Frothygirlz Best and Worst of 2012
Shannon’s Top Ten:
1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. Life of Pi
3. Silver Linings Playbook
5. The Impossible
6. Magic Mike
8. The Grey
9. Les Miserables
10. Your Sister’s Sister
Honorable Mentions: The Raid: Redemption, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Jeff Who Lives at Home, The Sessions, Klown, Flight, Sound of My Voice, The Imposter
Shannon’s Worst Five
1. American Reunion
3. Jack Reacher
4. The Woman
5. Killing Them Softly
Nat’s Top Ten
10 = Chicken with Plums – With the best set design of the year, this little piece has a way of adding some creative touches right when you have it figured out.
10 = The Master – While I wholly expect this to go up in estimation and appreciate the enormority of Phoenix, Hoffman, and perhaps most of all Adams’ performances, PTA’s period drama has all the intensity but not quite the hypnosis of There Will Be Blood.
9. Chronicle – This loses something on rewatch, even any prior knowledge of the film going in, and I don’t have much of an interest in revisiting it, but at my blind screening, I was very impressed. It gives superpowers to three distinct personality types and shows the unfortunate consequences for all three: the nerd abuses his power, the jock gets foolhardy, and the average guy becomes an outcast.
8. Expendables 2 – Stallone brings it back again (yes) with his uber-macho misfits and tosses in more screen time for Willis and Schwarzenegger, as well as another guest. To try making sense of it is to do a disservice; the action’s fine, but I’d rather sit around and hear them razz each other all day.
7. Lincoln – Spielberg’s never adapted Dickens, a realization that seems shocking until you further realize that both are defined by their originality and mastery of form: Spielberg simply couldn’t find anything to add. Lincoln is likely to be the closest we’ll come, and for its collection of eccentrics, intermingling of the higher and lower classes, institutional indictments, and warm and wary humanity, it’s an unexpected pleasure.
6. The Three Stooges – Are there any filmmakers working today who are more underappreciated than the Farrelly Brothers? Their tribute to the comedy trio is nothing less than perfection – that’s not to say the film itself is perfect, but no other film this year is so exact a respresentation of what the director(s) hoped to achieve than The Three Stooges. Diamantopoulos, Hayes, and Sasso don’t just look their parts either; they have the mannerisms and physical comedy down to an art. I haven’t laughed more in the theater this year.
5. Killer Joe – Although it staggers under the weight of its own strangeness in the last five minutes, this Brechtian comedy/drama is far better and more enjoyable than anything he ever wrote (or stole). Pure sexy and hilarious trash.
4 = Les Misérables – Tom Hooper’s direction doesn’t offer much and if anything brings the movie down, but the material is so strong it makes up for any flaws. Yeah, Crowe sounds nasally, but as the character Javert, he’s totally convincing (bascially it’s the older, Frencher version of Bud White, but hey I’m more than fine with that) and Jackman and Hathaway show strengths I never knew they had. It’s melodrama, but some of the depthiest melodrama you’re likely to see.
4 = Silver Linings Playbook – Almost the complete opposite of Les Misérables. Where the former unites the stories of many characters, Silver Linings focuses on a few; where Misérables is sweetly romantic, Silver Linings is sourly real; if the drama of Les Misérables is a sustained blaze, Silver Linings is more explosive. While one hero’s struggles is against society, the other’s is against himself, yet for all their differences both are equally profound.
2. Django Unchained – Tarantino’s revenge Western is more fun and clever than almost any other film this year, with excellent performances and the same sly wit we can expect. It gets better once you realize that he’s not really trying to say something about slavery; he’s having a lark.
1. Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson finally addresses the ’60s, and what wonders he works. Subtle and audacious; funny and serious; surreal and yet wholly grounded. Anderson may be the only director who’s at his best when indulging himself; and with Moonrise Kingdom he’s placed two opposing polarities next to each other, forcing out the best movie of the year.
Honorable Mention: Life of Pi, Pirates! Anna Karenina, The Dark Knight Rises, Wreck-It Ralph, Project X.
Not Seen: Holy Motors, Amour, Zero Dark Thirty, The Imposter
Nat’s Worst Five
5. This Means War
4. Promised Land
3. Hyde Park on Hudson
2. The Lorax