2012 was NOT a great year for film, I wanted to make a top 20 list…I couldn’t think of that many. I thought about making a top 10 list, but I could only think of 9! Then I added another that was just OK. So here they are, 9 films that I enjoyed enough to rewatch the trailer and pull some thoughts about them out of my brain. I also included the trailers here, for you. You’re welcome.
*Continue reading to see the movies!*
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writers: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear
(Adapted from Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel by the same name)
Chances are, if you’ve heard about this film, that you’ve heard what it’s about. I’m not going to tell you anything except that I rarely see a film that is so incredible I cannot find fault…and this is one of them. Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller both pull out their best performances to date in this insane, disturbing, and major brain-spin of a film. I’ve included the only trailer I can find that doesn’t totally reveal the ending. Here’s the deal, Kevin may or may not be evil, he does something bad, every single review and trailer will tell you what that thing is…which is FUCKED UP because it doesn’t become clear to you as an audience member until almost the end. Don’t read anything else about it, don’t watch a clip of it beyond this trailer, and don’t actually even watch this trailer. Just find a way to see it. Seriously.
*Fun Fact! Despite being named, “Lionel,” the author of the book is actually female.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Holy shit, this film. So, P.T. Anderson has directed 6 feature films, and they are 6 of my favorite films. In The Master, Philip Seymour Hoffman (the best) portrays a crazy man who’s starting a cult that sounds A LOT like Scientology. Joaquin Phoenix plays a different crazy man who suffers from PTSD, drinks paint thinner, and worms his way into a life with the cult. Who’s manipulating who? There are several incredibly intense scenes between Hoffman and Phoenix that blew me away, Phoenix’s adoption of the character’s strange physicality along with the interactions between him and Amy Adams-who plays Hoffman’s dutiful wife-are fascinating to experience. I loved this film, Anderson never falls short of incredible when it comes to creating a visual masterpiece. Every detail is accounted for, and even if you find it a bit slow or hard to understand you’ll at least be looking at something in a way that no one else could show it to you. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Master…
Beauty is Embarrassing
Director: Neil Berkeley
Neil Berkeley directs this documentary film telling the story of Wayne White, a man whose name you may not know, but there’s a chance that his creativity made a major imprint on your childhood mind. Wayne White is a puppeteer, set designer, painter, art director, and all around awesome man who’s behind the aesthetic feel of works like Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Shining Time Station, The Weird Al Show, Beakman’s World, and one of the most famous music videos of all time, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight, Tonight. I left this film feeling so inspired to create…anything! Wayne White has one of the most incredible imaginations I’ve ever encountered, he’s absolutely hilarious and makes you feel like it’s not only OK to want to bring to life whatever silly ideas you have lurking in your brain, but that it would be a crime against yourself NOT to!
The Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard
Fan of scary movies? You’ll like this. Not a fan of scary movies? You’ll probably still like this! Personally, I love really scary movies and also enjoy a good bad horror flick. The Cabin in the Woods is kind of both. Co-written by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) and Drew Goddard (Buffy, Angel, Cloverfield) it spans the genre world (which is easy to argue, as I proved in a college research paper where I convinced my class that Thelma and Louise is both a Buddy Film and a Western) as it is a real horror film but also very witty and funny with a twist that-even with the trailer giving away more than it should-is tough to predict until it’s right there in your face. I laughed out loud several times while watching this in a theater, and was surprised that the actors I thought would annoy me were actually perfect for these roles. Seems like it would have been a great film to work on, and you gotta love anything with Richard Jenkins in it…c’mon! Again, I’m including the trailer but I suggest that you just watch the film without seeing it.
The Giant Mechanical Man
Director: Lee Kirk
Writer: Lee Kirk
Jenna Fischer (The Office) hates her life, she sees a man who paints himself and pretends to be a mechanical man and feels inspired. She meets a couple of men, one is lame Topher Grace (That 70’s Show), and the other is handsome-as-fuck Chris Messina (Six Feet Under)…and stuff happens while she lives with her sister and brother-in-law. It sounds boring and at times the film is a little slow, but I happened upon it one night and I really liked it. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Messina is super hot, but he’s also great in this with Jenna Fischer, so check this one out!
*On Netflix instant watch!
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Guess what motherfuckers? A new Tarantino film came out this year and, as expected, it fucking rules. The man knows how to make a movie. It may not be deep, it may not change your life, but you will hear a Rick Ross track laid over some horseback riding and it WILL work for you. Maybe not, but I trust my Mother and she said, “Django is the best film I have ever seen in my entire life.” “Your entire life?” “Isn’t that what I just said, Heather?” There has been a lot of talk about this film, and we all know it’s about a slave-turned-bounty hunter in search of his wife. It’s not racist, fuck off to anyone who thinks it is. Just go see Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx (who I’ve never liked before) be completely badass and enjoy yourself. Look past the schticks that might annoy you, it’s just Tarantino’s style mannnnn…and it’s his film so he can do what he wants and I will still watch it and like it. Tarantino, best. Things just got heated in this commentary. You’re welcome.
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry
Director: Alison Klayman
This documentary is a terrifying look at what one particular artist and activist has gone through at the hands of his own country in order to seek the truth and express his views to the world. Chinese artist, Ai Wei Wei, is well known for rebelling against the government through his art. He has painted and destroyed ancient Han Dynasty vases, and started campaigns to raise awareness of the government’s responsibility to the public to admit their involvement in the deaths of thousands of school children. All the while his own life is being threatened, his twitter accounts and blogs are being taken down or blocked on a weekly basis. Through it all, he continues to raise cats and flip the bird at his motherland…literally. Crazy man, super-interesting film.
*On Netflix instant watch!
Director: Leos Carax
Writer: Leos Carax
Holy Motors is a very strange film. It’s in French…so if you’re too stupid to read then don’t bother. I walked out of the theater and said to my wife, “I have no idea what just happened, but I loved it, and I want to see it again!” She felt the same way. It is fun, disturbing, and wild. It’s not really about anything, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth seeing. Dennis Lavant plays so many characters that I can’t remember them all, he’s just playing different roles and getting out of a limo and being all of these people. It sounds crazy to try to describe it, just see it if you can read and you get the chance!
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Like many people I know, I could not wait for this film to be released! I was so excited that I didn’t even allow myself to watch the trailer because I knew I would FREAK OUT. So when it finally came to theaters near me I was at the first showing. It lives up to it’s expectations for the most part. I’ve never really been a fan of child actors and it’s always a little tough to mentally believe and choke down adult dialogue being vocalized by a child, but with Wes Anderson films you always have be ready to deal with a very adultlike child persona. I dig it, but I think this is the most Wes Anderson-y of all the films he’s made so far and I partially blame that on Roman Coppola. I can’t say why…I just feel like it was him. At any rate, you can’t help but like this film, the kids are funny, the adults are funny, Edward Norton has a fantastic haircut and smokes cigarettes and it’s very dysfunctional and brightly lit. Something for everyone!
Sleepwalk With Me
Director: Mike Birbiglia and Seth Barrish
Writer: Mike Birbiglia, Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish, and Ira Glass
I first heard about Mike Birbiglia on my favorite radio program, This American Life, a few years ago. I think he’d been reading part of his book, Sleepwalk With Me. I looked up more about him and I read the book. I loved it. So not only have I heard him read about it, listened to Ira Glass talk about it for years, and read the book, now I have seen and loved the film! I have to say this is my favorite film of 2012. Some critics have compared Mike Birbiglia to Woody Allen, based mainly on the style of the film and the fact that he’s extremely self-deprecating while also making the audience laugh…and cry. As a Woody Allen fan, I’m alright with the comparison, but I also believe that Mike Birbiglia presents something much newer and certainly more relevant to my generation (as seen from the perspective of a jobless creative). Sleepwalk With Me isn’t just about his insane sleepwalking disorder, and it’s not just about a relationship and the pressures to get married, or how to be successful…it’s about what it’s like to be a human being learning how to be OK with not being OK with yourself.
*On Netflix instant watch!
*DISCLAIMER: You, the reader, may not have the same taste in films as I do (and that’s OK) and in case you hated this, you are NOT welcome. Instead of, “You’re welcome,” to you I say, “I’m
sorry…but I don’t give a shit about Spiderman.” **
**Sorry, I’m not sorry.