It’s the End of the Year As We Know It: December 2012 in Films
Well, here it is – December! I wasn’t able to see as many films as I would have like due to working a lot right after the semester ended, but I did manage to fit in a few really great films before the end of the year. I’ll be posting a little bit later today my end-of-the-year round-up with all of the new-to-me films I watched in 2012, as well as some overall thoughts for me viewing year. That said, I didn’t want to short change December its own post for the month. As always, the list of what I watched as well as five spotlighted films can be found after the cut.
- Divorce (1945)
- Bend of the River
- The Lady in Question
- A Farewell To Arms (1932)
- A Smile Wrinkle
- The White Shadow
- Great Directors
- Chambre 666
- Lone Star
- Can’t Hurry Love
- Chilly Scenes of Winter
- Enchanted April
- Brassed Off
- Any Day Now
- Days of Jesse James
- Holy Motors
- This is Christmas
- Walking and Talking
- De rouille et d’os (Rust & Bone)
- Young Buffalo Bill
- Like Crazy
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
- Django Unchained
- Les Misérables (2012)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- Night Train to Munich
- Flirting With Disaster
- The Impossible
- Support Your Local Gunfighter
- Tortilla Soup
- Max Dugan Returns
- 3 Women
- The Barefoot Contessa
I actually saw my favorite 2012 film of the year this month, but I’m not going to profile it because I wrote about it yesterday. Instead, I picked five “old” releases, to use old school movie rental parlance.
A Farewell To Arms, 1932 (dir. Frank Borzage)
I have never-ending love for both Hemingway and Frank Borzage and this film did not disappoint. For all the Hemingway I’ve read, I’ve actually not read this book yet, but I loved this film. It’s the perfect kind of hopeless melodrama and star-crossed romance that Borzage knows how to do oh so well. It’s a feast for the eyes and will put your heart through the most exquisite wringer. Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes chemistry in spades and if you finish this film with a dry eye, you might need to check your pulse.
Slacker, 1991 (dir. Richard Linklater)
Recently added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, Richard Linklater’s breakthrough film is nothing short of a masterpiece of form. Over the film’s 100 minutes, you follow dozens of characters – some for as little as 10 seconds and other for as much as five minutes – during the corse of one day in Austin, Texas. The city itself is the closest thing the film has to a “protagonist.” Linklater made this film on a budget of $23K and shot it on a 16mm Arriflex camera. It went on to gross over a million dollars and gain a cult status. Watching the film I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by Linklater’s vision and his ability to bring it to fruition. It’s the kind of film that both inspires you to make film, but also makes you wonder why you even bother, since you’ll never make anything this good.
Enchanted April, 1992 (Mike Newell)
I’d been meaning to watch this film for over a decade. I remember seeing the VHS cover at my local video rental store and meaning to rent it, but somehow I never did. Thanks to streaming Netflix, I finally watched it and wow was I not disappointed. It’s a lush adaptation, filled with sumptuous colors and sizzling with passion. I feel like it would make a really wonderful double feature with Under The Tuscan Sun and definitely made me want to go to Italy even more than I already wanted to. Someday.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947 (dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
The first of two Joseph L. Mankiewicz films to top my list for December, I can’t believe I’d never seen this film before. It’s funny and sweet and romantic and mysterious and basically everything I love all rolled into one film. I’m not sure Gene Tierney was ever as gorgeous as she was in this film. I’ve never really been a huge Rex Harrison fan, but after this film I might have finally come around.
The Barefoot Contessa, 1954 (dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
This was actually the last film I watched in 2012 and what a film to end the year with. Not only is it a scathing look at Hollywood, but also of the über rich and how money can’t really buy happiness. It’s an old story, but the film is a great example of how an established director in Hollywood could still push the limits of the medium. The story is told in a non-linear manner, not common for a studio film from this era and boy does it work. It’s also lushly photographed, in glorious colors reminiscent of Douglas Sirk, by the genius Jack Cardiff; it’s worth a watch for his cinematography alone.
So that was December. I hope y’all had a great month and a great year in film and here’s to an even better year in film in 2013!