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.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Ireland gay marriage vote: 'No' campaign appears to concede amid reports of 'yes' landslide victory
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland