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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Notes: I know, many of you will probably be surprised that this movie gets my top spot but this movie hit me so bad, I was a wreck at the end and I even shed a few tears. First of all, it reminded me about how I met my wife and why we ended up together in the first place. Secondly, after 20 years of mindless garbage, the great Robert De Niro was finally showing up in a good movie giving a great performance like in the good old days. Finally, it was a terrific movie with some real characters, with some real issues dealing with their emotions and making me laugh and cry. I just loved this flick, enough said.
Notes: To my surprise, I really loved it. I mean, I was expecting something good but not something so entertaining and quite flawless. Indeed, it was historically fascinating, it was a thrilling thriller and there were even some hilarious bits. I mean, I did like 'Gone Baby Gone' and 'The Town' but I never thought that either one were really that amazing. However, this flick is a total different kind of ball game. It is slick, smart, emotional and, sometimes, just plain fun.
Life Of Pi (2012)
Notes: I wasn't sure about this flick but after hearing so many good things, I seriously wanted to check it out. And I wasn't disappointed. It was a really fascinating story, a gorgeous movie to look at and I'm really glad I'm managed to watch in the theater and in 3D. Pretty much like the late Roger Ebert, I really dread this new 3D hype but Ang Lee used it very well and it definitely enhanced the whole experience. Once again, a movie rather low in my priorities turned out to be one of the best I have seen so far.
Notes: It definitely deserved all the praises it has received and, personally, I enjoyed it more than ‘The White Ribbon’ which was pretty good but didn’t really blow me away. Anyway, it is pretty amazing to see the evolution of Haneke through his movies. Here, he finally gives us the opportunity to dive in his vision of our world but, for once, he allowed us also to invest ourselves in the characters and the end-result was quite amazing. Furthermore, I always find it disappointing that so few movies are made about elderly people (even though the older population is ever growing) and there is always this disappointing focus and obsession on youth. Well, here you get a realistic and spellbinding portrait of two old people who are facing the end of their journey together and the subject has never been handled so brilliantly before.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
Notes: I was really eager to check it out and, boy, I wasn’t disappointed. First of all, contrary to some other similar documentaries dealing with some lost music artists like ‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’ or ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’, Rodriguez’ music was actually pretty good and some of his songs have some quite mesmerizing quality ('Crucify your mind' totally gave me the goosebumps). So, that was a already good start but the best part was this incredible tale about this artist who never had any mainstream success at all anywhere in the world but, somehow, became a huge icon in South African as big as Elvis Presley or the Beatles.
End of Watch (2012)
Notes: The first thing I enjoyed in this flick was that, for once, it wasn't dealing with some dirty cops or some wild cowboys but with some decent police officers who are really dedicated to their work which was quite refreshing. Concerning the documentary-style directing, obviously, it wasn't really original but it was efficient enough and it definitely gave the whole thing a really realistic look. Finally, in my opinion, the biggest asset was the great chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. Indeed, this movie was not just about the shootings and chases, it was also about those two men who spent most of their time in their car and how they deal with that. They both gave some really strong performances and while we have been used to greatness with Gyllenhaal (probably one of the best actors of his generation), it was really neat to see Michael Peña shining in a such a star-making performance.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Notes: Since I really enjoyed a lot ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, the latest directing effort by Wes Anderson, I was really eager to check his previous movie who was also very well received at the time. Well, I was once again really impressed. A last, it seems that Anderson finally got it. Indeed, ever since I have seen ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ in the movie theater when it was released, I thought that he was a really interesting director who had a very distinctive visual style and who could create some really nice daft characters. Unfortunately, I always had a hard time to care about his stories which were always ok but never really fascinating. With this movie, he finally nailed it and managed to give something visually really neat, some hilarious eccentric character and, at last, a really entertaining tale.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Notes: Even though it wasn't completely flawless, it was definitely the most intriguing movie I have seen this year. During the first hour, I was reminded of David Lynch by the whole randomness it produced. But then, slowly but surely, it started to make sense and, at the end, I was really overwhelmed. I must admit, it is definitely an acquired taste but I really enjoyed it and a rewatch might even improve my rating.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Notes: Kathryn Bigelow really can direct some realistic and spellbinding thrillers, no doubt about it, and I was on the edge of my seat during the whole duration which is quite remarkable since we all pretty much know how it will end from the start. The first touch that I appreciated where the first few minutes where you hear those horrific (and probably real) phone calls from the victimes of 09/11. It was just heartbreaking and gave a background to what will happen next. Basically, I don’t think Bygelow tried to make us think that it was ok to torture all these people but, with this introduction, it explains that the USA was (and probably still is) at war and that they would use any means necessary. The point was to show without judging and the point was well made.
Notes: I must admit that it was almost as good as 'Schindler's list'. Indeed, I thought it was a fascinating historical picture but not only was it fascinating from a historical point of view, it was also a spellbinding policitical intrigue. Of course, as usual, Daniel Day-Lewis was just amazing and the only thing that stands in his way to win the Academy Award is the fact that he has already won two of those. So, it was a very good flick, one of Spielberg's best, but still, there were a few things that bothered me. Above all, I thought that the characterization was rather simplistic. Indeed, you had the good guys, the bad guys, some inactive helpless black folks standing on the side line and on top of that, Lincoln who was some kind of half-god but I'm sure the whole thing was a little bit more complicated back then. Still, even though it is not a perfect feature, it is still a very good movie, the best made by Spielberg since 'Munich'.
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