Thursday, February 21, 2013

2012 LCT awards: best picture nominees

Sure, the Oscars have announced their nominees, but what of the LCT Awards (est. 1995), my own personal choices in the world of film, television and music? Well, to be honest, these nods were announced a few weeks ago... but via the blog, not so much! So, I give you the 2012 entrants on my best-of list, starting with the first few film categories on my roster.

BEST PICTURE

Let's start with this - a gem of the early-year festival circuit that clearly made enough of a lasting impression to land itself in position for a few Oscars. In my book, it's one of the five best of the year, no question. From its moving father-daughter central story to its incredible performances from complete newcomers, this little experiment in filmmaking came with a huge payoff. It's visually stunning on a maddeningly tiny budget, and though the actors weren't SAG-sanctioned, they brought depth many card-carrying members probably wish they could.

Next up is Peter Jackson's latest Tolkien effort, The Hobbit, which has found its lion's share of detractors with which I couldn't disagree more. Yes, there's less source material being stretched into the same amount of screen time, but the visionary efforts are still there 10 years on - Jackson has a knack for telling a fantastical story like no other working today. And it helps that he has a very able lead in Martin Freeman to head up the cast. This first entry in a new trilogy is thrilling, delightful and pleasing to the eye. And while some felt it dragged on a bit long, I left the theater with no such feelings. A brilliant effort in many regards. Ignore what you've been told about it - it really is one of the five best of the year.

Speaking of divisive films, The Master was no stranger to oddly placed ill will. A harrowing glimpse at the inner workings of a charming cultish following through the eyes of a demented protagonist - what doesn't sound like film gold in that description? Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal, and the interplay with his co-lead Phillip Seymour Hoffman is in many scenes gut-wrenching. With a slick editing technique, an artistic approach in the screenplay and triumphant performances from the lot, it's perhaps just misunderstood - and will surely develop into a future classic. Seeing it felt like encountering a truly cinematic experience.

Sometimes there are movies that you've been waiting years to see. Based on a book that I cherished when reading, once I heard Perks was at last being adapted into a film, I held onto skepticism to the bitter end. I just didn't think the casting was right, and I didn't see how a movie would be able to capture the unique nuance within an atypical high school story. Oh, how wrong I was. Thanks to some careful work from its young stars and a faithful adaptation from the author himself (not to mention his own directing debut), The Perks of Being a Wallflower easily landed itself on the "best of" list and thankfully caught the attentions of many viewers who didn't necessarily come of age around the time of the book's release - the true mark of a teen fiction adaptation done right.

Can't say I'm not diverse in my choices, I suppose. A strong central performance can do an awful lot to bolster a film's overall estimation. And with excellent pacing and an able director, Zero Dark Thirty outdid its helmer's predecessor by injecting a degree of tension unmatched in any of the year's blockbuster action movies. Chastain is a revelation as the central amalgamation, Maya, and her female co-stars, large parts and small, make for commanding screen presences in what is pigeonholed as a "masculine" genre. Not to say that the men, namely Jason Clarke, don't have a great deal of authority over the material. It's an all-around success in what could've been a retread. A gamble, to be sure, but with a big payoff in the form of a masterful, suspenseful, and satisfyingly uneasy premise.

3 comments:

onthescreen said...

i agree with everything lol

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Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I was a sliver less enthusiastic about THE HOBBIT than you, but glad to see it has someone championing it. Freeman is so cherub like here, and a finer actor than Wood (who I like).

Also, that Cate appearance is one one of my favourite movie related moments of the year.