As usual, the Academy Awards are poised to make some very wrong decisions this year. So as usual, I am prematurely correcting them by releasing my Top Ten of the year.
That year is 2012, of course — real film critics release such lists at the end of December or beginning of January, but since I have numerous other obligations, you get it in late February, once I’ve had a chance to catch up with nearly all eligible films.
Is Steven Soderbergh one of Hollywood’s least appreciated filmmakers?
On the one hand, the man has achieved his share of success. He won an Oscar for Traffic, he helmed the commercially successful Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, and several of his earlier works are adored by critics — Out Of Sight perhaps most of all. The man consistently puts out solid product, with only a couple of titles that have been adject artistic failures. (Ocean’s Twelve was particularly dismal.) Yet it seems we take him for granted. Maybe that’s because his movies tend to be more like genre exercises than passion projects; he executes them so expertly, and yet we rarely (if ever) feel his beating heart behind the story and characters. He always seems a tad removed from the films he’s made, whether or not that is actually the case.
Whoever cut the firsttrailer for Magic Mike should be taken out back and shot. (I’ll bet a week’s worth of tips it wasn’t Steven Soderbergh himself.) Rihanna’s “We Found Love” playing over scenes of stripper Channing Tatum whining about how he really just wants to make furniture, causing some generic chick to fall for him? Yuck. Suddenly one of my Most Anticipated Films Of 2012was one of the biggest disappointments.
2011 is long gone — we’re a month into the new year, yet every movie I’ve seen this January is a 2011 release. By design. The studios always roll out way more movies than we could ever possibly see all at once, then let us scramble to catch them all in order to be caught up for the Oscars. (Leaving a dearth of enticing titles the other nine months of the year.)
Still, there is always a time to stop looking backward (for a few days, anyway) and start looking forward, and that time is now. So here it is. My first 2012 review.
It’s a brand new year, which means brand new movies. Largely, 2012 promises more of the same — more sequels, more comic book adaptations, more prestigious literary adaptations, more zombies and vampires. But at least a few motion pictures look to break the mold this year.
(Films discussed in this post: The Skin I Live In, Contagion, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)There are two kinds of filmmakers in this world: those that suck, and those that do not. And when it comes to taking risks, the former group tends to play it safe, while the latter category pushes the envelope.