I had a hard time choosing only five films out of the many released in 2012. Sometimes reviewers will expand their list in order to incorporate more titles they admired. To me, that always sounds like a copout. Choosing should be difficult, as it forces the reviewer to be all in. I’m an all in kind of girl. So, here you are. What follows is a list saturated with personal bias, organized in some particular order.
5. Beyond The Black Rainbow (released 2010 – 2012)
The title makes this movie sound like a remake of The Wizard of Oz, but with zombies. Better yet, a Return to OZ remake titled Mombie’s Zombies. Apologies.
Beyond The Black Rainbow, directed by Panos Cosmatos, is set in, and feels like, 1983 dystopia madness. The main character, Dr. Barry Nyle, has a laboratory that was intended to be a center for the evolution of the human psyche, but has become something else. It’s an incubator for one test subject. A girl, Elena, is a captive, suffering from his complete obsession and ruthless assaults on her conscious mind.
Many reviewers did not like this movie. It has more of an atmosphere than a plot. The analog synthesizer score is perfect as you watch color palettes assemble geometrically, and then melt like liquid crayons into a pool from which one girl must escape a mad scientist.
4. The Hunger Games
So, The Hunger Games was a blockbuster greatly anticipated by all who read the book of the same name by Suzanne Collins. Not everyone approved, but I did. There’s something special about a movie that can instantly penetrate, yeah penetrate, pop culture. For example, Chad Michaels, a famous queen on Rupaul’s Drag Race, was quoted many times this season saying, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” I think the last time I heard this much homo rumble-speak was in Beyond Thunderdome. Two LGBTQIA enter, one LGBTQIA leaves.
3. Safety Not Guaranteed
This movie, directed by Colin Trevorrow, was based on a fake classified ad seeking a partner for time travel. In the film, a young journalist named Darius (Aubrey Plaza) decides to answer the posting. Meeting the author, Kenneth (Mike Duplass) becomes tricky as he’s extremely paranoid that the government is after him.
As things get crazier, Darius finds her disbelief starting to fade. This is really what the film is about. Taking risks on people is perhaps the most rewarding or devastating act we can commit. In other words, love trumps reality every single time.
2. Cabin in the Woods
This is the best scary movie of the year by leagues. Joss Whedon, a master of speculative fiction, co-wrote this masterpiece. I can’t disclose much without ruining it for you. But, if I say “Government Cthulhu Compound” do you get excited? I do.
1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
For many reasons Beasts of the Southern Wild is my number one movie of the year. It’s Benh Zeitlin’s first feature, and it stars newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl living in a bayou soaked with magical realism called, “The Bathtub.”
Hushpuppy lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), as they fight to survive the flooding Bathtub. It quickly swallows everything they own. Her father becomes a rollercoaster of emotion, sometimes scaring, and other times championing her. Eventually, a FEMA-like group tries to rescue the flood survivors, but ignores their desire to return to The Bathtub.
The movie has been attacked for utilizing black male stereotypes. Wink is sometimes gentle with his daughter, but can quickly shift into an angry alcoholic. It’s also been called anti-feminist, due to a supposed lack of strong female characters.
You must see this film and decide for yourself. I look forward to more productions from all of the newcomers that made this movie amazing.
There you go, my completely biased movie list. Some honorable mentions are Looper, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, and Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
About Lyska Mondor
Lyska Mondor writes regularly for Just Out. She is a published poet and aspiring sci-fi author.