From a pint-sized girl surviving storms on the wrong side of the levee to a CIA agent planning to rescue a band of hostages, the stories that played out on the silver screen in 2012 were full of heroes small and large. In choosing their top films of the year, Palo Alto Weekly critics Peter Canavese, Tyler Hanley and Susan Tavernetti singled out avengers and activists, superheroes and everymen.
Highest honors went to a shipwrecked teenager navigating the Pacific and the waters of life with a Bengal tiger. Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" was the sole movie to score a place on all three top-10 lists.
Other high-ranking films were: the sharp political thriller "Argo," the heavy-on-the-symbolism indie "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and the poignant dramedy "Silver Linings Playbook." Each made it onto two out of three lists.
For every hero, there's a mess of guys who trip over their own feet. In their annual "worst five" lists, Canavese and Hanley contribute such underwhelming titles as "Rock of Ages," "That's My Boy" and an ill-advised update of "The Three Stooges."
In addition, Hanley gives readers a look ahead at the films of 2013. We'll be watching closely to see which lists those movies make it on next year.