Thursday, July 5, 2012

favorite films of 2012... so far

So there's still a lot I haven't seen (including a lot of well-recieved Hollywood flicks), but this seems like a pretty decent year for film and it isn't even August yet!

Here are the best films I've seen so far this year, in alphabetical order.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Striking film about a young girl's resiliency(a beyond excellent Quvenzhané Wallis) after a storm in the bayou.

Effective dark comedy about community defiance with a great, honed-in performance from Jack Black (who usually is too-over-the-top for me) as a well-liked small town Texan mortician who ends up accused of murder.

Booker's Place
Moving documentary--which delves into complicated media ethics--recalls a Mississippi waiter of a whites-only restaurant caught up in a maelstrom of controversy, with tragic results,after an NBC news story broadcasts his true feelings.

Cabin in the Woods
Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's fun little mashup of horror and scifi cliches.

Damsels in Distress
A welcome return of Whit Stillman.  This movie, a bit of a satire on the campus flick, has some shining moments (including a luminous Greta Gerwig), even if it falters in parts.

Dark Horse
Wow, I was really surprised by this one.  I haven't loved a Todd Solondz film as much since Happiness.  A short-tempered thirtysomething guy (Jordan Gelber) living with his parents, struggles desperately with himself, his work and relationships. Great, perfectly-cast supporting actors (Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Selma Blair) enhance the film as well.

The Deep Blue Sea
Gorgeously filmed by Terence Davies, this unusual adaptation of a 1952 Terence Rattigan play, follows the passionate relationship between a married woman (a radiant Rachel Weisz) and a fighter pilot in post-WWII London.

Heavy, deep and complicated portrait of a Russian woman (Nadezhda Markina) with familial bonds to fragile lives of both the have-a lots and the have-nots. Read my review

Thrilling little Norwegian chase film pits a headhunter / art thief (Aksel Hennie) against a former elite soldier (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Jeff, Who Lives At Home
Another slacker manchild, this one ably performed by Jason Segal and directed and scripted by the Duplass brothers , goes on a wild, one-day journey of chance and fate.

Beautiful documentary of Bob Marley. Nice use of his music and a fascinating portrait.

Miss Bala
Slick, entertaining Mexican film of a wannabe beauty queen (Stephanie Sigman) caught up with a dangerous drug cartel.

Monsieur Lazhar
A Canadian classroom in mourning after the suicide of their teacher, is suddenly led by a new professor (Mohamed Fellag), an Algerian man haunted by his past.

Moonrise Kingdom
For Wes Anderson's vivid, meticulous sense of aestheticism and color, his heartfelt script, and great ensemble cast, this is by far my favorite film of his and of the year so far.

This was a rough movie, both subject matter-wise and in its messy unevenness, but full of some powerful moments about a stressed-out Parisian Child Protection Unit.

Take This Waltz
Sarah Polley's languid hipster marital drama isn't without its flaws, and not nearly as potent as her Away From Her, but Michelle Williams is again luminous and its use of music (a tribute to Canadian artists) is particularly inspired.

This Is Not A Film
A tale of an aritst in imprisonment: Irianian director (Jafar Panahi), under house arrest, bravely films his day in the life with dry humor, passion and frustration.  Read my review here.

The Woman in Black
A bit stodgy but nicely atmospheric and sometimes creepy ghost story--a remake of a 1989 British film--of a veiled female ghost who drives children to their deaths.

Your Sister's Sister
Lynn Shelton's mostly improvised tragi-comedy is a compelling story of an aimless young man (played beautifully with surprising depth by Mark Duplass) who, after the death of a close friend, finds himself unexpectedly tangled into the lives of two sisters (Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt).

1 comment:

  1. You're the second person today to mention 'Moonrise Kingdom'. I'm going to have to check that out. As a fan of gory horror films, I thought 'Cabin in the Woods' was corny. Maybe if I had known what I was getting myself into, I would have enjoyed it more. Of course, I haven't seen any of the rest. You live at the movies man.