Before the big reveal of what you lot, our beloved readers, have voted for as your picks of the year, the Hitsville writers (who aren’t all trained chimps at typewriters… I think) have thrown together their favourite films, television, games and music to be released in the past twelve months (plus this way you know the polls aren’t rigged towards what we think is best). Here’s part one of what will probably be quite a few. Enjoy!
JOE O’BRIEN’S TOP FILMS (in no particular order):
Intelligent sci-fi and action done right. JGL and Bruce Willis, plus a ridiculously foxy blonde Emily Blunt.
- The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Hits all the right notes on the emotional, comedic and dramatic fronts. Erza Miller steals it.
The opening scene was twice as engaging as anything Skyfall threw at us. Proper intense, and proper hilarious, too.
- Ruby Sparks
Can you say “adorable”? Genius, hilarious and truly heartwarming. If you don’t fall in love with Zoe Kazan, there’s something severely wrong with you.
- The Dark Knight Rises
Never has a comic book movie had so much pressure riding on it, and delivered so emphatically. Pretty close to perfect, in all regards.
One of the most visually stunning cinematic experiences of my life. It’s flawed, but a killer cast and that goddamn “abortion” scene make it one of the year’s best for me.
- Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson’s “live action cartoon” approach works ever so perfectly to make this the cutest, most feelgood film of the year. Never mind how good the A-list co-cast is, the lead kids absolutely nail it.
- The Hunger Games
Also known as “How to Successfully Adapt a Young Adult Book Series” by Gary Ross. So much subtler and cleverer than people give it credit for, it’s a truly remarkable film; certainly better than the book. Gotta love that pushing-it-to-the-absolute-limit-PG 13 violence.
- The Avengers
Despite including it here, I believe folk are jizzing over this one a bit too much. That being said, it’s still rather excellent. Joss Whedon was the perfect man for the job. His script is chocked full of hilarity and the cast have a ball with it. As passionate a comic book film as you’re likely to see.
- Cabin In The Woods
Completely flipping the horror genre on it’s head. Funny and over the top violent. My sick sense of humor ensured that I laughed pretty much all the way through. So, so genius.
JAMES DALY’S TOP FIVE GAMES
- The Simpsons: Tapped Out (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch)
This game may seem to be just another Farmville knock-off on the surface but it quickly established itself as a tongue-in-cheek pastiche. This game is addictive, easily transportable (being on iOS) and hilariously self-aware.
- Dragon Ball Z (Xbox)
I’ve not really given Kinect a chance before but I can safely say that this new addition to Toriyama’s masterful franchise is the best effort so far to convert any gamers who stand defiant against exercising more than their thumbs. The signature art style and graphics work well to create the high-octane combat that DBZ is famous for, and acting out the Kamehamaha against Raditz is a dream most of us have ached to realise.
- Minecraft (Xbox)
Fans of the PC game will know well enough why this is here. In a game where one can create almost anything what is there not to love? The sensation of discovering diamond ore, the shiver when hearing a creeper’s hiss, and the joyful mischief of pouring lava on a friend’s wooden house are among the many reasons to keep going back for more 8-bit styled fun.
- Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3)
I’ve played this game only a handful of times, most recently on the Wii U, and I can safely say that it had gotten under my skin. The fluid combat, the exquisitely choreographed special moves, and the fact that you play as either ninja or kunoichi all had my inner child elated. I’ll also say that the Wii U version’s superiority has me even more excited about the next generation of consoles.
- Halo 4 (Xbox)
What else could it be? 11 years ago the Master Chief debuted in one of, if not the, finest FPS games ever made. With that kind of hype around a title it’s easy to understand the kind of pressure 343 were under to deliver but that is precisely what they did and the end result was sci-fi gaming brilliance. Of all the games on this least, it is easily Halo 4 that I’ll play again, and again, and again.
An honourable mention goes Pokemon Black and White 2. I’ve yet to play this game but even if it is only half as good as its predecessor it will easily earn a place on a fair share of Christmas Lists.
MEGAN FOZZARD’S TOP TEN FILMS
- The Dark Knight Rises
How could I not put this at number one? A guaranteed ‘film of the year’, The Dark Knight Rises fulfilled all my expectations. I spent the entire first viewing just smiling at the screen and looking a bit deranged, I don’t think I’ve been as excited for a film’s release in quite a while (is this how Twilight fans felt when Breaking Dawn: Part 2 was released?). Nolan pulls it off again; great characters and storyline balanced with great effects. The true master of the block buster.
- Killer Joe
This film was massively underrated in my opinion, and if it hadn’t been ‘the year of TDKR’ this would be top of the list. If you haven’t seen this genre-bending redneck thriller come dark comedy, get it out on DVD. Superb acting quality from the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple and Emile Hirsch that is just the right side of weird. One of the most twisted endings to a film I have seen this year, and let’s just say after watching this you will never look at fried chicken in the same way again.
For somebody who stop liking the Bond films circa Pierce Brosnan, I am now definitely back on the wagon. Bond goes back to basics, with all the elements you’d expect from the genre but with a knowing nod towards the 50th Anniversary. Like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, Mendes has taken a character we already know and challenged them with more modern, more relevant threats.
I was a bit disappointed that Haneke wasn’t as harsh on his elderly subjects as he has been in other films, which I think tainted my viewing of the film in general. A bit slow and lacking any real tension like that in Funny Games, but an honest and brutal portrait of love deteriorating with old age. It’s more about what you don’t see than what you do, and once again Haneke’s framing and use of music is spot on.
- The Master
Again, a little bit of a disappointment for me perhaps because of all the hype surrounding it. I still can’t honestly say I fully know what this film is about or what is going on, and I don’t think that I genuinely enjoyed it. The acting and the cinematic quality is absolutely top notch though so it deserves all the awards that it will scoop up for sure. Maybe a second and possibly a third viewing would help me make my mind up on this tricky one.
A French film about a rich paraplegic and a down and outer from the rough end of Paris that avoids being either too depressing or too clichéd. Who knew that disability could be the subject of so many laughs? It’s the second most successful French film ever made on box office figures and down as their entry into the Oscars this year, so hopefully it will get the recognition it deserves in the English speaking countries.
- Call Me Kutchu
I’ve never considered putting a documentary in my top 10, but this one definitely deserves to be up there. It’s an straightforward, and at times brutal, portrayal of the lives of the LGBT community (called Kutchu’s) in Uganda where a ‘kill the gays’ bill is in the process of becoming law. The film shows the ups and downs of their struggle, focusing on David Kato, the first openly gay man in Uganda. It’s intense viewing and full of stories that are handled in a suitable manner.
- 21 Jump Street
Film 2012 recently named this in their top 5 ‘cop duos’ and I’d have to agree with them. In a just about believable premise, two pretty shitty cops are sent undercover to a high school to bring down a drugs ring. When their false identities (jock and nerd of course) are mixed up though, they experience high school like the other one did. Bear with Channing Tatum’s acting and Jonah Hill playing well, Jonah Hill, and you have quite a clever comedy that references the cop film and the high school coming-of-age comedy.
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower
I haven’t read the book (and I don’t really feel I need to since every other line is constantly reblogged on Tumblr) but even I knew that the film adaption of this book was going to be A BIG DEAL. For others who lived under a rock like me, ‘wallflower’ Charlie (Logan Lerman) is considered a bit of a weirdo in high school until he falls in with a kooky pair of siblings (Ezra Miller and Emma Watson). I found the dialogue a bit clichéd and the whole film looked a bit like it had been put through an Instagram filter, with The Smiths chucked in the background, but I think I’m about 4 years too old to love this film. And- all together now- in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
- Grimes - Visions
Perfectly strange and just as beautiful - truly 21st century record that blurs the boundaries of pop and alternative. Grimes might have been everywhere this year – almost to such an extent we wished she’d not be there, there is no doubt she’s fully deserving of the hype.
- Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – Black Is Beautiful
Hype Williams/Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland probably don’t exist. Or if they do they’re trolls from the year 2500 sent to show us how easily we can fall in love with something mysterious. Either way Black is Beautiful is a landmark record that marks the duos movement from abstract to (almost) melodic.
- Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Odd Future got a little old. Swag, Bitches and Suckin Dick wasn’t really doing what it did to people in 2011 in 2012. But then Frank never really was very “Odd Future”. From his first major exposure on Watch The Throne Frank Ocean’s rise has been unprecedented. Channel Orange is the pinnacle of what Odd Future could be, and should aspire to.
- Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Dr Dre isn’t cool. But has he ever really been? One thing he is good at is picking protégés. Eminem’s rise to fame would have no doubt been hampered had Dre not got on board early. But what is interesting is without Dre on board the only thing this album would be missing is a tragically obviously ghost written verse.
- Willis Earl Beal - Acoustamatic Sorcery
A marine, an X-Factor contestant, a homeless busker… Willis Earl Beal has been everything you probably ever day dreams of being as a youth but still succeeds in writing perfectly simple songs and having a voice that will make you melt then die at the same time.
- Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes
Nobody will ever know what goes on in FlyLo’s head. The creative process wil stay a mystery. That’s probably for the best.
- Sigur Ros - Valtari
Just go for a walk on a cold night with Valtari and you’ll understand.
- Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe
The voice that aged beautifully. What Richard Russell did with Gil Scott-Heron on 2010’s I’m New Here he enlists Damon Albarn to help do again, with beautiful and soulful results.
- Best Coast - The Only Place
Sun in our eyes or whatever. That’s the basic Best Coast theme right? Take what Bethany did on Crazy for You and age it, make it more sophisticated and then you have something more like “sun in our eyes and some other more interesting melodies and a lot less reverb”
- Beach House - Bloom
Their most accomplished record yet that takes the basic Beach House formula (in the similar way Best Coast did) but beefed it up and made it more moving.
Don’t forget, there’s still just under three weeks for you to submit your votes for the end-of-year polls. You’ve got until midnight on December 22nd to send us your picks for the best TV, film, music, games, trailers and videos. There are multiple means of voting: on our special voting page here (oooh!), our Facebook, our Twitter or on this survey here. Get to it!