Bat­man to the res­cue

The ver­dict is in. Leigh Paatsch names his best and worst movies for 2012

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

THE BEST

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

THE WORST

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?

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