Monday, January 28, 2013

Top 35 Films of 2012

2012 was an incredible year for films. Every year has had a handful of really great films that inspire and awe, but this year was something special. Usually I post my Top 10 with a bunch of honorable mentions, but I loved so many movies this year I’m posting a Top 35. For most that is a really high number, but sadly that still only counts as my top fraction. For I’ve now seen 169 films from 2012 thanks to being a film critic for The Film Yap, working at the Heartland Film Festival and having way too much downtime while I’m in Texas.
I’ll be posting a few more lists throughout the week including Best Underseen Films, Best Performers and Best Scenes. Before I start, I do want to clarify that I have seen a lot but I haven’t seen everything. Some of the big ones that I’ll catch up with one day are Rush and Bone, In the Family, I Wish, Headhunters, The Woman in the Fifth, 2 Days in New York, The Gatekeepers, No, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, The Central Park Five, Room 237, Bill W., The Ambassador, The Forgiveness of Blood, Red Hook Summer, Detachment, Crazy Horse and Dark Horse. Also maybe one day I’ll see The Amazing Spider-Man but I still can’t bring myself to do it.
Anywho, HERE WE GO!

#35 – Compliance

Years ago I heard the story about the brutal scams being performed in fast food restaurants but they always seemed too fantastical to be real. Why would someone commit a strip search of a fellow employee just because a voice on the phone told them to do so? Compliance takes you through the hours of such a crime and the context is surprising. Logic is questioned and the more suspense is raised, the more you grow concerned for humanity. It’s a difficult movie to forget.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Look at the 2013 Oscar Documentary Shortlist

Every year I like to write about the Oscar’s shortlist for the Best Feature Documentary category. To lead up to the official nomination list, the Academy Awards like to narrow it down in a few fields and every year their list for the documentaries throw me for a loop. Usually they ignore the most popular and critically acclaimed picks and find some really random choices.
There are 15 on the shortlist that will be narrowed down to 5. At this point I have only seen 9, but three more will be available to me in the next few weeks so I’ll be sure to catch up with those soon.
Now let’s breakdown the 15 and I’ll even be nice and tell you how you can find them…

 --Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. This is one of my favorites of the year. I’m ashamed that I have never heard of Ai Weiwei before. He is a Chinese artist and activist who uses social media to inform the world about the unjust Chinese government. Powerful, inspiring and has one hell of a third act. Now available on DVD and Netflix Instant.
--Bully. This got plenty of headlines for combating his R-rating because the MPAA were trying to protect children from the language children use. That topic is better argued than this expose on bullying that was never able to capture what it wanted to capture and focused more on parents than the kids. There will one day be a better documentary on this topic.