By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
Here we are in 2013, and already we’re catching up to one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Gangster Squad, which comes out this Friday. The film’s delay into this year was probably a good thing though, because there were just too many good movies that came out in 2012. While I couldn’t catch every film, like Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty (which also comes out this Friday), I did see the majority of what can be considered the “best of the year.” There were dozens of films I applauded in regards to their near or absolute perfection, but I eventually had to settle for five, and while they may not be everybody’s favourites, they are all certainly worth seeing.
5. Holy Motors (France/Germany, 116 mins, Dir. Leos Carax)
The only way to describe Holy Motors is that it’s not what you’d expect. With little explanation (title and all), we’re thrown into an insane world where acting is taken to its most extreme level. We follow lead Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant) around France as he shows us, through several fantastic sexual, violent, and musical vignettes, just what it is he and other actors like him do day-to-day. Though those who enjoyed the film seem to be heard more often, there’s going to be a very large amount of people who will hate this movie because of how strange it is. Put simply, Holy Motors does not give a fuck, and that’s why I love it.
4. Looper (U.S., 118 mins, Dir. Rian Johnson)
Like the next three on this list, I reviewed Looper earlier in the year, so I will do my best not to repeat myself. Looper is arguably the best time travel-based film since 12 Monkeys (1995), which also featured Bruce Willis in a lead role. Setting us up with an incredibly thought-provoking (and surprisingly little revealed) plot, Looper is more than just a sci-fi action; it puts the viewer in the very tough scenario of “what would I do?” The world created is only 30 years from now, and is reasonably realistic in its setting, which makes the question of moral and personal choice even tougher when one can actually see themselves in both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Willis’ positions (even if it is still a little ridiculous).
3. Wreck-It Ralph (US, 93 mins, Dir. Rich Moore)
Charming, delightful, and sweet as sugar, one would need to be a very Sour Bill not to fall in love with Wreck-It Ralph. With fantastic performances across the board by its amazing voice cast, the characters really are what makes the film so insanely delightful—albeit a touch tear-jerking. Some have called it a Toy Story for a different generation, which I’ve come to understand a bit better, but as we’re occasionally dealing with some very violent games and characters, Wreck-It just offers an extra, much-needed punch to the fact that kids and adults alike play video games, and aren’t strangers to the gaming world. Few films, if any, get this very wide fandom the way the makers of Wreck-It Ralph did, and although it’s not the film’s ultimate strength (which, again, belongs to its characters), it was likely what most were worried about as the film’s release neared. It’s not a perfect movie, and it’s not my number one of 2012, but I know in the long run Wreck-It Ralph will continue to be one of my all-time favourite movies.
2. Rust and Bone (France/Belgium, 120 mins, Dir. Jacques Audiard)
Rust and Bone tells the heart-wrenching story of two 20-something’s named Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) and Stephanie (Marion Cotillard). Ali is a down on his luck single father with some very intense anger issues, making a living via shady operations, street boxing, and the occasional semi-honest job. One night he meets the beautiful Stephanie, who lives a fairly decent life up until the day she suffers a horrific experience. Watching these two characters work to rebuild each other’s lives makes the film a very intense, often difficult sit-through. But each twist and turn, up until the last word, makes every moment the viewer struggles with its leads worth the tears it is bound to shed—even for the tough guys.
1. Moonrise Kingdom (U.S., 94 mins, Dir. Wes Anderson)
Earlier this year I said Moonrise Kingdom was Anderson’s best film; I’ve since decided it is tied with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox for his best, much for the same reasons, although both films are drastically different. The shots are gorgeous, the soundtrack is beautiful, the acting is wonderful, the dialogue is delightful—the film really is perfect. Willy Wonka is to candy and children what Wes Anderson is to quirky films and adults who never stopped being children, and Moonrise Kingdom, like Fantastic Mr. Fox, is the epitome of this fact.
Come back next week when The Other Press’ (and Discorder’s very own) lovely Laurel Borrowman continues our “top five of 2012” lists with her picks for albums of the year.