Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Favorite Films of 2012


1. "The Master"

Written & Directed by
Paul Thomas Anderson

A fascinating and exhausting character study revolving around a mentally unstable caveman-like Naval Veteran back from the war who's taken under the wing of a charismatic, yet volatile cult leader.

2. "Silver Linings Playbook"

Written & Directed by
David O. Russell

Based on the Novel by
Matthew Quick

A film that has it all and then some. Hilarity, rough drama, fiery romance, and De Niro as the best he's been since "Flawless," back in '99.

3. "Killer Joe"

Directed by William Friedkin

Written by Tracy Letts

Based on the Play

Brace yourself. This film is a nonstop roller coaster with some of the finest writing since "Pulp Fiction" and one of the best, most overlooked performances of the year (Matthew McConaughey in the title role) as a mentally disturbed Texan detective who moonlights as a Hit Man. The final twenty minutes will scar you for life. In a good way.    

4. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Directed by Benh Zeitlin

Written by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin

Based on the Play, "Juicy & Delicious"

One of the most powerful and enchanting films of the year, centering on a young girl named Hush Puppy, who's forced to learn about courage and love, while taking care of her hot-tempered father's fading health. A MUST SEE. If anything, for the visuals and performance from Quvenzhane Wallis.

5. "Zero Dark Thirty"

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Written by Mark Boal

You know exactly what happens in the end, but somehow Bigelow holds you on the edge of your seat for the entire 157 minutes. Unbelievable performances all around and a "NO BS" attitude that will keep you hooked in and stay put.

6. "The Comedy"

Directed by Rick Alverson

Written by Rick Alverson, Robert Donne &
Colm O'Leary

One of the major surprise hits for me this year. A strange, art film with two of the funniest people on the planet, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (at least, in my opinion) tackling real life issues, in their own, twisted kind of way. A stellar companion piece to Lars Von Trier's "The Idiots." SEE THIS MOVIE, I BEG OF YOU.    

7. "Rust and Bone"

Directed by Jacques Audiard

Written by Jacques Audiard & Thomas

Incredibly moving (and at times, hard to watch) cautionary tale of a young man who moves to Antibes with his son and forms an unusual friendship with a whale trainer, who's been involved in a horrific accident that changes both their lives forever. No words can describe how good this film was.

8. "Jack Reacher"

Written & Directed by
Christopher McQuarrie

Based on the book, "One Shot"
by Lee Child

A surprise hit for me. Trailers never really struck me as something to look for, but I was pleasantly and heavily surprised by how much fun this movie really is. Different than most action films. Much more of a Mystery/Thriller than a typical genre piece. Either way, it's an absolute blast and it truly cements Cruise in the "Hall of Awesome."  

9. "The Grey"

Directed by Joe Carnahan

Written by Joe Carnahan &
Ian Mackenzie Jeffers

Based on the "Short Story" by
Ian Mackenzie Jeffers

Joe Carnahan's finest film to date. An absolute nail biter filled with some of the best performances of the year, especially Dermot Mulraney and Liam Neeson. INCREDIBLE. Great companion piece to Lee Tamahori's "The Edge" from 1997. Just... with Wolves instead of a Grizzly Bear.

10. "Flight"

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Written by John Gatins

Denzel's finest performance since maybe... "Man on Fire...?" And that was 2004. And guess what! He's not playing a Cop this time! This time it's a alcoholic airplane pilot who saves several people in the midst of a horrific plane crash. But was he drunk during take off...? Zemeckis sure went for a hard R with this and did an excellent job, but the screenplay is one of the best of the year.