Sunday, January 27, 2013

Best of 2012-Francisco Salazar's Honorable Mentions

2012 has come to an end and as we continue awards season I would like to take this time to share my favorite films the year. While I was not able to see all the films I saw a great portion of Indies and Studio films that really captured this year's essence. The following is a list of my honorable mentions that while I loved did not make my top ten films of the year.

"Anna Karenina" By Joe Wright

Joe Wright's fifth film and third period film showed another side to the art of Mr. Wright. He brought one the most complex novels to the big screen with a magisterial script by Sir. Tom Stoppard. Karenina tells the story of a woman who enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count.Wright adapted the film in a completely new way using a dilapidated theater for every location to demonstrate the theatrical nature of 19th century lifestyle. Together with his cinematographer, art director, costume designer and composer Wright brings a visual feats with complexity and style. Keira Knightley makes a fierce turn as Anna Karenina while Jude Law brings tenderness and nobility to a character that can at times be interpreted as a tyrant. Alicia Vikander and Domhall Gleeson are revelations as Kitty and Levin bringing the most pure and tender moments in the film. Overall  while not perfect Wright's adaptation is outstanding and one that will stand the test of time.

Bernie by Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater's documentary style narrative is unique and energetic and provides for one of the most underrated films this year. Bernie which tells the story of a local mortician who forms a friendship with a wealthy widow and ends up killing her is both funny, dramatic and stylish. Jack Black gives the best performance of his career as he is both nuanced in every movement and gives his usual comedic swagger. Matthew McConaughey gives another impressive turn in a year that was a resurrection for the actor and Shirley McLaine is equally as impressive. 
"The Hunter" by Daniel Nettheim

Daniel Nettheim's flm The Hunter is a tense, and atmospheric piece. The film tells the story of Martin, a mercenary who is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. The film is full of unflinching moments, beautiful imagery and a central performance by Wilhelm Dafoe at his best. While many people did not see the film, The Hunter is something that should not be missed.

"The Forgiveness of Blood" by Joshua Marston

The Forgiveness of Blood marked Joshua Marston's second feature after 2004's gripping drama Maria Full of Grace. Blood tells the story of An Albanian family  who is torn apart by a murder, resulting in a blood feud that finds Nik becoming the prime target and his sister, Rudina, forced to leave school in order to take over the family business. The film is raw, emotional and an incredible study in culture and character. Like his his past effort Marston takes no side in the feud he just simply shows how parent's actions can ultimately affect their kids. Newcomers Tristan Halilaj and Cindi Lacej are heart wrenching in their subtle and understated performances. The Forgiveness of Blood is by far one of the best achievements of this past year.

"The Kid with a Bike" by The Dardenne Brothers

The Dradenne Brother's new film is a coming of age story told in a poetically raw style. The film tells of the story of Cyril, a young boy who is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends. Thomas Doret and Cecil de France portray two lonely people attempting to find someone to share their experiences with. They are incredibly moving in their roles and interact in very naturalistic circumstances. The film is a straight out masterpiece and one that should resonate in years to come. 



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