Charles Ealy’s Top 10 Movies
Sizing up this year’s movies — and why we picked what we did
switching up the introduction to our Top 10 lists this year by publishing some of our thoughts and rationalizations via a back-and-forth between American-Statesman movie critics Matthew Odam and Charles Ealy. We hope this will answer some of your questions.
Odam: I think the most glaring absence from either of our lists is going to be “Lincoln.” Whatever you think of Steven Spielberg, one thing you can pretty much count on is a bit of emotional manipulation by the master. And, despite Daniel DayLewis’ bravura performance, for which he will most likely win an Oscar, this movie just did not emotionally resonate with me.
Ealy: I liked “Lincoln,” but it didn’t grab my emotions as much as the other movies on my Top 10 list did. As you say, the performances were excellent. But most of the movies I’ve included on my list need some support from critics. That’s especially the case with “Zero Dark Thirty,” which has come under attack in recent days from the worst kind of people — politicians.
Odam: Looking at my list, I realize the emotional connection was a huge factor in my choices this year, even with some movies, like “Rust and Bone” and “Moonrise Kingdom” that just missed the cut. My top two movies both moved me to tears for very different reasons. That’s not always the best indicator of a great movie, but it was for me this year, even with the quartet of documentaries on my list. Another movie that lingers just outside of my top 10 was “Argo,” the pacing of the film was excellent, and the final moments were as taut as any in film this year, but I didn’t feel the movie to the degree I did with others.
Ealy: Ditto on “Argo.” Plenty of perceptive moviegoers will disagree with something on our lists. But that’s the nature of coming up with a list. So I hope readers will let us know what they think.
1) “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Anyone who has ever sat down and talked with director Kathryn Bigelow knows that she’s a fierce intellect — and someone who treats her audience with respect. That’s what she does in “Zero Dark Thirty,” which focuses on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and includes several scenes that deal with the CIA’s brutal questioning of terror suspects. Recent news reports have suggested that such moments suggest an implicit support of torture. Reasonable people can disagree, but I can say with confidence that Bigelow isn’t trying to justify torture. She’s dramatizing the innumerable twists and turns in the quest to capture the world’s most wanted terrorist. In particular, she’s focusing on a young woman ( Jessica Chastain) who joins
Actress Quvenzhane Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in the film “Beasts Of The Southern Wild.”