Archive for January, 2013


The Best Films of 2012

January 28, 2013

tabu2012 was a year filled with as many cinematic highs than I’ve ever experienced. Not so much because of the quality of films that the year had to offer, but mainly due to the fact that I’d attended TIFF and had finally met so many online friends for the first time. This isn’t to say that 2012 was a bad year for film, as it just had the misfortune of following such a brilliant 2011. I look forward to what I think will be a phenomenal 2013, but let’s take a look back at my favorites from 2012:

Blind spots (mostly festival related):
Barbara (Petzold, Germany)
Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor/Paravel, Multinational)
Passion (De Palma, Multinational)
Post Tenebras Lux (Reygadas, Mexico)
To the Wonder (Malick, USA)
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (Resnais, France)

Honorable mentions:
In Another Country (Sang-soo, South Korea)
Magic Mike (Soderbergh, USA)
Paradise Love (Seidl, Austria)
Tabu (Gomes, Portugal)
Amour (Haneke, France)
Cosmopolis (Cronenberg, Canada)
Dredd (Travis, UK)
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Hyams, USA)
Killer Joe (Friedkin, USA)
End of Watch (Ayers, USA)
The Comedy (Alverson, USA)

10. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, USA)

9. 4:44 Last Day on Earth (Ferrara, USA)

8. The Color Wheel (Perry, USA)

7. Girl Walk // All Day (Krupnick, USA)

6. Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, France/Japan)

5. Holy Motors (Carax, France)

4. Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, USA)

3. Frances Ha (Baumbach, USA)

2. The Master (Anderson, USA)

Spring Breakers
1. Spring Breakers (Korine, USA)

Notes: Listen to further thoughts on list in podcast form on Almost Arthouse ep #12
Entire 2012 TIFF recap
Best non-2012 viewings of last year
A look back at my favorites from 2011



January 26, 2013

directed by Taylor Hackford, 2013


Perhaps the best thing about Taylor Hackford’s Parker is its unwavering compatibility with comfort. This is not to say that all films (even January releases) should strive for such moderate appeal, but there’s something charming about a genre outing that realizes it’s not reinventing the wheel while providing ample thrills in the process. Scribed by John J. McLaughlin from a novel by Donald E. Westlake, Parker is leagues away from the best of its kind, though its sporadic pulse and leisurely swagger are tuned in such a way that inhibits this film from being an outright mess. Glorified genre gratuitousness has often been executed far more tastefully, but Parker partially glides off of the physical attributes of its main star and protagonist whose roundup of career genre outings have placed him near the top of Hollywood’s action A-list.

Full review at Sound on Sight


Things We Learned from the Commentary: James Gray’s ‘Two Lovers’

January 18, 2013

TThe decision to kick off the series with James Gray was a rather easy one. Not only is Gray one of the most wrongfully unheralded American storytellers working in all of contemporary cinema, but his films are often lost in the shuffle or neglected in part to their refusal to conform to cinema’s demographic driven standards.

Two Lovers is the director’s fourth feature, per IMDb, the film is a Brooklyn-set romantic drama about a bachelor (Joaquin Phoenix) torn between the family friend (Vinessa Shaw) his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow). Yes, it’s ostensibly a film about a man juggling two very different love interests; most films are content with running with that very premise and never looking back. Gray has little interest in subverting said premise, as his intentions are far more poetic, often situated or operating beneath the film’s surface.

Full review at Sound on Sight


My Month in Films: December ’12

January 3, 2013


Total films seen: 15

Best first time viewings
1. The Color Wheel (Perry, ’12)
2. Girl Walk // All Day (Krupnick, ’12)
3. 4:44 Last Day on Earth (Ferrara, ’12)
4. This Is 40 (Apatow, ’12)
5. Django Unchained (Tarantino, ’12)
6. Premium Rush (Koepp, ’12)
7. The Queen of Versailles (Greenfield, ’12)
8. The Bourne Legacy (Gilroy, ’12)
9. Step Up Revolution (Speer, ’12)
10. The Imposter (Layton, ’12)

Worth mentioning
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Jackson, ’12)
Arbitrage (Jarecki, ’12)

Les Miserables (Hooper, ’12)



2012 in review (part 1)

January 2, 2013

Listed below in alphabetical order are the top 10 non-2012 films I watched last year.

Climates (Ceylan, ’06)

Femme Fatale (De Palma, ’02)

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai, ’03)

The Headless Woman (Martel, ’08)

Japon (Reygadas, ’02)

Oasis (Chang-dong, ’02)

Pola X (Carax, ’99)

Police_AdjectivePolice, Adjective (Porumboiu, ’09)

Sans soleil (Marker, ’83)

The Yards (Gray, ’99)