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
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.