|Happy New Year from Thrillville! (at Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge)|
Monica Tiki Goddess asleep on the sofa during myfirst Thrillville screening at The New Parkway, "Santa
Claus Conquers the Martians" on December 23;
seems like old times already...
First off, big announcement (at least for some of you): after many delays and much drama, THE NEW PARKWAY is now open for business! Check out their web site for the daily movie lineup, expansive menu and other info, and my own Schedule page for what I have coming up in the latest incarnation of THRILLVILLE THEATER every Sunday at 6pm for only $6, which I will be only programming, not hosting, though I will show up to say hey now and then, while designating guests hosts including Lord Blood-Rah and Johnny Legend. Pizza, beer, couches and movies are back in Oaktown! Cheers.
Now then, back to the subject at hand: below is my annual list of my favorite (not necessarily "the best") movies of the year, this one being 2012, which was exceptionally entertaining from a cinematic perspective. This list is completely subjective and while I personally recommend each of these choices, they're not for everybody and in at least a couple of cases, maybe not for anybody except me and a select segment of the population (especially a few of the runners-up). In any case, dig, or don't:
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Christopher Nolan's spectacular and soulful trilogy finale is a masterpiece of visual virtuosity and neo-noir storytelling, ably abetted by Hans Zimmer's magnificent score. Not only my favorite of the year, but among my favorite films of all time. Read my complete review here.
Quentin Tarantino is back and blacker than ever with this richly realized, rawly revisionist historical homage to the old school genres of spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation, steeped in socially conscious satire, racial revenge and audacious action. It's like the grindhouse version of Spielberg's Lincoln (also highly recommended, though not exactly Thrillville-sanctioned material). I also dig the meeting of the two generations of Miami Vice (Jamie Foxx and Don Johnson). Django is already my favorite of Tarantino's flicks after Pulp Fiction and True Romance, and the perfect companion piece to Inglorious Basterds. Just remember: "The D is silent, hillbilly."
Daniel Craig continues his winning steak as the second best James Bond after Sean Connery in this admirably hard-boiled 50th anniversary milestone, with possibly the most personalized storyline for 007 yet, and an enjoyably offbeat turn by Javier Bardem as the villain. Read my complete review here.
Though I grew up in a cult and hence could relate to the material, the real reasons I loved Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film is because of the gorgeous 70mm cinematography, evocative period (1950s) set designs, atmposheric musical score and gorgeous cinematic compositions. Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of his career, too.
Another surreal, stylized but sensitive movie that I can relate to on a personal level and which also appeals to my particular sense of retro aesthetics, being set in the 1960s. This sweet little fable is one of the best movies ever made about adolescence, and is my favorite Wes Anderson flick so far.
Joss Whedon makes the impossible not only possible, but exceeds all expectations, at least according to this lifelong Marvel Comics fan. Read my complete review here.
CABIN IN THE WOODS
Another instant genre classic from Joss Whedon, who produced this humorous hodgepodge of classic horror movie cliches culminating in an epic homage to E.C. Comics, H.P. Lovecraft, and pretty much every monster movie ever made. Read my complete review here.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Not as true to the spirit of the classic comics I grew up with in the '70s as the Sam Raimi trilogy, but still a pretty edgy and entertaining - if pointlessly rebooted - addition to the series, featuring my favorite Spidey villain, The Lizard. Read my complete review here.
Like a lot of Blade Runner/Alien fans I was initially underwhelmed by Ridley Scott's new sci-fi flick, but have since grown to appreciate its stunningly stylish mix of humanist philosophy and pure vintage pulp.
This is not only the first stop-motion animated zombie movie but also a touching tribute to those of us who live on the fringes of respectable society; both visually and thematically beautiful.
RUNNERS-UP: Anthony Hopkins is typically brilliant as Hitchock; Ang Lee's magical, mystical, mythological allegory Life of Pi, especially engaging for cat lovers like me; Oliver Stone's entertainingly excessive, glorified B movie Savages is beautifully bad; William Freidkin's Killer Joe is an arthouse-meets-grindhouse mini-masterpiece of amoral mayhem; Ben Affleck's brilliant true life political thriller Argo proves he is a filmmaker always worth watching; Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis fight their own future in the exciting sci-fi noir Looper; the rural, retro gangster saga Lawless excels largely due to an excellent cast including Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman; Tim Burton's fun Frankenweenie mines the same creepy childhood stop-motion animated turf as ParaNorman, but not quite as successfully, IMO; and Brad Pitt is one hip hitman in the refreshingly gritty '70s crime flick throwback Killing Them Softly.
MOST ANTICIPATED FILMS OF 2013: Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and of course Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me. Cheers.