The end of another year and honestly, the end of a pretty bad year. Sure, I saw a lot of great movies and made some discoveries but there were also some personal issues that nearly ruined things as I also went into some health issues. I'm OK now though I really hope I don't go through another year like this. It was just horrible. Some of it had to do with families and I will admit, I don't really like any of them. There was also some financial issues that I went through as I really couldn't go anywhere or do anything. Now, it's been sorted out for now. Hopefully, I can do something and hope I can go to some film festivals for 2013.
Now that's out of the way, 2012 was still a good year in terms of film-watching and such. Though things in the music side weren't so great. There were things that kept me entertained and engaged. A lot of which were some discoveries as well as there were filmmakers I was into as well as films that I saw. A lot of which were new to me as also I found a lot of new films that I would definitely put in my all-time best of films list. So for now, here are the 10 best things that I experienced in 2012:
1. Robert Bresson
Of all of the filmmakers that I discovered this year that has intrigued me, no one was as more interesting than Robert Bresson. It started in December of 2011 when one of the DVDs I got from the last Criterion sale was for Mouchette. I was amazed by the minimalist quality of it and how he was able to find realism in the use of non-professional actors. Since then, I would see four more of his films in Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, and The Trial of Joan of Arc. I'm eager to see more of his films in 2013 and beyond in the hopes I can do an Auteurs piece on him real soon.
2. The Auteurs Series
This was definitely the most successful essay series that I took part in. It began in late 2010 and then, a few more came by in 2011. Now, it's a monthly thing which gives me the chance to divulge into filmmakers I'm familiar with and those who I was just getting into and give them something that is worthy of their work. It also gave me the chance to revisit some of their films or see those that I had never seen to fulfill my list of films to see. From Lars von Trier to Stanley Kubrick, this was a good year for filmmaker discoveries for me as I hope 2013's subjects will do the same.
I got to thank Courtney of Big Thoughts from a Small Mind for introducing me to this. For years, I had a hard time keeping up with the many films I've seen in my lifetime. Thanks to Letterboxd, I can not only keep track but also find out how many films I've seen so far. I don't have a good number of how many first-timers I saw in 2012 but I'm sure it's somewhere over 200. I hope to exceed this record for 2013 and create something that will have me lessen the number of films that I need to see.
4. Andrei Tarkovsky
One of the filmmakers of the Auteurs series that I ventured into was Andrei Tarkovsky. Prior to this year, I had only seen 2 films. By the end of the summer, I had now seen everything he's done. He's definitely a filmmaker that is unlike anyone who had been working in the second half of the 20th Century. His exploration into faith and humanity had been interesting from films like Andrei Rublev, Stalker, and The Sacrifice. I really hope people get a chance to see his films although they're not easy to watch but they all have something to say about the world in general.
5. New Music Discoveries
I'm not really fond of new music this year as there wasn't really anything other than some artists that I'm familiar with that released anything good. I hate top 40 pop music. I hate mainstream rock. I hate this new wave folk music. I practically detest everything that's on the radio. Even indie music isn't that good these days. For me, it forced me to go backwards somewhat where I revisited synth-pop while I discovered music from acts like King Crimson and Can where the latter introduced me to Krautrock.
6. Holy Motors
Of all of the films I saw this year, there was definitely one that stood out for me. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into as I had only seen bits of Lovers on the Bridge on TV as well as Leos Carax's segment in Tokyo!. What I saw was something that truly defined the meaning of what a film is and what it should be. There's not much plot to it nor did it need one. It's all about what it needed to say visually or stylistically. It's not a film for everyone but for anyone versed in cinema, this was a true delight of the year.
7. CM Punk
The man is definitely the Best in the World. For me, he is the best wrestler in the world not matter what the WWE Universe says nor what the Slammys say since they gave the Superstar of the Year to John Cena who didn't really have any big wins in 2012. The reason CM Punk is my favorite wrestler this year, along with Daniel Bryan, is the fact that he's the one guy who continues to defy description whether he's a face or heel. I too, am a Paul Heyman guy. Heyman is one of the few men who understands about what should be done with pro wrestling while Vince McMahon is becoming more out of touch as he is about to send some goof to arrive as a ballroom dancing gimmick. Right now, Punk has been the WWE champion for more than 400 days. No one hasn't done that in years so this man deserves some respect! Fuck you Cenation! I hope Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee give Cena the ass-kicking of a lifetime... and then some.
8. New Bloggers to Enjoy
One aspect about being online is that you tend to get bored. Sure, there's stuff to see on YouTube but they eventually get removed while for those who don't have Netflix or any other streaming service can always find something to see. If it wasn't for sites like IndieWire, I wouldn't get the chance to find things to see on the net like the Nicholas Winding Refn documentary NWR or BBC documentaries on YouTube. Plus, I got the chance to see things that would be available for a while as if they were exclusive. God bless the Internet.
10. New Films Discoveries
One aspects about being a film buff that is exciting are the discoveries. For me, there were a lot from films like Repulsion, Kes, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vivre Sa Vie, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Silent Light, Scenes from a Marriage, La Jetee, Sans Soleil, and many others. I hope to see a whole lot more for next year as it's all about discoveries when it comes to film-watching.
Well, that is it for 2012. Let's toss this year away and begin a new one. I will close with something that I believe is one of the best moments in film for 2012:
Another month has end as well as the end of another year and honestly, it’s a relief. Personally, 2012 was not a very good year. I went through some health issues as well as some personal issues. Some of it affected my film-watching. Still, I’ve managed to see a good number of films as I ended the year at least on a high note. Especially as December was some serious film-viewing due to the slate of films that were coming out though there’s more 2012 releases to see for next month though I doubt I will come up with a definitive 2012 list since I still have never done lists for 2009, 2010, and 2011.
In the course of December, I saw a total of 43 films. 27 first-timers and 16 re-watches. Somewhat slightly up from last month except in first-timers though it was still considering what I saw in that month. Some of which were related to Stanley Kubrick for the Auteurs piece on him as well as various other films I came across to or had in my DVR hard drives. And some that were theatrical releases. One of which in the form of Django Unchained that had me experience one of the worst theatrical film-going experiences I had ever had.
Not since the 2006 screening of Brokeback Mountain had I experience something like this but on a very different level. What happened when I went to see Brokeback was that in the middle of the film during the scene where Ennis talks about what he had saw as a child to Jack. The sound went down. I couldn’t hear anything properly for 10-15 minutes and it ruined the movie for me. After the screening, those who had seen the film including myself got a free pass which I used for Match Point a week later. With Django Unchained, this was very different as I saw on Christmas Day in the morning with a full crowd. We were all having a good time. More than two hours into the film, something happened and the screen went blank.
It was horrible. For 20-25 minutes, nothing was happening as the theater manager revealed that the power went out and that the projector had to be rebooted. Honestly, I wondered where were the projectors who were supposed to be handling these things? It is an indication of how times have changed and not for the better. I sat in my seat waiting for the screen to come back as I was talking to fellow patrons as they were texting and such. Honestly, I frown upon texting or anything in a film theater but in this case. I made this an exception. The film finally came though everyone was saying “fast-forward” and it got to the part just before the scene that we were about to watch. Most of the people got to finish seeing the film but that incident ruined everything. At least we all got passes afterwards which I used a week later to see Les Miserables.
If anyone had experiences like this, let me know as I’m sure some of us went through something like this. Right now, here are the 10 best first-timers I saw for December 2012:
1. 12 Monkeys
The documentary about famed NYC club king Peter Gatien has moments of interest about the NYC club scene in the late 80s and 1990s that was quite hot but the documentary itself was quite boring. It wasn’t engaging enough and some of the presentation in the visual effects looked very cheap. It really didn’t do enough to showcase more of why Gatien was very influential to that scene as its third act suffered too much into Gatien’s legal issues.
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie
Though it’s just a collection of outtakes from Anchorman, this spin-off is still quite entertaining as it featured more Ron Burgundy, the Channel 4 News Team including Brick Tamland, and Veronica Corningstone trying to report about a group of anarchists. It’s pretty funny as it shows more of Champ’s possible homosexuality and who actually plays the troubled son of Ed Harken. It’s something fans of the film must see.
People rag on Jennifer Aniston for good reason although she’s actually a better actress than I think some people give her credit for in films like Office Space, The Good Girl, Horrible Bosses, and Friends with Money. This film features one of those better performances as well as the fact that it’s actually pretty funny. Aniston and Paul Rudd play a couple who move from New York City to Atlanta to find work only to come across a hippie commune and stay there for a while. The scene of Aniston tripping her balls off was quite funny as well as other revelations relating to the world of hippies and such. It’s not as good as David Wain’s other films but still quite entertaining.
The Three Musketeers (2011 film)
Paul W.S. Anderson is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Sure, he’s made a bunch of bad movies although he has made some decent films like Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon. This film is definitely the most ridiculous film he’s ever made. It’s quite idiotic at times and the action is so over the top. The acting is quite hammy and sometimes pretty bad. Yet, it doesn’t apologize for it as it is fully aware of how bad it is. I kind of admire that and I found myself strangely entertained by it. Notably the performances of Christoph Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen as well as Orlando Bloom hamming it up as the Duke of Buckingham.
People rag on this film for the fact that it beat Raging Bull and The Elephant Man for the Best Picture Oscar in 1980. Still, this is actually one of the better films that actually deserves that Oscar as it’s a very engaging and heart wrenching melodrama. Notably as it revolves around Timothy Hutton dealing with guilt as a family is being torn apart by death. The performances of Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Judd Hirsch are brilliant as well as the realism into how people deal with death that is directed with such subtlety by Robert Redford.
1. A Clockwork Orange
2012 is coming to a close as I'm set to post the last slew of reviews for the year as well as another monthly report though I doubt there will be one for the year except for a year-end reflections piece. Despite going through some personal issues as well as some setbacks that forced me to abandon various projects including some for my music blog The Void-Go-Round which has been inactive for a very long time. A lot of which is my fault due to lack of interest and other issues while the Favorite Film essays series was stopped due to lack of inspiration, over-writing, and writer's block.
The Favorite Film series will return although I have no idea what film will I write about. I have some ideas but it's just that I need the urge to finally write something and not over-think it. That's why the essays for the Dollars Trilogy and Secretary fell apart. The former is because I was just going through a lot of things and some bad medication as it didn't help things and I was extremely unsatisfied with the results. The latter was due to the fact that I over-wrote everything. With this essay series, I'm going to go into a new approach in the hopes that I don't do something like this ever again.
Despite that setback, there was one essay series that has managed to do well with the Auteurs series. It was a major success. I got a chance to watch and re-watch films by filmmakers I was familiar with while exploring those who I haven't been familiar with. For me, it was a major accomplishment starting this off with Lars von Trier and closing the year with Stanley Kubrick. 2013 will be just as interesting as I've already made final selection for the filmmakers I will do for 2013:
June-August-Woody Allen (a special Auteurs edition in three/four parts)
I should also note that there will be some additional updates from past Auteurs pieces to catch up with some upcoming releases from those filmmakers who are still making films like Gus Van Sant and Sofia Coppola as they will get new additional chapters written.
Along with the Blind Spot series that I will be participating in. There will a slew of reviews of films and filmmakers I hope to do. Some of which will be films I had never seen before and some that I have seen. The Cannes Marathon will be around for May while there won't be any other special marathons that's coming around. Here are some of the ideas I plan to do for 2013:
Explore the films of Merchant-Ivory, John Cassavetes, Orson Welles, and Jean Vigo as well the films of the Japanese New Wave, Italian Neorealism, French New Wave, Iranian New Wave, and other genres/movements.
Do complete works on the films of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Terry Gilliam, Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, Krzystof Kieslowski, Luis Bunuel, Akira Kurosawa, Mel Brooks, and other filmmakers for possible future Auteurs subjects for 2014.
Retrieve and re-write/revise old reviews from Epinions.com of filmmakers like Robert Altman and Francois Ozon as well as write new reviews of films by David O. Russell and Spike Jonze along with whatever leftovers from Epinions.com.
Write reviews of franchises like the Rocky movies and whatever else that's available on TV.
These will be among the many ideas that I have for this blog as I also hope to do some extensive work on the blog itself in order to improve things. Create index pages, banners, and all sorts of things just to so that readers could navigate through the blog much easier. Also give it a makeover and such.
Finally, there's the big project that I plan to do for this blog. It is called LiT 10. A tenth-anniversary project to celebrate the release of my all-time favorite film Lost in Translation in which I will do a scene-by-scene analysis on the film as well as discuss many ideas into Sofia Coppola's direction, the performances of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, the film's soundtrack, and many other things relating to the film. I currently have no idea when it will start but I do hope to have it done by late September 2013.
That's pretty much it for what will come ahead though I'm still unsure about what to do with The Void-Go-Round as I definitely don't have any interest in writing music. Though I do plan on either deleting and retrieving whatever material I have left at Epinions.com as I hope to completely sever all ties with the site by the end of 2014. I also hope to attend film festivals for 2013 as there's a possibility I'll try to go to Toronto. If not, the Savannah Film Festival nearby.
Well, that is pretty much it for what will be ahead for 2013. I hope this year will have me accomplishing some things as my other work in trying to write screenplays has been very slow. It's just hard to jot down ideas and such as I ended up shelving one project as I'm also working on another at the moment. I hope to get something going. Until then, let's make 2013 a good year.
(C) thevoid99 2012