Monday, 2 July 2012

2012 Film Round-up

The Best in Film of 2012 (So far)

We’ve passed the half way mark of 2012 and though nobody could deny that there has been a fair share of cinematic disappointments (American Reunion, The Dictator and even Prometheus) and even some outright turkeys (Piranha 3DD anyone?) but we have still had a reasonably strong year in film so far. With The Dark Knight Rises, Great Gatsby and Perks of Being a Wallflower still to be released, here’s a look at 2012’s finest offerings thus far.

Martha Marcy May Marlene Sean Durkin

his is one of those haunting films which subtly eats away at your brain even after the film has ended. Utilising the original concept of the film, rising star Elizabeth Olsen gives one of the most intriguing yet disturbing performances of the year. Her character’s paranoid mind flashes back to the years she spent living with an abusive cult, shortly after escaping from them. It may not be an enjoyable film to sit through, or even one that you'd care to go back to - but it is still a necessary experience... Mary-Kate and Ashley who?

Marvel’s The Avengers/ Avengers AssembleJoss Whedon

Nobody cam deny that this is 143 minutes of unadulterated entertainment. It may have some strong contenders when it comes to comic book adaptations; but  Avengers Assemble is certainly up there with the best. Showcasing a host of interesting and multi-layered heroes (sadly only one of which being female), a snappy script and a breathtaking climax there is not much to complain about. It may not offer anything that is tremendously original or groundbreaking but it certainly raises the bar for future superhero and comic book adaptations.

ChronicleJosh Trank

From one superhero picture to another, this hand-held adventure gives us a completely different experience: this is the Blair Witch of the superhero world. And while it could be a total disaster given its popular choice in plotline, it still packs a punch. Its three main characters could be the most complex characters we have seen in the genre - Dane DeHaan’s chilling performance is a standout as his sinister portrayal of Andrew pulls us uneasily in. Though it becomes almost too camp in some parts, this is a thrill ride you cannot miss.

Cabin in the WoodsDrew Goddard

Though a lot of critics were on the fence with this one, its ridiculousness has already generated a cult following. While The Avengers boasts a polished, well structured and Hollywoodised product of screenwriter Joss Whedon’s talent, Cabin in the Woods lets his imagination run wild and free. There are numerous winks to the fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and homage paid to various horror films of past and present.  This is by no means a ‘scary movie’, but it makes up for it by being just as thrilling as it is funny.

Moonrise KingdomWes Anderson

Every carefully grafted shot is framed like a painting or photograph in this off-beat comedy about childhood romance. Anderson’s depth and unique eye for detail makes this a visual feast. However, the way the film appears is not the only positive with Moonrise. Since it is not directed by Tim Burton, style and substance are on equal footing.  This picture provides us with two poignant, yet witty performances from its 13-year old leads which are backed up by impressive acting from Edward Norton and Bruce Willis. Though he is now a respectable auteur, this is arguably Anderson at his eccentric best.

The Five-Year year EngagementNicholas Stoller

If you are expecting another Bridesmaids or The Hangover; The Five-Year year Engagement may disappoint. This is as much a commitment to being a relationship drama as it is a comedy, as Stoller sacrifices some of the belly-laughs to showcase realistic relationship problems. While there are some questionable performances from the supporting cast, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel easily carry the film with their charm and wit. Admittedly, at least twenty minutes could be shaved off this Rom-Com, as the cinema chair begins to feel uncomfortable towards the end. However, this is still an honest insight into marriage and relationships with good performances and enough humour to keep it afloat.  The best comedy of the year.

Killer Joe - William Friedkin

While we wait for Django Unchained, William Friedkin keeps us occupied with his Tarantinoesque drama. I use the Tarantino reference lightly though, as though this black comedy does have a similar feel, it definitely is its own film, still baring Friedkin’s distinct stamp.
There are great performances all round, especially from the women, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon, who present us with non-clichéd and interesting female characters. Emile Hirsch also shines as he bounces back from a string of questionable films. 

This grotesque story of family can be a difficult watch and might have you swallowing your own vomit at times but you won’t look away as the story is as captivating as its characters. And what more would you expect from the director of The Exorcist?

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