This is the other half of my recent post ‘ Top 20 Films of 2012 (Part 1)‘ although that is fairly obvious, and does not need explaining whatsoever. Instead of repeating myself, I will get straight into it and kick off the list-
The brutal and honest film about an elderly couples physical, mental and emotional struggle though coping with old age really did stir me. Beautiful world cinema at its best. And no, the title isn’t ironic, it is probably one of the most powerful love stories ever. The film is beautifully character-focused and this is so unusual from directors these days. Michael Haneke has received such mixed reviews, some love him, some loathe him. He does not use any of the movie techniques that directors usually fall back on, the whole film is pretty much set in the couples apartment, there is no score, long shots are common and the whole movies utterly depends on the actors; and they definitely don’t disappoint. I suppose, what I am really trying to say is that Amour is an acquired taste, it is stunning and beautiful to anyone’s eyes, but it is an acquired taste. You either fall asleep, or announce your undying love for the film, or even someone you know. It is hard not to be affected by this movie.
I know what you are thinking,’ the new James Bond film will definitely be common ground on a film-geeks blog’, but I can completely justify this. You would think a 50 year old franchise such as James Bond would never be able to surprise you, but what did Skyfall do? It shocked. Even if this film was not associated with James Bond, and was a stand-alone film, I am certain it would still be in this position on this list. On anyone’s list to be fair. Javier Bardem was so sly, slick and entrancing, and Daniel Craig and Judi Dench really did stretch themselves in this movie like never before, in all films they have starred in, not just Bond. This film stripped back the legend of James Bond, exposed his vulnerable side, as well as boasting beautiful cinematography and a psychological and original script.
8. Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan made his (probably) last ever Batman film, proving that you can make accurate, original and completely well celebrated comic-book movies without dipping in quality each time. Despite Heath Ledger creating a high bench mark for the next Batman villain, Tom Hardy reached it. As much as I love the ‘Joker’, Bane is close to becoming my favorite comic book villain of all time, which is a strong statement to make. This was one of the first times that I had actually feared for Batman, and thought he was ‘out of his depth’. Bane may not harbor the psychopathic flamboyancy that the Joker boasted, but you wouldn’t want to cross him. It is ambitious and fiercely modern, and this film is bound to be in the top 10 comic-book movies, maybe even at number 1?
The first Hobbit movie felt really surreal due to the amount of time that I had been waiting for it. It seemed like it was never going to happen, what with everyone dropping out and crew changes and blah blah blah. The Hobbit is a must-see. Having Peter Jackson back in Middle Earth is a gift sent from above, and with the 2nd installment coming out next year, expect to see the Hobbit in a similar placement. I really can’t note anything wrong with this film, it is all you could have asked for, and is fairly faithful to the book.
6. Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow once again joins with ‘Hurt Locker’ screenwriter Mark Boal in a match made in movie heaven. This is real sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of tension that Hollywood has spent years perfecting. What else would you expect from a film about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden? Zero Dark Thirty boasts the theme of committing inhuman things to restore humanity, so pretty heavy stuff. During the raid scene I was right on the edge of my seat, with my heart racing, completely enveloped by what was happening on the screen, despite knowing the ending.
5. Les Miserables
Being a huge fan of the book, then the musical, I couldn’t wait for the musical phenomenon to be brought to our big screens. I mean, ok the singing might get a little annoying if you aren’t used to it, but the overall film has everything you could ever want, drama, action, comedy, love, redemption crime, politics. Stunning performances from each member of the cast, be it huge stars or small parts that were designated to the stage actors. The direction is beautiful, the singing is beautiful and the cinematography is beautiful. If this doesn’t make you want to start a student revolution, I don’t know what will.
This film is highly unappreciated, I believe that The Master will be come more reputable with age, well, I can only hope. I feel people shun this film due to already having an opinion on it, without watching it. It includes breathtaking cinematography and performances, Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic, Joaquin Phoenix is incredible and fully deserved the Oscar nomination, and even possibly the Oscar, although a film like ‘The Master’ would never win over the conventional Academy. Both actors showed such a rounded performance I was completely blown away. Sure the film is hazy, long and sometimes quite confusing, but it is beautiful and that is why it has made it to such a high rank on my list. Anderson’s film is a masterpiece and a love story for the ages, people just need to open their mind to something that isn’t a conventional film.
3. The Avengers
The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawk Eye, Captain America and Loki all in a film, what could possibly go wrong? It is a given that Marvel’s Avengers will sit up there with the best comic book movies, maybe even at the top of the podium. This is down to a few reasons; the brilliant writing and directing by Joss Whedon; the brilliant combinations of all the actors; and Tom Hiddleston. The Avengers was everything we fretted it wouldn’t be – fun, original, exciting and emotional. Doesn’t the film make your doubts look stupid now? A lot could have gone wrong, Joss Whedon managed to entwine a heap loads of characters, who are usually up front, and changing them to work side by side, which seems like a pretty hefty job.
Ever since Spielberg announced the ‘Lincoln’ film I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the date to be announced. Knowing that it was also sourced from the book ‘Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln’ made it even better (I would highly recommend the book). I think what really makes Lincoln so glorious is struggle it takes to achieve political goals. Tony Kushner’s script is mesmerizing and incredibly motivational. I mean, I just want to pass a life-changing amendment now. I appreciate how it follows Lincoln through the 13th Amendment and his death, rather than a whole bio-pic that would become strained. Both the script and Daniel Day-Lewis capture Lincoln’s courage, passion and burdens beautifully. I really can’t praise Daniel Day-Lewis enough, his hunched frame mirrors Lincoln’s emotions, characteristics and burdens in such a parallel way that it makes me totally euphoric as I stare in awe at the cinema screen. It has been a while since I have come out of the cinema feeling such relief and warmth.
isn’t his Oscar speech enough to win you over?
I know you think that this is fairly obvious, a movie-geek routing for the new Tarantino film as the best film of 2012, I have to admit, this was an easy choice for me. Not only because I adore Quentin Tarantino, nor the fact I adore Christoph Waltz, but because it is one of the most entertaining films I have seen in a long while, and expect to see for a long while. Django Unchained is a glorious companion for Inglourious Basterds, with another perfectly rendered script and characters from Quentin Tarantino. Once again, Waltz shines, with their combined love for the English language, what could go wrong? It’s a brawling and gritty western, with all the modern dry humor and fantastic wordings and scripts that you would expect from a modern great. This film is so Tarantino, it hurts. Where else would you find a gritty shoot-out scene scored with a 2Pac song? The movie-geek himself, strikes again. What film that uses Leonardo DiCaprio’s real blood isn’t good? Tarantino once again tackles a taboo, in a spit-your-drink funny film, mixed with spaghetti western, and of course the ‘Tarantino’ genre.(You can really measure the impact in the film industry once you have your own genre)
(p.s happy 50th birthday for tomorrow Quentin)
Well, that concludes my Top 20 Films of 2012, a hell of a year for film-making. Let’s just hope that 2013 will be ever better.