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The year in movies: Peaceful heroes
.kansas. ^ | Dec. 30, 2012,

Posted on 12/29/2012 10:50:37 PM PST by JoeProBono

When I look back at the best movies of the year, I remember films that I admired for their artfulness or technical prowess, but I also remember films that reminded me why I love movies — the ones that truly had spirit.

Here, then, is my list for the Top 10 movies released in 2012. Let me know how it compares to yours.

1. “Argo” — Ben Affleck has won me over. Before, I thought he was merely tolerable in boring roles, just skating by on his good looks. But after “Gone, Baby, Gone” and “The Town,” he has matured into a fine filmmaker, and “Argo” is his greatest achievement to date. Set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the film follows a CIA agent (Affleck himself) who stages a daring mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats by disguising them as members of a Hollywood film crew. The film is ambitious, and its re-creation of actual events (which are illustrated in photos during the end credits) is impressively meticulous. Overall, the film’s tension is riveting — we root for the crew the entire harrowing way, and Affleck puts right there beside them.

2. “Zero Dark Thirty” — Director Kathryn Bigelow’s account of the long, tireless, almost impossible mission to find Osama Bin Laden pounds with an overwhelming sense of urgency. It’s a taut tale that moves swiftly, covering lots of ground — it’s 2 1/2 hours long, but doesn’t feel like it at all. And as the CIA agent obsessed with finding Bin Laden, Jessica Chastain gives an intensely focused performance. We’ll never know how much of the story is true, but the film itself is gripping, enthralling — and one of the most important films of the year. (It’s set to open in Wichita on Jan. 11.)

3. “The Avengers” — I didn’t have a better time at the movies this year than with these misfit heroes who join forces to save Earth. With so many bigger-than-life characters (and egos) to contend with, this could have been a huge disaster. But cult favorite writer/director Josh Whedon managed to give every hero his personal shining moment and them unite them for a breathtaking grand battle. Hulk, smash! But Whedon knocked it out of the park.

4. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” — A strangely cathartic experience, about a girl named Hushpuppy living deep in the Delta bayou who must fend for herself and her defiant but deathly ill father when a tsunami ravages their Louisiana community. The film is part fable, part survival tale, but it’s entrancingly dreamlike and full of grand emotional swells. I was in tears after the film — not because of sadness, but because I felt like I had just witnessed something beautiful. And as the young heroine, Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy is a revelation.

5. “Silver Linings Playbook” — Director David O. Russell’s wonderfully emotional drama dissects another hopelessly dysfunctional family (after “The Fighter”) with a ragingly brilliant Bradley Cooper at the core as a broken man dealing with bipolar disorder and heartbreak. Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with her own troubles is equally wonderful as is a strong supporting cast. The film reminds us that we aren’t always in control of our worlds, but that isn’t something to be afraid of.

6. “Life of Pi” — Ang Lee’s magical parable about a boy and a Bengal tiger adrift in a lifeboat (based on the bestseller by Yann Martel) is encompassing, absolutely gorgeous and a marvel to behold. But against such a large fantastical backdrop, Suraj Sharma gives a wondrous performance that makes the story an indelibly human one that touches us in different ways. The film’s bigger-picture symbolism is up for debate, but its mysticism was comforting and touching.

7. “Les Miserables” — Not everything worked, but Tom Hooper’s lush adaptation of the Broadway musical was rich, thrilling and sometimes seeping with heartache. As the tortured mother-turned-prostitute Fantine, Anne Hathaway gives the best performance of her career with her emotionally potent rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream.”

8. “The Dark Knight Rises” — He set a bar so high for himself with “The Dark Knight Rises,” that director Christopher Nolan certainly had his work cut out for him. And while “Rises” may not have the same pop culture impact that “Dark” did, it still was a solid, more than satisfying way to go out. As the young hero who becomes Batman’s ally, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stole the show — and gave it heart.

9. “Lincoln” — Daniel Day-Lewis further cements himself as one of the greatest actors of our generation with his extraordinary performance as the 16th president of the United States, who campaigns to end the Civil War and abolish slavery. The script was overly talkative for me (and I hated the over-talking of lines — it felt a lot like a David Mamet script) but director Steven Spielberg still delivered a moving, engaging, honorable portrait of one of our most beloved presidents.

10 . “The Sessions” — A funny, intimate, life-affirming story about quadriplegic poet and journalist Mark O’Brien, who, at age 38, seeks out a sex surrogate to help him lose his virginity. It’s thoroughly an adult tale told in an unflinching, matter-of-fact, unsensational way, grounded in beautiful, fully realized performances by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. They bravely bare their bodies, but they’re willingness to bare their souls was most impressive.

Runners-up

• “Looper” — One of the most inventive scripts of the year, a smart, slam-bang, mind-bending time-travel tale that had me guessing throughout — and when everything comes together, I marveled at it.

• “The Amazing Spider-Man” — The world didn’t really need a reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, but the one we got was a fresh twist that was dark and exciting, driven by a heroic performance from Andrew Garfield.

• “Skyfall” — One of the best James Bond films ever was nicely ominous and had surprising emotional heft.

• “Moonrise Kingdom” — Wes Anderson at his wonderfully quirky best with his most ambitious film to date.

• “Safety Not Guaranteed” — Crudely made on a low budget, but captivatingly funny as a woman investigates a man who advertises for a partner to follow him back in time. The surprising ending left me soaring.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS:

ARGO


1 posted on 12/29/2012 10:50:40 PM PST by JoeProBono
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To: JoeProBono

Saw Les Mis today.

“As the tortured mother-turned-prostitute Fantine, Anne Hathaway gives the best performance of her career with her emotionally potent rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream.”

That was the most powerful scene and song in the movie for me.


2 posted on 12/29/2012 11:04:19 PM PST by 21twelve (So I [God] gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. Psalm 81:12)
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To: JoeProBono

Let’s see: Never heard of it, heard of it, heard of it, never heard of it, never heard of it, heard of it, heard of it, heard of it, heard of it, never heard of it ...

Never saw any of them! What was the last movie I saw? Don’t tell me John Carter! ... I think so!


3 posted on 12/29/2012 11:10:08 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

Ah, I have heard of Argo ... should have read the synopsis.


4 posted on 12/29/2012 11:15:44 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew
With the sardonic humor of soldiers everywhere, especially those enduring while suffering preservation, Confederate soldiers referred to themselves as "Lee's Miserables" shortly after the novel was made available in America.


5 posted on 12/30/2012 12:15:01 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: JoeProBono

I honestly am split on Argo or Lincoln.

One was epic and the other a tale of epic proportion.

Great films. Great stories.


6 posted on 12/30/2012 12:25:14 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome

Isn’t this a revisionist Lincoln, though? From what I gather of it. Haven’t they made him into a modern liberal idealist? Again, from what I’ve gathered.


7 posted on 12/30/2012 12:32:12 AM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

I saw three of the movies listed. Most of them I don’t have a desire. Argo, Lincoln, and The Avengers are the ones I saw and they were pretty good. From the list, I would say you are not missing much. Keep with your principles and don’t watch another movie....lol. Seriously, I did see Parental Guidance on Christmas with the entire family and was grateful to be able to see a movie with the four kids and wife without cursing and sex.


8 posted on 12/30/2012 12:52:48 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: dr_lew

My wife and I have not gone to a movie theater in over ten years. We have movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc) that came with our bundle, but we rarely watch any new flicks. I am now so old and cantankerous nobody likes to watch a movie with me. I laughingly tell them I don’t like anything, but it’s true I don’t like virtually anything that comes out of Hollyweird. I didn’t like Gladiator, The Departed. and number of other movies that “everybody” else liked. And it bothers me not in the slightest.


9 posted on 12/30/2012 2:59:05 AM PST by driftless2
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To: JoeProBono

Left off “Act of Valor”, my own, personal favorite.

Or am I out-dated; i.e., did the film come out in 2011?


10 posted on 12/30/2012 3:28:35 AM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: JoeProBono
I can't comment on what I have not seen but I doubt that I'd make it very far into most of these films. Movies today are about the craft of making a film rather than telling a story. On the craft end films today are peerless. In the matter of storytelling they barely register. Craft requires learning steps. If you happen to have a particular talent mores the better. Storytelling is an art and it is not imitable, you have it or you don't. Mostly they don't. Pay attention to how many films you have to watch before someone just POINTS the damn camera and lets it sit. The more talentless the Director the more tinsel and motion you'll see. Speilberg made storytelling look easy and consequently many very intelligent but otherwise untalented people have said: “I can do that too!”
11 posted on 12/30/2012 6:11:49 AM PST by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: napscoordinator
...and was grateful to be able to see a movie with the four kids and wife without cursing and sex.

Your family sounds rather dysfunctional. I'd suggest counseling.

12 posted on 12/30/2012 7:22:03 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Last Dakotan
Why because I don't allow my children to see filth like you do with your lousy loser four children. Get a grip you jerk!
13 posted on 12/30/2012 8:33:41 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: napscoordinator
Get a grip you jerk!

I'd kindly suggest a sense of humor.

14 posted on 12/30/2012 9:05:43 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: dr_lew

It’s a movie and no they haven’t made him a liberal idealist.

He was a moral man and a Republican who was compelled by conviction to move heaven and earth to resolve a sin and moral conflict the nation struggled with on the one and believed no matter the outcome we are stronger as a United Peoples.

His act sowed the change of heart and moved the spirit to act in unision with other spirits to make all men equal and tear down a culture dominated by a minority who would no longer intimidate but deal more honestly with their fellow man...without enslaving another and depriving them of their God given rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.


15 posted on 12/30/2012 11:45:20 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: JoeProBono

Sark Knighted sucked. I mean not just ordinary suck, but awful, painful, can’t believe I sat through the entire thing sucked.


16 posted on 12/30/2012 11:49:29 AM PST by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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