Review of 2012: Film (part 2)
Fine thrillers, quality documentaries, a top Bond villain ... and some pop disasters
Sunday 30 December 2012
Best – and maddest – film of the year
Holy Motors. An actor (Denis Lavant) is chauffeured around Paris in a stretch limousine, adopting different identities as he goes, and, perhaps, crossing over into different realities. Léos Carax definitely brought us 2012's finest sci-fi musical comedy-drama-thriller to feature Kylie Minogue.
Some other contenders: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia starts as a dry police procedural in which some blokes drive through the Turkish countryside trying to locate a dead body, but it evolves into a haunting search for the meaning of life. About Elly is the drama that Asghar Farhadi made before last year's critically adored A Separation, and it's almost as compelling. Searching for Sugar Man is 2012's most joyous documentary. If you still haven't seen this moving rock'n'roll detective story, do so now. And if you still don't know what it's about, keep it that way. The twists are astonishing.
Best postmodern entertainment
Cabin in the Woods is a horror film that comments mischievously on horror films, while Seven Psychopaths is a violent crime thriller that examines, yes, violent crime thrillers. Both are a blast on several levels.
Best Scandinavian imports
A Royal Affair is an exemplary Danish period drama starring Mads Mikkelson (also tremendous in The Hunt) as an 18th-century German doctor who talks his way into Denmark's corridors of power, as well as the queen's bedchamber. From Norway, Jo Nesbo's Headhunters is a fast and furious thriller which goes to all sorts of unexpected places, including the septic tank beneath an outside toilet.
Most surprisingly delightful British film
Wild Bill. A comedy drama about an East End hardman made by one of the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels gang? You can understand why the public stayed away, but Dexter Fletcher's directorial debut was heart-warming, funny and beautifully crafted, with a revelatory lead performance from Charlie Creed-Miles.
Best Bond villain since Blofeld
Javier Bardem in Skyfall
Pop stars directing films. In January, Madonna subjected us to W.E., which was painful enough, but there were more pop-star-directed ordeals to come: Crispian Mills's calamitous A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Plan B's overweening Ill Manors, and RZA's messy The Man with the Iron Fists.
As for pop stars who act in films, Peter Doherty's mumbling in Confession of a Child of the Century would have got him kicked out of an am-dram pantomime.
educationTo mark International Women's Day, Sarah Brown on how charities have brought proper joined-up thinking to the delivery of education
Arts & Ents blogs
Jared Leto: Best Supporting Actor Oscar sparks backlash from transgender community
In Kony's shadow: Shocking photographs reveal brutality of Lord's Resistance Army
Captain Phillips actor Barkhad Abdi struggles financially despite Oscar nomination
It’s a no from me: The X Factor musical flops at big audition
First clip of Outkast's Andre 3000 in Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side emerges
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women