Best Movies of 2012... So Far

Mark Duplass in "Your Sister's Sister,"
one of seven films that he worked on in 2012
I wanted to start with foreign-language films. Five films were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-language Film in January. The one from Belgium was such a surprise that Alamo Drafthouse rushed it into theaters. All five represent the most critically-acclaimed pieces of cinema, truly the best movies of 2012, but except for a few cine-philes in a few cities for only a week or two at a time, no one got to see these best films.

This is particularly frustrating for those who live where I live on Delmarva because often there isn't a city on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia that gets to be one of the few cities that host foreign-language films. The Regal theater in Salisbury, MD, is the newest and nicest theater on Delmarva. It has 16 screens, the most of any theater within 100 miles, and many of its auditoriums can hold hundreds of people.

The theater has shown movies that have had foreign-languages in them, here and there. Yet, the theater has yet to show any of the Oscar-nominated movies for Best Foreign-language Film, including this year's winner A Separation. The Rehoboth Beach Film Society did hold two screenings of that movie on Memorial Day weekend, but members of that group were the only ones alerted to it. Not many people statewide caught wind of it. The big Salisbury theater didn't even show the French film The Artist, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, and that film didn't even require subtitles.

This past April saw an exception. The Regal Salisbury screened The Raid: Redemption, which is the Indonesian film that caught a lot of buzz at the Sundance Film Festival. Why did The Raid get a screen at Salisbury and The Artist didn't? The Raid is an action film with a lot of violence. The glorification of which sells and gets a pass more often than not. If you look at the two biggest movies at the box office so far, both glorify action and violence. They're The Hunger Games and The Avengers. Seeing fighting and killing is what America wants.

But, it's not all about girls with a bow-and-arrow or super heroes in tight suits. Surprisingly, Think Like a Man was #1 for two weekends in a row. Whether it was the success of Steve Harvey's book or the fan-following of Kevin Hart, the film proved the viability of African-American comedies outside the Tyler Perry mold.

It could also be said that 2012 is the year of Channing Tatum. In August 2009, Tatum made the cover of GQ magazine and the story by Lisa DePaulo proclaimed him "the next big thing" and "a kid on the cusp of stardom." That year he had three movies on the slate. This year, Tatum appears in a whooping five films. Most of them will seemingly be successful. They're Haywire, The Vow, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which actually got moved to March 2013. Now, I could also call this the year of Liam Neeson because he'll also appear in five films this year. Unfortunately, two of those films, Wrath of the Titans and Battleship, have not be well received critically or financially.

If you're wondering who the female equivalent to Tatum this year is, you can continue to wonder because I don't know. The only person who comes close is Jennifer Lawrence. The first half of 2012 really didn't have too many films about women or with women as the lead characters. This can be said of the live-action films. A case could be made for the animated films though. The Secret World of Arriety, Chico & Rita and Brave are the cartoons that star or are about young women. Forgetting the movies about Snow White, these represent more empowering stories for girls.

Yet, forget about Tatum or Lawrence! There's only one name in movies this year who I think represents the best of the big screen or as he does, the little big screen, and that's Mark Duplass. If you don't know who Mark Duplass is, he is an actor and filmmaker who has been making films for about a decade now. His big break was in 2005 with the celebrated, independent film The Puffy Chair. Since then, he has been a recognized talent who is been slowly rising.

Most people might know Duplass from his TV series The League on the cable channel FX, which he's been doing since 2009, but clearly Duplass' love is in movies and it really shows this year. By the time 2012 is over, five films in which Duplass has acted will have been released, Darling Companion, Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister's Sister, People Like Us and the tentatively-titled Zero Dark Thirty. Duplass, along with his brother Jay, has also directed two separate films that will get released this year as well, Jeff, Who Lives at Home and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon. In total the guy is involved with seven movies in one year. That's a busy boy!

Best Movies Released Theatrically

1.   THE KID WITH A BIKE by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
3.   THE GREY by Joe Carnahan
4.   UNDEFEATED by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin
5.   BULLHEAD by Michael R. Roskam
6.   SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED by Colin Trevorrow
7.   YOUR SISTER'S SISTER by Lynn Shelton
8.   THE INVISIBLE WAR by Kirby Dick
9.   MICHAEL by Markus Schleinzer
10. CHICO & RITA by Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba
11. RED TAILS by Anthony Hemingway
12. NEWLYWEDS by Edward Burns

Best Movies Released on DVD

1.   THE DOUBLE by Michael Brandt
2.   HIGHER GROUND by Vera Farmiga
3.   SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! by Matthew Bate
4.   THE SWELL SEASON by Nick August-Perna and Chris Dapkins
5.   ROMEOS by Sabine Bernardi
6.   I MELT WITH YOU by Mark Pellington
7.   PARIAH by Dee Rees
8.   RETURN by Liza Johnson
9.   YOU'LL KNOW MY NAME by Joe Raffa 
11. PUNCTURE by Adam and Mark Kassen
12. THE SEMINARIAN by Joshua Lim
13. THE LOVE PATIENT by Michael Simon


Popular Posts