Films of 2012
2012 has been a vintage year for film, for both blockbusters and indie flicks, so here are my top 10!
10. The Master
The film I was most unsure about, and, in truth, if I’d seen a couple of films (‘Argo’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ I think), this probably wouldn’t feature in my top 10. However, the performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are not to be underestimated, the pair shining as patient and the titular ‘Master’. Phoenix is a big nervous man, unsure of the world after returning home from war, not fitting in anywhere, until he meets Hoffman, a leader of a Scientology-eque (is that a word?!) cult. The story is long, drawn out and at times, boring, something director Paul Thomas Anderson needs to brush up on a bit, but the cinematography, attention to detail and score mark this up. The motorcycle scene, managing to track the main pair as they blast along a desert, is breath-taking. Not a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch, but an interesting mess? Yes, sounds about right.
9. 21 Jump Street
Whoever would’ve thought Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill would be 2012’s most hilarious double act?! Not me that’s for sure, but the two had audiences in stitches with great roles in cop-comedy ‘21 Jump Street’. It’s self-aware, sweary,but most of all, just really funny! Hill and Tatum, freshly-qualified as a couple of cops are drafted into a programme that sees them go covertly undercover in high-school, with the aim of busting a drugs ring that is killing kids. The story rarely allows it to be come dark and grim though, with one of the 4 stages of the drug known as ‘Tripping Major Ballsack’, as bigger indication as any of the type of humour. It did, unexpectedly, make my family laugh though, so the appeal is there. In any other year, ’21 Jump Street’, would be my top comedy of 2012, however this year has been a good one for the genre…
8. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson has always been a Marmite filmmaker for many, myself included, his works often derided for their lack of personality, emotions and general plot. Infact, I used to defend his own ‘The Life Aquatic’, until a recent watch proved it to be shallow and just plain old boring. However, the stop animation style of ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, showed a different side to Anderson, and I loved it. So, going into ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, starring his favoured alumni, Murray, Schwartzmann, Balaban, with a few extras in the shape of Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton, I was filled with trepidation, hoping not to be desperately disappointed. And I wasn’t.
For, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, is a great piece of work, tackling love with its two lead young newcomers, whose characters are complicated and wise, despite their youthful appearances, whilst the glittering cast of adults are merely reduced to acting like kids. It’s a smart twist, as they instigate a search party for the pair of child runaways, but find themselves to be complicated too, Willis has an affair with the girl’s mother, Murray is an closed-off father, and Ed Norton is a fantastic scout leader, who genuinely cares for his troop, but can be reduced to tears within seconds by a superior scout leader! Everyone has issues, as is the case with many Wes Anderson films, but it all amounts to a happy, beautiful-to-look-at film, worthy of tonnes of praise. Let’s hope Anderson can continue his recent hot streak, and not get caught up in his own hype.
I wouldn’t have expected ‘Looper’ to have charted this high when I first saw the trailer, sure it looked good, but good at the most, I mean when has their ever been a good time-travelling film?! However, it blew me away, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, again?!, lighting up the screen with their joint-portrayal of ‘looper’ Joe. It manages to incorporate a time-travel plot line successfully, with an opening monologue explaining the concept in a couple of minutes, but the plot moves about, so you genuinely don’t know where it’s going next, a good thing in this! Supporting turns by Emily Blunt and the best child-actor I’ve ever seen in a film, add to the concoction, with a genuinely surprising ending, that is daring, something many modern-day films wouldn’t have done, and all credit must go to director Rian Johnson, a man who must be on the shortlists for many of the big studios next big pictures, as a result.
Whilst many were let down by Ridley Scott’s long-awaited, is it a prequel or a sequel, to ‘Alien’, I enjoyed it immensely! Sure it wasn’t anything like its predecessor, but I think you’d have been a bit silly to have expected a carbon copy of such an iconic film. What we got added to the mythology in spades, with a lot of mystery and action throughout, complimenting each other well. The beginning is slightly stodgy, taking a while to kick in, especially on repeat viewings, but when we get going, we definitely get going! There’s a lot I don’t want to spoil just in case, but s**t goes happen to the crew of the ‘Prometheus’ crew, as they are sabotaged from within, and from dormant beasts. A couple of scenes in particular, one involving a caesarian of an alien creature and the ever-present android, David, played by the magnificent Michael Fassbender, as he causes such events, are brilliant.
Fassbender is the best here, but is complimented by a wealth of talent, both male and female. Idris Elba, the ship’s captain, and a man given the role of leading a blockbuster all by himself in next summer’s ‘Pacific Rim’, original ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, Noomi Rapace, who aside from a dodgy English accent, does the job. Charlize Theron, the second of her big roles of the year, as an is she or isn’t she robot, along with Guy Pearce as a stationary old man, the man who sent them on their journey to the deep reaches of space. ‘Prometheus’, is almost as epic as it gets, and, again, isn’t a complete masterpiece, but I enjoyed it very much!
Part 2 of 2012 is coming soon!