REVIEW: “Triple Frontier”

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There has been no shortage of heist films over the past few years and they have pretty much covered all the bases. We’ve seen widows, hillbillies, magicians, even the elderly all set out to for that one big score. The new Netflix Original “Triple Frontier” gives us a different type of heist movie yet one that doesn’t stray too far from its genre roots.

“Triple Frontier” had me at its cast. Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund are all actors I throughly enjoy. I wasn’t as familiar with Pedro Pascal but he’s a good addition to this group. The five play old special ops buddies who reunite to pull off a seemingly quick and easy heist. Of course it wouldn’t be much of a movie if the job was easy.

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J.C. Chandor directs and co-writes the script along with Mark Boal. They offer up characters who aren’t just out for a quick buck. They are real-world people struggling to make a living after their military service. Tom (Affleck) is a realtor who can’t afford to send his daughter to college. William (Hunnam) does low paying motivational speeches for troubled vets. Ben (Hedlund) makes what money he can in warehouse mixed martial arts fights. Francisco (Pascal) faces an upcoming court date for transporting drugs.

Santiago (Isaac) is only one still semi-working in the field. He’s a private military consultant assisting the Colombian government in their war against the drug gangs. He learns through an informant that a local kingpin is holed up in a remote safe house with millions of dollars in drug money. Santiago travels back to America to recruit his old squadmates to help him take out the kingpin and grab the money for themselves.

At first the band is reluctant to get back together, especially Tom. But Santiago knows the situations of his cash-strapped pals and his sales pitch is good. He convinces the team to get back together for the proverbial ‘one last mission’ but this one isn’t for their government or their country. This one of for them and their future. Or so it seems.

For me these characters are a real strength of the film and the motivations that drive them are compelling. I do wish Chandor and Boal would have spent a little more time on their individual stories, but once the five are together their chemistry is undeniable. So many big names have been attached to the movie – Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy, Mahershala Ali, Mark Wahlberg, Will Smith, among others. That’s a lot of talent but I still wouldn’t change a thing. The cast is spot-on top to bottom (keep an eye on Hunnam. I like him more with each performance).

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Another strength is Roman Vasyanov’s cinematography. Hawaii and Columbia provide the beautiful and rugged vistas for him to capture and he shows a keen eye for shooting action sequences. They are tense and thrilling but also shot in a way that reflects conscience. What does that mean? This isn’t a full-throttle 80’s style action picture. There’s no thrill or enjoyment in the gunplay. But there is real conflict and consequence. In fact the violence is never gratuitous and Chandor’s camera often focuses on the shooter’s face instead of the bloody results.

It should be said that “Triple Frontier” doesn’t paint its characters out to be heroes. They’re flawed, damaged, and conflicted men wrestling with their own moral justifications for what they are doing. Some of their actions clearly originate from a deeper personal anguish, something I wish the film delved deeper into. Still, their chemistry is authentic and palpable, the story is full of tension, and just when you think you have it figured out it throws an unexpected but welcomed curveball.

VERDICT – 4 STARS

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Random Thoughts on the “Batman vs Superman” Comic-Con Trailer

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San Diego Comic-Con has evolved over the years. That can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. What started as a comic book convention has evolved into a full-blown entertainment extravaganza. Movie fans have grown accustomed to a host of new reveals from an assortment of superhero, horror, or sci-fi films. This year one of the big ones was from Warner Brothers and DC Comics. It was a new trailer for “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice”.

The sheer scope of this project was enough to excite me beyond measure while also concerning me that WB had bitten off more than it could chew. The first teaser certainly scratched my comic book superhero itch, but it also left tons of questions and worries. Well at Comic-Con we got a bigger, bolder, and more revealing trailer that shot my excitement levels through the atmosphere. So many nuggets of information was shared. It is impossible to process it all with one viewing. Here are a few random thoughts and observations about the new footage we were given:

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  • Finally context is given to the whole Batman vs Superman concept. The trailer unfolds the entire reasons for the impending superhero scuffle and it is pretty compelling. We still need to see how it plays out but it looks promising.
  • I love how this film will address one of the major gripes most people had with the last Superman movie – the seemingly careless disregard for Metropolis or human life in the finale. According to the trailer that subject plays a huge part in the BvS story. We see it early in the trailer through the people’s and government’s anger. We also see it later as a force behind Bruce Wayne’s drive to stop Superman.
  • WONDER WOMAN!!! I have to say Gal Gadot look fabulous and she could truly be a force in this film. The trailer shows her in the middle of an undisclosed fight unleashing a really cool move with her bracers. But we also see her in an evening gown which shows that her role is probably multidimensional. Gadot has me excited and I think Wonder Woman may prove to be a pivotal character among the warring alpha-males.

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  • Lex Luther appears in the trailer and he definitely has some devious plans at work. The trailer shows three key Luther images. First we see him with what appears to be Kryptonite. Second we see that he is in possession of Zod’s dead body. Third we see him talking to Superman from a rather dominant position and Superman doesn’t look too happy. Lex is clearly getting his hands dirty while the two heavyweights are duking it out.
  • Speaking of Lex Luther. We get our first look at Jesse Eisenberg as one of DC’s great villains. I have to say at first I wasn’t convinced with Eisenburg’s casting. Unfortunately his spots in the trailer did nothing to ease my concerns. I’m not sure what Eisenburg is channeling but it doesn’t resemble Lex Luther. From his terrible wig to his weird almost Joker-inspired line delivery. Hopefully better things lie ahead. The Luther character deserves greatness.
  • Jeremy Irons as Alfred. In the first Batman series Alfred was almost strictly a butler. In Nolan’s Batman Alfred was a butler, a sage, and occasionally a little more. In the trailer Irons’ Alfred is still dishing out wise advise but he looks as if he is ready to jump into the action. Not sure how I feel about that. But Irons is a great actor and I’m anxious to see what he brings to the character.
  • DC’s movies have generally been a bit darker than Marvel’s and we definitely see that in the trailer. It is something that may not work for some, but I love how it distinguishes the universe. And this is definitely a story that would call for a darker tone. Hopefully the movie sees it all the way through.

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  • Could we have gotten teasers of a possible Joker appearance? We see Bruce Wayne looking at a newspaper with a message written in red. We also see a suit of armor with another written message along with the familiar “HA HA HA”. Is this the Joker? We know he is set for “Suicide Squad”. How does he fit into this equation?
  • Speaking of that suit of armor, it doesn’t appear to be Batman’s. In fact, after a closer look it just may be Robin’s????
  • Batman in a trenchcoat? There is a brief shot of Batman in his batsuit but also sporting a trenchcoat. It is a very cool look but my bigger question is where is he? The next scene shows him fighting in this dusty ravaged almost otherworldly location. I’m curious.

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  • Speaking of that fight, the soldiers appear in several scenes. They are decked out in all black armor including face shields and helmets. Most intriguing are the Superman crests found on their shoulders. Who are these guys? Where are they from? Better yet, are they human? Why do I ask? In the scene with Batman we see him snapping one of their necks. We know Batman doesn’t kill, right? RIGHT???
  • That final shot! Superman rips off the top of a destroyed batmobile probably expecting to see a hurt and defeated Batman. Instead Batman slowly rises from the wreckage and we get a heart-pumping face-to-face. The absolute perfect way to end the trailer!

Those are just a few random thoughts about this exciting trailer. There are so many other potential nuggets of revelation. Have you seen it? Did you think it was as thrilling as I did? Whether you did or whether you didn’t, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

REVIEW: “Gone Girl”

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There are a number of popular modern filmmakers who are beloved by their devoted fans. Interestingly enough, I often find myself a little more mixed when it comes to these directors. David Fincher is a good example. I didn’t like two of his more popular films “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. But I’ve found that Fincher has made more good films that I have appreciated such as “Se7en”, “Zodiac”, and “The Social Network”. His latest film is “Gone Girl” and it can definitely be grouped in with Fincher’s better projects.

Fincher is no stranger to dark and uncomfortable subject matter. It’s a trait of many of his films that sometimes works but other times turns me off. “Gone Girl” has a bit of both, but for the most part the dark material is very effective. It feels like about three movies put into one and the film ends in a very different place than where it began. I can’t honestly say I found each ‘segment’ of the film to be equally compelling, but I can say the movie never flattens.

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The story begins on the day of Nick and Amy Dunne’s 5th wedding anniversary. Nick (Ben Affleck) returns to his Missouri home to find Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing. Signs indicate a struggle and soon Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) is leading the investigation. Amy’s disappearance attracts a media frenzy and people become obsessed with the never ending cycle of news about the case. As Detective Boney digs deeper she uncovers inconsistencies and holes in Nick’s story. This combined with the media hype ends up making Nick a key person of interest.

To go into any further detail would be doing a huge disservice to the movie. It’s based on Gillian Flynn’s popular 2012 novel so many people will know how it plays out. But lets just say that the narrative takes a significant shift in the second act and an even bigger one in the final act. As I mentioned above these shifts never flatten the film. It maintains its intensity and intrigue throughout. But I do think the movie starts off incredibly strong only to slowly and slightly step away from what I enjoyed most about it. It’s not that the ending isn’t satisfying. In fact I like the way it ended quite a bit. It just seemed like the story strayed a bit in getting there.

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But I don’t want to cut this film short because it does so many things well. Fincher employs a fractured style of storytelling similar to several of his past films. Carefully crafted and well placed flashbacks are sprinkled in to give us nuggets of information about Amy’s disappearance. But to make things more complicated the audience is frequently fed small bits of unreliable information. Misdirections and red herrings conflict with the truth and muddy any insight into what actually happened. I loved that. I found myself hanging on every exchange and flashback trying to determine fact from fiction.

“Gone Girl” also dabbles in a number of different themes, some more intriguing than others. One such theme is economic hardship and particularly its effects on a marriage. In fact “Gone Girl” seems to project a very cynical view of marriage as a whole. It seems to be constantly nipping at the concept of a happy and stable marriage. Or is it indicting us for our self-centeredness which often destroys marriages? Perhaps its most effective examination is of the media and the sensationalism that seems to follow these events. Tabloid journalism and the predatory tactics of reporters play key roles in the film. And Nick is shown how to use and manipulate the media and their willingness to exaggerate or stretch facts.

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And then you have the performances. I like Ben Affleck even though I understand some of the criticisms thrown his way. He is often dry and seemingly emotionless. But I find that his acting style often fits the characters he is portraying. That’s definitely the case in “Gone Girl”. Affleck offers the right tone and demeanor and he constantly has us trying to figure him out. But the real star is Rosamund Pike. She is an actress that I have always loved and have wanted to see get bigger roles. Hopefully this will be the performance that finally gets her the attention she deserves.

“Gone Girl” has many of the signature trademarks of a David Fincher film. The visual presentation is moody and comfortless yet perfectly appropriate. The music from Fincher favorites Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor creates atmospheres of tension. Also the film sometimes turns me off by pushing its desired edginess a little too far. All of these things scream Fincher. But where some of his other films in the past squander their potential “Gone Girl” capitalizes on it, at least for the most part.

VERDICT – 4 STARS

 

REVIEW: “To the Wonder”

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Terrence Malick is a filmmaker that marches to the beat of his own drum. To be honest, that’s one of the things I like the most about him. We say this often but here it unquestionably applies – you know a Terrence Malick movie when you see one. Malick has a distinct style of lyrical and visual storytelling and you either respond to it or you don’t. Personally I love it. Now sometimes his style is more impressive than his finished products, but for the most part Malick is one of my favorite filmmakers. In fact, his last film “The Tree of Life” was my clear favorite film of 2011.

Malick is a director who takes his time and only makes a film when he’s ready. This is evident by the fact that he has only six movies on his directing resume. His latest, surprisingly only two years after “The Tree of Life”, is another exercise in lyrical and contemplative style. It’s one of my most anticipated films of 2013. It’s called “To the Wonder” and for me it’s another soul-stirring gem that throws the textbook on conventional moviemaking out the window. Instead Malick is making another deeply personal film, possibly his most personal movie to date. It’s also his most romantic, most spiritual, and most tragic film all at the same time.

The movie follows a young couple as they navigate the unquenchable joys and the devastating heartbreaks associated with love. We first meet Neil (Ben Affleck) and Marina (Olga Kurylenko) in Paris, France. The two are madly in love and Malick expresses it through a rhythmic series of romantic and absorbing scenes in such beautiful Parisian settings such as the Luxembourg Gardens and the banks of the Seine River. There’s also a majestic sequence with the two outside of town at the gorgeous Mont Saint-Michel. Neil and Marina can’t seem to be able to control their affection for the other. There’s a strong focus on touch in these scenes whether it’s holding hands or running a hand across the shoulder blades. The romance between Neil and Marina is sublime and beautiful and I never doubted its authenticity.

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Marina, a Paris native and single mother, decides to move with her daughter to the States in order to be close to Neil. They land in midwestern Oklahoma where Neil works as an environmental safety inspector. The contrast between the energetic and vibrant Paris and their sparse and sometimes empty Oklahoma community almost serves as a metaphor for their relationship. The two who were as passionate as the French city they consumed now battle creeping bouts of emptiness and an emotional wedge that we watch grow and grow. It becomes painfully obvious that their relationship is hurting but neither seems to know what to do.

Then there’s the story of Quintana (Javier Bardem), the local priest in Neil and Marina’s area. Quintana is a troubled man. He has a deep love for the Lord but he feels disconnected. He’s dying to have the intimacy with God that he once had. He visits the sick, the poor, and the needy. He shepherds his flock. Yet there’s still a void in his soul that he desperately wants to fill. But he’s also a lonely man bound by the shackles of the priesthood an its strict rules. Watching Bardem’s solemn face and lonely, tired eyes really drew me to this character. It did surprise me how little he had to do with what seemed like the main focus of the film but Malick shows some moving similarities between his struggles and those of Neil and Marina.

Their stories do begin to connect and we watch as everything plays out. But don’t expect a tight narrative with a fully disclosed ending. Malick is more interested in having us observe and experience than being baby fed an entire story. He wants us to feel, to sympathize, to grow angry, and to meditate. Our time is spent observing and Malick lays his canvas before us. On it he explores inner conflicts, poor and costly decisions, and revived hope. It’s presented through an artistic machine that utilizes everything including the stunning score, the beauty of nature, a graceful camera, and the natural ambiance of the world surrounding his characters.

Affleck and Kurylenko are transcendent. The film features little to no dialogue with the exception of voice-over narrations therefore the two lead actors basically perform off of each other or in scenes alone. Neither ever seem aware of the camera and both get lost in their performances. Affleck was a great surprise. He’s quiet, sincere, and a stout and strong contrast to Kurylenko’s subtle elegance and grace. And speaking of Kurylenko, I think she gives an awards worthy performance. But while the performances are key, a Terrence Malick film is usually made in the editing room. Don’t believe me? Just ask Rachel Weisz and Jessica Chastain. Both shot scenes for the film but all of them ended up on the cutting room floor. Regardless the editing is sensational and the film moves like a page of good music with the exceptions of a few patches of repetition in the second half of the film.

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As with his other movies, Malick uses his visuals to draw us in and also tell the bulk of his story. His sensational command of his camera and his artist’s eye for capturing beautiful shots are essential to his success. His camera is constantly moving and it always seems perfectly positioned. I was absorbed in what I was seeing and his fluid and poetic transitions from shot to shot kept me that way. Even for those who don’t respond to the film as a whole, they’ll be hard pressed to not be fascinated with Malick’s visual artistry.

There will be plenty of people who can’t latch onto “To the Wonder”. It will be perceived as slow, confounding, and lifeless. I couldn’t disagree more. I loved the film and while it’s certainly not as challenging as “The Tree of Life”, it’s still a captivating piece of cinema. It doesn’t answer every question. It doesn’t adhere to a conventional storytelling formula. It asks the audience to think and to feel. If you’re not open to that you’re probably not going to respond well to this film.

In his final review before his unfortunate passing, the late Roger Ebert said this about “To the Wonder” : “(Many will) be dissatisfied by a film that would rather evoke than supply.” I think he’s right and some early reviews have shown that to be true. But I believe Malick has given us another standout picture that takes a real (sometimes uncomfortably so) look at relationships, faith, and the quest for love in both. Yet it’s all told through an artist’s lens with entrancing metaphoric imagery and a steady grace that could only come from a Terrence Malick film. I know many are going to struggle with this movie but for me it’s the first great film of 2013.

VERDICT – 4.5 STARS

“ARGO” and the Oscars

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There’s a very interesting thing happening this awards season. The believed to be front-runner for Oscar’s biggest award, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, finds itself in the dust of the surprising “Argo”, Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller. I loved “Argo” as did many others and I have no problem with its award season success, but very few people saw this one coming. Sunday night it took home the biggest prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards to go along with the top prize it won at The Golden Globes. So now all eyes are on The Academy Awards. But for “Argo” to pull one final rabbit out of its hat it’s going to have to buck a pretty established trend.

In what I believe are two of the most inexplicable snubs in Oscar history, the Academy failed to give director nominations to either Affleck for “Argo” or Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty”. Bigelow has won several recent awards including the Best Director nod from the New York Film Critics. But it’s “Argo” that’s really running wild and it’s “Argo” that could be the fly in the Academy’s soup. You see the winner of the Best Director Oscar is almost always a sign of who will win Best Picture. It’s extremely, extremely rare for a Best Picture winner to not also take home the Best Director Oscar. So what is the Academy to do? This spotlights their blatant snubs even more and with them comes real questions of motivation.

Could it be the Academy is punishing Bigelow and Affleck for the perceived politics behind their films? Now I think anyone watching these two fantastic movies with an ounce of objectivity has to conclude that both are simply telling stories and not trying to make a huge political point. Perhaps that’s why I loved them so much. I get tired of being force-fed political perspective at the expense of good storytelling. Both of these movies are set in politically charged climates yet both Affleck and Bigelow allow the audience to process the politics. In fact, for me both pictures go beyond politics and into much deeper and more personal areas – something I can really appreciate.

So what else could the Academy’s beef be with Affleck and Bigelow? Both have created strong and challenging movies that certainly deserve to be nominated. Could it be that the Academy is unhappy with Affleck and Bigelow’s failure to use their opportunity to put a hard political slant on their films? Are they angry because they see the two films as leaning too much to the political right? Whatever the inexcusable reasoning is behind it the Academy has dropped the ball and now “Argo” is bringing it all into the light. I love it!

THE TOP 10 FILMS OF 2012

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Folks, its time for the big one! The 2012 movie year is over and done so that means its Top 10 time. This is my favorite part of the movie season – a chance to reflect back on the past year in movies and heap praise on the films that I think are the 10 best. 2012 started off a little slow but ended up being a pretty strong year for both the big blockbusters and for small independent cinema. But enough with the buildup. (Imagine a small but steady drumroll) May I introduce The Keith & the Movies Top 10 Movies of 2012…

Before I get to the 10 best, I do want to mention three films that I desperately wanted to see before making this list. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen for another week or so. They are “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Rust and Bone”, and “Amour”. I would also like to throw out a few honorable mentions. These were fantastic movies that I loved and that just missed the cut (click their names for full reviews)…. “Damsels in Distress’, “The Hobbit“, “The Kid with a Bike“, “Bernie“, “Looper“, “Delicacy“, “Les Miserables”

Frankenweenie#10 – “FRANKENWEENIE” – I’m as shocked as you. The idea that a Tim Burton picture would be on my Top 10 list amazes me. I’m not a Burton fan but “Frankenweenie” is an animated delight. It’s one part tender tale about a boy and his dog and another part the Frankenstein story and it works beautifully as a collective whole. It’s also an old school horror movie homage with tons of fun references to everything from the monster pictures of the 1950s to the classic Universal horror films. But the key reason it works is that Burton wisely focuses more on telling a good story than promoting his unique style. The result is a fabulous animated treat that I adored.

Prometheus#9 – “PROMETHEUS” – I know this will be a controversial pick just judging by the variety of differing opinions about this film. But I gotta say that I loved “Prometheus”. I loved the universe. I loved the special effects. I loved most of the cast. I loved its open-endedness. Are there holes in the logic here and there? Sure. But for me Ridley Scott supplied me with another exciting sci-fi experience that may not answer all the questions as it advertises, but it still reminds me of what an intelligent and visionary filmmaker he is. I stand firmly beside “Prometheus” and sincerely hope that the $400 million box office was enough to ensure us a follow-up.

Lincoln#8 – “LINCOLN” – Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is a movie that may surprise a lot of people. While there are a few Speilberg overindulgences, as a whole he really dials it back and it works beautifully. This isn’t a film steeped in huge set pieces and heavy melodrama. This is a performance driven drama with possibly the best ensemble casts of the year. Daniel Day-Lewis reaffirms his status as the greatest working actor with a fine performance. Critic Leonard Maltin called the performance miraculous and I have to agree. He loses himself in this towering historical character and I was hooked on every line and every mannerism. That’s the biggest reason the film worked so incredibly well.

Impossible#7 – “THE IMPOSSIBLE” – There have been many disaster movies that have made their way onto the big screen. But none has ever gripped me and affected me the way “The Impossible” did. This is one of the most poignant and powerful pictures I watched all year. It’s also a draining and at times difficult movie to endure. But the reward is overwhelming as we watch the best of people come out in a truly devastating circumstance. This is an intelligent and respectful film about the Indian Ocean tsunami and it’s aftermath. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor give stunning performances and newcomer Tom Holland should garner a lot of attention. Don’t brush this movie aside as just another disaster film. It’s so much more.

SKYFALL#6 – “SKYFALL” – It wasn’t until Daniel Craig took the reigns of 007 that I became a huge James Bond fan. Now I’m hooked. “Skyfall” is a wonderful action thrill ride from director Sam Mendes and is arguably the best Daniel Craig Bond picture yet. It’s loaded with the expected blow-your-socks-off action shoot-outs and car chases. But it also fleshes out Bond more as a person, something I really responded to. Javier Bardem, while underused, is a blast and it was great to see Judi Dench’s role expanded. “Skyfall” has raked in over $1 billion dollars worldwide but it’s well deserved. This is just more proof that big budget films can and should knock it out of the park.

ARGO#5 – “ARGO” – For my money Ben Affleck has proven himself to be an incredibly capable director. “Argo” is a shining example of his abilities behind the camera. This sizzling picture set during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 is an edge-of-your-seat thriller anchored by a fantastic cast, sharp direction, and Chris Terrio’s slick and intelligent screenplay. It dramatizes the absurdity of the real life hostage rescue in a way that had me glued to the screen. And the perfectly realized sense of time and location just seal the deal. It also features what may be the best opening 20 minutes I have seen in several years. I love “Argo”. It’s storytelling at its finest.

AVENGERS4 – “THE AVENGERS” – It has become the norm for Hollywood to release several big budget superhero movies each year. But very few are as good as “The Avengers”. This was one of the most ambitious projects and it had potential to be a disaster. It was far from that. “The Avengers” was one of the most well-conceived and well-executed movies of the year thanks to the clever and often times hilarious screenplay from Joss Whedon. Loud laughs and thunderous applause filled the theater during both of my big screen viewings and I was right there with them. In terms of sheer fun at the movies, “The Avengers” was tops and that makes up for any tiny flaw it may have otherwise.

MOONRISE#3 – “MOONRISE KINGDOM” – It’s safe to say that I have evolved into a full-blown Wes Anderson fan. “Moonrise Kingdom” solidified that for me. This is a film that perfectly encapsulates Anderson’s special brand of humor and style. There’s a beautiful and sensitive story of eccentric children’s puppy love and their feelings of not belonging. But there’s also the story about the adults within a small New England community and all their imperfections. And then there’s Anderson’s razor-sharp script – some of the best writing of the year. Great performances, hilarious moments, perfectly quirky music, and an artful 1960’s aesthetic are all spread across Anderson’s gorgeous canvas.

BEASTS#2 – “BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD” – This is a movie that I didn’t catch up with until later in the year. Suffice to say it really blew my mind. This was clearly the biggest surprise of the year for me as well as the most moving and emotional film of 2012. A first time director and two first time performances create an experience that pulls you into the isolated and poverty-stricken world of a 6-year old girl named Hushpuppy. It’s sometimes heartwarming and sometimes deeply unsettling, but it’s riveting cinema throughout. This is small and little known film that is finally getting an audience and stands above most every film of 2012.

DARK KNIGHT#1 – “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” – No other movie of 2012 combined the thrill of adrenaline-fueled action with the art of pure cinematic storytelling. Christopher Nolan wrapped up his phenomenal Dark Knight trilogy with yet another sharp and layered movie. Tom Hardy is a brute presence and Ann Hathaway makes Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) a much more grounded character. The entire film is laced with a tinge of realism but it’s still a rousing superhero experience. Some have had issues with this film but I found it to be brilliant and the perfect ending to one of my personal favorite trilogies. This is also Nolan’s third straight film to end up as my year-end #1. Bravo!

So there they are, my 10 Best Films from the 2012 year. What are your thoughts? Where did I go wrong? What’s your favorite film of 2012?

 

*After writing this I was able to catch up with “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Amour”. Let me say that both would make my Top 10 without a doubt!