Best of 2012

Zero Dark Thirty

by Alan Rapp on January 11, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Zero Dark Thirty
  • IMDB: link

zero-dark-thirty-poster

The Best Movie of 2012

Three years ago director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Marc Boal collaborated on The Hurt Locker which won them both individual Academy Awards as well as taking home the coveted Oscar for Best Picture. With Zero Dark Thirty the pair reunite to examine the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden.

The project was not with pitfalls or controversy. Bigelow and Boal were about to start filming an entirely different script when news hit that American forces had found and killed the man responsible for the attacks on 9/11. Scrapping their initial project, Bigelow and Boal refocused to examine the work that went in to finding America’s most wanted.

The film’s detractors (almost none of whom have seen the film) attack it for what some believe is a pro-torture stance, the filmmakers access to classified information surrounding the search for bin Laden, and some have even argued against what they (wrongfully) believe is a pro-Obama propaganda piece. None of these allegations are true. What is true, however, is Zero Dark Thirty is the best movie of 2012.

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From A to Z – The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.

Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.

Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:

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Hitchcock

by Alan Rapp on December 7, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Hitchcock
  • IMDB: link

“And that, madame, is why the call me ‘The Master of Suspense.'”

hitchcock-posterBased on the book by Stephen Rebello, director Sacha Gervasi‘s Hitchcock is more centered on director Alfred Hitchcock‘s personal life and the enormous stress of his widely unpopular decision to follow up North by Northwest with Psycho than the actual filming of the movie. The result is insanely well-cast and immensely enjoyable study of the famous director and the most important woman in his life, his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).

The film succeeds beyond my expectations on the strength of three terrific performances. Hopkins, no stranger to throwing on prosthetics to play a larger than life historical figure (Nixon), is transformed into the famous director who is equal parts genius and spoiled child. Mirren is perfect as the loyal wife, who has never gotten her due for being Hitchcock’s most trusted collaborator, who simply wants to spend a little time with a charming old friend (Danny Huston) working on a new project. And Scarlett Johansson brings more than just a pretty face to her portrayal of Psycho actress Janet Leigh who never loses her professionalism even when the director crosses the line.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

by Alan Rapp on December 4, 2012

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • IMDB: link

beasts-of-the-southern-wild-blu-rayWriter/director Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild is an unusual film set in the Louisiana bayou in the fictional locale of “Isle de Charles Doucet,” commonly referred to by its residents as the Bathtub. Adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar’s one-act play “Juicy and Delicious,” the film is centered around a six year-old girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) whose world is threatened by her father’s (Dwight Henry) sudden illness and an approaching storm which causes the outside world to encroach on the tightly-knit community.

Although the Bathtub doesn’t actually exist it was inspired by several small fishing villages along the bayou constantly threatened by hurricanes, a rising sea level, and erosion. Zeitlin gives us a fully-formed world without judgment or bias. The community of the Bathtub is an uproarious bunch who refuse to leave their homes even if doing so might save their lives from the oncoming storm.

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Anna Karenina

by Alan Rapp on November 30, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Anna Karenina
  • IMDB: link

“Sin has a price, you can be sure of that.”

anna-karenina-posterAttempting another historical adaptation of classic literature, while re-teaming with leading lady Keira Knightley (with whom he collaborated on both Pride & Prejudice and Atonement), director Joe Wright delivers the unexpected with an evocative and dazzling adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s legendary novel Anna Karenina.

Limited by budgetary considerations and an unwillingness to repurpose locations other adaptations of Tolstoy’s work, or those used by various recent historical dramas, Wright hit upon an extraordinary idea to breathe new life in the staid genre by staging a setting that transforms around its characters. The result is a game changer in how movies like Anna Karenina are told and a serious contender for the best film of 2012.

Set in Russia during the late 19th Century our story concerns rich socialite Anna Karenina (Knightley), her marriage to an honorable but bland government official (Jude Law), and her temptation and eventual affair with the far more dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

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