Ottawa Citizen

THIS YEAR'S BEST MO­MENTS IN FILM

An an­i­mated tiger and a cap­tive Bond among most mem­o­rable

- JAY STONE Entertainment · Filmmaking · Movies · James Bond film series · Bond 23 · Daniel Craig · Ang Lee · Matthias Schoenaerts · Jennifer Lawrence · Brad Pitt · The Avengers · Tabu · Wes Anderson · England · Steven Spielberg · Tommy Lee Jones · Tommy Lee · Adam Sandler · Javier Bardem · Sarah Polley · Marion Cotillard · The Silver Linings Playbook · Bradley Cooper · James Gandolfini · Thaddeus Stevens · Daniel Day-Lewis

This is the sea­son when movie crit­ics look back on the year be­hind us — Was it good? Was it bad? Is it over yet? — seek­ing the di­a­monds that glit­tered ever-so-briefly in the vast land­scape of car chases, com­put­er­gen­er­ated mon­sters, marathon fan­tasies, Adam San­dler films and all the other dross that makes this such a spe­cial­ized pro­fes­sion. We sol­dier on, 3-D glasses at the ready, arche­ol­o­gists of light.

Of­ten, though, it isn’t the movies you re­mem­ber — it’s the mo­ments. The scene in the overly dark James Bond film Sky­fall, for in­stance, when Silva, the vil­lain played by Javier Bar­dem, ties Daniel Craig’s Bond to a chair and purrs se­duc­tively, or the sur­prise in the clos­ing cred­its of Sarah Pol­ley’s doc­u­men­tary Sto­ries We Tell, a movie that doesn’t quite de­liver on its prom­ise of in­vented his­to­ries but does a mar­vel­lous job of evok­ing the past us­ing the sleightof-hand of film­mak­ing.

Even spe­cial ef­fects can be used to fur­ther the art, rather than just bury it. A great moment from 2012 was the first ap­pear­ance of the tiger in Life of Pi, for in­stance, a mar­vel­lous con­coc­tion that el­e­vates what had been a pon­der­ous med­i­ta­tion on re­li­gion and faith into the breath­tak­ing im­agery of magic it­self. The tiger on the boat, float­ing in the moon­light, is what I’ll re­mem­ber from Ang Lee’s movie long af­ter the sym­bol­ism has faded (ac­tu­ally, it faded away be­fore the clos­ing cred­its).

There were also com­put­ers in­volved in the re-cre­ation of the lethal South Asian tsunami, as de­picted in The Im­pos­si­ble, but they were in­vis­i­ble. The movie it­self is one of those true-life tear-jerk­ers that has you won­der­ing about the dis­as­ters it doesn’t show — we fol­low one fam­ily’s tragedy while thou­sands of dead and home­less walk past in the back­ground.

And then there were things the com­put­ers wiped out, such as Mar­ion Cotil­lard’s legs in Rust and Bone, a film about a whale trainer who loses her limbs in an ac­ci­dent. A scene where Matthias Schoe­naerts, play­ing a bru­tal street fighter, car­ries her into the sea for a swim was an as­tound­ing moment of emo­tional pull, mix­ing pity, envy and sur­prise into an un­for­get­table tableau.

Sil­ver Lin­ings Playbook be­came a ro­man­tic com­edy that swung on a dance con­test, of all things, but for a while it was a beau­ti­fully skewed por­trait of dys­func­tion. The scene where Bradley Cooper, as an ob­sessed and es­tranged hus­band with bipo­lar is­sues, and Jen­nifer Lawrence, as a griev­ing widow, meet at a din­ner party was a high-wire act of sex­ual chem­istry and men­tal ill­ness.

The crime drama Killing Them Softly was overly ex­plicit in its con­nec­tion be­tween or­di­nary street toughs and the Wall Street kind, but it had some of the best di­a­logue of the year. The scene in an air­port ho­tel be­tween Brad Pitt’s ef­fi­cient assassin and James Gan­dolfini’s wornout old hit man was a talky en­counter that packed more punch than all the mon­sters de­scend­ing on The Avengers.

Of­ten it’s all about the feel­ings: the twisted chronol­ogy of the Por­tuguese drama Tabu gave it a melan­choly ro­mance, a bit­ter­sweet edge that was more than you might think could come from a story of thwarted love. Wes An­der­son’s Moon­rise King­dom was a strangely beau­ti­ful film that felt just out of reach, but some­how thrilled me with the sym­me­try of its de­sign. Ev­ery­thing was in bal­ance, in­clud­ing a styl­ized New Eng­land home that was funny in its doll­house in­tri­ca­cies.

I was more im­pressed than moved by Steven Spiel­berg’s Lin­coln, but the movie leaped to life ev­ery time Tommy Lee Jones was on screen. His nat­u­ral crank­i­ness — also used to comic ef­fect in the ro­man­tic com­edy Hope Springs — was like a brac­ingly caus­tic breeze blow­ing through the am­bi­gu­i­ties of the fight against slav­ery. Watch­ing Jones, as Sen. Thad­deus Stevens, be­rate his fel­low con­gress­men with his rat-a-tat ag­gres­sion helped pull Lin­coln into ac­tion. Daniel Day-Lewis will prob­a­bly get the Os­car, but my vote for a man to re­mem­ber goes to Jones.

 ?? TWEN­TI­ETH CEN­TURY FOX ?? Su­raj Sharma stars in Life of Pi. This mag­i­cal story of a boy lost at sea and the re­turn of James Bond are among the year’s Top 10 films, all of which con­tain many mem­o­rable mo­ments.
TWEN­TI­ETH CEN­TURY FOX Su­raj Sharma stars in Life of Pi. This mag­i­cal story of a boy lost at sea and the re­turn of James Bond are among the year’s Top 10 films, all of which con­tain many mem­o­rable mo­ments.
 ??  ?? Daniel Craig, left, and Javier Bar­dem star in the James Bond film Sky­fall, where the vil­lain Silva ties Bond to a chair and purrs se­duc­tively at the hero’s predica­ment.
Daniel Craig, left, and Javier Bar­dem star in the James Bond film Sky­fall, where the vil­lain Silva ties Bond to a chair and purrs se­duc­tively at the hero’s predica­ment.
 ?? SONY PIC­TURES CLAS­SICS ?? Matthias Schoe­naerts and Mar­ion Cotil­lard star in Rust and Bone and in this scene, he car­ries her into the sea for a swim in an as­tound­ing moment that blends pity, envy and sur­prise.
SONY PIC­TURES CLAS­SICS Matthias Schoe­naerts and Mar­ion Cotil­lard star in Rust and Bone and in this scene, he car­ries her into the sea for a swim in an as­tound­ing moment that blends pity, envy and sur­prise.
 ?? THE WE­IN­STEIN COM­PANY ?? Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly has an un­for­get­table scene at a ho­tel with James Gan­dolfini.
THE WE­IN­STEIN COM­PANY Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly has an un­for­get­table scene at a ho­tel with James Gan­dolfini.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada