By Kyle | January 1, 2013
I already posted my list of my favorite mainstream movies of the year.
10. Compliance. I hated sitting through this movie, which is a highly accurate dramatization of a real-life crime that happened when a prank phone caller posing as a police officer terrorized a fast-food place using nothing more than the power of his words over the phone. But I can’t deny this film’s power. Humanity has rarely looked so bleak. If you don’t want to kick a hole in your screen after watching it…..you’re not me.
9. Not Fade Away. David Chase’s rookie effort as a filmmaker travels well-trodden ground — it’s the story of a kid growing up in 1960s New Jersey and trying to do something creative while escaping both the Vietnam War and his overbearing old-school dad — but Chase and his terrific cast make it shine.
8. Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Jason Segel and Ed Helms star in a dramedy that at first struck me as routine Hollywood sneering at middle America, but as the movie goes on it becomes an intriguingly well-designed story with a strangely magical ending.
7. Friends with Kids. Formulaic sitcom movie about a couple of buddies who decide to have a kid together while remaining platonic. Results are pretty predictable, but the script is arch and witty, the characters are nicely realized and the performances are tops.
6. Beware of Mr. Baker. Terrific documentary by a journalist who went searching for Ginger Baker, the Cream drummer who personified every hope and fear you have about rock’s wild men, yet somehow survived to tell the tale.
5. The Deep Blue Sea. Director Terence Davies’ operatic style gives a throbbing urgency to this postwar soap opera about a woman (Rachel Weisz) trapped in a loveless marriage and resorting to an equally doomed affair with a soldier (Tom Hiddleston).
4. Monsieur Lazhar. Canadian French-language picture neatly illustrates how political correctness can destroy a good teacher.
3. The Ambassador. Mads Brugger, who has Sacha Baron Cohen’s gift for improvisation, went to the Central African Republic to buy himself an ambassadorship and expose the amazing levels of corruption that prevail in Africa. Degree of difficulty/danger in this doc is amazing.
2. Bernie. Richard Linklater’s whydunnit about an amiable Texan undertaker turned murderer is really a fond consideration of the quirks of the filmmaker’s native Texas, and as the title character Jack Black is one of the most lovable killers ever put on screen.
1. Amour. Michael Haneke’s stark, unblinking look at aging and death features a towering performance by Emmanuelle Riva as a woman who has suffered a debilitating stroke and, with what’s left of her will, wishes not to go on living. Harsh but true.