Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 10 Movies of 2012

OK, year-end lists and all that. Since I tend to spend a lot of time listening to music and a lot less time watching TV and/or movies, my lists for TV/movies will be very limited and uninformed. Nevertheless, it's still fun to revisit what I liked this year.

So movies first. This is my weak spot as I haven't basically seen much of what people saw or liked this year. But the following movies (in reverse order) resonated:

10. Trishna (Michael Winterbottom): A grim adaptation of Pride and Prejudice Tess of the d'Urbervilles set in modern India, starring Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed.
8. Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik): A violent meditation on how economics and $$ are the foundations of the American spirit.
8. The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb): A surprising re-invention of Spiderman, one that's actually much closer to the comic book than the lackluster and strangely lifeless movies that came out a while back.
7. Jeff, Who Lives At Home (Jay & Mark Duplass): A funny but touching movie about... well, about a lot of things covered under the veneer of hapless comedy.
6. Cloud Atlas (Lana & Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer): An ambitious (if a bit flawed) movie about the value of freedom from tyranny, set in different times and different places.
5. The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard): An incredibly smart meta commentary on the horror film genre even as it tells a completely entertaining tale.
4. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan): Beautifully filmed movie that shows the dangers of quasi fascism even as it critiques the Occupy movement.
3. Argo (Ben Affleck): A perfectly paced thriller with the added bonus that much of it is based on actual events.
2. Marvel's The Avengers (Joss Whedon): One of the best superhero movies ever made. It's a perfect blend of action, overarching plot, witticisms, lean script, and emotional investment.
1. Prometheus (Ridley Scott): Pretty much a home run as far as a movie was concerned, and I have no reservations in putting it first on the list. Granted, I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek but the movie managed to pack together a tight-action packed movie that added to the "Aliens" canon and hinted towards some big "what is life"-type questions." It was also visually beautiful, a total cine classic, lush, rich, a whole universal experience, in both senses of the word. It obviously drew a lot of aesthetics and tone from Stanley Kubrick, particularly (but not just) 2001: A Space Odyssey, but upped the ante with the mood of Alien and a bit of the ass-kicking of Aliens.

Michael Fassbender's "David" is a perfect update of HAL:

Now, there are a bunch of movies I have not seen that came out this year which I want to see, which deserve some mention (in alphabetical order);

1. Anna Karenina (Joe Wright): I loved Atonement, and the conceit of this adaptation, that it's a theatrical production within the movie, sounds intriguing.
2. The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies): Postwar England, Rachel Weisz, ex-RAF pilots, stiff upper lips, and forbidden love--what's not to like?
3. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino): Probably won't top the awesomeness of Inglorious Basterds but few movies could. But Christoph Waltz is in it!
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson): I'm cautious but excited. I loved the book as a kid. And as a friend pointed out recently, Martin Freeman is more hobbitish than... pretty much real hobbits.
5. The Loneliest Planet (Julia Loktev): Have to see this.
6. Looper (Rian Johnson): Sci-fi with JGL looking a bit like the badass from Inception.
7. Robot & Frank (Jake Schreier): Recommended to me as one of the better (the best?) portrayals of robots on screen.
8. The Sessions (Ben Lewin): This will be sad.
9. Skyfall (Sam Mendes): Bond apparently feels patriotic.
10. Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold): It has Kaya Scodelario from Skins. She potentially has a great career ahead of her.


Anonymous said...

Cool top 10! One tiny correction, though: Trishna is based off Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Ubervilles, not Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

I will also be making my top 10 after I see ZERO DARK THIRTY and Django this week. Unfortunately, I won't have time to see Wuthering Heights (though you should definitely check out the superlative Fish Tank by the same director with Fassbender) or Anna Karenina :(

spaceman said...

Oh yeah, total lapse there. It was indeed Tess of the d'Urbervilles (or d'Ubervilles?). I'm an idiot. I get confused cuz many years ago I saw an awesome South Indian movie that was based on Sense and Sensibility with Aishwarya Rai in it (called Kandukondain Kandukondain) and I always get my desi Jane Austen confused. Kandukondain Kandukondain by the way is definitely worth seeing. Jane Austen would be pleased, I think.

I have not seen Zero Dark Thirty yet. Although I think she's a great director (Hurt Locker was great) I am conflicted about depicting recent history in film, especially the conflict between claiming something is "art" vs. claiming it's "based on a true story." I will check out Fish Tank. Any movie with M. Fassbender is worth watching!

Meep said...

A nice compilation.

Another movie I think you would enjoy is Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Outstanding lead characters and great music from the early 90s.