As per usual, it’s a slow start to the year. Chances are NONE of these will make my top 10 after Oscar season and the Toronto Film Festival makes its mark. I see this as a positive. There is quality to come. Having said that, there have been some diamond in the roughs so far this year. The films below are ones that serve as that light at the end of a dreary season-and-a-half of moviegoing…
10. Prometheus – It earns a minor spot. Flawed and underdeveloped, but a master stroke in visual craftsmanship on the part of Ridley Scott. 3 stars.
9. The Secret World of Arrietty – Studio Ghibli delivers yet again. An enchanting film – gentle to a fault if you ask me – that reinvigorates “The Borrowers” tale. 3 stars.
8. The Wise Kids – A naturalistic study of coming-out during the coming-of-age in the southern States. Its small budget and overall amateur style kind of inspires a pure story with honest feelings about homosexuality and the things we have to accept in life. 3 stars.
7. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey – The first movie I saw this year. Forget The Muppets, here’s a film with REAL heart and humour. I was almost in tears in this inspired and incredibly heartfelt documentary about the voice behind Elmo – Kevin Clash. 3 stars.
6. The Raid: Redemption – Wow! Turns martial arts into some sort of kinetic ballet. Like how with a ballet you go for the dancing, with The Raid you endure for the fighting. Submit, and it will suck you in. 3 stars.
5. Battle Royale 3D – Kinji Fukasaku’s stellar allegory on the loss of innocence and the prevailing guilt of an adult-ruling society. I didn’t see it in 3D, but it re-released this year so I figured I’d cheat. Seeing it a second time, I really realized that when you aren’t pitted against the demands of Hollywood, you can really pull off something special. Hunger Games– take note. 3.5 stars.
4. Coriolanus – A great blend of Shakespearean drama and Hollywood action. John Logan’s script brings out the bravado in Shakespeare’s dialogue. Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut pulls off what most first-timers can’t do: it’s almost completely assured. Haunting last shot as well. 3.5 stars.
3. The Corridor – A horror movie without the typical cut-and-slash horror conventions. It’s about the characters’s personalities, not what their insides look like. Until the ending, this is an engaging indie film about friendship, forgiveness, and growing up. Wait, I was saying it’s a horror film? 3.5 stars.
Listen to my interview with Corridor star Stephen Chambers HERE.
2. Sound of My Voice – Zal Batmanglij’s cult movie (it’s about a cult, not for a cult) is a character-driven drama about torn alliances and the scary temptation in conformity. Brit Marling proves she’s a talent and, until the denouement, Sound of My Voice haunts the senses. 3.5 stars.
1. The Sunset Limited – I’m a sucker for Cormac McCarthy. His dialogue creates its own space, which is why Tommy Lee Jones’s film feels so alive and provocative. It also features one of Samuel L. Jackson’s best performances in years, and he did it all in one location. Of the above batch, this is the movie that’s ending really makes an impact. Pick this up on DVD now! 3.5 stars.
And…ahem. The WORST MOVIE OF 2012…SO FAR – Hey, it’s a tie! The lump of coal goes to both Battleship and Apartment 143 with one shining star out of four. Avoid them like the plague…and thank you.
What are YOUR Best and Worst Films of 2012, So Far? I’m interested. Do we compare or vastly contrast? Comment or Tweet me @parkermott and give me the low-down!