Batman to the rescue
The verdict is in. Leigh Paatsch names his best and worst movies for 2012
1. The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan ended his consistently brilliant, forever game- changing Batman trilogy on sustained notes of elation, exhaustion and deep contemplation. If every blockbuster event picture was a third as good as this, our faith in mainstream filmmaking would be unshakeable. Here’s hoping these excellent works were not just an exception to the rule, but an example others will follow.
2. Beasts of the Southern Wild Not often a film will have you repeatedly thinking ‘‘ I have never seen anything like this before’’. Sure, this lyrical yet cryptic crawl through a community devastated by a hurricane was an acquired taste for many. However, no one could deny the raw power coursing through every frame.
3. Argo Less than a decade ago, Ben Affleck was considered a hack actor and getting hackier by the minute. Now he is one of the best directors in the business. And no one sledges his performances any more, either. His take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis was thrilling, funny and flawlessly staged.
4. The Sessions A disarmingly frank and surprisingly heartwarming tale about a virginal paraplegic poet who just wants to get laid? Could have been a trainwreck, yet never once went off the rails. Superb acting from John Hawkes and Helen Hunt revealed an intimate bond between two people that had nothing to do with sex.
5. Looper An ambitious, sci- fi thriller that is all brains and all brawn, almost all the time. An imposing, multi- directional plot about timetravel converges at a place where you will be engrossed and even moved by what comes to pass. Certain to be a big influence on emerging filmmakers in years to come.
6. Moonrise Kingdom Two 12- year- old runaways scamper about an idyllic island with a cop ( Bruce Willis) and a Scout leader ( Edward Norton) in not- so- hot pursuit. Look past the enjoyably absurd chase scenario and there are wise emotional truths and beautifully rendered tinges of sorrow expertly woven throughout.
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo A rare case of a Hollywood adaptation surpassing the original foreign production. Director David Fincher didn’t settle for a mere remake. With the aid of sterling performances from Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, Fincher dragged us deeper into Stieg Larsson’s bleak Millennium universe than ever before.
8. Magic Mike Those who thought they’d be getting an American re- tooling of The Full Monty were horribly wrong. Instead, master filmmaker Steven Soderbergh served up a soulful drama about male strippers where everything went brilliantly right.
9. The Avengers After many years in the works, Marvel Entertainment’s master plan to conquer the world box- office with their stable of thoroughbred superheroes went off without a hitch. A truly epic action picture positively pulses with panache, wit and excitement throughout.
10. The Artist A French- made silent film set in 1920s Hollywood. Starring two actors no one had ever heard of. A longshot bet that came up
trumps, taking our traditional love for the movies and making it feel like a new romance. Deserving winner of the Best Picture Oscar.
. . . and the next 10 11. Margaret 12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 13. Skyfall 14. Bully 15. Prometheus 16. Searching for Sugarman 17. Les Miserables 18. The Raid 19. Margin Call 20. Bernie
1. That’s My Boy If it were possible to contact Irritable Bowel Syndrome from a movie, this bummer of a comedy calamity from Adam Sandler would be the culprit. Contains literally hundreds of jokes that go straight through the bottom of the barrel into an endless void of unfunniness. Out now on DVD, thrill-seekers.
2. Mental In what was hardly a champagne year for Australian cinema, this flamboyantly unamusing comedy about psychiatric illness was the flattest, most tasteless concoction of all.
3. John Carter It’s like Cowboys & Aliens! On Mars! So went the excitable pitch for a botched blockbuster that had audiences yawning before the opening credits finished.
4. Housos Vs Authority Aussie not- so- funnyman Paul Fenech discounted his cheap laughs more heavily than ever. Viewers paid the ultimate price.
5. American Pie: The Reunion A final, desperate flogging of a horse that had expired many years ago. Wobbled between the groan- worthy to the grotesque with gormless abandon.
6. Iron Sky A ‘‘ zany’’ sci- fi action comedy about Hitler in space? What could possibly go wrong? Everything. 7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Sadly, all plans for a franchise end here. Even more sadly, this means the world will never get to see George Washington: Werewolf Whacker.
8. Fun Size Kiddie- friendly movies haven’t been this kiddie-unfriendly since the days of Yu- Gi- Oh. Search party still looking for laughs in comedy about a preschooler lost after midnight.
9. The Darkest Hour This was the alieninvasion movie where the aliens were mostly invisible. Must have saved a stack on special- effects. Nothing off the top on ticket cost, though.
Equal 10. Resident Evil: Retribution / Underworld: Awakening. Who looks more bored, tired and over it all? Milla Jovovich? Kate Beckinsale? Or you?