January 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
Its 2013, and with another year of movies behind us we decided to list our favorite 10 films of the year past. First up honorable mention.
Chronicle and Cabin in the Woods.
These two genre pieces began the year off with a bang, along with another movie we will get to later on down the list. Chronicle feels like an inevitable entry, a cross between the contemporary trend of superhero movies and found footage, shaky cam, first person perspective movies. An interesting first film from Josh Trank, a fresh eye definitely enhanced this cautionary tale of youth and power being a disastrous combination.
Cabin in the Woods deconstructs the horror genre beautifully while at the same time being a more than competent entry into that genre. It’s hilarious and gruesome, while at the same time providing a commentary on the 30 plus years of fans whom flock every year to watch teenagers die painfully. Perhaps fulfilling some sort of fantasy of middle aged men watching ungrateful teens full of life and vigor unappreciative and unworthy of such endowments. Some say it announces the death of the genre, I say it announces the rebirth.
And on to the ten.
#10 Cloud Atlas
The idea is wonderful, the imagery is gorgeous, the music is sublime, the acting serviceable, the direction workman like, the script is ambitious to say the least. Taken altogether unfortunately it does not quite fit. My favorite section is the bit about the music being written by the great Ben Whishaw, which I think could have been a film unto itself, obviously with the inclusion of his past and a bit more about his love affair. I found this portion of the film hypnotic and wondrous, and I was upset every time we were torn away from it, not unlike being torn away from a lover, when all you wish to do is hold them in your arms. And this brings us to my main issue with the film. The inter-cut narratives send us hurdling through space and time every few minutes. From a slave ship in the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic jungle colony, and back to a 21st century nursing home. I love every segment differently and for separate reasons, and I feel like a lot of people loved individual sections of the film, and had we been able to stay with that character, latch on to that conflict, hold on to that lover for just a bit longer, the film would have been embraced by many more viewers. But alas, we must make do with what we have, and what we have is an ambitious, epic, serene film, that reminds us we are watching a movie every few moments rather than allowing us to get lost in the whole affair.
#9 The Raid
Nonstop action. I don’t want to sound like a poster quote, but wow, what beautiful chaos. An astounding feat was pulled off right beneath the noses of the movie going public. Also something that has not really been available to mainstream niche audiences. A film that mostly only die hard action/cinema (cinephile- I hate the term) fans have seen, and did not crossover to general audiences. This film was not hijacked by popular culture, to feature on some fraternity nitwits t-shirt. (No axe to grind here) The Avengers are cool now. Let me say that again. It’s cool to be a fan of the Avengers. Obviously talking about them incessantly isn’t going to get you laid anytime soon, but the fact that the girl you are hitting on has more than likely seen the movie and knows who Tony Stark is makes my point. I remember a time when only true geeks knew what an Avenger was and we were a tight nit community. My digression is not without a point, The Raid is kind of a niche geek film that not many people have seen, or will likely see. Yet it’s phenomenal, and dare I say, a better genre exercise than said Avenger flick, for my money any how. The two films have much in common. Cliche video game story lines, and goofy dialogue. You can watch both with the sound off and you won’t miss a beat. But The Raid articulates its genre with vision and preciseness, maybe a luxury a small film has that a large blockbuster does not. It serves the blockbuster to paint with large strokes, film making with a hammer, The Raid is image capturing with a scapel. The result is a kick to the head.
#8 Project X
An instant classic. The Party movie of all party movies. Yet there was a strange reaction from my generation of film fanatics, they claim to have hated it. They say its a hipster movie or a bro movie or some sort of perversion on the party film. No it isn’t. Its the eventuality of Animal House, Bachelor Party, PCU, Old School, Superbad. Those films made a promise, and that promise was Project X. The film delivers on all fronts, its literally about nerds throwing a party and trying to get the girl. They get the girl, they throw the greatest party ever, and they suffer the consequences. The fact that it’s found footage only serves to tie it to this generation, to the youth of this time even more. I said it before, it is my opinion that if this movie had come out in the 80′s, obviously with the caveat of changing social mores and language to fit the time period, my generation, the same people that claim they hate it, would unabashedly love this film. So do yourself a favor, sit down, have a few drinks and laugh your ass off as you watch this movie.
Whoa. This movie kept catching me by surprise. Just when you think you’ve got an idea what is going on, it flips your idea over on its head. It didn’t shatter any ideas that came before it, but it takes all of those ideas and takes a long hard look at them and reconstructs them into something you’ve never seen before. It’s a visceral experience, one that is at the same time painful and joyous. You get the sense the characters are folding into one another, as the story folds into itself. It’s a heady, complex, sci fi, action, coming of age story , with western sensibilities and a dose of mob drama. If that doesn’t pique your interest, stop watching movies. This is why movies exist.
#6 Moonrise Kingdom
His movies feel like dreams, and this one the most lucid of all. A dream of young love, of first love, unjaded and ignorant of the truth, juxtaposed with the jaded, faded love of yore. Burnt out love that perhaps once resembled the young love at the center of the story, now a distant memory. Love becomes a prison to escape from with secret midnight trysts with a mistress. But before all of that, before the fighting and crying and pain and resentment, you were young once, and in love. This is that dream. Try to remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Breathtaking cinematography, and harrowing imagery puts this film here on my list. I don’t care that some of the plot lines go unexplained or explained away in a silly matter. You have never seen Sci Fi this big, on this scale, in this way. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone but monster aliens fighting each other on an alien world is awesome. Period. And when it is captured with such a keen eye it literally takes your breath away. It might be silly, but it’s never stupid like an Event Horizon. It takes great care to keep you invested and interested and never misuses your trust. The last thirty minutes is batshit but it at least has the decency to bring you along for the ride. I will watch this many times.
#4 The Master
“You tell me what you think this movie is about.” might just be the theme of the year. Some dislike the ambiguous nature of the films that have been coming out as of late, I saay there’s room for a bit of ambiguity. Let the audience think for themselves a bit. It won’t hurt them. This movie however requires the audience to do a lot of heavy lifting, although both principle actors do quite a bit of lifting themselves. It’s not about any one thing, how could it be? It’s a journey into the self, or selves of the principles involved. Including PTA. Why would it have a pinpoint thing its about. Does life? What’s a flower about? I sympathize with bewildered audiences, sitting there in the dark watching this movie, waiting for a story, or a conflict, or a purpose. If your looking for any of that here, you’ll be searching for a long time. Go watch the Avengers, plenty of that in there. It’ll tell you exactly what it’s about, over and over and over again. You know, I forgot to say something.
#3 The Grey
More Ambiguity. Why live? Why die? Why fight? Why give up? Why do anything? The film asks these questions, more subtly than I, and its answers lay in the viewer. A strangely quiet and introspective thinking man’s action flick. It glides and drifts like snow, in and out of light. There are truly terrifying scenes of horrific violence and pain, but this film is constructed in such a way as to never let us take death for granted. Its unflinching and unwavering gaze on death put chills in my spine, not for the images on the screen, but for the thoughts roaming in my own head. Watch it in the dark if you dare, but you won’t fear the wolves. What can man do?
This movie takes all that is Bond, and turns it up a few notches. It borrows heavily from the blockbusters and action flicks from the last decade, all of which owe there very existence to the Bond series, and rolls them into one gorgeous package. It’s sleek, it’s stylish, it’s shot with perfection, and it’s cool. Really cool. Too cool in fact, it winks and laughs along with the audience, and it never misses a beat. The third act is problematic, but everything else is so sumptuous it doesn’t even matter. I love this movie. It confronts Bonds past, blows it up even, making a statement for this being the definitive Bond. Which it is.
#1 Django Unchained
I was worried about this one. The subject matter, the controversy, Foxx and DiCaprio in roles I never would have chosen them for, yet now I have trouble seeing anyone else in those boots. Tarantino’s masterpiece. It tackles controversy by spitting in its face, and laughing. Kill your past, it cries, in blood. Unchain yourself from your burdenous history. Be becoming, always. It’s not only stylish and expertly crafted, its hilarious, and never holds any punches. This is one Tarantino has wanted to make for a long time. Cool, calm and collected, it never betrays history, yet it captures the sentiments of the now. Yes this was a terrible time in our nations history, terrible things were done to people because of ego and pride, but can we not rise above it? Can we not behave as civilized people? Even if our ancestors could not? Let us learn from the past and leave it there, not be shackled to it like Prometheus, allowing our painful histories to gnaw at our hearts forever more. He blew himself up too, which was pretty awesome.
- Best Films of 2012! (theeor.wordpress.com)
- Top Ten Movies of 2012 (bizarrocentral.com)
- More Details on THE RAID Sequel and Cast Confirmed (geektyrant.com)
- 2012 in review: 10 movies to see – or see again (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- ‘Avengers’ Voted ‘Most Overrated Movie of 2012′; Cronenberg on Comic Films: Not High Art (screenrant.com)
- Top 10 Movies of 2012 (Vikki Myerscough) (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Dave’s Top 10 Films of 2012 (collider.com)
- Top Movies To Look Out For In 2013 (screencrave.com)
- The 4: Favorite Movies 2012 (cwtampa.cbslocal.com)
- Nordling’s 10 Most Anticipated Movies Of 2013! (aintitcool.com)