Monday, January 21, 2013

Top Ten Films of 2012

Within this list I used my own words from past reviews, and ranked my top ten films of 2012.

1-Zero Dark Thirty

"This is one of the best films of the year, the subject matter is handled beautifully, by the geniuses Bigelow, and Boal.  Along with Chastain this team is complete, and they work together effortlessly. Zero Dark Thirty is a thrilling ride into the search for a monster, and never lets you leave the edge of your seat."

Of all the films this year Zero Dark Thirty proves to be allegorical to the evolving theme of the film. In an changing society the hunt for a terrorist provides relief yet anguish.  The way Bin Laden was found harkens to the simplicity, with a take down by Navy S.E.A.L.S.  Yet the brutal tactics of torture and cultural differences add to changing global conversation. In a closing thought of where do you want to go next, the question is left to relieve, but haunt. This is the smartest, film of the year, and the team of Bigelow and Boal did it again!

2-Beasts of the Southern Wild

“For Benh Zeitlin's first major feature film this is one of the most masterfully directed films.  Zeitlin's work with the camera, and his actor's, none have which had done any major motion picture, proves that the energy and heart behind a director can make a film.  Zeitlin not only directed the film, but her helped write the screenplay, and helped compose one of the best scores of the year.  As you watch Beasts you would imagine that Zeitlin is an experienced filmmaker, who has mastered the craft of film making and has been making movies for years.  It's not the years that count, but the passion behind the auteur, and Zeitlin's work on this film is nothing short of amazing.”


“Haneke's direction and script brilliantly unfold a tale filled with moments of agony, grief, but ultimately filled with love.  As you watch Georges struggle, or Ann slip further into illness their connection may hit rough patches. Haneke does not spell out his direction with 100 percent certainty; he often works in the grey leaving ambiguity for the viewer to decide the meaning of a touch, a look, or silent moment.  This helps further strengthen the depth of the story, and makes the performances in his film even stronger.”

4-The Master

One of the brilliant aspects of this film is the way Paul Thomas Anderson focuses on Joaquin Phoenix's Quell and the disillusionment he faces in a post World War II society.  Most people always painted the 50s as this golden era of family values, the husbands/men came home from the war they got their plot of land in Levitttown, settled with their "girl" and led a happy life.  Anderson uses the concept of this lost soul and the newly developed "religion" which takes advantage of those people had no place when they came back from the War.”


The star of this film (in all ways possible) is leading man/director Ben Affleck.  Affleck moves away from Boston and into the terrain of Hollywood and Iran.  One of my favorite lines in the script comes from the fake make-up artists on the film John Chambers (John Goodman) in which he states "So you want to come to Hollywood and and act like a big shot without actually doing anything?..You will fit right in."  This along with the line about anyone being able to direct are laugh out loud moments, but Affleck proves everyone may be able to point the camera, and shoot, but not everyone can create such great work.  This is one of the best films of the year, and Affleck's direction helps set the stage for everything to be made possible.”

6-Moonrise Kingdom

“We Anderson does an incredible job making the children the center focus of the story while creating interesting and complex supporting characters out of the major stars.  Murray and McDormand are great are Suzy's parents, and they add their brilliant comic flare.  Norton rarely gets to flex his comedic chops, which is a shame because he is a talented actor who can do it all, and I love watching him take his role as Troop Leader 55 so seriously.  I was struck most by Bruce Willis; he hit this role out of the park, and has done some of the best acting I have ever seen him do, his raw emotion mixed with great wit is terrific in this film.  Then there were the great small roles for the flawless Tilda Swinton, the straight man Harvey Keitel, and the incredible Jason Schwartzman who always shines in his films.

7-Holy Motors

“Director Leo Carax a former film critic, takes you on a journey fitting together these different puzzle pieces to create something much larger about film.  Carax worked on a larger budget American film, but the film never came to life. With this project never coming to life Carax, started working on this low budget film, and was finally brought to the screen 13 years after his last picture.  Motors feels  like director David Lynch's Mullholland Dr. both providing a sharp critique on movies today, and the evolution of the modern cinema.  The "actor" goes from gig to gig without the emotional understanding of the part or faking the way they feel about the character.  One of the funniest moments was when Lavant played the dying millionaire whose step niece was grieving for him.  After he said his goodbye in what would be defined as on screen, Monsiuer Oscar gets up asks the girl her name and walks out of the room.”


One of the brilliant aspects of this film is the sense of a world changing, but that this change is causing more chaos than good.  The post 9/11 world where the terrorist runs rampant, and is beyond the simple bald man stroking a cat, the villain has to be smoked out the old fashioned way.  How is the James Bond character relevant, or is he?  This franchise poses the question that was established in Casino Royale.  Bond has to become a new man, even though he may not be ready or even up to the challenges of the the people he will have to face.  Craig tackles this role better than ever in this film, not only showing that he can kick ass, but continuing to show the evolution the character started in this "reboot."


As Daniel Day Lewis steps on stage, there is chill that passed down my spine, something he often invokes with his acting, or presence.  Day Lewis is a brilliant as Lincoln; he brings to life the man, his speeches, and shows you just how comfortable he was connecting with the masses.  Lincoln was one of the few Presidents we have had who came from nothing, Day Lewis connects with this aspect of Lincoln, and proves that within him there is a way for you to connect with him in this role on every level in believe in the greatness of this man.”


Johnson's script and direction are key players in bringing this world to life.  Bob Ducsay's editing brilliantly blends the complicated elements of the story.  There are moments when you feel that the complicated nature of the story could hold the film back, but Docsay's editing helps strengthen the power of the story, with quick cuts that blend the stories of young and old Joe.”

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