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By Ben Darkin

A few disclaimers: to make this list I had to have seen the movie and the film had to be released in Australia during 2012 (sorry Django Unchained)

1. The Avengers

This culmination of five years of build up was well worth it. Director Joss Whedon has proved why he is a god to fan boys everywhere, he gave every avenger enough screen time and managed to avoid what many thought would just end up being Tony Stark and his super friends. This is possibly the best superhero flick of all time (that’s right, I said it Dark Knight fans). The final shot of all of the avengers standing in a circle gave me a geekgasm.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This was a great movie and totally unexpected when I went in to watch it. This movie dealt with really hard issues like sexual abuse and suicide, but managed to do so with class and humour. Ezra Miller should get a best supporting actor nod for his role as Patrick (Nothing!), he was phenomenal. Was weird seeing Percy Jackson try and put the moves on Hermione Granger though. Really loved the soundtrack for this too, need to get it.

3. Argo

I knew how this Iranian hostage crisis ended before seeing Argo, but that didn’t matter. The last 30 minutes of this was probably the most suspenseful in film this year, even if you’re aware how this ends up. Affleck was so good I’ve almost forgiven him for Gigli. (Miss Kitty* For those who never saw Gigli it was a really bad yet sort of funny movie starring Ben Affleck and Jenny from the Block while they were dating)

4. Dark knight rises

Great ending to a great series. Chris Nolan has given Batman the series he deserves. Everyone will rave about Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, but her performance as Selina Kyle should not be discounted. She took a character that was absolutely destroyed in her last theatrical incarnation (thanks Halle Berry) and gave her sex appeal and enough confidence to share a screen with Christian Bale’s gritty Batman. Her performance proved Nolan knows what he’s doing when it comes to casting. Fanboys screamed in disgust when princess Mia was cast as Catwoman, just as they did when Heath Ledger was cast as Joker and we all know how that turned out (posthumous Oscar anyone!!!)

5. Skyfall

Great return to form from Bond after the average Quantum of Solace. On par with Casino Royale. Was nice to see a bigger role for Judi Dench and Javier Bardem will end up being a classic Bond villain down the track. It was also good to see Q and Moneypenny added to Daniel Craig’s Bond universe. Hopefully the next few bond flicks will start heading back to earlier Bond films with lots of gadgets and plenty of women for Craig to play with.

6. Wreck it Ralph

Nostalgic for anyone who played a Nintendo in the 90s, and definitely the best animated film of the year. The voice cast and story is amazing, Jack McBrayer manages to play himself again, even in animated form. Not sure he will ever get cast in anything where he’s not a friendly yokel.

7. Looper

Great premise and the latest film to convince me Joseph Gordon Levitt has come a long way since the days of Tommy Solomon. His mannerisms impersonating Bruce Willis were spot on. I loved how this movie took a completely unrealistic tale and made it totally believable.

8. Ted

Basically an R-rated episode of family guy, and the best comedy of the year by a long margin. Seth McFarlane has managed to make you care about a CGI teddy bear, so much so that you almost want Mark Wahlberg to ditch Mila Kunis for him.


9. Pitch Perfect

I went in expecting Glee: The College Years, but left a little bit in love with Anna Kendrick. Also had Ace of Base stuck in my head for several days afterwards. Rebel Wilson deserves a mention too, she grabs her role with both hands in a star making turn as ‘Fat Amy’. Really great soundtrack too. (Miss Kitty Top Pick)

10. Brave

Nice return to form from Pixar after the cash grab that was Cars 2. Please get to work on a sequel to The Incredibles now. This film followed on from Jennifer Lawrence and the Hunger Games, giving audiences a feisty bow-and-arrow-loving female protagonist. Something that has been lacking from the silver screen for some time.

Honourable mentions: Hunger Games, Dredd Chronicle, Spider Man, 21 Jump Street, Men in Black 3

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For those who know me personally, you will know how very much I am obsessed with Harry Potter: the movies, the books and the magic! I am still waiting to find out how my invitation to Hogwarts got lost in the mail all those years ago! So when I found out about Harry Potter The Exhibition at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum I booked tickets pronto.

 On Saturday 14th January 2012 I was up early, Potter glasses on, and together with my Brother, Mum and Boyfriend I was on my way to Sydney. After a quick bite of morning tea we heading to the Powerhouse and low and behold my excitement doubled when I saw a big purple double-decker bus done up to be the bus from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

 Upon entering the museum you get a sense of Harry Potter magic immediately with the flying car hanging from overhead. A powerhouse staff member confirmed that it is actually one of the 6 prop cars that were used in the movie.  

 Entering times were staggered to manage the droves of Potter fans coming through but after waiting in line for our timeslot we then had to wait in line for a second time! This time it was to get our photograph taken against a green screen for a picture to be bought later. After this there was a third line-up (!) but after this we were in.

The sorted a few kids into houses with the sorting hats and while that was pretty cool I thought it could have been done better. From here you pass through to another room where you watch a video montage of the movie series and finally after passing the Hogwarts express you find yourself in the exhibition surrounded by detailed memorabilia from the movies.

 While it was annoying trying to look at everything while people with audio tour headsets standing still right in front of displays, the exhibition was spectacular. It is easy to get caught up in the characters and plot of the movies that you forget all the intricate details that go into the movies.

 The costumes were definitely more elaborate and intricate than you notice in the movies and all the little details that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise are just fascinating. From Hagrid’s Hut and Dolores Umbridge’s office right through the graveyard where Lord Voldemort came back to life the exhibition is incredible. My favourite part of it all, which surprised me the most was actually the exact outfit Neville Longbottom wears in the final battle scene in the last movie, complete with fake blood and dirt stains.

Whether you are an obsessive fan or just someone who has enjoyed the movies, you can’t help but enjoy the magic of the displays. If you can be patient enough to wait in all the lines and can handle the droves of people who have flown on their broomsticks to get there it is well worth a visit. After you are through the exhibition make sure you pick yourself up some overpriced Potter souvenirs and then have fun exploring the rest of what Powerhouse Museum has to offer.

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Last week the final installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise hit the cinemas, making a record breaking $92million at the box office on it’s first day – more than Dark Knight!

I saw the film on Saturday on the Extreme Screen at Hoyts in Blacktown and as a hardcore Harry Potter fan I was more than excited after waiting so long! Given that I have read all the novels I was in no doubt wondering what was going to happen in the end (unlike those accompanying me) but the anticipation was still high.

The film lived up to the hype, I think more so because it was the final HP movie not so much because of how good the movie was as a whole. It was definitely the darkest of all and while most parts of the movie mirrored what my imagination saw as I read the books I was a somewhat disheartened when it wasn’t true to the story line. Be prepared to say goodbye to quidditch and Hogwarts as you know it, and to quite a few characters you would much rather haved lived on. A not-so-typical good versus evil tale comes to end, and just the way I prefer it, Good triumphs!

Some reviews I have heard say that the release of this last film is the end of an era, an end to childhoods for people who grew up with Harry, Hermione and Ron each year as the movies were released. However, I don’t think this is the case at all. As long as people continue to read the dog-eared, coffee stained pages of the novels and watch and rewatch each movies and special features, and visit the dedicated websites then Harry Potter will live on in the lives of many more future muggles.


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