The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Talon Top 5: Best Movies of the Year

The past year has been packed with huge cinematic releases, including incredible spectacles and graphics as well as fantastical art movies. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the top five movies of the year.

The Avengers

Six of Marvel’s main superheroes, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, The Hulk and Thor all team up as The Avengers, to save the world from Loki, Thor’s arch-nemesis and brother who plans to obtain the tesseract, a supernatural cube of unbelievable power.

Every character is portrayed as being humorous and dysfunctional, making this group of superheroes surprisingly relatable. From the self-described genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to the cunning assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), every character portrays a unique human archetype.

Story continues below advertisement

The diversity of character types along with a classic hero-takes-all storyline makes this movie an easy pick for our top five list. With a $220 million budget, the movie’s special effects are absolutely top-notch. The CGI used to depict Loki’s alien army invading metropolitan New York feels almost as real as the characters themselves.


Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is the perfect combination of thrill and grim humor. Set in the context of the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, the movie focuses on six government employees who managed to escape the American Embassy when it was stormed by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, the new ruler of Iran, who loathed the U.S. government.

After directing “The Town” it’s no surprise that Ben Affleck created this powerful of a movie while still incorporating sardonic humor through its implicit criticism of Hollywood’s phoniness.

The movie centers on CIA Agent Tony Mendez, whose job is to rescue six escapees from Iran. The six Americans are stars in a fake movie called “Argo,” a rag-tag replica of “Star Wars.”

Everyone whom Mendez presents the plan to is skeptical including the hostages themselves. But the mission is so crazy and daring, and the fake movie is so absurd, the operation just might work.

Affleck uses the stupidity of a fake movie as a way of poking fun at Hollywood. But he never goes overboard, maintaining a perfect balance between being cynical and suspenseful.

The screenplay is excellently written, and the cinematography complements the complexity and humor of the story. Affleck keeps the characters believable and even relatable, and he allows the viewers to be completely enveloped in the suspenseful plot. This movie is definitely a great watch.


“Skyfall” is a fast-paced, action-filled spy thriller in which the directors bring James Bond back to his original roots. This means nice cars, Bond’s signature pistol and the consistent womanizing we’ve come to expect.

The last two Bond movies have both been setting the stage for this. The villains in the previous movies played as the pawns of the main villain in Skyfall, who ends up being an ex-MI6 agent that Bond replaced. In this movie we learn a lot about James Bond’s past, going deeper than any previous production has ever brought us. Personalizing Bond’s character works here, as it helps to explain a lot of his character flaws.

The cinematography, while not revolutionary, is very well done, and the director, Sam Mendes, handles the fast-paced action scenes effortlessly. The screenplay is also written carefully, making sure that dialogue enhances the story instead of extensive car chase scenes, which previous Bond movies have often used as a crutch.

In “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig has finally mastered the sly MI6 agent, bringing Bond’s convoluted past and complicated future together in, perhaps, one of the deepest action characters of all time.

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is so weird yet so endearing that it’s hard to pass up. A story of young love, the movie is set during a mild 1965 New England summer. Sam (Jared Gilman) is an orphan who lives under the rigid rule of his foster parents and his Scout troop. Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives in a lighthouse with three younger brothers and a great desire to escape and be free. When the two run away to an island they call Moonrise Kingdom, we see a story of enchanted love, and can’t help but run away with them. What draws the audience in is the couples’ insistence on staying together, even while closely evading the capture of each others’ families.

The movie’s cinematography and video editing give off a charming, vintage feel with its green-tinted hue, and intense color saturation. It’s pure Wes Anderson and he draws the audience in but keeps them from relating with the characters too intimately. Because we are kept distant from relating to the movie, we can reflect on our own emotions, on our own childhoods.

“Moonrise Kingdom” brings out the nostalgia of being innocent, and more importantly, awkwardly inexperienced.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” tells a charming coming-of-age story that beautifully assimilates the awkwardness of being a teenager with the internal struggle that accompanies growing pains. The movie doesn’t playfully skate around touchy topics, but rather, it hits them head on and creates a more enveloping story in the process.

Charlie (Logan Lerman) begins a collection of letters to an imaginary friend before his first day of highschool, expressing his apprehension for entering the shark tank that he makes it out to be. After struggling with mental health issues the year before, he feels alone when not surrounded by his family members.

But Charlie’s fears are soon quelled when he is included by a brother and sister team of seniors, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). The movie’s careful attention to detail surrounding adolescent struggles is exemplified when Sam first considers inviting Charlie into her friend group, whispering to Patrick, “I don’t think he [Charlie] has any friends.”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is not the first of its kind, and it definitely won’t be the last, but somehow, it stands out from the crowd of other coming-of-age stories. The complex duality of a tender love story between Sam and Charlie and a brutal tale of teenage isolation serves to its audience a tear-jerking story that reaches out to people of all ages.
The cinematography of this movie falls somewhere between a mainstream and indie movie, and the screenplay, written by the Stephen Chbosky, the original author of the story that the movie is based on, uses intense character conflicts and candid dialogue to create an even more immersive experience.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *