to do this horrendous and evil act, depriving people of the simple joy of watching a movie they couldn’t wait to see.  I don’t get it…

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve read just about every movie review I could find that didn’t contain spoilers.  I was jealous that people got to see the movie before me and I couldn’t wait to get my review online.  But how do you make the transition from a terrible tragedy to whether or not the film measures up to it’s predecessors?  How many people are afraid to see the movies today because of this?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this senseless and cruel act. 

Going to the movies is supposed to be a wonderful experience.  That’s why I fell in love with movie theaters and the endless adventures they provide.  Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises take that experience to new heights and pushes your imagination into overdrive.  The movies we love…


The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

(Super mild spoilers ahead)

I pride myself on being a movie nerd.  Going into the screening, I felt so excited I could barely sit still.  I even stopped drinking liquid ahead of time so I would make it through the nearly 3 hour run time without missing a single moment.

When the movie began, I thought about whether the third and final chapter could live up to or even surpass The Dark Knight.  How could it?  Honestly, I don’t think it did but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely adore the movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is an unbelievable end to a trilogy that may never be matched in the comic book world.

Which is strange because Batman isn’t actually in the movie that much.  At first I found it disappointing.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was never Batman’s story.  It was Bruce Wayne’s story.  From the beginning, Bruce Wayne wanted to be a symbol for the people of Gotham.   A way to inspire people to take back their city from the criminals who corrupted it.

Through three films, villains have aimed to ‘save’ the city by destroying it.  The Dark Knight Rises delivers on the promises made by Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.

Gotham falls.  The Dark Knight Rises.

At the center of it all is Bane.  A fierce and ruthless villain who is determined to burn Gotham to the ground.  Bane is truly a bad ass in this movie wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hardy.  I think his first battle with Batman will go down as one of my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy.

“The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Unfortunately, I feel like he gets lost in the sheer size of this movie.  The stakes are so impossibly big that it’s impossible to really dial into the people Bane is terrorizing.  In The Dark Knight, we are given two boats and a choice.  In this movie, the whole city is at war.

It’s ironic that the agent of chaos was responsible for a much more relatable and suspenseful threat while his successor brings Gotham to it’s knees.

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.”

Bruce Wayne is beaten down and stripped of everything in this movie.  I loved the journey he takes.  Christopher Nolan uses Batman as a window into the psychological effects of pain and suffering.  It’s a symbol of what it takes to overcome what you fear the most.  So many times throughout the movie, we are reminded that Bruce Wayne chose to be a hero instead of succumbing to the anger he feels.  But that choice has a cost and so we find a broken man 8 years after Harvey Dent’s terrible crimes.

It’s this journey that makes the 3 hour film feel like it was two hours too short.  There is so much story to tell.  I think that may turn off a lot of people because the movie is so big and it’s full of huge ideas and themes.  Bruce Wayne’s story is so compelling that you forgive the lack of the caped crusader to a certain extent.  In between the scarce Batman sightings we get to experience Bane’s surprisingly deep history and Catwoman’s quest for a fresh start.  We follow the bravery and sacrifice of Commissioner Gordon and a heroic and selfless cop named John Blake.

Indeed, there is a lot going on.  Lost in the shuffle is Alfred but Michael Caine still gets a couple fantastic speeches in the film.

In the end, The Dark Knight Rises is still a Batman movie and the action doesn’t disappoint.  While the film’s final act feels rushed and certain story lines are wrapped up far too quickly, it’s still a thrilling end to the story.  For me, nothing tops the first clash between Batman and Bane but there are still many ‘wow’ moments.

XTRA | Top 10 Moments: The Dark Knight

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For example: The Bat flying over buildings avoiding missiles, giant armies battling in the streets, huge explosions, car chases and so much more.  This film actually felt more like a comic book movie that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight combined.

I liked The Dark Knight better but I still loved this movie.  I’m looking forward to catching an IMAX screening in a few weeks…  But  just writing that sentence reminds me of what people lost in Colorado last night.  Millions of movie fans around the world will be experiencing this blockbuster with smiles on their faces.  The people in that theater deserved that same experience.

It’s heart breaking that someone could make the choice to do something so awful.  Indeed, everyone should appreciate the blessings they have and cherish those they love.