The Best of This Year: Movies

We are now just about at the end of our first full calendar year on the web. And boy what a year it was! Let’s start with some film awards.

Granted, as I am one person who also became very busy with schoolwork toward the end of last fall, I did not get around to seeing a lot of the movies that came out in 2012, but I did hit a few of the bigger ones. I will say the best movie of 2012 I have seen goes to Skyfall.

Skyfall

It is interesting that out of every new release I saw this year, I have not awarded a single one a full 4 out of 4; I gave quite a few out in 2011 despite the blog having only been around for a few months of that year. However, as a James Bond aficionado, Skyfall has a special place in my heart because it could be the best movie of the three Daniel Craig starred in. Already Casino Royale was an absolutely terrific reboot of the franchise. Even with the disappointing Quantum of Solace in mind, Craig had a had a good run as Agent 007 so far, and I think Skyfall could be the best one. As I said in the review, Skyfall really embraced its Bond roots despite the Craig movies being of a new continuity (as odd as it is, all the movies from Dr. No to Die Another Day were supposed to be in the same continuity).

On the other hand, 2012 was a great year as far as movies I had seen that came out in years past, particularly in the realm of foreign cinema. For that reason, I will name picks for European, American, and Asian cinema.

For European film, the runaway winner will be Amelie. French cinema has a special place in my heart, and I saw the absolutely fantastic Forbidden Games back in January, but Amelie has the feel-good factor that puts it ahead. Little can be said besides the fact that Amelie was a movie that was very unafraid of spitting in the eye of cinematic convention.

AmelieAs far as American cinema went, I would have to give it to No Country for Old Men. Part of the reason I decided to check out that movie was because I was as impressed as I was with Javier Bardem’s acting in Skyfall, and No Country for Old Men was the film that really put him on the map. No Country for Old Men was a minimalist drama that, despite taking place in Texas at a time when the Vietnam War was still fresh in people’s minds, felt almost like a lot of my favorite foreign movies. Nobody can be really defined to be the central character. Everyone was more or less a victim of circumstance. It is simply an experience.

noCountryForOldMen-bardem

Finally, we have Asian cinema. I will say I had a hard time here, and that is because I have seen so many fantastic Asian films this past year. Part of that can be attributed to my discovery of Wong Kar-Wai, who has since become my current favorite director. With that in mind, I will say 2046 barely sneaks past Departures as the best Asian film I have seen in 2012. Departures is easily one of my all time favorite Japanese movies, with its feel-good factor, tight writing, and absolutely gorgeous cinematography. However, director Wong shows Takita Yojiro up in my book with his style. Admittedly, Japanese movies tend to be much more understated than their Hong Kong counterparts, but 2046 had my jaw drop to the floor with its visuals. 2046 also had substance to keep up with the gobs of style it had to offer. It had a nonlinear story that slowly, but surely had everything drop into place and overall made for a rewarding experience.

2046-leungzhang

Stay tune for when we talk about anime next!

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