Looking back at my personal favourites of the year, if there's one thing that stands out, it's that ever slippery concept of time. I watched a fair amount of features at the cinema this year and yet, looking at my list, I can only think of the films I had wanted to see and yet had no time to watch them. No Holy Motors, no Tabu and No Once upon a time in Anatolia. My cinema viewing (and blogging) has always leaned to more typical multiplex viewing and I do not apologize for that. However there is always an Animal Kingdom or Dogtooth that creeps up and reminds me of just how much how vast the world of cinema is. My top ten favourite lists are never chocked filled with foreign imports, but this year I've been more aware of how little world or even independent cinema I've managed to catch. A lot of this can be boiled down to mood, as you have to be in the right frame of mind for the likes of something like Holy Motors.
That said, this year has really shown just how my geography has affected what I watch. Back when I lived in Buckinghamshire, My local Picture House cinema was a bus ride away, and a trip to London was ten pounds cheaper. Now, living in Peterborough has reminded me just how annoying distribution can be here in the UK. My local Multiplex has a decent amount of screens and yet still very limited choice at the best of times. At least London is still within touching distance. I can only pity the poor souls who live in areas who have even less possibilities.
The tide is turning however, through the power of the internet. Yes, we still have the kinks in the armour (product value, piracy, availability, et al), however, in spite of this, it's slowly becoming clear just how much of a resource the web has become in terms of watching features. From streaming services such as Curzon on Demand and Mubi, to podcasts such as Filmspotting SVU, the areas of both distributing and acquiring are starting to see benefits in web releasing. So much that in the upcoming year I will have to evolve and develop my outdated ways of viewing and stop relying on just one web outlet for my viewing desires. Our viewing possibilities are becoming as extensive as the amount of films released.
So here’s my (belated) favourite of the year 2012, as always in no order. Due to that elusive beast called time, there is one film that appears here, that did not gain a review. This is subject to change in the future. Note as always that these are my on personal favourites and not the "best", so locating me in any form and complaining on why XYZ isn't on the list will only met with a dead eyed gaze.
New York's restless being is encapsulated by one man's unquenchable desire for lust in Steve McQueen's dark and disturbing second feature.
It polarised and pissed more people off than I had expected. However I fund Cabin to be a sneaky, deceptive and most importantly entertaining beast.
A good man is not measured by his work alone. Searching for Sugarman is a sensitive story of what lies
behind a true artist.
Rapping as a craft, expressed passionately by those who know it best. Ice-T's documentary may allow some glitz to get in the way, but it's humbleness of it's subject keeps it grounded.
An aggressive and bold thriller about two good men who look for good in an corrosive environment.
Matthew McConaughey beats the rom-com monster that near consumed him and becomes just one of the highlights of this twisted Kentucky Fried Melodrama
Rian Johnson updates La Jetee and 12 Monkeys in this invigorating Time Travel Thriller.
A dark disturbing character essay, that quite literately needs to be seen to be believed.
Ben Wheatley's blackly comic take on lovers on the lam. Think Badlands in the Lake District.
P.T Anderson's feature polarises as much as it compels. Mesmerizing and ferocious performances, gorgeous cinematography and a unrelenting feeling of dread. Anderson finds beauty in the films ugly characters.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: The Grey, Chronicle, The Dark Knight Rises, Argo, The Avengers