As a prelude I will simply say this: my favorites of 2012 are undeniably an odd collection but are undeniably also the ones that struck me most, regardless of genre, budget, box office, or critical/audience consensus.
Having only seen it for the first time less than forty-eight hours ago, I do not feel I have had enough time to fairly digest and analyze and, thus, properly place it within this list and, yet, my gut tells me that on this list is where it belongs. So I will place it at #10 while also leaving myself the right to revise my list later. (I pretty much revise my lists every year anyway.)
It’s a less overtly jokey and more intensely thrilling Cabin in the Woods for action movies.
This might be Wes Anderson’s most complete statement yet – set on an island where kids both yearn for and are suspicious of adulthood and adults who wish they could somehow bottle up the innocent yet devout zest of the kids.
Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have, in a way, crafted a Before Sunrise for history buffs, a historical epic that is not a standard biopic but a dramatic and thrilling talk-heavy re-enactment of a specifically crucial point in our nation’s history and the sculpting of a myth. James Spader’s run to the White House was, to me, more exciting than that plane lift-off in Argo.
Cleverly structuring his mockumentary based around a smalltown murder so that by the third act the audience has essentially become a jury, Richard Linklater offers a sly and strangely poignant comedy that leaves us asking the most ageless and baffling of queries: “Who knows why people do the things they do?”
As sweet as it is foul-mouthed, this teeny-tiny indie (nominated for best new feature by the Independent Spirit Awards) about two teen graffiti artists hustling for cash for their biggest piece of performance art plays like an old-fashioned screwball comedy……with handheld cameras.
Let’s stop comparing it to Bridesmaids (which I admittedly and regretfully did in my review), let’s not call it The Hangover for girls, because that is just a disservice and an injustice. It is tough, it is dark, and it is deceptively complex, and it goes to show that when it’s all on the line even the most judgmental and dickish person can prove her/himself a humanist.
The most (understandably, in a sense) mis-marketed movie of the year. It is NOT about Liam Neeson fighting a wolf – well, not in the way you THINK it is about Liam Neeson fighting a wolf. It is dark and murky, glorious and life-affirming philosophical brawn. “Live and die on this day.”
Another in a long line of Unlikely Friendship Forged films, director/editor Sean Baker’s L.A. sunshine-saturated indie opus is a gently searing evocation of what happens when you are willing to let your guard down, be vulnerable, and open yourself up to someone else. It reminded me of the words of the immortal Roger Ebert: “Some movies are obviously great. Other movies gradually thrust their greatness upon us.”
“They’re trying to figure out where they belong in the universe, in war zones, in their bloodlines. They’re trying to find some balance between the sane and the crazy, between judgment and compassion. But the exhilarating truth of the David O. Russell experience is that — philosophy and pharmaceuticals be damned — the balance doesn’t exist: We’re all just kind of nuts.” - Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILMS OF THE YEAR?