Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Long-Delayed Wrap Up of 2011, Going into Preliminaries of Awards Season 2012

so I've been so busy WATCHING films this year, that i haven't had the chance to blog about most of them. Sure, my new twitter account helped me provide the briefest of reviews (140 characters - take that, 2000 word english essay!), but there's nothing quite like being able to fully explain your thoughts on a movie you just came out of that completely blew your mind! Having said that, I'm in the process of compiling my "best of 2012" list, but i'm stuck between deciding on films that were released in South Africa in the past year, or going with the flow of the Oscar calendar which would possibly be the more sensible option. Right then, let's do this: I saw The Artist in April this year and was completely blown away with its whimsical, feel-good homage to the medium it belonged to and thought it fully deserved the top award last year. While Hugo was still quite charming, I don't think it was successful in reaching as many main stream audiences as was needed to bring home the gold. Instead, the silver seemed like a fitting position. Yet, with these two brilliant films, I have to say that my pick for #1 of 2011 has to be The Help - a film which makes me cry a little more each time (next screening is poised to be a flat out balling session!). With that sorted i have one more point to make to wrap up the 2011 season (a bit late, don't you think, Thomas??), and that is this: Although 2011 was considered by many critics to be a total disappointment for film making (more specifically, the awards season), i have to disagree entirely. I think that the year before last was a moment in cinematic history where we as audiences needed to hit the pause button and reflect on where we were as a global society. Its crime, its global warming, its the rhinos, its the end of the freaking world! So what the best picture contenders said to me, when I watched Warhorse, the last of the Best Picture nominees, in July, was that because all these films brought back these "Silver Linings", feel-good encouraging messages they were rejected for being good, but not going all the way, pushing the boundaries of film making, being controversial, blah blah blah (look at how brilliant Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was... it could be said to justify my point). Sometimes we need these charming years. years in which narratives are not about excessive violence, full on nudity and sex scenes to boot, Hell, if No Country for Old Men won year after year, I'd probably commit suicide after 5 or so cycles. This past year we found ourselves with such an interesting mix of films, its really going to be difficult to choose our favourites: We had the poetry of Beasts of the Southern Wild, the sleek brilliance of Bond and the ever-reliable Steven Spielberg with a biopic about one of the most world-renound presidents of all time (which we in SA have yet to see). If last year (2011) was 'exciting', then this year would possibly be 'just another year' in cinema, instead critics are abuzz with predictions, guild and critics awards upsets and triumphs, with everyone guessing, who will it be!?!? Who will it be indeed... 2012 list to follow shortly.

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