Honorable mentions –
10. Django Unchained
9. Holy Motors
7. Beasts of Southern Wild
Based on little known but true-life story. As in Michigan, so in Iran. At the height of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, with yellow ribbons tied around half the old oak trees in America, a CIA agent and a couple of Hollywood professionals dreamed up a cockamamie scheme to free six Americans who had found refuge in the Canadian embassy. Their existence had to remain a secret to protect Canada’s diplomatic status. Another staple of Affleck’s films is his knack at picking a stellar cast, and the cast for Argo is fantastic. Bryan Cranston. John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Scoot McNairy, Victor Garber, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina. And that’s not even the full list of excellent supporting cast. Each of the lead actors gets a moment to shine, whether it’s Arkin and Goodman trading barbs, Scoot McNairy’s airport performance, or Cranston’s running around. Still Affleck’s character is quite static and somewhat one-dimensional. A very dramatic, exciting, heart wrenching, reverting, patriotic and occasionally humorous film. Argo is, fortunately; a must-see!
4. Life of Pi
At first I wasn’t impressed by the storyline so I stopped watching the movie in midway. But because of the rave reviews I gave it another shot. And I ought to say I was impressed! I haven’t read the Booker prize winning fantasy/adventure Yann martel’s novel on which this movie is based on yet, but adapting a novel with a plot like this on the screen is really a tough job to do and that is why I was happy when Academy chose Ang Lee over Steven Spielberg as the Best Director. And about the technical details, the cinematography was the most beautiful I ever saw, though the movie could have cut down a little bit, but it’s not an issue. VFX was top notch, and so is Suraj Sharma and the rest of the cast! It should be born in mind that Pi doesn’t definitively state which story was true, something which only he can know for sure. That’s where the beauty lies, the world isn’t just the way it’s, it’s how we understand it! So it doesn’t redeem my faith in god (I’m an atheist), I think it was a question of perspective.
3. The Master
Now this movie ranks high on artistic measures, it’s an absolute American modern classic which slowly and subtly grows on you. The movie is open to interpretation. a typical PTA movie about a damaged war veteran who looks to find sanity through the promises made by ‘the cause’. It really is just about how human beings have animalistic instincts and that no matter how hard you try you can not truly get rid of them. The acting is undoubtedly the strongest link of the film. Joaquin Phoenix truly is a marvel to behold as Freddie, making the character as much his own creation as the screenplay’s. Some have said that there’s a bit of homo-eroticism in the character interactions between Dodd and Freddie, but maybe that’s just because Hoffman and Phoenix act with such fiery passion. Admittedly, the film’s most glaring problem might be that Amy Adam’s character can be seen as being underused. The composition by Johnny Greenwood (one of my favourite composers around) evokes dread, fascination and ultimately hope. Even the cinematography is breathtaking as you can see in the picture yourself. Undoubtedly the most unappreciated film of 2012.
2. Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom is one of the most peculiar and beautiful romantic movies I have seen in recent time. Quirky, well acted and amusing it is tells a story of two kids who fall in love and don’t care about the adult world and build their own ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. The innocence of early childhood is subtly portrayed in the film. The contrast between childhood and adulthood is simply brilliant. Still it doesn’t have a perfectly happy ending which makes us to believe in the film. Great production design and surrealistic cinematography are the USP of the film. Definitely one of the underrated films of the last year and arguably Anderson’s best work yet.
1. Zero Dark Thirty
It was really tough to choose between this and the second one. Though ZDT had its moments which were completely nailed by Jessica Chastain one has to accept the fact that this is not a very emotional film, it’s a docudrama, and kudos to Kathryn Bigelow to remain completely honest with the film throughout. Before watching the film I was told that this film glorifies torture, and I was puzzled after finishing with the film. It certainly doesn’t, I found it very honest and natural. Technically this film was top notch, the production, cinematography and direction couldn’t have been better. And the beauty of the film is there’s no action except the last phase of the movie and it still manages to keep you on the edge of the seat even being an 2.5 hour+ film. The way Bigelow depicts the emotional distress of lead character ‘Maya’ after she finishing with Bin Laden in the fortress is simply brilliant. A very honest direction and acting unnoticed by the Academy. Chastain certainly deserved that golden statuette!
That’s all for this time, I shall come with something interesting, till then, adios!