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My Top 5 Films of 2012, One Documentary Plus Two Of The Worst
puddingdan

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

It’s hard to not include the finale to one of the greatest trilogies of recent times and I just can’t overlook it. Nolan’s work continued the themes of his previous two instalments with a clever, progressive narrative and drove itself down into the darkness and then rose emphatically like a phoenix in Batman-shaped flames. It was astonishing when Hathaway’s Cat took away Wayne’s cane and we all exploded internally when Hardy’s powerhouse Bane broke the Bat – the thing that just wasn’t going to happen – and then, oh then the recovery, the fight, the sheer emotion that led to make THE DARK KNIGHT RISES an absolute classic.

CABIN IN THE WOODS

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s undervalued and, probably underestimated, 2012 masterstroke. Surely there was no other room for a horror-deconstruction –thriller-comedy? You’re all so very wrong, CABIN IN THE WOODS turned the genre on its head again, and with every trick in the book and a Unicorn. The best since SCREAM (1996) for invention, humour, terribly unfortunate deaths entwined with myths and legends coming to life all for the sake of…*spoilers!* Has to be seen to be believed.

PROMETHEUS

A surprise entry and in for all the right reasons as I divide the expectation of another Alien film and to be honest, who’d want another Alien anyway? I’ve included this because I’ve seen it now on every possible format from IMAX to a smart phone and it always looks glorious. Push it aside as a sci-fi epic  in its own right and it’s gigantic and something I think a modern viewer disregards too easily. Sure, there’s some bizarre plot devices and characters changing their entire persona within a few scenes (those bloody scientists) but what came first, the cliché or the invention of it through self-parody? It’s obviously not his masterpiece but it’s one of my favourites of the year and that scene with David in the Space Jockey room and the Map, oh my word. Beauty.

THE AVENGERS

Expectation, it’s a funny thing. I don’t think Joss Whedon could have created a braver, vibrant, expansive world for The Avengers and still hold all the essence of what you hoped would be in the final picture. With so many massive characters, there’s no way they could have screen time right? Absolutely wrong, as everyone is used perfectly and given enough space to show their own talents mixed effortlessly with that distinct charm of each individual role. Where we ever concerned? Not those who know Whedon’s ensemble casts and his endless love for the source material, it was the best thrill ride of the year and almost perfect. Puny worries? Gone.

SHAME

Yes, this was released in the UK in January which started my year and it hasn’t left my head since. Intense, heart breaking, visceral and revealing…even if I saw a little bit too much of Fassbender’s little Michael for my liking. His character Brandon was deeply flawed and destructive as he played out on screen a deep investigation (sorry) into sex addiction. The addition of Carey Mulligan’s Sissy was a revelation, a sprawling mess seeking help from the only person who couldn’t help, her also disconnected brother. It created unique tension, was incredibly affecting and includes one of the best tracking shots ever across New York.  A disturbing , yet compelling, portrayal about the absence of self-control.

Documentary: Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Never have I been moved, nor had my mind changed, so much about an art movement or a person with this documentary. It gives you all the truth and then the most important part, the reason behind doing something…which is often overlooked and missed with modern art. Marina’s unreserved focus and dedication to her art is almost religious in its nature but she’s cleverer that just a single movement, because she’s always testing, trying and inventing. It’s an experience I’ll never forget and I just wish I could have sat in that chair in this documentary, to feel that unforgiving emotion and connection of self would be truly captivating.

Worst of The Year

TOTAL RECALL

A totally and utterly terrible reboot. Farrell does his best amongst a total mess from Wiseman, he’s actually decent enough but when the cities around him are floating in the sky for no reason, you start to wonder straight away. It doesn’t make sense! Why make such an effort to say something isn’t homage and then make it exactly that? Why cast Cranston and hardly use him? Too much going on-screen becomes a poisoned vein of visual vomit with a lack of character depth, a lot of continual running out of stupid situations and even more rubbish that I chose to blank over, all-in-all a quite tragic experience.

TAKEN 2 is very closely behind and a wonderful example of how not to follow up a cult hit. Sure, TAKEN wasn’t rocket science but it was tight, snappy and potent whereas the sequel is an accidental self-parody that bobs just above the water line, waiting for anything to drown it. Why delve further into the character of Bryan Mills when we already know so much about him? He’s obviously very OCD, so is it necessary for any plot device to give us another crap-load of examples? TAKEN 2 is slow, confused and all a bit pointless so my final thought? Just watch TAKEN, twice. 


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