It’s awards season again and between the clusterfuck that is the Golden Globes, to the relative obscurity of the SAG Awards, you can be forgiven for really not giving a shit until the Oscars roll around. And why not? With the field now permanently increased to a whopping ten films, there’s even more room for middle of the road populism with each Best Picture selection. Except that this year the Academy decided to get all fancy, nominating two surprise contenders in Amour and The Beasts of the Southern Wild. Make no mistake, neither will win, but it’s the thought that counts.
I haven’t seen a ton of films this year, but somehow I managed to see half of the Best Picture nominees (Sorry, Beast of the Southern Wild, you made the mistake of premiering during my summer of apathy), which is more than normal for me. Since I’ve been far too busy to maintain regular reviews on the site, I’d thought I’d throw them all together into one jumbled word casserole of jaded discontent. Let’s begin, shall we?
Yearly top record lists are difficult to make. I’m too in love with music to separate the “best” from the “worst.” What I enjoy depends on my mood, the season, and my state of mind. So don’t consider this list my top 10. Think of it as the 10 albums released in 2012 that made the deepest impression me. Some runners up: this year’s releases by Quakers, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, and the xx.
If 2012 is remembered for anything at all, presumably from the comfort of our Noah’s Ark survival pods, it will be the year that rap music took over. Not that it was ever in a position lacking power, but from the ascension of Kendrick Lamar to the continued brilliance of mainstays like El-P and Killer Mike, you have to admit it was quite a year for the genre. Then again, it was quite a year all around, with virtuosos like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Swans emerging from out of nowhere to deliver some of the best work of their careers. This is the first year in recent memory where I struggled to whittle my list down to an adequate 10. Under the right circumstances, and possibly given a liberal amount of wine or liquor, quite a different set of albums could have, and probably should have been included here (I’m looking at you, Grimes). After all, if those pesky Mayans and their penchant for insane predictions turn out to be correct, I’ll gladly accept the prospect of oblivion in exchange for a year in music as brilliant as this.
01. When M suggests that both Bond and Silva come from a world of shadows, what the hell does she mean by that? Given the utter lack of subterfuge Bond has exhibited over the last three films, it seems that MI6′s business model is anything but shadowy. I don’t even think what Bond engages in qualifies as espionage anymore.
02. If portions of London’s subway system are inexplicably exploding blocks away from a government building in which a high-profile hearing is being held, why weren’t the proceedings put on hold, the building locked down, or, at the very least, literally anyone other than stodgy old M and her doofus assistant notified that a professional hit squad was en route? Is British bureaucracy really that inefficient?
03. When Bond and the other guy get knocked into the
Rancor Komodo dragon pit, why don’t both of the creatures in there immediately pounce on their prey? Komodo dragons are extremely fast. You’d think they’d jump at the chance to feast on live flesh. Furthermore, why didn’t Silva bother to arm his henchmen with guns in order to take down one of the world’s most famous secret agents? Did he really think the Back To The Future, Part II approach to villainy was the way to go?
04. Why did Sam Mendes feel the need to include an homage to Home Alone in his film?
05. Why did the destruction of Bond’s car receive a bigger reaction shot from him than the brutal murder of a sexually-abused woman he needlessly seduced just moments earlier in the film?
06. Going along with question 1, late in the film we discover that James Bond’s birth name is, in fact, James Bond. Don’t secret agents typically operate under aliases? Given that the entire crux of the film revolves around Silva releasing the real identities of MI6 operatives, thus blowing their cover and putting their lives in danger, it seems counter-intuitive that the so-called face of the agency would so recklessly mix business and pleasure, so to speak.
Excuse me for a being a little late to the game here, but a recent Cracked article opened my eyes to a little film called Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a film too good to pass up, a film that made such an impression on me that I had no choice but to revisit it two years after its official release. Every once in a while a cinematic experience comes along that redefines everything you know about the art form, a watershed moment in film history that breaks all the rules and forever alters the way directors visualize storytelling. Birdemic is that film.
What do you remember most about the original Total Recall? The woman with three boobs? Check. Arnold pulling a tracking device out of his nose? Check. Disguising himself as a woman to bypass security? Check. Shooting Sharon Stone in the head, then saying “consider that a divorce“? Double check! All of these scenarios manifest in some way, shape or form in the new Total Recall… well, except for the “consider that a divorce” line. Pity, because if this movie were a flesh-and-blood person, I’d totally shoot it in the head and follow it up with a lighthearted quip. The location has changed from Mars back to Earth and the main conflict from terraforming to colonial subjugation, but the basic premise is still in place. And, well, are you beginning to see the problem with this?
En route to the theater Sunday afternoon I encountered a homeless man ranting on the street corner. This is not uncommon. It’s New York. Yet his presence there unwittingly thrust me into the center of a moral quandary — do I use the $20 in my wallet to see to the latest Ben Stiller comedy, The Watch, or do I get all New Testament here and donate all I have to this obviously destitute individual? Actually, let me amend that slightly. At the time all I thought was, “look at this crazy asshole.” But after subjecting myself to The Watch, I was forced to revisit the situation with added perspective. The $13.50 I quite literally threw away that afternoon could have been put to better use. I don’t entertain some chimerical notion that such a sum of money would set him on the right path in life. But at the very least, it would have been enough to buy him a cheap bottle of bourbon with which he could wash away a few hours of his life and stave off the inevitable anonymity of his passing. Does that sound cruel? I prefer to call it an ethical compromise.