You visualize boredom just by glancing at the above title. My point being that one should take all these exclamations about a terrific or great or all shades of awesome movie with a grain of salt. Truly the average quality this year was a notch higher since, say, 2007, however I can’t even begin ranting about the abuse of the classification “masterpiece” for clockwork banalities like Argo or masqueraded maliciousness posing as senile compassion like Amour. It’s worth stressing that Documentary as much as Animated features are considered to be a real barometer of how truly excited we ought to be about the yearly celluloid production. Talking “celluloid” seems kind of funny in the year we witnessed The Hobbit in 48 frames per second in 3D. On the other hand, The Master’s back-to-past-glorious 65mm was a sight for sore eyes on so many levels. Before cutting to the chase, I won’t escape temptation to smirk about the French invasion (Amour, Rust and Bone, The Intouchables, Holy Motors) that seems to be crashing the Oscar race in the absence of the european masters’ cinema of the past, Haneke notwithstanding. So the americans can sleep safe at night *grin* since an American film, two years after The Kings’ Speech and The Artist seems inevitable to prevail. Moreover, if this film is about Lincoln, a uniting presidential figure in a heavily- polarized election year. So here it goes:

The BIG let downs

To the Wonder: This film tanks in every single way. Made out of thin air, an indelible stain in Terry Malick’s iconic work.

Cosmopolis: Nonsensical, preposterous wall street- yarn. The final Videodrome homage broke my heart like shuttered glass.

Les Miserables: Uvula porn, Tom Hooper in Chris Nolan- opaqueness mode. Worst editing of the year. Great talent wasted.

The Enigma / Holy Motors – I want to dismiss this Leos Carax pathos as the most pretentious, pompous, portentous film masturbation but I can’t. Might be the accordion scene. Maybe Denis Lavant transformations won me over.

King of Trash / Piranha 3DD – This cannibalistic piece of crap is not only LOL toxic but also features a clueless David Hasselhoff in the most wrenching self-parody I can remember for a long while.

Underappreciated Achievement in Filmmaking / The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Yep, my eyes where crossed and I needed to get my glasses off. BUT, this is the future of cinema as we don’t quite come to know it yet. Isn’t this a plagiarist definition of the term “pioneer”?

Best Film not in English LanguageA Royal Affair (Denmark) - A fine exhibit of delivering the right blend of history, politics, civil rights, suspense and romance. I reiterate that the future of cinema lies at the Scandinavian peninsula.

Best Documentary FeatureThe Imposter- Life imitates art of personality theft. Horrifying, suspenseful and truer than your worst angst.

Best Animated FeatureFrankenweenie – It’s a common secret that Tim Burton’s best days are bygones. This little jewel is his long- time pet project and has a heart of a 8 year old. On the plus side, it epitomizes every reason why we love(d) his cinema.

Best ComedyThis Is 40 – Judd Appatow wears his heart on his sleeve from a grossed- out hilarious to an earnestly romantic effect. This is a bitter-sweet comedy for us (me).


Amour – So Mr. Haneke, is THIS the love story of a senior couple? No. Just a plot twist to strengthen your nihilist world view as in every movie you have made. Difference is, you are not being honest about it this time, advocating cruelty as the ultimate act of Love.

Argo – Solid, yes. The new Clint or even the new Clooney, sorry Ben, you ain’t; Happy to be at the Oscars.

Skyfall - “Best Bond ever”? Really? Unless you mean the sexual heat between Craig and Bardem.

The Dark Knight Rises – Operatic delirium as undeserved ending to The Dark Knight trilogy. How Nolan killed Bane/Hardy.

Django Unchained –A lot may cheer watching Tarantino’s farcical messing around, sorry, not my cup of Quentin.

Lincoln – That awkward moment that you are waiting for a lifetime just to experience a Spielberg’s movie without him in the limelight at the cost of his actors and there you have it. And it kind of annoys you.

Best of 2012

10. The Grey – Masculinity is a very tender, brave and primitively wild thing. It takes lonesome wolves Carnahan and Neeson to remind us of that.

9. Flight –Denzel is a truly amazing actor that takes every contrivance out of this over-worn characterization. Zemeckis solid as ever, ploughing the field for an unforgettable performance.

8. Caesar Must Die – Others just age. Les Tavianis mature by reinventing ars povera in the most unlikely Shakespearean stage. A high -security prison.

7. Looper – Science fiction adventure at its brainiest. JGL shines but Bruce Willis steals your heart away.

6. The Amazing Spiderman – Loved it shamelessly. Better than all Batmen and The Avengers combined. This is an amazing indie-superhero flick sporting unbelievable chemistry between charismatic Garfield and adorable Stone.

5. Life of Pi – Gorgeous visuals and breath taking cinematography by master craftsman Ang Lee. If only could he be bold(er) enough to show the harrowing (and true) side of his survival story.

4. Kill List – Ben Wheatley. He is the director to watch. Also, don’t miss the Sightseers. I am not revealing anything about Kill List’s plot. It will haunt you. Be prepared.

3. Silver Linings Playbook – A wildly successful character study, a marvellous comedy, featuring best ensemble of the year. Hugely entertaining, just wished it wouldn’t end up freefalling to Hollywood conventions’ ground in the third act.

2. Beasts of the Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin managed the improbable amidst the Louisiana swamps. Triumph of survival lessons taught by the ingenious 6 y.o. Quvenzhane Wallis.

Best Film of 2012: The Master
I am a member of the P.T.A. Church. A day hasn’t gone by without re-imagining the infinite ways this conundrum of film mystique could work for my senses. Paul is a league of his own, joined the pantheon of great auteurs with just six films under his belt. Phoenix outperforms anybody appeared onscreen for ages and P.S. Hoffman is giving free lessons in world class acting. In 65mm, The Master is bound to grow inside of me, conquering my most intimate film contemplation places. Someone said “Oscars?” No Oscars. We are discussing Kubrick, Hitchcock and Chaplin category here.

That’s it folks. Here’s wishing you all a happy, prosperous and lucky 2013. Tweet me at @TakisGaris – Oscar season continues with the January 10th Academy Awards Nominations. Predictions update due next weekend. Hope you enjoyed this list. You know, this is an every film reviewer’s unspoken fantasy…oops! There I said it!

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