Joel on January 13th, 2012
While picking up the award for the “Most Hilarious Teenage Ensemble” and “Best Call-back to ET,” Super 8 was easily the most satisfying summer blockbuster. While some of the plot points are a little far-fetched, the film is full of mystique and nostalgic charm.
The Adventures of Tintin
Straight-up, Tintin lacks character development, but the animated feature is as much fun as a rollercoaster. A Spielbergian trip from exotic locale to exotic locale, it’s James Bond and Indiana Jones wrapped up into one joyous visual spectacle.
Steven Soderbergh’s thriller about a global pandemic didn’t cause much of a stir when it was released in September, but the star-studded film (Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, and on and on) is a chillingly convincing prophecy. Soderbergh’s subtle direction avoids all melodrama, unfolding this story like a cautionary tale.
#4 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Adapted from John Le Carre’s Cold War era spy novel and coolly directed by Sweden’s Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor finds an equally cool Gary Oldman in its spotlight. An intricate puzzle of a film, every frame is full of detail and demands attention.
#3 The Artist
The Artist is the most unlikely of modern films: a black and white silent endeavor. If that sounds like a chore, take heart—the film is pure delight and is the easiest thing you’ll watch this year (even easier than Tintin). Full of song, dance, melodrama, and laughter, the film tones your senses to fall in tune with its expressive leads.
“Sex, life, feeling, nature, magic”—the trailer says it all. A quiet, unassuming film full of emotion and fully realized characters. Christopher Plummer is magnificent, and Ewan McGreggor matches his enigmatic performance with charming candor. Beautifully shot, beautifully directed, Mike Mills is a young master of cinema.
#1 Tree of Life
While detractors have called it too long, too winding, and too self-important, no one can argue with the beauty of this film. Tree of Life is a stunning work of art that breaks all modern conventions to deliver a meditation on the meaning of life—the fragile balance between the way of nature and the way of grace. The most beautiful thing you will see in years.