The Bateman’s 2012

Bateman Goes ToEvery year we struggle to decipher which films deserve the title for the best films and this year was no different. With so many great titles out this year, we recommend you not only see the ones Lost in Reviews chose at the best ten films, but many more outside of this list. 2011 was a very dark and brooding year for our favorite films, with Drive taking the Bateman. We would like to think that even though a few deep-thinkers made it into our list this year, that the  lists consists of many hopeful stories and fantastic worlds to escape to. Check out our top ten list below and be sure to comment on your thoughts of the films selected this year!

beasts210. Beasts of the Southern WildBeasts of the Southern Wild mixes fantasy and realism in a captivating story narrated by the brave six year old protagonist known as Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy and her dad live in a dilapidated, neglected, and soggy part of the Louisiana bayou nicknamed the Bathtub. Their homes are on stilts, there is no electricity, modern amenities and they still rely on primitive methods of healthcare with roots in jars and old folklore. This poetic film is a very touching debut from director Benh Zeitlin (who co-wrote it with Lucy Alibar). What Zeitlin did best was was casting untrained actors to fill the authenticity needed in this emotional roller coaster. Hushpuppy was played by the young Quvenzhané Wallis who did what children do best, act as children. That is to say, she wasn’t acting. With her narration, we are taken into her world as she sees it. The reality may be that they live in a place beyond the levees and when the storm comes in, there won’t be any land left to stand on, but through the eyes of Hushpuppy the storm unlocks an ancient beast frozen in time, released to wreak havoc on the town. It is through these fantastical images of wild aurochs that the film shines in its ability to capture the imagination of even the toughest critic. The ferociously running beasts represent…

Take This Waltz9. Take This Waltz: When Margot (Michelle Williams), 28, meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), their chemistry is intense and immediate. But Margot suppresses her sudden attraction; she is happily married to Lou (Seth Rogen), a cookbook writer. When she learns that Daniel lives across the street from them, the certainty about her domestic life shatters. She and Daniel steal moments throughout the steaming Toronto summer, their eroticism heightened by their restraint. Swelteringly hot, bright and colorful like a bowl of fruit, TAKE THIS WALTZ leads us, laughing, through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Click here to watch the video review for Take This Waltz

The-Intouchables_018. The Intouchables: The Intouchables is a powerhouse film in France.  It is the highest grossing film of all time for the country.  When I saw the film in April as part of the Dallas International Film Festival, I believe it was currently number three at the box office in France.  One of the stars, Omar Sy, had already won a Best Actor Cesar Award which is the French equivalent to an Oscar.  Omar Sy is the first black man to win that award.  The trailer for the film was enough to get me out to see it.

The Intouchables focuses on the relationship between Philippe (François Cluzet) and Driss (Omar Sy).  Philippe is a quadriplegic who is looking for a new male nurse or caretaker to help him with day to day things.  Driss is a fairly poor immigrant man who is from the French equivalent of the projects.  Driss walks into the interview only looking for someone to sign off on the fact that he is actively looking for employment and can continue to receive government benefits.  Philippe, being very rich, lives in a very decadent house in the middle of Paris that is decorated like it is its own museum.  For some reason, Philippe takes to Driss, seeing that he is unlike all of the other candidates even with no qualifications.   Driss enters a whole new world at Philippe’s house, and Philippe takes to Driss and his surprising candor and humor. The film opens with…

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-party-scene7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower: The film focuses on Charlie (Logan Lerman) who is starting high school with no real friends.  He has a sister, Candace (Nina Dobrev), but it is not cool for her to hang with her freshman brother.  He makes one friend in his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd).  Charlie is not a total wallflower.  He does make the jump to introduce himself to a couple of seniors at a football game.  Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) take a liking to Charlie and include him in their group of friends.  However, life is not all candy and flowers for Charlie as he still grapples with some lingering issues, and he finds out that his new friends have some of their own. Stephen Chbosky wrote the novel, and he also wrote the screenplay and directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Having spoken to Chbosky, he did not take the task of making his story into a film lightly.  Parts of the characters and stories are based on his experiences.  This is a personal film.  Any other director or screenwriter may have lost the importance of the characters and stories in the translation.  With Chbosky at the helm…

argo6. Argo: Argo is based on one of the true stories about the Iran Hostage Crisis that began in 1979.  This film focuses on the rescue of six American Embassy employees who escaped the Embassy and hid at the Canadian Ambassador’s house.  Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) is a CIA agent who creates the story of a fake Hollywood film, Argo, being possibly filmed in Iran.  The cover is that these six Americans are part of the crew who go with Tony to tour possible locations for the movie.  To do this, a proper Hollywood movie script, production company, and press releases and events are put on and created to make sure that the movie is seen as legit.  Makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Seigel (Alan Arkin) agree to back up the fake movie and maintain complete silence on what the movie really is. Continue reading…

cloud-atlas-wbp075. Cloud Atlas: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. That’s certainly a synopsis that gives nothing away. In fact, this may be one of the few films that is spoiler-free in any synopsis given. It’s just such a convoluted web of intertwining stories that it’s almost impossible to describe to someone. Cloud Atlas is one of those films that you just say, “you just have to watch it.” This film touched us in so many ways that it seemed to tear the crowd in two. Half of us were completely in love with the idea of this film. Some of us wanted to delve even deeper into the worlds created for us. Others could only take it for face value because it was overwhelming to them. Those two things are creates such a great film. If you stand around outside of the theatre for over an hour just discussing the ins and outs of a film and what you liked or didn’t like, the film has done its job. That film was Cloud Atlas. Click here to watch our video review for Cloud Atlas.

Emile-Hirsch-Matthew-McConaughey-Killer-Joe-image4. Killer Joe: When first arriving at SXSW I would have never thought that my favorite film of the fest would be Killer Joe. I say that right off the bat because Killer Joe is just that good. The film has everything you would expect from a Texas thriller: sex, murder, and mayhem all wrapped up in some good old family values. It scares me how much I love this movie because how do you tell your loved ones that your favorite film of SXSW featured a bit of fried chicken fellatio?

It’s in these scenes of pure shock that Killer Joe will be remembered for, but if you only take that away from your experience, then you’ve missed the bigger meaning behind the film. Yes, it is gruesome and at times hard to watch, but in those scenes, the film challenges its audience to admit that they are enjoying what they are seeing.  Most people will say they are offended by the violence and sexuality in the film, but I just say to those people: you’re letting your own personal views get in the way of enjoying this phenomenal piece of art.  If art isn’t making a statement that might offend, then is it really art worth acknowledging? Killer Joe is the story of…

8020528490_e879321a2a_b3. Life of Pi: I find myself searching for things to say about Life of Pi, but am finding that the words fail me more often than not. I want to speak in nothing but hyperbole and say things you would say to your ‘bro’ friend. ‘Dude it was awesome’ or ‘bro it was completely incredible.’ These are silly, repetitive things to say about a movie that literally confounds and crushes you with it’s beauty and the simplicity in which it handles tough subjects like religion and life. Two subjects Hollywood are constantly approaching but seem to handle them in a way a toddler would handle fine china. Ang Lee might be the person they should have gone to all along. Life of Pi at its core is a spiritual journey posing two versions of a central event. The two versions of the story point to religious belief and whether or not belief or disbelief is more important in the grand scheme. The journey to this moment in the film is an extremely emotional ride and feels as though Ang Lee is trying to punish us, the viewer, and his protagonist, but this makes the payoff all the more worthwhile. Mostly due to the fact that you have so much emotionally invested in the character of Pi Patel played brilliantly by four actors. Gautam Belur playing the youngest Pi, Ayush Tandon playing older/young Pi, Irrfan Khan playing the older/wiser Pi, and Suraj Sharma, whom you spend most the film with, playing, you guessed it, Pi. While all turn in great performances, especially Irrfan Khan, it’s Suraj Sharma who steals the show. He is truly extraordinary and shows the acting ability of someone twice his age, with twice the experience. Suraj acts alone for at least a third of the movie and I’m almost certain he was completely alone as the tiger is mostly, if not all, CGI. His performance is both a testament to Ang Lee’s ability to pull performances like this from his actors, and Suraj’s obvious natural ability. Continue reading…

moonrise2. Moonrise Kingdom: Moonrise Kingdom is the latest release from indie director Wes Anderson. The film takes place in a 1960?s New England on a small island inhabited by some very nice people. A pair of young lovers flee from their home and scout troop campsite to be with each other in the woods of the island. After running away together the whole town/island is turned upside down to find them. It brings people closer and exposes secrets to each other. The epic story is told with such whimsy and comedy that I dare you not to love the film. Wes Anderson is a great storyteller with any of his films, but this one might have all the others beat. The casts of charismatic children steal your heart from minute one. The all-star cast of adults give us a sense of familiarity while also adding that awkward flair that Anderson adds to all of his characters. Click here to watch our video review for Moonrise Kingdom.

AND THE BATEMAN GOES TO…

Bateman

the_master1. The Master: Alright, I’m just going to cut right to the chase, here. Paul Thomas Anderson is my generation’s Stanley Kubrick. The dude takes years to make movies, and puts a level of hardship into each one that is unmatched by any other director in hollywood, in my opinion. His films are epic in scale, always controversial, are widely fawned over by the film community and mostly overlooked by the average weekend film goers. And like a fine cinematic wine, they get better and better with age. PTA’s new cinematic work of art, The Master, is no exception, and is a sure shot contender for Film Of The Year.

While PTA’s previous film, There Will Be Blood, was a glorious middle finger to Christianity, The Master is a glorious middle finger to Scientology. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character, named Lancaster Dodd, is basically L. Ron Hubbard, the creator of Scientology, except here, known as “The Cause”. Lancaster believes that the world is TRILLIONS (“with a ‘T’!”) of years old, and that every person has lived multiple lives, bouncing from vessel to vessel, having the ability to “recall” any singular moment from each life lived. The only problem is that Lancaster more or less just seems like a guy who enjoys manipulating people, convincing everyone around him, as if some sort of puppet, while they all seem to believe in The Cause more than anything else. Which is where Joaquin Phoenix comes in. His character, Freddie, is…

Honorable Mentions: Django Unchained, Sound of My Voice, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and Wreck-It Ralph.

2012-Bateman

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.



Follow Angela Here: