Welcome to the 2nd annual That Film Guy year end awards, or the ˜Dommys.’ At these awards we will celebrate and commiserate the best films of 2012. In terms of overall quality 2012 has been a better year than 2011 with the blockbusters on the whole holding up their end of the bargain while films like The Avengers not only exceeded expectations critically, but smashed records at the box office and established Joss Whedon as a major player in Hollywood. We’ve seen the end of another big film franchise with the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Christopher Nolan sent his Dark Knight trilogy out with a bang thanks to the excellent The Dark Knight Rises. In terms of Art House films, other than Amour and Holy Motors and a smattering of other films it has to be considered a disappointing year. Whereas with the Oscars on the horizon most of the big hitting films like Lincoln are due for release in early 2013 in the UK. Let’s take a look at what has impressed the TFG film in 2012.
Genre Film Awards
Best Horror Film
Using the framing device of found footage without actually relying on the handycam approach of something like Paranormal Activity, Sinister proved to be the best of a bad bunch for the horror genre this year. Ethan Hawke was excellent in his first real foray into the genre and as always with box office successes there’s bound to be sequels ahead. Read the full review here¦
Best Science Fiction Film
In a year where great things were expected from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus it was Rian Johnson’s Looper that came from nowhere and blew audiences away. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stepped up to the leading role alongside Bruce Willis and provided a Terminator-like story with some real heart and a wilful disregard for the laws of time travel. Read the full review here…
Best Comic Book Film
While The Dark Knight Rises was technically the better film, THe Avengers will have the longer lasting impact and is a truer comic book adaptation. With a cast of charismatic leading actors, rippling dialogue and some memorable action scenes, The Avengers is one of the most cleverly crafted and funniest comic book adaptations going. Read the full review here¦
Best Fantasy Film
In a year where the main pretender to Peter Jackson’s fantasy film crown was Snow White and the Huntsman, which failed to reach even the slightly dipping quality of the next Middle Earth installment, it isThe Hobbit that remains top of the pile. It may have suffered from a lack of grandiose epic impact, but was still head and shoulders above anything else. Read the full review here…
Best Animated Film
In a year where animated films seemed heavily influenced by Halloween and the horror genre ParaNorman just edged Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie in terms of fun and enjoyment. The glorious scenes of the impending zombie assault as well as constant references to past horror classics put ParaNorman in the higher band of quality than the rest. Read the full review here¦
Best Action or Adventure
A truly startling left-field action film directed by Welshman and grounded in the martial art from Indonesia. The Raid, like a kicking and punching Die Hard exploded from no where in 2012 and took the world by storm. Immediately establishing both director and lead as stars, it is one of the most memorable action films in recent years. Read the full review here…
Best Family Film
Pipped for the best comic book film of 2012 award, The Avengers combination of a-list stars, witty dialogue and surprisingly blood-free action all adds up to a hugely popular and thoroughly fun family film. The public agree too as The Avengers ended up taking over $1.5b at the box office. Read the full review here…
Seth MacFarlane, the mastermind behind Family Guy and American Dad ventures out from animated television into live action with his directorial debut feature film Ted. Never far from controversy, MacFarlane has seen his show’s cancelled and restarted more than any other person in American television, yet one thing remains clear, he has a keen eye for the satirical, the cultural and above all else, the socially inappropriate and with Ted, he doesn’t hold back. Read the full review here…
Best Romance Film
Nothing says romance like two mad Northern English people on a road trip that descends into chaotic, illegal activity. This sums up the most bizarre romantic comedy of the year. Ben Wheatley˜s previous films Down Terrace and Kill List are obvious inspirations to this blackest of black comedies, but what’s so surprising is the level to which Sightseers makes you care about the romance at the heart of the story. Even if they’re both as mad as a box of frogs. Read the full review here¦
Best Art House Film
Like many of Haneke’s most successful movies, such as Hidden and The White Ribbon, it is set in France rather than his native Germany and features a French cast. There are very few plaudits Michael Haneke has not received, and more are certainly on the way. Already a multiple Palme D’Or winner, he will surely go down as one of the finest directors of his generation, and Amour will take its place as one of his finest pieces of work. Read the full review here¦
With Marley, Director Kevin Macdonald adds to his increasing roster of fine documentaries, presenting an energetic and moving portrait of arguably the 20th century’s greatest musical icon. Right from the off this is a film packed full of character, verve and passion. Macdonald clearly embraces this aesthetically, with colours bursting forth from the screen at every opportunity. Read the full review here…
Berberian Sound Studio is the second film from writer / director Peter Strickland, following on from 2009’s critically acclaimed Katalin Varga. Set in the 1970s, it centres on Gilderoy (Toby Jones), an unworldly, middle aged sound engineer who travels from his home in Dorking to the titular sound studio somewhere in Rome. Gripping, claustrophobic and a thoroughly enticing thriller. Read the full review here¦
Best Over-18s Film
Dredd was a masterful piece of film-making. It blended adult-themed action with a suspenseful plot, all filmed in an innovate, yet cost-effective way. My initial reaction to yet another re-imagining of John Wagner’s mercurial character was one of forehead-slapping, nose-pinching dismay, yet Karl Urban’s portrayal was imperious. Acting purely through changing the expressions of his mouth, he managed to recreate Dredd’s deadly pragmatism and unabashed loyalty to ˜The Law’. Pete Travis’ direction is sure to secure him a shot at a sequel Read the full review here¦
Best Drama Film
The Perks of Being a Wallflower spoke to me on a deeper level than any film has for years. It has its flaws, but all films do and the perfection of everything from the cast to the script to the soundtrack help to mask any minor quibbles in direction. It’s not cool, it’s unlikely to win any awards or make billions at the box office, but in my opinion, this is the most stunning coming of age drama not only of the year, but possibly of all time. Read the full review here…
Best Supporting Actor
Ezra Miller – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ezra Miller follows his sensational performance in last year’s We Need to Talk About Kevin with a fabulously flamboyant showing as one of the three teenagers in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Uninhibited by the hangups of normal teenagers, Miller’s Patrick commands the screen in every second that he graces it with his presence.
Best Supporting Actress
Emma Watson – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Emma Watson’s mega-stardom came from her starring role in the Harry Potter franchise. Trained from a young age to play Hermione Granger, the queen of reaction shots and eyebrow acting, The Perks of Being a Wallflower gave her the opportunity to stretch her actual acting muscles and she is a sensation. Comfortable with an American accent, she gives a thoroughly convincing performance worthy of the highest praise.
Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
Continuing her rise to prominence in the acting community, Marion Cotillard gives her best performance yet in Rust and Bone. But while Rust and Bone itself can’t quite stand alongside A Prophet, it is a film with a powerful, moving story and brilliant performance from Marion Cotillard, who convinces completely, both physically and mentally.
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Quell is an awesome creation by Phoenix, a surly, unnerving presence with a humourless laugh that tends to precede trouble. He’s a real loose canon, a mass of half-formed desires who is genuinely unpredictable. One early scene has him on the beach with his navy buddies “ like a twisted scene from South Pacific – they create a naked woman out of sand. They laugh as he simulates sex with it, but the laughter dies as he takes the mime much too far.
Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild was a revelation in low-budget, location-heavy film-making. Tying together all the disparate magical realist elements of the narrative was a performance of such heart and maturity that it’s almost unbelievable to think that it came from a six-year-old.
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Arguably one of the greatest directors working today Ang Lee combines his visual style from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with the emotional pathos of Brokeback Mountain to adapt the seemingly unfilmable book Life of Pi. Visual poetry and the most stunningly beautiful film of year establish Ang Lee at the top of his game.
Film of the Year
While The Perks of Being a Wallflower was my favourite film of the year on a personal level, it’s difficult to look past Ang Lee’s Life of Pi for it’s combination of incredible storytelling, superb central performance and sumptuous visuals. Those who have read Life of Pi will understand the importance and impact of the ending, but for everyone else it is one of the most moving, left-field realisations in years. Made all the more poignant by Sharma˜s performance and Khan˜s Voice-over the final scenes will stay with you long after the credits as will the visual poetry created by Ang Lee in what must be his best film to date as he Takes the impossible and makes it not only probable, but believable. Life of Pi makes you believe in life, beauty and the indomitable spirit of humanity.