End-of-year film lists always bore me to tears. If I’m posting one here, it’s not because I think you care which films I did or didn’t like, but because you might not have seen all the films here, and you might want to use this as a memory jogger or reference.
Furthermore, because I live in Belgium and not in the UK (which is where most of the readers of this blog are based) the selection might conceivably pose some interesting alternatives to the British critical consensus. Or not.
(I stole the alternative title idea from Admiral Neck, but he does it so much better than me, and anyhow I ran out of ideas quite fast, so the results are a bit half-baked.)
The following films are all screening at Paradise Plaza (aka MK2 Bibliothèque in Paris). All showed me a good time, even if some of them made me cry. One is British, one a Franco-Belgian co-production, one a Franco-German co-production, one a Franco-German-Finnish co-production, two Spanish, one Norwegian, two Japanese, one from Hong Kong, one Indonesian, one an American-Irish co-production, and two American. None is the product of a big Hollywood studio, which surprises me.
2012 is the year I made a mighty effort to see films unspoiled. I watched Prometheus without having seen the trailer, and consequently quite enjoyed it. I also quite enjoyed John Carter and found the critical response to it unforgivably lazy.
BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO aka SHOCKING VEGETABLE ABUSE
I travelled all the way to London to see this. It was worth it. It was fun. Not sure about the ending, but need to watch it again. Also, how could you not love The Equestrian Vortex?
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS aka HERE COMES EVERYBODY!
I travelled all the way to Amsterdam to see this. And I managed to watch it unspoiled. It was worth it. It was fun. By the way, if you haven’t seen it and want to, do like I did and don’t watch the trailer.
CLOCLO aka NUTJOB SUPERSTAR DOES IT HIS WAY
The most fun I had at a biopic all year. Jérémie Renier rocks! And he’s Belgian! Also, Alexandre Desplat. See also CLOCLO: ME AND CLAUDE FRANÇOIS. And I love this teaser trailer:
COLORFUL aka KARAFURU aka SUICIDE IS PAINLESS BUT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IF POSSIBLE
Japanese anime strikes again! The best film about suicide I’ve seen all year. I cried.
(Sorry, could only find a trailer with French subs.)
EVA aka RETRO-STYLE ROBOTS, ALSO THERE’S A ROBOT CAT IN IT
I travelled all the way to Paris to see this. It was worth it. I cried. Also, it has a robot cat in it.
HAYWIRE aka KICK-ASS ACTION MOVIE WITH FEMALE LEAD
This and The Raid were the most fun I had at an action movie all year. Proof that female characters don’t HAVE to get kidnapped.
HEADHUNTERS aka DIG THOSE CRAZY NORWEGIANS
Probably the most fun I’ve had in a cinema all year. Didn’t realise straightaway it was supposed to be a comedy, which made it all the more delicious. Damn, I love those crazy Norwegians. See also: Jackpot, another adaptation of a Jo Nesbø novel. Not quite as much fun. But still fun.
HOLY MOTORS aka THE MOST FUN YOU’LL HAVE AT AN ART MOVIE ALL YEAR
The most fun you’ll have at an art movie all year. Or not; I know several people who hated it. But tant pis. Also, see also my 12 REASONS TO SEE HOLY MOTORS.
I WISH aka KISEKI aka SENSITIVE FILM ABOUT CHILDHOOD
I travelled all the way to Paris to see this. Koreeda Horokazu, with Kurosawa Kiyoshi, is my favourite Japanese director, and I am always prepared to travel to see his films. It was worth it. I cried. Lucky people in the UK can see it in when it comes out there in February.
LE HAVRE aka HEARTWARMING FILM ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Because it’s about an entire community in Normandy which pulls together to help an illegal immigrant get across the Channel to England. The perfect treat for readers of The Daily Mail. I wish life were really like this. I cried.
MOONRISE KINGDOM aka A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE PLUS KITTEN
I liked Fantastic Mr Fox but had otherwise written off Wes Anderson, whose films I’d found underwhelming since Rushmore. The trailer for Moonrise Kingdom did not bode well. But he had me at Benjamin Britten. Plus Françoise Hardy and Hank Williams, plus Alexandre Desplat. Also, the kitten. Also, I cried.
OKAMI KODOMO NO AME TO YUKI aka THE WOLF CHILDREN AME AND YUKI aka LES ENFANTS LOUPS, AME & YUKI
Japanese anime strikes again! I travelled all the way to Paris to see this. It was worth it. I cried. And now I want to marry a wolf.
SERBUAN MAUT aka THE RAID aka KICK-ASS ACTION MOVIE
I travelled all the way to Amsterdam to see this. Also, it had Dutch subtitles, so I might have missed some of the psychological nuances. But it was worth it! This and Haywire were the most fun I had at action movies all year.
A SIMPLE LIFE aka TAO JIE aka HAVING A STROKE AND DYING
I liked Amour, but Ann Hui’s was the best film I saw this year about old people having strokes and dying. Also, I cried, and I didn’t cry at the Haneke.
MIENTRAS DUERMES aka MALVEILLANCE aka SLEEP TIGHT aka EEK
Scariest film of the year, for me. Really creepy and horrible, everything a horror movie should be. Also proved that you can film horrible stalking, harassment and sexual abuse from the perpetrator’s point of view without being exploitative, voyeuristic or prurient, and while still allowing the victim some respect as a character.
THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS aka NON-STOP CLAYMATION FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY BUT ESPECIALLY ADULTS
How could I possibly have forgotten this? My only excuse is I’m no longer sure what year I’m in – they’re zipping past so rapidly. This is my favourite trailer of the year, by the way. Maybe my favourite trailer of all time.
But brace yourself, because we’re now on elevator to hell, going down down DOWN to, eek, no…
Meanwhile, at Hell Multiplex (aka Kinepolis in Brussels) the following films are showing in rotation. I managed to get through only 20 minutes of the DVD of Project X, otherwise that would have been in there too, and I avoided What To Expect When You’re Expecting because it sounded like the worst kind of torture.
As you can see, in most cases I can’t even bothered to list the reasons I didn’t like something. I would consider doing it for money, but otherwise life’s too short.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. Not as bad as The Raven. But still pretty bad.
DARK SHADOWS. How can you make Dark Shadows boring? This is how. A waste of Eva Green.
END OF WATCH. Dire. Enough with the faux found footage already. And stop that wobblicam, please.
THE RAVEN. How you can make Edgar Allan Poe boring? This is how. Also, the woman gets kidnapped.
THIS MEANS WAR. An insult to the intelligence.
TO ROME WITH LOVE. Also, the woman gets… no I don’t think she does get kidnapped in this one. But Penelope Cruz plays a prostitute (again!) and Woody Allen takes the piss out of the Ellen Page character for dabbling in the exact same kind of intellectual name-dropping that he always does himself. Also, a criminal waste of Greta Gerwig. But Judy Davis is brilliant.
TOTAL RECALL. Everything. See TOTAL REMAKE.
THE WATCH. I can’t even.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK. OK, so it wasn’t that bad. But would it have killed the film-makers to have made it scary? See SOME REASONS WHY THE WOMAN IN BLACK WASN’T SCARY.