Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: MY 2012 BEST MOVIE LISTS
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:58 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:50 pm
Posts: 3652
Location: California/NYC

Django's maker

This was clearly a good year for "foreign films," not a fair category to compare with the American ones, since it simply means "all the others," and releases come from various years. The Dardennes, Haneke, Audiard and Leos Carax -- the latter not having made a feature film in thirteen years -- are all great directors, and so are Joachim Trier and Mia Hansen-Løve, despite both of them still being young. Ursula Meier, a Swiss who makes the sixth in the list who works in French, is my discovery of the year, and she has brought with her, so to speak, an astonishing barely teenaged actor, Kacey Mottet Klein, in Sister, a film built around his performance as a boy surviving on the edge of a posh Swiss ski resort by stealing equipment.

Two terrifying and amazing adult male performances this year came from Joaqim Phoenix as the wild man who comes under the sway of Robert Seymour Hoffman's budding cult leader in The Master and Denis Lavant as the shape-shifting "actor" in Leos Carax's mind-boggling Holy Motors.

This had seemed like a patchy year for American movies for a while, except for a stream of good indie films, a field in which the most remembered may be Beasts of the Southern Wild. I have reservations about that film, but it takes us deep into the floodwaters of its outliers southern milieu. Usually the best American indie films are not flashy, but little, quiet, and specific. (See the list.) Whit Stillman and Todd Solondz are auteurs, with perhaps not their best work, but still unique (Stillman also coming back after thirteen years, like Carax. Let's hope he's got the juices flowing again now.)

In America we have masters too and the two Andersons, Wes and Paul Thomas, along with Quentin Tarantino made this a vintage year Stateside after all. Okay, Cronenbberg is Canadian, but the novelist he brought to the screen in Cosmopolis, Don DiLillo, is as American as Henry Miller or Philip K. Dick, and this is a pitch-perfect adaptation of a timely and under-appreciated novel. Movies look better when I see them in Paris, and that's where I saw Moonrise Kingdom, Rust and Bone, Avé, and Sister. They also look better at Lincoln Center in the New York Film Festival, or other series there, where I saw Life of Pi, Flight, Amour, Breathing, Barbara, Goodbye, First Love, I Wish, Neighboring Sounds, The Raid, Footnote, Twilight Portrait, Donoma, Snows of Kilimanjaro, Rebellion, This Is Not a Film. . . It's a constant film feast at Lincoln Center. I frankly have a good time at the movies, especially when I'm in those two cities. This is why I have so many lists; and I could add more, films that were fine, but didn't fit any particular list.

It's not very special when Spielberg makes a movie any more, Tintin and War Horse last year, now Lincoln this year, all old fashioned and well made and not very interesting. Not very exciting to have movies by Soderbergh either these days. Two this year, Haywire and Magic Mike, liked by some, but both, in my opinion forgettable; there is the feeling that he is cranking them out. On the other hand, when Wes or P.T. make a moveie, it's news. And when Quentin makes one, it's big news. Django is almost as much of a mind-bender as Holy Motors. Enjoy.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
Looper (Rian Johnson)
Life of Pi (Ang Lee)
The Sessions (Ben Lewin)
Flight (Robert Zemeckis)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)

Holy Motors

Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
Amour (Michael Haneke)
Oslo, Aug. 31st (Joachim Trier)
Sister (Ursula Meier)
Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard)
The Kid with the Bike (Dardennes)
The Deep Blue Sea (Terrance Davies)
Breathing (Karl Markovics)
Barbara (Christian Petzold)
Goodbye, First Love (Mia Hansen-Løve)
The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-soo)
Elena (Andrei Zvigentsev)
Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo)
I Wish (Hirakazu Koreeda)
Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendoça Filho)
Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold)
The Raid: Redemption (Gareth Evans)
Footnote (Joseph Cedar)


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman)
Dark Horse (Todd Solondz)
Being Flynn (Paul Weitz)
Middle of Nowhere (Ava DuVernay)
Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Treverrow)
Smashed (James Ponsoldt)
Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Jay, Marc Duplass)
For Ellen (So Young Kim)

French poster, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Minister (Pierre Schöller)
Twilight Portrait (Angelina Nikonova)
Donoma (Djinn Carrénard)
Snows of Kilimanjaro (Robert Guédiguian)
Rebellion (Mathieu Kassovitz)
Avé (Konstantin Bojanov)
Bwakaw (Jun Robles Lana)
First Cousin Once Removed (Alan Berliner)
Camille Rewinds (Noémie Lvovsky)

How to Survive a Plague (David France)
Chasing Ice (Jeff Orlowski)
The Central Park Five (Ken, Sarah Burns, David McMahon)
The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh)/The Law in These Parts (Ra'anan Alexandrowicz)
The Imposter (Bart Layton)
Step Up to the Plate (Paul Lacoste)
This Is Not a Film (Jafir Panahi)
Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul)
Photographic Memory (Ross McElwee)
The Waiting Room (Peter Nicks)


The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan)
Skyfall (Sam Mendes)
The Hunger Games (Gary Ross)

The Campaign (Jay Roach)
The Dictator (Sasha Baran Cohen) (Enough, already!)
Easy Money (AKA Snabba Cash, Daniel Espinosa)
Haywire (Steven Soderbergh)
Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Mitchell)
Rock of Ages (Adam Shankman)
Prometheus (Ridley Scott)
Seven Psychoaths (Martin McDonagh)
Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley)


Cloud Atlas (Wachowskis, Tykwer)
The Paperboy (Lee Daniels)

Argo (Ben Affleck)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard)
Lincoln (Stephen Spielberg)
Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh)
Compliance (Craig Zobel)
The Loneliest Planet (Julia Loktev) Overrated by some; many haven't seen it

As of this list-making time I have not yet seen these highly recommended films:
Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow) Already overwhelmed by the controversy, but Bigelow is a fantastic action filmmaker.
Only The Young (Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims) Feature-like doc that sounds irresistible.
The Impossible (Juan Antonio Bayona) sounded good but now is sounding terrible the way the trailers (endlessly repeated) had made it look to begin with.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 19 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group