In 2012, we lost some of the best in the film business, including the ever brilliant Tony Scott. (RIP) I also lived my personal worst nightmare when I caught an awful Nicholas Spark movie in theatres. But it has also been a rather excellent year for cinema, where we got to revisit the Middle-Earth and the Alien universe in glorious IMAX 3D.
As per tradition like Santa, I make a list of annual favourites. Excluded are films like Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which will only be released in 2013 (the travesty!). Incidentally, these are my favourite directors, so I reckon the universe is working against me. Then again, I recognise that my geographical location doesn’t make it exactly easy. Oh well, that’s okay, universe. You may still have my top 10 films of the year.
11. The Avengers
Psst, I snuck in an 11 for this. There is no way I can ignore this great ensemble of our favourite superheroes and villain, led by our favourite person Joss Whedon and our new favourite food shawarma. Plain fun.
It’s October again. Our favourite occasion is almost here to greet us. I’m still upset about missing out on all the fun at Eli Roth’s Goretorium, all thanks to being born and bred nowhere near Vegas. But the cheerful tradition of 30 days of horror lives on! So here goes the 2012 Horror Challenge.
Enjoy, and happy Halloween!
Day 01: A horror movie that delivered a scary theatrical experience.
I first saw The Mist with no knowledge of its premise, which made for the most fantastic theatrical experience. This unexpected favourite is revelatory of the worst in human nature, more frightening than that in monsters.
Day 02: A disappointing or unnecessary remake.
When A Stranger Calls featured one of the most suspenseful openings in the horror genre. Still, that is no reason to expand the 20-minute sequence into an unnecessary full length feature. The 2006 remake takes the reductive plot and further diminishes it into a predictable mess of an urban legend, told too many times before.
Day 03: A scene or image burned into your mind.
The infamous splinter-in-the-eyeball image in Lucio Fulci’s brilliant Zombie Flesh Eaters seared into my mind for years, as did the zombie-versus-shark sequence (for a different reason).
You may recall (never) having read how I’ve missed authentic cinema after seeing Rabbit Hole, which remains one of my all-time favourites. Having watched Sherlock Holmes 2 and Mission Impossible 4 back-to-back, I miss that feeling of nostalgia for meaningful stories.
In both instances, plots fail to stay in mind as much as mindless action and banter. And as you would recognise, sequels and remakes remain rampant. But that is not to say that 2011 was not a great year for films. There were actors who gave heartfelt performances and screenwriters who churned out brilliant words. These were my top five for the year.
5. X-Men First Class
More disapproving voices surface in the distance. After the disastrous X-Men Origins, who would have thought the negative reactions unjust? But Matthew Vaughn’s First Class reignites the franchise with a serious take on the thought-provoking duality of the X-Men and the Brotherhood’s beliefs. A surprising choice of casting turns in layered, emotive performances as their convictions take on separate paths. Thrown into the mix is some light fun coupled with tight action that is bound to entertain both comic fans and the average movie-goer.
Toy Story 3. That is Quentin Tarantino’s first choice for the year 2010. I’m not quite sure if the animation feature truly deserved that spot. Granted this is a single director’s personal opinion, I hold his in high regard and I am a little disappointed to find Inception strikingly absent.
Having survived the year, I decided to compile a list of my own. Read on for my favourite movies of 2010.
10. The Ghost Writer
Hired to redact the memoirs of a former Prime Minister, a ghost writer uncovers secrets and lands himself in harm’s way. Roman Polanski delivers yet another stylish thriller, echoing the atmospheric nature of his previous works Rosemary’s Baby and The Ninth Gate.
Paranoia builds upon each unsettling revelation, crafting intensity with uncertainty and misdirection. Ewan McGregor is a stunning triumph as the nameless leading man, deftly navigating through the labyrinth of compelling mysteries.