Monday, 31 December 2012

Lauren’s Best of 2012

2012 has been a massive year, a new job with added responsibilities, lots of family stuff happening and lots of films, books and albums (not to mention craft, restaurants, the world of finding decent decaf, the gym and just general faux-hipster time wasting activities). In fact, in 2012 I saw 91 films, I think the most I’ve ever seen.

So, here is the list of the best of 2012.

Films:

Top 20

1. Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
This was one of the most moving film experiences I have ever had. Watching Marina’s performance art and sharing in her story had me sobbing throughout the entire film. I’ve never felt like that in a film before.
2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
One of the first films I saw in 2012 and it was hard to beat. It crept up on you. Grey London, bold Oldman (robbed of the Oscar) and Cumberbatch!
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
This film was phenomenal. It touched my soul and challenged perspectives. Fantasy tinged with harsh reality.
4. Sound of My Voice
I do love a good story about a cult but this was about so much more than brainwashing and strange basement handshakes. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this film. It was a great narrative, perplexing and Britt Marling was incredible. A real highlight of the year.
5. Argo
I’m the first to admit I’m not a big fan of Ben Affleck the actor, but I am a massive fan of Affleck the director. A great film where the predictable suspense still had me covering my eyes!
6. Amour
Heart wrenching. Beautiful. Love.
7. Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Flying out a window. Renner. Action. Incredible. Enough said. Judge me, I don’t care.
8. Hugo
So beautiful (especially in 3D) that I could have sat in the cinema and watched it again and again. Thank you Scorsese. A lesson in film and a lesson in loveliness, family and dreams.
9. Weekend
A gay love story that was so much more than the average depiction, less nightclubs, more love. A beautiful film.
10. The Avengers
Superheroes!!!!! Loved every minute of Whedon fun!
11. Headhunters
A great Norwegian film that was a hilarious art-heist! Wasn’t expecting much so was totally surprised that this remained one of my favourites of the year!
12. Undefeated
I thought this would be a typical sports doco about the achievements of a wrong side turned good group of kids who win a championship. It was so much more. A moving glimpse of poverty, hard work and opportunity.
13. Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood (Italian Film Festival)
This film slayed me and really affected me for days after I saw it. It reminded me of that time around the Seattle protests and S11 and G20 and what corruption, violence and political zeal mixed with corporate zeal can do to those who believe in the truth and freedom.
14. Looper
A great film with Gordon-Levitt and Willis delivering great performances. Action and sci-fi thrills.
15. The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan delivered an amazing film, made better by seeing it in the front row at IMAX. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a highlight as Batman’s Robin, while Tom Hardy’s mumbling was a lowlight. A great end to the franchise.
16. Woody Allen: A Documentary
So great I saw this twice, once at ACMI and then on ABC. Nothing makes me feel better like Woody and Diane K talking about love and life. My teen hero.
17. Magic Mike
Soderberg for the win! What could have been Step Up with strippers ended up being emotive, gritty and real.
18. The Intouchables
As someone who has spent much of their career working in the disability policy area, often films about people with disability end up being inspiration porn, that is heart-warming stories that make you feel sympathy but hope. This film however was hilarious, genuine and avoided most clich├ęs.
19. Margaret (Extended Version)
Lonergan delivered another great film. I’ve seen ‘You Can Count on Me’ so many times and this is just as good. To get into a teenagers brain to see tragedy, life and New York go by was incredible. Paquin was wonderful.
20. Chronicle
I went into this thinking it was a teen movie and left amazed at the way it was filmed and the impact of the story.


Almost made it to the top 20 but didn’t…

• The Artist
A beautifully shot and heart-warming film that reminds us of why cinema is so important.
• Rock of Ages
This film was a total guilty pleasure, so bad it’s good (along the lines of Burlesque), what more do you need – Tom Cruise, no shirt, singing Guns & Roses Paradise City.
• Cabin in the Woods
I’m so not into horror, in fact I’m so not into horror that I had to read the entire scene synopsis before we went into the cinema, but I surprisingly enjoyed it, I guess Joss makes everything ok. It was terrifying, random and Bradley Whitford was pure understated comedic genius!
• Moonrise Kingdom
A sweet curious tale, amazingly funning, with Bruce Willis a highlight. It was like an animated Norman Rockwell painting.
• Monsieur Lazhar
A reminder of the importance of good teachers and the importance of listening to children’s voices. The performances were emotive and beautiful.
• Safety Not Guaranteed
Funny, complete with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, what more do you need?
• Your Sister’s Sister
A well-written, charming indie. Plus Duplass and a love story!
• The Imposter
This unexpected and bizarrely fascinating documentary took me by surprise, twists and turns, reminded me of my two favourite docos of previous years, Catfish and Tabloid.
• Haywire
Soderberg does it again with a film that kind of creeps up on you and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
• Bill Cunningham New York
The story and life of Bill Cunningham was charming and unassuming.

Books (in no order):

• The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
• Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
• The Hunger Games Trilogy

Albums

• Patti Smith - Banga
• Cat Power – Sun
• Something for Kate – Leave your Soul to Science
• Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind
• Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
• Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
• Nicki Minaj – Roman Reloaded

Other highlights:

• Simon Callow at the Melbourne Town Hall
• Michael Palin – at the Melbourne Town Hall
• Jeffrey Eugenides at the Comedy Theatre
• Sherlock on TV – Freeman and Cumberbatch!
• Hawaii 50 and NCIS LA cross over – when cheesy met cheesier for the win!
• Being introduced to the music of Anthony and the Johnsons by Katee.
• Paul Thomas Anderson and The Master on 70mm at the Astor.
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime – National Theatre Live.
• Oscars Day at the Nova.

Ashley's Movies for 2012:

I cannot believe the amount of movies I was able to see in 2012. I gave myself a target for 2012 and that was to see as many movies as I could, and do a blog and score on them. At the end of the year I wanted to post my movies, ranking them from best to worst. And so here it is.

I wanted to keep the rules easy and simple, which mainly was to score them and rank them as I go, so it wouldn't be a messy affair at the end of the year. (Lauren is living through the pain of ordering films as I write) I think the hardest part was during MIFF when I saw over 30 movies in just a 2 week period. During this period I feel like I might of made some rushed scores and ranking decisions. Also, looking at my list now, I feel like I could change a few scores and ranking positions for some of the films, but in the end it is just a little fun, and nothing too serious. You will also find some old classics, which were remastered and shown at the Astor.

What surprised me was that I actually thought I saw more movies during the year than what I did see and that the bulk of the films I saw where during the two week period of the Melbourne International Film Festival. I saw double the amount of movies at MIFF than what I saw in 2011. Also, I saw some National Theatre Live productions at Cinema Nova in Carlton. Which I decided not to include in the list seeing that even though I saw them at the cinema they are more theatre productions and I enjoy them in a different way than I would a movie.

The amounts of movies I watched in the second half of the year dropped due to A-League and Melbourne Heart, but I still got to see some good movies in between the soccer, like Lawless and Argo. You can catch my soccer blog at www.thebigheart.co.

After saying all of that, here is my movies for 2012 and National Theatre Love list. Both list shows the score and the month which I saw the film in:

My Movies for 2012 (Well, all the movies I saw in 2012):
1: The Dark Knight Rises: 4.5/5. July. (I felt like this completed the trilogy, and I think the director is fantastic.)
2: Headhunters: 4.5/5. March. (What a movie, I highly recommend this to everyone before Hollywood wrecks it.)
3: God Bless America: 4.5/5. August. (My first Bobcat movie production. I now see him in a new light, and have to admit I had him typecast in Police Academy. This is violent but it speaks out about the state of America, a must see movie.)
4: Raiders of the Lost Ark: 4.5/5. June. (Re-Mastered and shown at the Astor)
5: Beast of the Southern Wild: 4/5. August. (This and Batman where the only movies I saw twice in the Cinema during the year)
6: Looper: 4/5. November. (It reminded me of 12 Monkeys. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to watching again.)
7: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: 4/5. January.
8: Lawrence of Arabia: 4/5. August. (Re-Mastered and shown at the Astor)
9: The Cabin in The Woods: 4/5. July. (This is one of the movies I think I rated harshly, and think maybe I could have put it in my top 5.)
10: The Imposter: 4/5. August.
11: Undefeated: 4/5. August.
12: Argo: 4/5. December.
13: Martha Marcy May Marlene: 4/5. February.
14: The Avengers: 4/5. May.
15: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. 4/5. August.
16: Chronicle: 4/5. February.
17: Lawless: 4/5. December.
18: The Artist: 4/5. February.
19: The Ambassador: 4/5. August.
20: Fight for your right Revisited: 4/5. August.
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21: Holy Motors: 4/5. August. (After rethinking about this movie, if I could restore it I think it might be a 3/5, I would have to re watch it again.)
22: Liberal Arts: 3.5/5. August.
23: Ace Attorney: 3.5/5. August.
24: Save your Legs: 3.5/5. August.
25: Safety not Guaranteed: 3.5/5. August.
26: We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist: 3.5/5. August.
27: Killer Joe: 3.5/5. August.
28: Into the Abyss (movie): 3.5/5 and also Into the Abyss (TV episode): 3.5/5. August.
29: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 3.5/5. April.
30: The Hunter Games: 3.5/5. April.
31: The Muppets Movie: 3.5/5. January.
32: Interrupters: 3.5/5. January.
33: You Will Be My Son, 3.5/5. November.
34: Eames: The Architect and The Painter: 3.5/5. June.
35: Descendants: 3.5/5. March.
36: Mission Impossible 4: 3.5/5. January.
37: When a City Falls: 3.5/5. August.
38: Rampart: 3.5/5. August.
39: The Legend of Kasper Hauser: 3.5/5. August.
40: Robot and Frank: 3/5. August.
41: Nameless Gangster: Rules of the time: 4/5. August.
42: On the Road: 3/5. August.
43: Beastie Boys in Awesome I fuckn shot that: 3/5. August.
44: Something for nothing: The Art of Rap: 3/5. August.
45: Mine Games: 3/5. August. (Another movie I think I rated to high. I wished this was better than it was, it had potential.)
46: Any Questions For Ben: 3/5. February.
47: Make Hummus not war: 3/5. August.
48: Just The Wind: 3.5/5. August.
49: Step up to the plate: 2.5/5. August.
50: J Edgar: 2.5/5. January.
51: A Dangerous Method: 2.5/5. March.
52: L: 2/5. August.
53: Tomorrow: 2/5. August.
54: The Red and the Black: 2/5. August.
55: Crime and Punishment: 1.5/5. August.

And my National Theatre Live productions of 2012:
1: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. NTL. 4/5. September. (Easily in my overall top 15 for 2012. I really enjoyed this play.)
2: The Comedy of Errors, NTL 3.5/5. March.
3: Travelling Light. NTL 3.5/5. February