Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (Full Version)

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homersimpson_esq -> Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:45:04 PM)

For those who don't visit my blog (and if not, why not damnit...)

Here follows a cross-section of 2012, highlighting some of my favourite films, the surprising, the expected, the off-the-wall. There’s a sort of order of preference but beyond the top few it’s largely interchangeable. This list is about showing what cinema has to offer more than a simple list of the “best of”.

2012 has been a solid year, if not a classic year. The variety on show here demonstrates that the film industry is healthy – blockbusters and comedies nestle comfortable alongside more traditional Best Of the Year films.

#24. Prometheus

A fascinating failure, Prometheus divided audiences into those who went, “WTF…THIS IS AMAZING” and, “WTF…THIS IS RUBBISH”. In both instances, audiences were wowed by the visuals and the ambition, but were perplexed/engrossed by the narrative (in)decisions. If every failure was as good as this, cinema would be an even better place.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:45:25 PM)

#23. Carnage

Roman Polanski is, understandably, persona non grata for audiences – although inexplicable still manages to get work. If one separates out the man and the work then Carnage can be enjoyed as a superb character study of the fragility of social mores, as the interaction between two couples slowly breaks down over the course of an afternoon.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:45:55 PM)

#22. 21 Jump Street

I would never have expected to have a Channing Tatum film in my “films of the year” feature. Nor one starring Jonah Hill. And yet here we are, with them both co-starring in this revamp of 80s Johnny-Depp-starring TV series 21 Jump Street. Directed by the genii behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs this is a comedy that hits every note perfectly.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:46:08 PM)

#21. Lawless

In a world where Boardwalk Empire exists, a story set during the prohibition is bound to draw comparisons. But Lawless is an entirely different beast, and a lot of the weight of the film is put somewhat trustingly on the shoulders of Shia LaBeouf. Amazingly, he doesn’t screw it up. Tom Hardy is solid as ever, making cardigans look menacing, and Jessica Chastain pops up as part of her “starring in every film made from 2011 onwards” world domination plan.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:46:24 PM)

#20. The Descendants

I’ve enjoyed watching Alexander Payne’s career since watching Election and this drama hides a darkness in the sun of Hawaii. Clooney is excellent as ever, and there are punctuations of pain and humour. If it’s a little awards-hungry, it’s because it’s justifiably excellent, and it’s not the fault of the film that its topic and style is what awards bodies look for. Is it? Maybe it is. The film it still really good, though.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:46:37 PM)

#19. Young Adult

Carving a very different career from his father, Jason Reitman scores a hat trick with this excellent study of the meandering nature of adulthood gone awry. Life without purpose brings a purposeless life, and a need to find purpose lay in retracing one’s life steps. In this instance, a young adult writer goes back to her home town where she finds things much as she left them, but herself changed. It’s a comedy drama, but it errs towards drama where Juno erred towards comedy.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:46:49 PM)

#18. The Raid

A man has to infiltrate a building packed with criminals to rescue his brother. And he has to fight everyone on the way. It’s like they took a platform game and turned it into a film. But with some of the best action beats in recent years. Visceral.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:47:03 PM)

#17. The Cabin in the Woods

In 1996, Scream took the horror genre and disemboweled it. 16 years later, Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard have dissected the genre piece by piece, and laid out the dismembered parts for everyone to see. The Cabin in the Woods is the most inventive film in years, starting out as a classic “teens go on holiday to a dank, cabin in the proverbial woods” before turning into something very, very different. The “twist” is not for everyone, but for this reviewer it was revelatory.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:47:17 PM)

#16. Ted

Genuinely laugh out loud, there are far too many moments of joy this foul little film provides to list here. Suffice to say if you don’t like Family Guy, you probably won’t like Ted. But everyone else can have a blast.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:47:28 PM)

#15. Avengers Assemble

Oooh, controversy. How is this so low? I wasn’t blown away by this film as many others were. The story seemed trite and obvious. That being said, it was still huge, huge fun, which is how it gets a place on this list. It’s just a lot lower than others might expect. Still, for all the worry of having so many big characters sharing the screen, it works really well.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:47:40 PM)

#14. The Artist

Squeezing in at the start of the year, The Artist was the silent film for the 21st century. Our love letter to the films of a century ago. It manages to get all the humour, emotion, excitement, romance, that works so well in period silent films and makes them work for a 21st century audience unaccustomed to silent films. Also, the dog is cute.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:47:57 PM)

#13. The Muppets

This is a great big smile of a film, and if you don’t like this you essentially have no soul.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:48:15 PM)

#12. Life of Pi

A film about faith, belief, trust, and tigers attacking sharks. It contains the best use of 3D I’ve seen this side of last year’s Hugo. I’m not a big fan of 3D – I don’t get the full benefit of the depth because of screwy eyes – but this is one which really benefits from the extra dimension. It looks stunning, and the story is as inventive as the visuals. The ending will frustrate, astound, and stun. But it will not disappoint. Also, a tiger attacks a shark. A SHARK.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:48:29 PM)

#11. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Yes, I thought. A film of The Hobbit! I liked this book. (I did not like Lord of the Rings the books.) Oh, I then thought. Two films? Well, I can see how that might work, with linking material filling in the seco……THREE FILMS? Excitement dropped to zero. I could not see how it would work. A very different feeling going into this film than when I saw Fellowship 11 years ago. From that first trailer showing the release dates of all three films, I was excitement itself. So how was The Hobbit Part the first? In honesty, I was blown away. It was a joy to be back in Middle Earth, in a very different story, but familiar enough to be comfortable. It was good to be there. And it’s good to be back again. (DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:48:39 PM)

#10. Haywire

Between his big films - Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic, Contagion - Steven Soderbergh makes this little films. Films like The Limey which while tonally very different to this film, was still brought to mind for me. Here Gina Carano plays the most impressive female action star I’ve seen. The actress has genuine fighting skills – it’s what she does, as she is not a trained actress – but has seduction and beauty as well. Caught in a double-cross between many, many well-known name actors, she must fight to clear her name. And fight she does. Each fight scene drops the music and ups the tension. They’re short, visceral, violent and utterly transfixingly believable. The film went under the radar and had but middling reviews, but it caught me unawares. Picking it up on bluray and the film has lost none of its impact on the small screen. It’s a taut, grimy little thriller, and well worth your time.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:49:35 PM)

#09. The Master

How could Paul Thomas Anderson top There Will Be Blood? In short, he couldn’t. But The Master is still a fine, fine film. My full review can be found here.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:49:44 PM)

#08. About Elly

In the wake of the success of A Separation, Asghar Farhadi’s previous film About Elly had an after-the-fact release. About Elly is a claustrophobic mystery in which the disappearance of a visitor to a family gathering slowly unravels the assumed closeness of that family. It’s a study of family values, of social constructs, and of trust and truthfulness. It’s fascinating. Seek it out.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:49:54 PM)

#07. Silver Linings Playbook

Some films you expect to be great, others you expect to be awful. Some you have no expectations at all and only go and see because you have a free evening and you fancy watching something at the cinema and it looks kind of ok-ish. Granted that last category is not too common. But it is how I ended up seeing Silver Linings Playbook in which Jennifer Lawrence confirms that she is a fine, fine actress, and Bradley Cooper surprises us by showing he is a fine, fine actor. As two broken people they find each other and maybe, just maybe, they can fix each other. But there are no easy answers, no trite resolutions, and that is this film’s strength. It surprises, and in those surprises comes joy and sadness, laughter and tears. Don’t be surprised if Oscar comes knocking for one or both leads.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:50:03 PM)

#06. Argo

He surprised us all by showing he could direct with Gone Baby Gone, and confirmed it with The Town (which this reviewer still has to see). But with his third project, Ben Affleck is assured and masterly. Argo is the true story of a group of Americans trapped in the Canadian Embassy in Iran in the 70s while dozens of others are held hostage in the American Embassy. In a bid to extract them, the cover story is that of a film crew location scouting in Iran. It’s a plotline that, if it weren’t true, one might think was dreamt up by Tarantino. But it’s true, and it’s wonderfully sensitively shot. And, unexpectedly for a political drama thriller, there are also moments of humour, largely courtesy of John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:50:13 PM)

#05. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Some films defy definition. This is one of them. Difficult to describe, it concerns young Hushpuppy (Quvenzhale Wallis), as she deals with life in the Bathtub – a fantastical place in the Delta near New Orleans. There is an otherworldly quality, a place of fantasy, of yesteryear, which is addictive. Wallis’ naturalistic acting is almost certain to get her an Oscar nomination and my money is on her for the win. Beasts is a film to be experienced – you cannot be told about this film, you have to see it for yourself.

MonsterCat -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:50:15 PM)


ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

#21. Lawless

In a world where Boardwalk Empire exists, a story set during the prohibition is bound to draw comparisons.

In my head I read this sentence in Mark Kermode's trailer man voice.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:50:40 PM)

#04. Skyfall

Bond is back! And what a return. One of the best Bond films ever, Skyfall is also now the most profitable, approaching a billion dollars at the box office at the time of writing. My full review of this, and the whole James Bond Origin Trilogy can be found here.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:51:05 PM)

#03. The Dark Knight Rises

More divisive than The Dark Knight, Rises was the perfect end to the perfect trilogy. Nolan created a full circle story, a perfect arc, a complete and satisfying narrative. As above, my full review of The Dark Knight Rises can be found here.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:51:43 PM)

#02. Amour

Haneke has a heart. That was my surmising of this astonishingly affecting film. It’s a difficult watch, but it’s hugely rewarding. It’s grim, it’s bleak, it’s real. But it’s honest. My full review here.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:52:10 PM)


ORIGINAL: MonsterCat


ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

#21. Lawless

In a world where Boardwalk Empire exists, a story set during the prohibition is bound to draw comparisons.

In my head I read this sentence in Mark Kermode's trailer man voice.

Combo breaker post. [:D]

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:53:02 PM)

Apologies for blog links - that's how it is in the blog. *innocent*

Anyway, my film of the year....

#01. Holy Motors

Until earlier this year, when I was flicking through a copy of Sight and Sound, I had never heard of Leos Carax. His last film had been out ten years or so ago. Back then I was busy about to become a new father and, furthermore, my international film viewing was woefully inadequate. Since he is apparently not spoken of much, it is perhaps unsurprising I had never heard of him. However, since the press for this film has been almost uniformly positive, praising its beauty while scratching heads at its meaning, it became one of those “have to see” films. So I did. True story.

Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) is a businessman of unspecified employment. Over the course of a day and a night he is engaged in a variety of assignments which require him to become – act – different things. A vagrant, an old man, a father, a lover, and, in a memorable scene within a film made entirely of memorable scenes, a motion-capture actor, playing out a perverse CGI love scene like no other. The scene did not appear in The Hobbit. Few words are exchanged – there are conversations between M. Oscar and his driver Celine (Édith Scob), but Oscar is largely quiet between his “scenes”.

Going in “blind” to Carax’s oeuvre and intent, I am reacting to what is on screen. Not to what Carax may have intended, or is portraying, but what the final product says to me. With a film as mellifluous and picaresque as this, interpretation is king. It becomes clear (insofar as anything in this film is clear) that Oscar is playing to an audience. We never see the cameras – it is mentioned that the cameras have become smaller, more surreptitious – and so one starts to consider: are we the audience? The film opens with a shot of an audience. The screen as mirror. Oscar is playing to an unseen audience, and never reacts direct to camera; never breaks the fourth wall, arguably because he cannot see the cameras. The un-clarified audience have a range of assignments for Oscar, such that it is almost like channel-hopping. Through the wild variance of roles, we build a picture not only of Oscar, but also of cinema itself.

Each role can, arguably, be seen as a facet of Oscar himself. As father, lover, old man. As vagrant, as mo-cap actor. In that scene, particularly, it is Denis Lavant playing Oscar playing a mo-cap actor playing a CGI character. We have to go deeper. Where does reality end and fiction begin? At what remove is believability no longer a consideration?

Similarly, the film is replete with filmic references. As with ParaNorman, I am confident many references sailed above my head. The film is dense and packed and will be rewarding after multiple viewings, and after other films have been viewed in between. But Kylie Minogue – a superb piece of acting – is visually reminiscent of Jean Seberg in Breathless, while Édith Scob dons a mask that recalls her role in Eyes Without A Face.

Is it pretentious? Yes. Is it going divide people hugely? Oh, yes. Is it murky, unclear, ambiguous, and indefinable? Yes. But is it fun? Definitely. It’s a whirlwind of weird tearing through the artifices of cinema and uprooting cliché to become something fresh. Pretentiousness can be sanctimony or parsimony, but here it becomes fun. It takes something recognisable – reality TV, exploitation, an almost science fiction futurist dystopia – and obfuscates it in layers of self-referentiality, clashing ideals, and a sense of knowing fun. The chap sat a few seats from me walked out after about forty minutes, which is a shame, because he missed the talking cars.

elab49 -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:53:41 PM)

Did you make it 24 just to put Prometheus in? [:D]

Prometheus - I'm building up to another watch, hold out little hope
Carnage - didn't do much for me
21 Jump St - not great but a couple of amusing moments which is a couple more than I expected. They did not involve Jonah Hill. Surprisingly, they did involve Channing Tatum.
Lawless - didn't quite work for me. I enjoyed a lot of it, and am happy to rewatch, but I think it needed a bit more work.
Descendants - I'd possibly put this in your discovery thread as I really didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Lovely film
Young Adult - she's horrible blah blah. And? Expected a lot based on chat, thought little of it.
The Raid - fun watch. Has similar story problems to his previous film - ie he really just likes the fighting.
Cabin in the Woods - hugely enjoyable. The pairing of Whitford and Jenkins was inspirational.
Ted - dross
Avengers - much more fun than I expected, Ruffalo gave the Hulk enough to actually make me interested in watching a hulk film again and 'puny god' never gets old.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 12:56:28 PM)


ORIGINAL: elab49

Did you make it 24 just to put Prometheus in? [:D]


The original idea was 2x12 for 2012. See, clever clever... But maybe you're right..

Also, please can I have a round of applause for MY FASTEST THREAD COMPLETION EVER. DONE IN UNDER 10 MINUTES.

Professor Moriarty -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 1:02:34 PM)

Of the ones I've seen.

Prometheus - Rubbish
21 Jump Street - Enjoyable, but I've kind of forgotten it
The Descendants - Boring
The Raid - A lot of fun for 30 minutes, then it just kept going and going
The Cabin in the Woods - Bonkers fun, then later bonkers not so much fun
Ted - LOL
Avengers Assemble - Big, brash and enjoyable
The Muppets - <3
Haywire - Awesome, loved this lots
Skyfall - 5/5
The Dark Knight Rises - That the lord that trilogy is over. Enjoyed Spider-Man much more.

MonsterCat -> RE: Homer's Top 24 of 2012 (2/1/2013 1:10:19 PM)


ORIGINAL: elab49

Ted - dross

Further proof that you hate fun.

Prometheus improved on a second viewing. In terms of plotting it's a little bit messy, but it's an honest attempt at an intelligent, grown-up sci-fi flick. For me it's a high-end 3/5 flick.

Also: I feel like I should have my PTA fan-club card revoked. I completely missed out on The Master when it was at the cinemas. : (

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