Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Movies - Runners Up

Consider this #15-11, and pretty much in that order.

I think that they biggest negative about Beasts of the Southern Wild is the marketing. It suffered from the same problem as Pan's Labyrinth. Both movies are grounded deep in reality but have small elements of fantasy. And it's even smaller in Beasts, with maybe three minutes of time devoted to that. But both movies were marketed as fantasy movies. Even the poster to the left makes it look almost like a Disney movie.

While I greatly prefer Pan, and the similarities pretty much stop there, both movies are good enough to overcome that misconception. While writing about movies, I write a lot about how your attitude going into the movie can make or break the movie, so it sucks when movie makers start with that going against you. It's a really good movie that didn't get enough attention, so check it out. Don't be surprised when 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis get nominated for the Oscar.

Django Unchained is too long.  That's my first of two criticisms of this movie. Movies are getting to be too long, but I have several in my top ten that are too long. If it's entertaining enough, I'll look past it. Django is a lot of fun. Christophe Waltz is great.  The other three movies I've seen with him, The Green Hornet, Water for Elephants, and Carnage, I was fairly unimpressed. He has just the right cadence for Quentin Tarantino's dialogue

The second criticism might be misplaced. Tarantino is presenting Django Unchained, along with Inglourious Basterds, as revisionist history. To me, that should be - what if THESE characters were around then? What would change? But he changes some timeline facts that don't seem to be results of these characters. There's a version of the KKK before there was a KKK. That I'm OK with, I think, because it's not really stated to be the KKK.

But the movie starts with the subtitle telling us that this is 1858, two years before the Civil War. That's three years before the Civil War. I get to be picky about that.I can't buy any argument you might give that states that the events of this movie will lead to the Civil War starting a year earlier, or that if it's after April, the it's technically two years plus.

But I got over that quickly enough and enjoyed the movie. It's fun. Go see it.

The best documentary of the year is Searching for Sugar Man. This is a great story about musician Rodriguez, who achieved mild success in the early 1970s. He then disappears from the scene. Bootlegs of his music reach South Africa during Apartheid and become the soundtrack for a generation. That's all I want to give away. Go watch this one, because it's a great story.

Not only that, but it has the best songs of any movie this year (with apologies to Les Mis, of course) I was singing Sugar Man for days after seeing this. I don't think I had really heard any Rodriguez songs before this. They're catchy. Here's a few samples. (Don't read any comments due to spoilers. Actually, make that a general rule in your life when visiting youtube.)

Sugar Man
I Wonder
Crucify Your Mind

If you liked The Hurt Locker, you'll like Zero Dark Thirty. I felt exactly the same was I did when I saw it. It's fantastically good, extremely well acted, and has a great script. But it just wasn't made for me, so I can't put it in my top ten.

At this point, the only people who have seen it are critics (and people who live in Los Angeles, but they don't really count. As people, I mean). I'm curious to hear from others once it's released everywhere else.

One improvement is that the shitty shaky cam from Hurt is less shaky in Zero, but some shaky cam is never as good as no shaky cam.

At over 2 1/2 hours, it's too long. But the pace picks up as the movie goes on.

Thinking about the ending of this and the ending of Searching For Sugar Man, I realized that Zero Dark Thirty is the ultimate spoiler killer. You already know then ending. Its the rest that you might not know.

 I having trouble writing about The Impossible without resorting to cliche. You'll run the full gambit of emotions. You'll laugh. You'll cry. It's an amazing story because it's true. When the tsunami hits, you'll be on the edge of your seat. You'll feel like you're in the water with them. A nail biter.

But that's all true, but it works. It's a great movie. The tsunami scene, when they are being washed away in the water, is absolutely amazing. I literally was sitting up on my seat and biting my nails. There are images and thoughts you won't forget.

Check it out when The Impossible gets a wider release.

Tomorrow (a day late, but meh) I'll start the top ten.

No comments: