Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Top Films of 2012 - Some Honourable Mentions

This is the article where I will respond to those little comments from 'oh. where's [insert movie they like]' to 'this guy actually bothered to put [insert film] on this list, but not [insert film]'. So whatever's missing, I'll partly address here. I put in eleven spots (eleven, because I'm really kind) because there has been so many good films released in the past year or so, both coming in from genre and the arthouse. But there are five films that kinda missed out. Here are some of the movies that have just missed the cut because 11 is the limit.

I should mention that there are movies that I still haven't seen but could be a good candidate for any of these countdowns. Films such as Dredd, The Master, Pitch Perfect, A Royal Affair and many others that are quite obscure or unknown to actually be seen.

21 Jump Street
I was surprised into how much I was entertained with this movie. If Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena had a friendship beyond convincing in End of Watch, then the bond between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill has more sweeter moments to its benefit (then again, most buddy cop movies all does the same thing). There's a lot of self reflex and self awareness to the tone of the film, thanks to Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill's screenplay which is pretty much why 21 Jump Street surprisingly works. Tatum also presents some of his comedic chops which may be the best thing about him as an actor. Have some fairy dust, motherfucker!

I certainly would say this is an actor's film given that the only thing people could even talk about is Jack Black as Bernie Tiede. And why shouldn't they since Black gives out probably his best performance of his career as the most nicest and saintly murderer since Bjork in Dancer in the Dark. Another aspect that carry this movie to the warmest of hearts is that it's shot in a documentary where real life residents of Carthage speaks out about what actually happened and how much Bernie is a nice guy which turns it into a truly engaging character study.

A very late entry, Dredd is surprisingly fun and works very well as an action movie is supposed to be. Having not read the comic series or seen the original Judge Dredd, I had a blind eye upon Dredd simply due to its poor marketing from Lionsgate and the fact that The Raid, which had a similar premise of a building invasion from authorities, I was surprised to how this is incredibly entertaining. This is action escapism at its most fun; it's visually impressive with its gratituous slo-mo drug sequences (some of the best I've ever seen) and the gorgeous cinematography from Anthony Dodd Mantle. Karl Urban is a gruff and gritty take of the title character, but the other characters especially Lena Headley's villain and Olivia Thirlby's Anderson have a surprising amount of depth and drive the plot.

Killer Joe
I'll admit; Killer Joe was merely OK and for all the flaws William Friedkin's film contained, there are many moments that are more than mind-blowing. Like Matthew McConoghey beating the crap out of Emile Hirch with a can of soup or Gina Gershon sucking on a chicken drumstick. This and Winter's Bone may make an appropriate double feature, but where that film is about the survival of the family, Killer Joe is a dark, twisted look of a family under debt. It's a cross between a Coen Brothers film and Blue Velvet and McConoghey's one of many comeback performances as the title character is darkly twisted and hilarious.

Project X
Maybe I should explain to the elders of film criticism why I defended this film and as a result, they asked me to remove my article of it.  I did, yet I still stand by my thoughts though; this movie isn't an abomination that a lot of people have suggested. Sure the characters are god awfully framed, the movie's an entire music video and the filmmakers may be charged with crimes against human decency; but I'm 100% sure that Todd Phillips, Michael Bacall and Nima Nourizadeh made a bet into who could create the most amoral movie ever made. And they've succeeded. Yeah, for me, this is dangerously close to 'so bad, it's good' territory (well to be fair it slightly touches 'so bad, you have to see it to believe') since it's just normal 'bad'. I'd be tempted to call it the worst movie of the year, but there are so many goddamn moments that just blew my mind, I can't really attack this rather than defend it.

The Sessions
The Sessions shows the most honest portrayal of a man with a disability I've ever seen while at the same time becoming very uplifting. While its premise of a man trapped in an "iron lung" finding a connection through sex may range from bizzare to cutesy, it manages to remain down-to-earth thanks to John Hawkes amazing performance along with Helen Hunt's frankness. It's charming, tearful and pretty earnest.

This movie had just missed out in my actual Top Films of 2012 list and if I had done a ranking of the films I saw, it would have been No.12. 

Unfortunately I am not much of a James Bond fan (seeing how I haven't checked out every movie in the category), but I've seen all of the films based on Daniel Craig's parts including Skyfall to know that I really enjoy the character and his performance. From what I've seen this is Bond's existential crisis, which is reveals a deeper and human side inside of him. In terms of cinematography, this is perhaps the most beautifully shot film of the year as it is unsuprisingly shot by Roger Deakins. What's surprising however is Sam Mendes whose work is known for exploring existentiality (American Beauty, Road to Peredition) directs this as if Christopher Nolan was under the helm with the majority of the scenes under the realm of The Dark Knight. Javier Bardem brings in what could be the most underrated villain in all of Bond's history as the camp, but vengeful Raoul Silva. It's not on par with Anton Chigurh but he still holds an impression. Skyfall is so good that it attracted so many detractors and I don't know why. Is is because it's so familiar to The Dark Knight? Was Javier Bardem an incompetent villain? Or was MI6 a disorganized spy agency? It is just too artsy for an action movie? For all of those reasons, I would assume that you didn't like Skyfall because you really didn't like it

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