The 2012 Phagee Awards

Phagee Awards 2012

The years… they come and go faster than Lindsay Lohan‘s court appearances. But 2012 was special. It was the year that Film Phage entered the universe, kicking and squealing at the bright lights… once again, just like Lindsay Lohan. And as is traditional at this time of year, I think it’s apt to take a retrospective look at the year that was and hand out the coveted Phagees [pronounced fay-jeez]. In this, the First Annual Phagee Awards, there are a number of categories and prizes up for grabs – none of which are worth the paper they’re printed on, or indeed, the pixels they’re displayed on.

Loyal readers who’ve been with us from the start will know that our birth was only in the middle of the summer, so the films released in the first half of the year were in the months BP (Before Phage) and as such, have no reviews. We’ve been thinking long and hard whether it’s right to include these “unreviewed” films in our awards, and we came to the conclusion that yes… yes it is right. If you disagree, then please write to the Awards Committee at and make your voice heard!

In each category, we have up to 5 nominees from all the films released this year. But there can be only one winner in each! Also, we’re running with the UK release schedule – we got some 2011 films in 2012 and won’t sadly be getting the likes of Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Django Unchained until 2013! Regardless, let’s get this show on the road!

Best Animated Film

FrankenweenieParaNormanBraveIce Age: Continental DriftRise of the Guardians


Phagee Frankenweenie

Yes, like you, we also don’t think Tim Burton is the Messiah, nor do we rate many of his newer movies, but we really felt Frankenweenie was a cut above the rest of this year’s nominations. It looked gorgeous and had a deliciously macabre sense of kooky humour to it. Its innumerable nods to horror films of yesteryear was also really nice to see and easily merits repeat viewings. Plus, it’s Burton… you never know how he’ll end a film. He’s not afraid embrace the darkness. All this being said… had Disney decided 2012 was an appropriate year to release Wreck-It Ralph in the UK, the winner’s podium may not look exactly like this…

Best Male Actor:

Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe) / Tom Hardy (Lawless) / Pierce Gagnon (Looper) / Ben Affleck (Argo) / Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)


Phagee Tom Hardy

Now, as my loyal Phagelings know all too well, I’d be more than happy if they cast Tom Hardy in every movie until the end of time and 2012 really has marked his arrival with the mainstream audiences courtesy of his roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless. I think the guy is a sheer force of nature, which is why we’ve awarded him the 2012 Best Male Actor Award. Not just for his subdued and stunning performance in Lawless, but also for his sheer presence and abilities as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. I do however have to give much credit to the young Pierce Gagnon. I’d be very tempted to give him the prize owing to his skills in Looper, but I think there’s more to come from this little guy. I want to see what his next move is.

Best Female Actor:

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) / Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man) / Juno Temple (Killer Joe) / Kate Winslet (Carnage)


Phagee Jennifer Lawrence

Having looked through all the releases that have dropped in the UK this year, I’ve got to say that it’s something of a paltry selection for Best Female Actor this year. In the US, you have Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Les Miserables already released. But here? No such luck. That being said, Jennifer Lawrence has really come into her own thanks to that performance in Silver Linings Playbook and is totally deserving of the Phagee here. I really enjoyed her performance here and the chemistry and back-and-forths between Bradley Cooper and Lawrence made for a sleeper hit for the year. Glad to see she’s being recognised in the “real” Awards Ceremonies in the world too.

Best Comic Book Adaptation:

The Amazing Spider-Man / Dredd / Avengers Assemble / The Dark Knight Rises


Phagee Avengers

What a year for the comic book fan! Ultimately though, this came down to a two horse race between Marvel’s Avengers Assemble / The Avengers and DC’s The Dark Knight Rises. Although I found the dark tone and Tom Hardy‘s portrayal of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises to both be particularly appealing, you’ve got to hand it to Marvel Studios for pulling off the film that many thought would be too big and too grandiose in scope. But Joss Whedon scripted and directed one hell of a film. I must confess, I’m a Marvel fan boy, but who didn’t laugh at Hulk’s squabbles with Thor and Loki? Or feel the “ooo, this is awesome” sensation upon seeing the trailer for the first time. Be honest! And with the quick glimpse of Thanos in the closing credits… well… I can’t wait for Joss‘ next script and instalment in 2015.

Best Comedy Film:

21 Jump Street / American Reunion / Seven Psychopaths / Silver Linings Playbook / Goon


Phagee 21 Jump Street

2012 was a great year for comedy and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the selections in this category, especially the underrated Goon, with Sean William Scott acting his chops off in a role that wasn’t Stifler. Having said that, the runaway hit of the year for me was 21 Jump Street. Who’d have thought that Channing Tatum, the dancing fiend, would have such comedic timing? It was also great to see Jonah Hill in a funny comedy once again. We all know that he was great in Moneyball, but it’s good to see him back at home getting some laughs. And who doesn’t love it when Ice Cube shouts at people? Roll on the sequel…

Most Searched For Term on Film Phage:

Is Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama) in Sinister? / Sofia Vergara’s boobs / Ron Perlman as an ape / Pierce Gagnon / Merida in Brave


Phagee Pierce Gagnon

We’ve had some truly bizarre search terms bringing people to Film Phage this year. Some of you are rather odd. Let’s just say there’s been some extremely peculiar terms entered into Google! Whilst lots of people were searching for a glimpse of Sofia Vergara‘s cleavage, courtesy of The Three Stooges, she didn’t bring us the most traffic. No, that honour went to the young Pierce Gagnon thanks to his sterling turn in Looper. However, it was nice to see that some of my odd comparisons this year also brought in the traffic. Hundreds of people still want to know if Kevin Dillon aka Johnny Drama from HBO’s Entourage is in Sinister. I’ll again answer this… no, it’s just Ethan Hawke doing his best Drama impression. Similarly, no, Ron Perlman does not voice Gutt the pirate-ape in Ice Age: Continental Drift – that honour goes to Peter Dinklage. So many of you also were trying to hunt down pictures of Ron Perlman shirtless / in his younger years / grinning. You crazy bunch.

Worst Film of the Year:

Piranha 3DD / The Three Stooges / Keith Lemon: The Film / Snow White and the Huntman / The Muppets


Phagee Keith Lemon

Wow, there really were some stinkers this year – even before Film Phage launched. And no, I didn’t think The Muppets was fun either. I fell asleep for the first time in a movie since I was about 4 years old. But the dubious honour of “Worst Film of the Year” goes to Keith Lemon: The Film. Never have I been so bored and unentertained in a comedy movie. Even the teenage target audience were walking out of the screening before the 1 hour mark was up. Maybe Kelly Brook should have opted to somehow appear in Piranha 3DD after her turn in the original Piranha 3D, instead of opting to guest in this. Not “bang tidy”.

The 2012 Film of the Year:

Argo / Looper / Avengers Assemble / The Dark Knight Rises / Killer Joe


Phagee Looper

And so we arrive at our biggest Phagee: The Film of the Year. It was tough. Real tough. Although Killer Joe was the first film reviewed here on Film Phage, it still remains one of the year’s best for me thanks to McConaughey‘s performance. However, my film of the year rests with Looper. I know… a controversial choice. Although I loved Avengers Assemble and really think it achieved so much, it had a rather basic plot. I understand that this was probably needed as it was essentially an “Avengers Origins” movie, but it still lacked a riveting story. Looper cannot be accused of the same. Yes, it has its plot holes, but it also has Pierce Gagnon. And Bruce Willis back at his best. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretending to be Bruce Willis back at his best. We enjoyed every moment of the film and brand it with our Phagee for Film of the Year.

What were your most enjoyed films this year? I’m sure many of you have opinions and your own favourites. I’m also sure many of you disagree with me on my big Phagee winner of the year: Looper. I’ve yet to see it figure anywhere else in any other poll of the year. Controversial? Probably. But I bloody enjoyed it… and that’s what matters.

Looper (2012)

It seems as though we can never get enough of time travel stories, different dimensions and “what’d happen if you changed the past?”. Sure, movies have thrown this idea around a lot, but so too have television series such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and Sliders. Audiences love the “what if…” scenario. So, what if you met your future self and were charged with killing him / her, or you would be killed yourself. Welcome to the world of Looper my friends… one of the best movies of the year.

So I might have jumped the gun a little there, and let slip that this is a fantastic movie, but why should I keep teasing you with what my verdict may or may not be for an entire article?

The premise of Looper, if you’ve not been drawn in by the trailers, is that Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper – a contract killer of sorts who disposes of people that are warped back in time by some future authority. By doing so, the person disappears from the future, and in the present? Well, they find a totally unknown body. Simple. Except if you factor in the whole time travel thing… that’s probably a little complex. However, Joe’s contract is terminated (closing the loop) when his future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back for extermination. Future Joe runs… and so present Joe pursues.

Ok, it sounds complex, but I’m not doing it justice. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ll know the gyst of the film. However, what I will say is that if you’ve seen the trailer then the film offers much, MUCH more than what you’d expect. Although I don’t want to divulge too much, let’s just say that things have happened by the year 2050 (when the film is set). It’s not a cyber-punk future ala Total Recall, but there are certain differences in the people and places. Saying much more would ruin what is a brilliant script and plot.

Whilst I could wax lyrical about the plot, I’ll restrain myself. Needless to say, it’s captivating and sucks you in from beginning to end. It’s not an M. Night Shyamalan movie – we’re not going to find out that Bruce is a ghost or an acid trip by young Joe.

What I will yabber on about is the acting. Bruce Willis is, and will remain, one of my favourite actors. I think he’s great. That being said, he’s been putting out little in the way of big blockbusters in recent years. They’ve either not been starring roles, or they just weren’t that widely applauded. Looper changes this. Bruce is back to his best – he’s weathered, world-weary and determined. It brings to mind the John McClane of yester-year – humour and all. What is remarkable is how they’ve made Joseph Gordon-Levitt look so much like a warped version of young Bruce. Sure, we all know what Bruce Willis looked like in his younger years… essentially the same as now, but with more hair… but the make-up artists have gone to town to make sure his brow, his eyes and general demeanour are like Willis‘.

Yippee-ki-yay kid… it may not be uncanny, but it’s not too bad!

Levitt never really registered on my radar in recent years. I knew him as that kid from 3rd Rock From The Sun when he appeared in 2010’s Inception. Since then, I’ve checked out some of his older cuts (which inspired little in me), but this guy has bloomed. If you enjoyed his acting in The Dark Knight Rises, then his performance here eclipses that. So long as you can get over that make-up, you’ll be fine.

Mock-yeah-ing-yeah-bird-yeah. Yeah? Yeah!

I also need to mention two other key players in the film: Jeff Daniels and Pierce Gagnon. One of these names you should recognise. For me, Jeff Daniels will always be Harry Dunn from Dumb & Dumber (a personal favourite), but here? Wow. Daniels is great. Here he plays a mob boss – Joe’s employer. His scenes are all sublime and were really a revelation to me about just how good an actor he is. Maybe if I watched The Newsroom I’d already expect such abilities from the guy. The second name on that list you won’t recognise. Pierce Gagnon plays Cid – a young boy that features prominently in the film. This kid has skills. His acting is extremely mature and obliterates many other child performers’ abilities. I just hope that this guy sticks at it and doesn’t become a Haley Joel Osment. Remember him? He sees dead people. Maybe there’s a correlation between Bruce and good child actors? If you’re a parent – put your kid in a Bruce Willis film pronto.

After so much gushing about the characters, I hope you can see why I loved the film. For me, it was a perfect combination of character-driven story and an innovative and creative plot. People are comparing Looper to The Matrix for this reason, and although Looper probably isn’t as ground-shattering as The Matrix was over a decade ago, it’s still a brilliant piece of film-making. You’ll wonder why you’ve not heard of writer / director Rian Johnson before and rightly so… because he’s not directed anything on this scale before. His closest run in with the big time was 2005’s Brick, which also featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I personally found Brick dry and quite tiresome, but others hail it as a cult film you must see. I predict much bigger things for Looper. This won’t be a cult hit. This should just be a hit.

I’ve no idea where Rian Johnson pulled this idea from unless he was visited by a future traveller… or unless Rian Johnson IS a future traveller that possessed intimate knowledge of the future film industry. However, considering his miniscule and less-than-Earth-shattering directorial resume, I doubt this somewhat. But never say never…

Levitt and Willis are obviously the stars of the film and put in some brilliant performances, but you can’t discount the supporting cast either. Everyone is firing on all cylinders to make Looper a standout film. Sure, it probably won’t win Oscars because it’s not that type of film. But what it is is a great example of modern day cinema. It’s the sleeper hit of 2012 and one that I’ll travel back in time to see again… Or at least travel back to the cinema to see again.

Phage Factor:

5 Star