I’m generally not one for Top 10 lists. In fact, I’ve abstained from the collective Top 10 with The Skinny the past 2 years. But since I wrote up my Top 12 Books of 2012, I decided I might as well do films too.
These are in no particular order.
Young Adult is a story that proved Diablo Cody’s worth and blew the lid off the Plutonic ideals of being a writer. Something about its representations of the lazy and casual acceptance of shallow high school drama and reality television really worked for me, and Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt were fantastic. Full review here.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
I don’t know if “psychological thriller” is a label that is applied to this film, but it’s certainly my idea of a good one. Compelling and spooky, it’s a film that asks more questions than it answers, and it really stuck with me. Another great performance from John Hawkes, who has quickly become one of my favourite actors.
If the mark of a good movie is equal or greater enjoyment on second viewing, this film fails. I initially watched this at Glasgow Film Festival 2011, closer to my graduate ennui/doing a Masters and languishing at my parents’ house period. Rewatching it a year later – and after having seen Girls season 1 – it had lost much of its bite. In context, though, it’s fantastic, and I’m a huge Lena Dunham fan, so it makes the cut.
I do love Rian Johnson’s films. This was one of the big releases of the year for me, and although it was somewhat overhyped it didn’t disappoint. Original story, great performances, and it’s been great to see a filmmaker spend months deflecting alleged plot holes…
An epic documentary from Kevin Macdonald with fantastic interviews from sparkling subjects, gorgeous shots from Jamaica’s Trenchtown, and an absolute avoidance of hagiography. Full review on the BBC Movie Café podcast. Click here (right click, save as) to download. [Offline]
The film of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 for many; myself included. Part silent film, part meditation, this 2-part drama has everything a pretentious film fan could ever want. In a good way.
Family drama, dark humour, and George Clooney. What more could you possibly want? Full review on the BBC Movie Café podcast. Click here (right click, save as) to download. [Offline.]
Ever seen a film that you loved so much, and that was written so much towards you and your sensibilities, that you almost wanted to hate it? Ruby Sparks was that for me. Simple filmmaking, the struggling second-time novelist trope, and a great take-down of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Probably my film of the year, and I kinda wish writer and co-star Zoe Kazan and I could be friends.
Your Sister’s Sister
Another gem from Glasgow Film Festival, breaking its long-held tradition for having a disappointing Opening Gala pick. The final 10-15 minutes and closing scene caused some debate, but it’s a neat wee indie film nonetheless.
This fantastic new animation from Disney isn’t released in the UK until January, but it makes my list. Aping video game characters old and new, this touching story is spectacularly well-cast (John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jack McBrayer) and has borrowed all the best bit from the Pixar filmmaking process.
Long-listed for the Academy Awards, Chasing Ice is probably the best issue documentary you’ll see for several years. Where Al Gore showed graphs and projections, environmental photographer James Balog gives undeniable visual evidence for climate change. Remarkable, worldview-altering stuff. In UK cinemas this month, find local screenings here.
What are your films of the year? Which films are you looking forward to in 2013?