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Movies of 2012 [FB]
Jan 3rd, 2013 by Dan

cinema

(Photo by jimmymac333)

Man do I love me some movies, guys. The following listing of my favorites is not limited to movies that were released in 2012, but rather what I saw in 2012 that I most want to talk about.

Prometheus – I’ve never seen a movie from the Alien franchise, but something about the trailers and the Fassbender hype made me want to catch this one in the theaters. After failing to get most people interested, Ian and I caught this flick. Look, guys, it’s not the greatest movie out there, but Fassbender is amazing, the movie is stunning, and that emergency “caesarian”? Absolutely terrifying and awesome to watch. I want to make everyone watch that hyper tense scene.

The Cabin in the Woods – Kind of related to the previous movie, but I don’t really watch horror/monster movies. They’re not my thing. The buzz on Cabin was so great that I had to face my fears and step in. What I got was a brilliant subversion of the horror genre with Whedon’s fingerprints all over it. It’s not really that scary and I honestly believe that everyone should suck it up and check this flick out. You’ll never look at a horror movie the same way.

Young Adult – The first of these flicks to have actually come out in 2011, Diablo Cody’s look at a thoroughly unpleasant woman seeking to reclaim her glory days is relentless in its brutal look at the awful person that Charlize Theron plays. The absolute kicker is in the scene where Patton Oswalt’s character’s sister effectively destroys the character progress Theron has made. Watching everything shift into place on her face was probably the best acted moment I saw this year.

The Descendants – Or the movie that convinced me that George Clooney was brilliant and that Shailene Woodley had real acting chops. It’s a beautiful family movie with an almost tacked on real estate sideplot that doesn’t quite tie in like I think they wanted it to, but it’s full of great performances and it’s definitely worth seeing.

Higher Ground – I’ve been enamored with Vera Farmiga ever since I saw her in Up in the Air, so I had to check this movie out. It’s about a woman constantly searching for meaning, but frustratingly never able to find it. She plays the part with a lot of emotion and subtlety and I just adored every minute of the performance.

Martha Marcy May Marlene – Fits in thematically with the previously mentioned movie since it’s also about a girl so lost that she ends up involved in a cult (to be fair, Higher Ground is about a fundamentalist Christian sect). Elizabeth Olsen plays the confused, frightened escapee with great skill as her brain struggles to reconcile what is real with what was brainwashed into her head. Of course you also get to contrast the horrible, but peaceful cult with the materialistic and unfulfilling real world that alienated Olsen in the first place. The film is most notable to me with how it closes. Is Olsen in her right mind and is the cult actually about to exact vengeance or not?

Wanderlust – The first truly slight movie on this list, Wanderlust has David Wain’s quasi-troop at their funniest. It’s not gonna win any Oscars, but Wanderlust is a happy, fun movie filled with funny people. I mean, any movie that makes me like Jennifer Aniston has got to be worth mentioning.

The Five-Year Engagement – Sure, it’s just shy of a standard rom-com, but this flick is getting special mention for the fine work of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt. Those two are amazing.

Goon – A hockey epic for the modern day. I have almost zero complaints about this movie. It tugs on all the heartstrings with a story as far from cloying as possible. It’ll make you laugh, wince, and maybe cry, but you’ll love it.

21 Jump Street – Who knew that Channing Tatum was secretly hilarious? It’s probably getting a little too much credit, but this is a genuinely funny movie that I expected to be completely idiotic and forgettable.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – My first Duplass Brothers film. I guess they call this kind of indie film mumblecore, but that’s kind of reductive. It’s a sweet story about brothers, which is the kind of thing I’m a sucker for.

The Avengers – The biggest movie of the year! Do I even have to talk about it? I want to give props to Mark Ruffalo for being brilliant as Bruce Banner and, hey, while we’re at it, I thought ScarJo did a fine job too (so did everyone else).

Argo – A strong competitor for my favorite flick of the year. Who doesn’t love a heist flick? Especially one that’s actually based on real events. 70s facial hair, great, tense performances, and international spy intrigue. It goes to show that you don’t need James Bond flair to make a good, exciting espionage movie. Plus “Argo fuck yourself” is a great line.

Lincoln – Another heist flick, but this one is about getting votes for the 13th amendment. Everyone you could possibly think of is in this flick, but I think its fatal flaw is the whole biopic aspect of it. Lincoln was an incredible man, I don’t doubt that, but in this movie he’s never wrong, always gets the last word in, and is generally a god among men. Worth seeing.

Holy Motors – Gets the WTF? Award this year. Truly bizarre in a way that only French cinema dares. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s also brilliant. The accordion segment was pretty sweet too

Pitch Perfect – I love movies about music or singing. I don’t care that this is the most stereotypical, formulaic plotting out there. Obviously there’s gonna be discord, one girl is devoted to the old way while the new girl has a revolutionary way to look at things and, guess what, she’s right! Look, who cares about that? Rebel Wilson is hilarious and Anna Kendrick is super charming. Don’t fight it, just enjoy.

Django Unchained – I’m not above stating that this is the most important movie of the year. I’ve heard that some of the events depicted in it are exaggerations of the horrors of slavery. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t live in the 1800s, but I think that this movie is properly intense and strikes the right balance between over-the-top violence and the real gravity of the situation. Cristoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson all deserve recognition for their amazing performances. If you’re only gonna see one movie on this list, make it this one.

What I’ve Been Doing 17 Dec 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 17th, 2012 by Dan

French cinema, everyone! (Photo courtesy Screened.com)

Went on a date with an art student so I thought it would be most fitting to see a weird, French art flick. It…did not disappoint.

Movies

Holy Motors – There is no real way to summarize every weird thing that happens in this movie, but it’s about a man who gets in a limousine every day and shows up in makeup and costumes in various places, acts out a scene, and then leaves. You got a little bit of everything, but my favorite was the scene where he killed a man, started to make the man look like him, and then that dead man killed him and assumed his role. That’s the kind of movie this was. It was…odd.

TV

Breaking Bad – How great is this show’s table setting? Chekhov’s Ricin, check. Putting Mike out of commission, check. Setting up the Tio meetings, check. Ted Beneke and his trip-prone rug, check. I didn’t even notice until later that the pistol ended up pointing at the lily of the valley in the penultimate episode. Brilliant stuff. Now I need to watch the first half of season 5 somehow.

The Amazing Race – Definitely did not expect the Beekmans to win. So hooked on this show. Can’t wait for the next race in Jan/Feb or whenever it returns.

New Girl – I thought the cranberry in the ear bit was hilarious! Not sure that I’m digging the character that they’ve got Olivia Munn playing, but…it’s Olivia Munn. I can forgive it.

The Mindy Project – I love when Mindy gets people like Ellie Kemper to show up and really play against type. She was really funny in this episode.

Music

Let’s see…I listened to Channel Orange probably every night last week, but maybe you’re all getting sick of Frank Ocean (I don’t know how) so I’m gonna go with Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” off of good kid, m.A.A.d city

Man, I love that opening (also the chorus)

“I am a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again
Lord forgive me, Lord forgive me
Things I don’t understand
Sometimes I need to be alone”

It’s also got a nice, old school type backing track.

Books

A Confederacy of Dunces – Ignatius’ treatise on the factory workers bordered on offensive, but I think that’s supposed to be the point. Still not quite sure where the book is going, but I’m also not that deep into it, I guess. It’s interesting.

The Revolution Was Televised – Pushed through the last few chapters until around 0200 on Saturday. Loved it. If you have any interest in tv and how it’s hit its golden age, this is a great, relatively breezy read.

Video Games

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Still kind of sore about having to start a new game, but I always dig this game. Gotta record a bunch of episodes this week to cover Christmas.

FTL – Actually got fairly far with the Mantis ship. I’m rather proud of myself for that.

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors – Has kind of a Saw/survival horror vibe to it. So far the mysteries are coming in fast and hard and I think I made a questionable decision in abandoning Akane/June, but I think that I need to keep an eye on Snake and Seven and I wanted to check out the Ninth Man (although they didn’t really let me). Very intriguing story, but this is a visual novel, folks, so if you want to try it be prepared to read and only occasionally solve puzzles.

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