Top Films of 2012, So Far
Believe it or not we are more than half-way through 2012. I usually post my favorite films of the year some time in late January or early February, but I thought I would compile a list at the half-way mark. Typically most good films come out in the fall/winter because they want to compete for the Oscars, but there have been a slew of good films released already in 2012. Here are the ones that impressed me the most.
The best movie I have seen in 2012 is Bernie. It is a hilarious dark comedy about a murder in east Texas that is based on a true story. Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey give stellar performances. Director, Richard Linklater, is in top form and delivers the best movie of his career. This is a movie that should have gotten a wider release and should have been seen by more people. I think more people will become aware of its brilliance once it is released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
I went back and forth between this film and Bernie on which I liked best so far. They are two very different films, and they are both equally great. Beasts of the Southern Wild contains the best acting performance to date, and probably of the whole year. Quvenzahne’ Wallis, a six year old school girl from Louisiana, will blow you away as Hushpuppy, a fearless little girl who lives outside the levy and has to deal with a catastrophic storm hitting her home. You will not soon forget this beautiful film about hope amidst disaster, or the wonderful performances by Wallis and others.
Oh how I have missed good sci-fi films. Finally Ridley Scott returns to the genre that launched his career, and he does not disappoint. Prometheus is a wonderful film about the origins of the Alien saga. It looks great, it is entertaining, and it has some great performances (notably Michael Fassbender who plays an android). Prometheus does not just aim at entertaining the audience, which it succeeds at doing, but also seeks to bring depth to a big budget blockbuster. You will enjoy Prometheus, but you will leave thinking about the film as well.
The best super hero movie so far is not The Avengers or Spider Man, but Chronicle. (Note to all super hero lovers: Please post your hate mail below) Why is Chronicle better than The Avengers or Spider Man? The Avengers or Spider Man were good movies, but they offered nothing new or unique. They were stories we had already seen before. The Avengers was a super hero movie on steroids, and we had seen the same Spider Man movie just 10 years before. Chronicle, on the other hand, offered a whole new perspective to the super hero movie. It presented a film which showed us what it might be like if three average high school students were given super abilities. If you enjoy super hero movies or just movies in general, check out Chronicle.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a funny movie with heart. Too often we are presented with mindless comedies that have sacrificed story for disgusting and juvenile gags. Jeff, Who Lives at Home contains interesting characters and people we care about. Jeff is a thirty year old unemployed man who still lives at home and believes everything happens for a reason. When he goes out to run an errand for his mom this begins a string of events that lead to a climactic ending.
Coriolanus is an amazing modern day adaptation of Shakespeare with actors who are at the top of their game. Not everyone wants to spend an evening listening to people recite Shakespeare, but Coriolanus is not your average Shakespeare film or play. Ralph Fiennes, who directs and also stars in the film, does not compromise Shakespeare’s words, but he does update the story. It has as much action as a summer blockbuster, but is also smart and stylistic.
Bob Marley is a legend, but sadly many people who probably go around wearing his image on t-shirts know little about the man himself. Kevin Macdonald has sought to change this by giving us an in-depth look at the man who is revered and respected in many parts of the world. Macdonald does not seek to glamorize Marley, but offers a genuine and true account of the man behind the music. Even if you do not like reggae you will find this film interesting and intriguing.
Blue Like Jazz
In a world where Christian film is often dull, shallow, and poorly made, director Steve Taylor and writer Donald Miller have sought to change that. They have made a film based on a series of essays by Miller that is not perfect, but is good. This film seeks to give an honest account of how a college student living in modern times came to faith. Hopefully, there will be more Christian films in the future that are made by intelligent people seeking to convey a relevant message, and not just in it to make a few dollars.