December 31, 2012
While it is hard to pick ten “best” films, here is a list of ten that we feel deserve to be commended–as well as five “honorable mentions.” They are listed in alphabetical order.
Ben Affleck’s third film as director, Argo is an entertaining, accessible thrill ride that balances classic tension and humor in equal doses resulting in a satisfying motion picture that has firmly establishing Mr. Affleck as a director with a strong future. “Argo” moves like a bullet as it’s unfolds. It well deserves the accolades it is currently receiving.
A rowdy, bawdy, violent movie with a 1970s feel, “Django Unchained” is Quinten Tarantino at his best. The film is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and boasts great performances from Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz and Samuel Jackson.
After opening with one of the most terrifying flying scenes in cinema, in which an airplane is saved by being flown upside-down, Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” segues into a brave and tortured performance by Denzel Washington as a pilot who has been hiding his drug and alcohol addiction for years. The film is a well-rounded, compelling look at a tortured soul who refuses to face his demons.
LIFE OF PI
Ang Lee’s masterful “Life of Pi” is soulful, spiritual and entertaining. It’s special effects and CGI is a breakthrough in that arena and the film’s life affirming message is something that may stay with you for a years to come. See it in 3D.
NOT FADE AWAY
David Chase’s first effort as writer/director is a moving, insightful coming of-age film about dreams that may never be fulfilled and a young musician’s love affair that could potentially influence all his future relationships. Set in the early 1960s, the film is well acted by it’s cast of young, mostly unknown actors. John Magaro is particularly strong as the protagonist, holding his own against James Gandolfini who plays his stern, uptight father. Well worth a look before it disappears from the big screen.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
A brilliant detective story, this documentary about a real life musician who has no idea he is a gigantic star in South Africa fills you with emotion. Directed by Malik Bandjellou the film is a feel-good documentary with a tremendous soundtrack. It proves that real talent does not go unrewarded. We can only hope the Academy takes notice.
A film that packs an amazing emotional punch, “The Impossible,” starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts boasts sensational performances from three young child actors, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Prendergast. Based on the true story of a Spanish family caught up in the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand, “The Impossible” it is a stunningly well made, life affirming film that leaves you fighting tears as you take the journey with these shattered souls. Watts has never been better as the mother fighting for her life.
THIS IS 40
A raunchy but realistic look at a couple’s mid-life meltdown as they approach their 40th birthday is both funny and heartfelt. While seeing an upwardly mobile couple’s angst may not be everyone’s cup of tea, director, Judd Apatow has created a film that is real slice of life. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are excellent as the couple with tasty appearances by John Lithgow, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd.
Original, daring and captivating, from the glorious 65mm cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. to the disturbing soundtrack by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give performances that are alive with subtext and detail. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” may leave you pondering it’s underlying meaning but it’s depth and attention to detail take you on a journey that is hard to forget.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Katherine Bigelow reteams with writer Mark Boal to bring the capture of Osama Bin Laden to the big screen. The film is a taunt, exciting thrill ride. The reenactments of how it all went down feels real and credible. Zero Dark Thirty might be the one to beat come Academy Award time.
Arbitrage: A tense thriller and a penetrating character study starring Richard Gere as a shifty hedge-fund manager who’s foxed his way to the top of New York’s moneyed classes.
Beast of the Southern Wild: A 6 year of girl living in a desolate, poverty stricken community struggles to survive.
The Imposter: The story of a 21 year old Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.
The Sessions: A 38 year old man living in an iron lung sets out to lose his virginity.
21 Jump Street: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as two young cops turned undercover high school students in this hilarious big screen reboot of the old TV show.