...or the amazing chronicles of everything that I like and stuff.
Here is a fantastic trailer for Edgar Wright’s THE WORLD’S END. Personally I don’t need to see anything else in terms of trailers, just the whole damn thing please.
Not really posting movie stuff (or much else) around these parts anymore, but I thought I should tell you that Stephen Chow’s JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS is available, legally, to buy on bluray over at yesasia, right HERE (you should. Right now.) I just ordered it because it’s ridiculously awesome and super crazy. Special mention for Shu Qi’ slightly insane, super charming, undeniably badass performance. EDIT: Okay I feel a little bad: I can’t mention Shu Qi and not mention Zhang Wen, who carries the entire movie on his shoulders and does a truly admirable job. In a Stephen Chow movie where Stephen Chow is nowhere to be seen, it’s great to see that they picked a male lead who could make you root for him the entire running time. So, yeah, good casting.
There’s a lot of great looking movies that I missed in 2012, here’s a few of them: Miss Bala, Wanderlust, Sound of my voice, God bless America, 5 broken cameras, Your sister’s sister, Savages, Shut up and play the hits, Killer Joe, Klown, Twixt, Lawless, The Master, Dredd 3D, End of watch, The perks of being a wallflower, Seven psychopaths, Smashed, Flight, Silver lining playbook, Anna Karenina, Rise of the guardians, The central park five, Killing them softly, Hyde park on Hudson, Save the date, Zero Dark Thirty, and Not Fade Away. Clicking on any title will bring you to a trailer for the film. I’m not saying all these movies are classics in waiting, but I think they’re all worth a look, with some of them holding a promise of greatness, and others possibly just a really good time. I bring up these movies to make two points; first: my list of favorite movies of 2012 will clearly be incomplete, as it’s probably missing a few of the above titles. Second: contrary to what some people are saying, 2012 was an extraordinary year for cinema, for my money the best in over a decade. Look at the above list, that’s almost thirty movies that are interesting, on top of what has made it to my list below, and any other movies I might have forgotten. So yeah: 2012 will be remembered as important, as relevant. I will not write a big spread on each movie listed below, I wrote reviews for most of them earlier in the year, besides I’m not a particularly insightful writer when it comes to movies. You’ll find much better if you get your google on. But lists are fun, so here goes. By the way, this list is in no order, these are all films I wholeheartedly recommend.
Movies of 2012
The wolf children Rain and Snow (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki), Mamoru Hosada
A beautiful and moving drama about a single mother raising two children with the ability to turn into wolves.
Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh
Yes, the male stripper movie. It’s actually a really, really good film.
The cabin in the woods, Drew Goddard
The best horror movie in years. A beautiful deconstruction of – and comment on – the genre. Is it scary? Not that much. Is it all about horror? Hell yes.
Beasts of the southern wild, Benh Zeitlin
Some of the best acting of the year can be found in this movie. Harrowing, haunting, beautiful.
The raid (Serbuan maut), Gareth Evans
One of the best action movies I have ever scene. Right up there with Die Hard. This movie will leave you bruised.
The Avengers, Joss Whedon
The most satisfying superhero movie based on existing property ever made. Even the much maligned first act is, in hindsight, pretty great, just not as good as all the awesomery that follows.
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson
The most Wes Anderson-y Wes Anderson movie ever, this gorgeous coming of age story has as much substance as it does charm, a rare thing indeed.
Looper, Rian Johnson
Visionary science fiction, daring direction, a perfect script and all around great performances make Looper an instant classic.
Holy motors, Léo Carax
A riveting fuck you to tired formulatic cinema, and containing one of the greatest performances by any actor in a film, ever. Hypnotic, insane, moving, funny. Holy Motors is important.
Lincoln, Steven Spielberg
The director’s most intimate and one of his best films to date,Lincolnboasts another of the year’s best performances in the titled character. A movie where every line of dialogue is calculated and feels precious, and a movie that celebrates politics while never falling into over-simplifications.
Cloud Atlas, Larry Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski
Time magazine’s worst movie of the year is possibly my very favorite. Six separate narratives woven together in movements, like a symphony. One of the many successes of Cloud Atlas is that they made it look easy. This movies flows, is never once confusing, and kicks classic narrative devices out the window within the first minutes. An absolute gem, not to be missed.
Skyfall, Sam Mendes
Saying it’s the best James Bond film ever is a disservice to this film, as most James Bond films are really not that great (though most are a lot of fun). Skyfall is one of the best movies this year, never mind the title character.
Life of Pi, Ang Lee
A visually stunning exploration of the meaning of faith.
Argo, Ben Affleck
Gripping period thriller based on real events. Tight directing, perfect pacing and flawless performances.
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Django and Dr Schultz are my favorite screen couple of the year. Their chemistry is insane. Of course Django Unchained has a lot more than that going for it. It’s funny and violent and emotional, one of Tarantino’s best and simply put: most-see cinema.
The Hobbit, Peter Jackson
Forget about the 48fps nonsense and if at all possible, skip the 3D. What you’re left with is a beautiful and really fun fantasy adventure with truly thrilling set pieces. I can’t wait for next Christmas to see where this one goes…
Jiro dreams of sushi, David Gelb
A documentary in which the best sushi chef in the world lets you into his kitchen. What more is there to say?
Safety not guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow
A beautiful little fable about regrets and friendship and lost love and time travel.
Paranorman, Chris Butler and Sam Fell
A lovely horror romp for kids. I had such a great time with this, and the stop motion animation is a marvel…
Jonathan Levine’s adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel Warm Bodies looks really really fun! I’m frankly a little worn out by the zombie genre but I will definitely be seeing this one. The cast looks great and it just looks really fun… (Also: Rob Corddry!)
Got the embed from Badass Digest.
Michale Mohan’s SAVE THE DATE looks utterly lovely and is available today at the iTune store and various other On Demand outlets. It’ll be in theaters later this year. I’ll be watching it tonight. Please do things right and don’t download this small independent film illegally, because you’re not a complete douchebag.
The trailer for Wong Kar Wai’s five years in the making kung fu epic The Grandmasters delivers on it’s promise. This looks great!
Fascinating interview by David Poland with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. It’s so great to hear those guys open up about their work. There is a segment where Lana Wachowski (incredibly articulate and intelligent woman) talks about, for her, the meaning behind the Matrix movies, and it’s really great to hear her perspective on them. A great watch!
I don’t know where to start.
It is funny that, earlier this week, I saw Leos Carax’s brilliant HOLY MOTORS and tonight I have seen Cloud Atlas. They are both movies that refuse to adhere to the conventions of classic film narrative. And yet, in there own way, they are linear. I did not find it hard at all to follow Holy Motors, only fascinating, and I can say the same about Cloud Atlas. Now I should stop drawing parallels between the two movies because in all truths they are very different, and I have covered Holy Motors a little right HERE, so let’s shine the spotlight on Cloud Atlas, shall we?
I don’t know where to start.
Cloud Atlas is magnificent. It’s a symphony. It’s a spralling, thrilling, intimate, funny, harrowing epic about the beauty, bravery and consequences of the choices we make. And it is epic. The scope here is almost limitless. The movie tells six disparate stories, each belonging to a different time period, some past, some present and some future. All the stories are good. They differ in tone and that could have created a mess of a movie but it does not. The cuts from one story to another are calculated. This movie is a marvel of editing, in fact. The movie flows beautifully, cutting from hundreds of years into the future to a conspiracy mystery in the 70s without betraying either storyline’s scenes and how they are meant to resonate with the audience. The crowd I saw this with laughed at all the right moments (some parts of this movie are incredibly funny) and remained silently enthralled exactly when they were meant to. The movie clocks in at about 2hours and 40mins, I was not bored for one minute of it.
The actors are all having a field day here. Each are playing multiple roles, sometimes villains, sometimes heroes, sometimes females, sometimes males, sometimes black, sometimes white. It is a brilliant device just in terms of tying the stories together but it’s also a fabulous opportunity to see some great actors really strech their wings. Jim Broadbent is astonishing in this movie, and Tom Hanks has not felt this relevent since Saving Private Ryan (not that he hasn’t been good since, but this is different, this showcases everything this guy can do, which is a lot). Halle Berry, who has not had much luck with some of the projects she’s attached herself to over the years, shines here. She has no problems holding her own with Mr Hanks. I could list all the actors and sing their virtues but really, there isn’t a sour note in the bunch and one of the great joys of this movie is that you get so much bang for your buck if your a fan of any one of them (Hugo Weaving as a mean nurse is worth the price of admission, trust me).
The movie is directed by a trio of talented directors. Andy and Lana Wachowski, who brought us Bound, the Matrix trilogy, and 2008’s amazing and criminally underrated Speed Racer, and Tom Tykwer, who gave us the now-cult Run Lola Run, the beautiful Heaven, the somehow hated by some but loved by me Perfume as well as many others. I am less familiar with Tykwer than I am the Wachowskis, whom I absolutely love. They are risk takers and have without a doubt some of the most original voices in Hollywood right now. No one takes chances like these two. The first twenty minutes of Speed Racer are a masterful feat of storytelling. There are very few truly artistic voices who have managed to work within the studio system, which is a true shame, but there they are, pushing and pushing to take the artform to places it’s never been. And Cloud Atlas, while not as showy as The Matrix movies or Speed Racer, sees the directors (I’m including Tykwer here) allowing the possibilities of narrative story-telling to stretch and take us to such fresh territories it’s invigorating. Six stories, interwoven on a huge canvas like a kaleidoscopic tapestry, and yet it’s cohesive, it makes sense, and it never sacrifices tone or emation for the sake of a good editing choice or a clever transition.
People bemoan the state of cinema these days, what with all the sequels and remakes and television show adaptations and videogame movies. People say there are no original movies anymore. This, in a year where we got The Cabin in the woods, The Raid, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the southern wild, Looper, Holy Motors and now Cloud Atlas.
The great movies are out there, passionate artists with exciting visions are working hard to make them, and all that is required of us, our only duty as film lovers, is to see these works of art. That’s it. If you want more good movies, all you have to do is see good movies. How great is that? Just let the money people know that you like it when visionaries are taking the wheel and doing something new.
Go see Cloud Atlas this weekend. There are a hundred reasons to see this movie and I would list them all for you, but I don’t know where to start.
I keep starting this article and erasing everything and starting over. The third time it happened, and I found myself looking at the blank screen yet again, I had a moment of clarity and I smiled. How ironic. There is a real parralel to be made between what I was experiencing and the movie itself. A stop and a start and a stop and a start… except the movie never stops, and only starts at the beginning. This was making sense a minute ago. Maybe I should start over…
Whenever I write these little recommendations for you, when there’s a movie I love enough to sit down and write some words about it, trying to convince you to shell out ten bucks to go see it, I make a point of avoiding to tell you the story, even a synopsis. Sometimes it’s hard but I think it’s worth it. There is nothing that compares to going to see a movie fresh, knowing as little as possible about it. That’s what happened with Holy Motors for me, I hadn’t seen a single trailer. I just went because I heard it was amazing. The funny thing is that if you asked me for a synopsis I’d be hard press to give you one.
I think Holy Motors was made in an alternate dimension where the French new wave re-birth of cinema from the sixties never stopped blooming, and five decades later, Holy Motors is it’s glorious, epic climax. It feels like it is the result of decades of cinema getting crazier and crazier, exploring more and more possibilities of what storytelling can be, and where it can go. Except cinema didn’t do that. In the eighties cinema mostly settled down and got content with itself and where it was at. There are exceptions, of course, but my point is that Holy Motors is kind of a miracle. I can’t trace it’s lineage. What led to this? This brilliant, chaotic, sublime bit of storytelling. How does this happen?
Leos Carax, the man who wrote and directed this film, is a mad genius. After ten years away from long-form storytelling (his last feature length film was 1999’s Pola X, since then he has done a series of short films) he comes to the plate and bats such a homerun it feels like he has never stopped.
The film is centered around what is without a doubt one of the best performances of the year: Denis Lavant’s mysterious man in the limousine. I do not want to give too much away but the actor gets to use every trick in the acting book. It’s all there, up on the screen for every moment of the film’s running time, and it is a virtuoso performance that has to be seen to be believed.
There are dozens upon dozens of memorable moments in the movie, all swimming in my head right now, vying for attention, but one resonated with me more than others: a simple scene of a old man lying on his death bed, and a young woman by his side, saying her goodbyes. The scene is perfectly executed and the way it finishes is nothing short of brilliant. Also, the fact that it works at all, on an emotional level, far enough into the movie that you kind of understand the mecanics of the film, makes it even more admirable.
Holy Motors is not a movie for everyone, but I really wish everyone would see it. It’s bold, daring, unique, more than a little brilliant, and proof that cinema is alive and well, and that the artform can still feel nothing short of vital.
That’s all I will write about it, sorry for the shortness of this post but this is a movie I’d much rather think about than write about, so I’ll leave it to better men than me to do the heavy lifting.
New trailer for JACK REACHER sells me. This looks like a fun throwback movie with good badass dialogue.
Fun poster for this Pacino/Walken/Arkin vehicle.Check out the trailer in glorious quicktime right here.
Here’s the new James Bond theme, for the upcoming SKYFALL. It’s sung by Adele and, well, it’s classic Bond. I really dig it…
Embed via comingsoon.