In previous years, I’ve featured three categories of Boomtown Rap Awards, but the movies are all ya get this year.
I hear the collective gasp of ye teeming hordes out there who wait all year in breathless anticipation of the Unholy Trinity. I know, I know, I’ve ruined your 2012 and possibly much of 2013, but the focus of the blog has shifted from the eclectic mix of yore to movie reviews and once-per-year travel pieces covering whichever SE Asian destinations I end up at. Besides, there are others who do piss-taking and acerbic social commentary a trifle better than I (yes, I’m pointing narrow-eyed at you Worst of Perth – bastards!). Best to stick at what yer best at.
Oh OK, let’s quit the rationalisations. It’s too bloody hot to sit here for hours tapping out words of wit and wisdom in three categories. Awright? And…ah fuck, I’m lazy, awright? Lazier than last year. Happy now?
Just before I start, I want to acknowledge the contributions of my co-reviewer, Karen, to the Boomtown Rap reviews of 2011. I’ve enjoyed the dual/duel format, the contrasts in our assessments and observations, and the spirited tussles in the Comments threads. Going by the feedback I’ve received, so have you, dear readers. Onya Karen, and here’s to more of the same in 2013.
I did invite Karen to participate in these 2012 Movie Awards, but she declined, giving a plausible set of reasons that boil down to having a life outside this blog. I, on the other hand, am tragically free of such distractions.
For some of the same reasons I reject star ratings of movies as simplistic and inappropriate, I do not list my best and worst movies in numerical order. Prevalent though these Top 10/Worst 10 lists are among reviewers, they make as much sense as, say, a Best Fruit Of The Year list in descending order of merit.
What do apples, oranges, nectarines, pineapples, passionfruit, peaches, cherries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pears, bananas, papaya, kiwifruit, dragonfruit and watermelon – for example – have in common, apart from fruitdom? You can choose the best apples in the apple pile, or the best oranges in the orange pile, but how the hell do ya determine Best Fruit? Huh? Such a determination is necessarily and entirely subjective. It might make sense to the individual ordering the list, but not to anyone else.
I submit that numerically ordering movies into ten best and worst of the year is similarly subjective, and has no value to anyone but the compiler – except, perhaps, as a source of mild curiousity for those who like to measure their picks against those of others.
Further, unless a critic has seen every film released in the year, best/worst lists should be accompanied by a disclaimer, acknowledging that the compilation has been made from a limited selection of movies, and detailing omissions from the list of candidates.
For more on limitations of annual best/worst movie lists, and my assessment criteria, masochistic and/or forensic types can have a look at last year’s BR Movie Awards: See here.
Basically, my proposal is that appropriate categorisation is the only means by which assessments of the year’s movies can validly be made. My categories are idiosyncratic, perhaps, but made in the interests of critical transparency. My criteria for assessment and categories are clear – and acknowledge the subjectivity of all critical appraisal. Not all the films I “loved”, for example, would be included in my picks of the best films of the year. However, IF I were to be so bold, arrogant and simplistic as to compile such a shortlist, all films on it would appear among those in my “loved” category (coy, aren’t I?). Strewth, this is getting complicated. Time to shuddup.
On with the show, then. In keeping with tradition, I summon the spirit of Stanley Unwin, narrator on The Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nutgone Flake album. It’s that time o year again, Stan. Wiggly wiggly ear node, I think he’s here. Take it away Unsie!
Are you all sitting comftybold two square on your botties?? Then I’ll begin…
Thanks mate. Same time next year…
The BR Movie Awards for 2011
2012 Movies I Loved (in alphabetical order, linked to my reviews):
Hugo [Not reviewed. The best 3D movie I have seen, harnessing this technology and CGI to magical effect, yet paradoxically and wonderfully old-fashioned in narrative style - a kids' flick par excellence, so good it captivated adult audiences globally]
Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (doco)
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake In 3D
Samsara (not a doco, not a fiction; unclassifiable and unmissable)
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower [Not reviewed. Some aspects can be justly criticised, but I'm not going to go into them here. Suffice it to say, the writing is terrif, performances also, great music, the spirit of Salinger breathes through the piece (gotta love that)...and it's moving, dammit!)
The Hunt [review pending]
The Intouchables [Not reviewed. The feel-good movie of the year, for mine]
Also Terrific (in alphabetical order):
Searching For Sugarman
The Sapphires [Not reviewed. This baby had HEART, which more than compensated for the flaws the picky might whinge about...I've got a soft spot for musicals, and this was a charmer - far superior to Bran Nue Dae.)
Argo [Not reviewed. Terrif history-based thriller that stamps Ben Affleck as a director to be taken seriously.]
The Angel’s Share [Not reviewed. I'm not a Ken Loach fan, but this one was irresistible and mercifully subdued in political messaging. Watch out for it.]
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
My Week With Marilyn
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
You Will Be My Son (Tu Sera Mon Fils)
Arbitrage [Not reviewed. A bit too neat in its wrap-up, but overall a good expose of the hypocrisies and manipulations of the privileged.]
Celeste and Jesse Forever [Not reviewed. An off-beat rom-com of some substance, well acted and written.]
Looper [Not reviewed. Not my cuppa, but ingenious time-bending story and worth a look if you're into scfi]
The Master [Not reviewed. Paul Thomas Anderson is the Great New Hope of American directors, and it seems that anything he releases gets the critics creaming themselves. The Master was a very good lookin' flick, but over-long and built hollow. Its treatment of cult dynamics was hamfisted and facile, and while the relationship between its two central male characters was intriguing, it lacked credibility.]
Shame [Not reviewed]
Probably Not Worth Seeing But Better Than ‘Meh’
Bully [Not reviewed. Heart-rending and important subject matter, but a poorly made doco.]
Your Sister’s Sister [Not reviewed]
To Rome With Love
Declaration Of War
God Bless America
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Snow White and the Huntsman [Not reviewed. Charlize Theron badly miscast; emotionally unengaging, plodding story without the magic and power of the original.]
Dog Of The Year:
2 Days In New York
Standout Male Performances (alphabetical order):
Jack Black (Bernie)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt)
Omar Sy (The Intouchables)
Standout Female Performances:
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)
Ben Lewin (The Sessions – up with the year’s best and made on a miniscule budget)
Martin Scorcese (Hugo – the first film I’ve seen in which today’s amazing 3D technology was not used gratuitously at all; rather it enhanced the movie, adding a judicious touch of real magic)
One to watch: Josh Radnor (Liberal Arts – one of the most engaging and intelligent rom-coms for some time)
Disclaimer: I did not see the following movies:
Movies I Haven’t Seen But Wish I Had
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Top 10 Highest Grossing Films 2012
1. The Avengers – $53,086,490 (still showing)
2. The Hunger Games – $32,019,203
3. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – $21,080,526
4. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – $19,665,323
5. Prometheus – $16,946,835 (still showing)
6. Men in Black III – $16,859,040 (still showing)
7. The Lorax – $15,829,635
8. The Descendants – $15,052,993
9. 21 Jump Street – $14,842,803
10. The Dictator - $13,583,604
Other Popular/Highly Rated Movies I Didn’t See
A Royal Affair
Ice-Age 4: Continental Drift
Killing Them Softly
Men In Black
That’s My Boy
The Three Stooges
Happy New Year, folks, and here’s hoping for an abundance of great movies in 2013!