Top 10 of 2012 – Ed’s Picks
7. Easy Money
Though released in Sweden in 2010, Easy Money finally came out here in 2012. A smart, emotional, engaging crime thriller with a terrific performance by Joel Kinnaman (of TV’s The Killing fame), this tale of double crosses among drug dealing gangsters was intense. The characters here had actual motivation. Very much in the vein of The Departed, this is a world where no one is safe and everyone is hiding something.
6. Moonrise Kingdom
For everyone who thinks Wes Anderson movies have gotten too precious and affected, I say ppppbbbbttt. I like the postcard world he creates here. The stilted innocence of all of the characters reflects the fantasy-like world the two main kids are creating for themselves as they run away. The scene of their first kiss together on the beach is beautiful. And yet there’s also a realistic sadness that underpins the whole affair. Look at the Bill Murray/Frances McDormand relationship, for instance. They have a lot unspoken that’s happening between them. And Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward have more heartbreaking chemistry than 99% of the adult relationships we usually see at the movies.
5. The Avengers
This was one of the two flat-out most entertaining movies of the year. Everything on this list is enjoyable, but none had me in my seat with a big fat grin on my face more than finally watching Marvel’s best known superheroes together at last. Joss Whedon knocked it out of the park. That one sweeping shot during the climactic battle in New York where the camera pans to each of the heroes fighting in various ways with no cuts was a nerdgasm of the highest order. This appealed straight to the 10-year-old boy in me and reminds us all that heroes can be inspiring. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner was a particular standout, but the whole cast was dynamic. This was just plain fun.
Another in the line of the wordless, formless documentaries from the makers of Baraka. Getting to see this in 4K resolution projected on that lovely Cinerama screen was a feast for the eyes this year. Samsara took us all around the world to show the real life sights of a devastated New Orleans, creation and destruction of intricate sand sculptures, and real shots of beauty. The sequence involving a chicken-processing plant and how food gets to American consumers was rightfully upsetting. And the time-lapse photography of worshipers surrounding Mecca was awe-inspiring. Samsara really reminded me that imagery is what films are all about.