Before I begin, what are your favourite films of the year? Doesn't matter if your opinion is right, wrong, pleb, or godly, variety is the spice of life. Pick two, just for fun.
I'm at that point in my career where if someone where to ask me "Have you seen "X" film?", I make that busy filmmaker excuse and reply, "I haven't yet because I haven't the time, but I do try go to the theatre as often as possible." As often as possible, it seems, means I just watch all the big popcorn movies (of which only one is mentioned below). I have been given screeners of some smaller films to watch in my spare time, though I've only gone through three of them, and I ended up seeing two of those on the big screen anyway.
If you guys hadn't noticed, 2012 has been the biggest year for movies since 2003, and it's also the biggest year for movies, ever. $10.8 billion dollars of your monies went to the box office, and now the hardest part for Hollywood is to figure out where to put it all in order to evade the inevitable tax increases. Thank you Obama.
And like 2003, it has been very disappointing. Well, for me, at least. Apparently a lot of you liked this year's offerings. It was so disappointing for me however, that I couldn't think of one film I actually liked without some significant reservation.
I won't do a top ten. I find that most people end up trying to fill and order a list rather than give them the acclaim they deserve, and the staggered releases worldwide just make things too controversial for such rigidity. I also haven't seen enough films. So instead, I'll just do the films that immortalize 2012, and the ones that I enjoyed for some reason or another.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
My oh my, Louisiana. You just did what no other state in the U.S of A has been able to do for a long time: you've made foreign filmmakers stand up and take notice of what the Americans are making. They do say that it's only during a crisis that the most audacious can craft something truly special. If that's the case, it was inevitable that a New Orleans filmmaker would conjure something beautiful in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's by no means perfect, but it's the start of something special, guaranteed.
When you can smell an English-language remake coming from a mile away, you know a French film is flippin' good. It's just scene after scene of hilarity and brutal honesty, with my favourite joke being the practicality of the Maserati. The only knock on this movie is that it doesn't develop a strong enough plot, so two thirds of the way through it slows down enormously. Nevertheless, if a comedy can be judged by how naturally set-ups and payoff develop throughout, this is the one to beat in the next few years.
Rust and Bone
I was wondering if the director of "A Prophet" - one of the best mafia movies ever - could follow up with something just as incredible. Alas, the answer is no. Like the other French movie The Intouchables, Rust and Bone has a measly plot to hold onto, and thus the characters don't get to do anything remarkable in the long running time. But what an intense character study this movie is. It also helps that Marion Cotillard turns in the greatest performance of the year, while Matthias Schoepolish (sic) mirrors her frailty with unbridled testosterone.
AND THE NOTABLE FLICKS
Really, it should be titled "Good flicks", but there just wasn't any apart from the above three.
Looper is to Terminator/12 Monkeys what Moon was to Solyaris/2001. Where Moon felt like a competent homage, though, Looper felt like it was stuck trying to find its own identity. And two thirds of the way through, it tried a gambit which didn't really pay off. In fact it soured the whole thing. It's one of those films I cannot watch again because I know how poo-poo the finale is.
Cabin in the Woods
The more interesting experiment of the two Joss Whedon had done this year, it's got enough wit of its own to make people forget Scream did the exact same thing 17 years ago. It's just that after the first half, it doesn't know what to do with its plot twist, and so decides to amp up the farce by the end.
Pirates! Band of Misfits
Not the best of Aardman, nor the worst of Aardman, but the world of film could always do with a little more Aardman.
Everyone says this is a good action film. I disagree, because Die Hard is a good action film. This is a nicely choreographed action film, however, and that's why it's notable.
Life Without Principle
You got it this year, North America, and most of you didn't see it. Many of you that should were too busy watching the pretentious w@nkery that is South Korean New Wave. Please fix that. Anyway, Johnnie To is probably Hong Kong's number one auteur (yes, even bigger than Wong Kar-Wai), and this microcosm of the Western world's economic crisis is rather sharp. I do wonder if Johnnie To needs to find his stride in non-styIish gangster flicks, though.
If there ever was a personification of the flaws of 20th century German-Austrian intellectual discourse, it'd be Haneke himself; Amour has all the elements to make profound statements about human love, but instead devolves to shock, revulsion, and mild confusion, with the pretension to parade around as intelligent thought.
(Here lies a film by Ben Affleck which GameSpot considers a swear word. Ah well.)
There are films I haven't mentioned, probably because I haven't seen them yet, and the notable ones I want to mention are The Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln, which only come out next month/year. Personal favourite Kathryn Bigelow is also coming out with the apparently incredible Zero Dark Thirty, which could turn out to be my favourite for all I know.
Anyway, it's two hours 'til the new year here in NZ. I've got to write up my resolution that'll hopefully score me a place in a 'best of' list in a couple of years. That includes 5am weekday starts, intense exercise, networking, and writing, and constant prayer prayer that I don't mess it all up. Oh, oh, oh, and two of my resolutions are really interesting: I'm building my own book case for my amazing personal library of books, and I want to build my own fight stick!!! Two awesome hobbies for the next 365 days.
See you guys on the other side... and don't forget to tell me your fav films.
P.S if champ does a last blog of the year, he has to sign out with either a Jensen or Timmy gif. There can be no other option.