The Best Films of 2012 – Part Two

5. ‘Argo’

argoWords by Yazen Al Samen

In ‘Argo’, Ben Affleck breaks into the Hollywood elite, by embracing what made Hollywood great. The true story of 6 escaped American hostages in Iran in 1980 and the plan to rescue them is too crazy to be true, and Ben Affleck’s movie takes this story and turns it into one hell of a thrill ride.

But the film goes to show the effect the media and the cinema has on the mind of the people, wherever they come from, and how they can influence politics. Affleck also embraces Hollywood “escapism”, by making a movie so fine tuned that even when you think it’s cheesy and predictable it enthralls and captures you. “Argo” is for the ages, and one of the leading contenders for Best Picture at the Oscars.

4. ‘Skyfall’

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Here is Bond for the 21st century. The 23rd installment into the Bond franchise is one of the best, probably the best. It is also quite a bold film, with the question in the center of it “Is Bond needed in today’s world?” This film takes Bond from Cold War antiquity and into 21st century technology, it is a film of a confused Bond, of a confused MI6, facing a whole new terror what they were used to, a more personal terror.

It is also a very self aware film, and with that it tests us the audience with relics of the past from Bond himself or his gadgets. It culminates into a movie about moving on, letting go, and effect of time itself on the human soul and the objects around it. Sam Mendes’ movie is quite a rare thing, a downright philosophical, entertaining, personal, blockbuster.

3. ‘Amour’ 

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Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ (‘Love’) probably has the most fitting title of any of this year’s films. It stars of cinema’s most memorable actors, Jean Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, as Georges and Anne, an 80-something couple living a quiet life in the twilight of their lives. Soon, Anne has a stroke and starts descending into paralysis, leaving Georges to care for her.

The film goes into Georges’ struggle to care for Ann, and provides a test for his love and their enduring marriage. “Amour” ends up presenting quite a strong and powerful exploration of what love is, and where it comes from, and how it transforms along the ages. It is one of the most heartfelt and hard hitting films of recent years, and one of Haneke’s best films.

2. ‘Life of Pi’

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‘Life of Pi’ is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. It has outright the best use of 3D in movies, and surely some of the best special effects set pieces. It is quite an experience. Adapted from Yann Martel’s novel, it is about a young Indian boy who is left in the middle of the sea after a shipwreck, on a lifeboat, alone with a Bengal tiger. Very few modern films are this un-cynical of their mention of God, and the film’s hero starts off by saying that “this story will make you believe in God”.

But this is not the direction the movie is interested in. It is more about the nature of religion, the nature of belief and faith, and how the human mind works to give meaning and acquire comfort and relief, and how experiences shape our lives, in ways we may not know, and it touches on how “God” and nature work, and where we, and animals, stand in the world. Ang Lee’s film is of the most joyously uplifting spiritual experiences you can have at the movies. ‘Life Of Pi’ is tied in my eyes for the year’s best film, but my number 1 pick left me in more shock and awe, simply…

1. ‘The Master’

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This film has divided people. It is one of the most baffling of films. Yet it remains there, imprinted in our minds. An out of the body experience. No film has taken so much effort and detail in bringing onto the screen a relationship between two people.

Joaquin Phoenix’s alcoholic WWII vet is drifting in Fifties America, when he meets a cult leader, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who takes him under his wing. The two men bounce off each to other, two men of different styles, behaviors and mindsets. The movie leaves them there, as we see them in 70mm, and we stay mesmerized by how human interactions work, and how conversations, demeanors and charisma influence the mind and the body.

The film is a heightened experience, and its highly human and psychological content is well concealed within 50s American society, yet the film first and foremost is an experience, that works on the mind and the senses, and amazes you as it baffles you. No other film has been made like this.

Theme for Next Issue: Current Films

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

And so, dear reader, we have given you all of our content for the Romantic Films Issue.

And, onwards and upwards, the next issue will be Current Films.

So, you can look forward to some ‘James Bond’, a bit of ‘Frankenweenie’, and maybe some extra content just for all our bloggers who keep coming back to the Rabbit Film.

So keep an eye out for all the latest content…..

James Bond: Skyfall Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

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Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, in his third Bond film. In the Directors chair this time, is Sam Mendes, a British Director who is known for his theatre work and his films. Perhaps you remember ‘Revolutionary Road’? The quiet, reflective film, which brought together Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in their first film since ‘Titanic’.

The film begins strong, with composer Thomas Newman blasting out the well known James Bond film theme.

According to IMDB the synopsis is; “Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.”

Now, this is not your typical Bond film, there’s less sex, there isn’t really a ‘Bond’ girl, they appear for a scene, then are written out.

Instead, Mendes begins to delve deeper in to James Bond, the man, the boy, the spy. We are given snippets as to how Bond became an Orphan and as to why he became the spy we know and love.

Judi Dench is given her best storyline in years, a villain on the hunt for her. She remains cold and British, determined to get the job done.

Visually, the film is a treat. Mendes treats us to a slick London, equipped to tackle anyone and anything.Bond himself races across the screen, gun in hand, Bond style. What is more, the cinematography is fantastic, with silhouette fights and firelit scenes. Mendes sure knows how to visually deliver a film.

What is more, there is a return to the old ways of spying. Bond himself says to M: “We need to go back in time”, this is a reference to the Fifty Years of Bond, but also, a reference to the film. Bond has to return to his past, in order to live in the present.

But, there seems to be something missing, compared to other Bond films. One feels unsatisfied after having viewed the film. Mendes has tried to do something new, and has succeeded, but the climax was slow, drawn out. And may not appeal to hard core Bond fans.

So, if you’re looking for a good Friday night film, see this. But expect to see something a little different than your typical ‘Bond’ film.