My year in film

Another year is about to come to a close. So while the prosecco is chilling and the Aperol is patiently waiting to be spritzed, I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on my year in film.

Aperol Spritz - what I'll be drinking this new year
Aperol Spritz – what I’ll be drinking this new year

Funny enough, I’ve spent the final weekend of 2012 at the movies. I saw The Hobbit and caught up on the indie flick Liberal Arts. It’s time for me to admit that I just don’t care as much as I’d like to about what happens to the inhabitants of Middle Earth. While there were many impressive and exciting moments in Jackson’s film, I’d be raving almost exclusively on a technical level, which really isn’t enough. The same can’t be said for writer-director Josh Radnor’s delightful Liberal Arts, full of characters I cared about and in whom I recognised aspects of myself over and over. It was one of those rare films that felt like it had been made just for me.

Sorry Bilbo Baggins, I just don't care
Sorry Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, centre), I just don’t care
Elizabeth Olsen as Zibby and Josh Radnor as Jesse in Liberal Arts, a film I cared a lot about
Elizabeth Olsen as Zibby and Josh Radnor as Jesse in Liberal Arts, a film I cared about, a lot

These two films bring my final ‘at the movies’ tally to 45. Given that I don’t review for a living and don’t get any complimentary tickets to screenings, I’d say that’s a pretty solid number in this day and age – nearly one film watched at a cinema per week.

Of course, I’ve watched even more films than this if you factor in the films watched in my lounge room. Reruns on TV; old favourites on DVD. Just recently I revisited All About Eve, The Philadelphia Story and Some Like it Hot – partly for research, but mostly for pleasure. I may well spend New Year’s Eve watching two of my favourite musicals – High Society and Singin’ in the Rain – to get me in the mood for the latest musical, Les Miserables, which I hope to see mid-week. I’ll finish the first week of 2013 wearing 3D glasses as I watch Life of Pi before returning to the routine of working life.

Back in April, I wrote a post about the ten films I was most looking forward to this year. At the top of that list was Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which I hoped would be a Christmas release but isn’t opening here in Australia until February 7. The wait is killing me, slowly. Close behind was The Master, which I declared would be my ‘early call for best film of 2012.’ As you’ll see below, it has topped my list. I was also looking forward to The Great Gatsby (delayed until mid-2013), Django Unchained (opening here in mid-January), and a few other films that are still waiting for release.

Still waiting to see this ...
Still waiting to see this …

I’ve decided to name just five favourite films for 2012, which of course was tough. I’ve seen a lot of really impressive films this year – films that have challenged me, moved me and entertained me. Films like Hugo, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shame, Wuthering Heights and Weekend all fit the bill, some for extraordinary performances, others for challenging material and others for being very classy entertainment.

But since I set myself the task of brevity here are the five films, that for me, had it all:

1. The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

The Master

Because this is the work of a real filmmaker in complete control of his material. Because of its performances, because it looks beautiful. Because it does what great film as art should do – astound, confound and be just a little profound.

2. Moonrise Kingdom (dir. Wes Anderson)

Moonrise Kingdom

Because it’s a perfect film.

3. The Hunt (dir. Thomas Vinterberg)

The Hunt

Because of the extraordinary Mads Mikkelsen and the tension Vinterberg channels from beginning to end.

4. Le Havre (dir. Aki Kaurismäki)

Le Havre

Because of the depth of its humanity and for its delicate balance between the comic and the sublime.

5. The Deep Blue Sea (dir. Terence Davies)

The Deep Blue Sea

Because of the luminosity of Rachel Weisz and her passionate representation of the all-consuming fire of love.

Thanks to my regular readers for taking the time and allowing me to indulge my obsessions. Drop me a line and let me know the films you’ve enjoyed most this year too. I’d love to know.

Thanks also to those of you who just drop by to look at the pictures of James Dean and Marlon Brando. There are a lot of you. That’s OK – I don’t blame you. Here’s a couple more just for you.

James Dean

Marlon Brando

To everyone – Happy New Year!

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