Keeping a journal of everything I've seen over the year has been a favorite project of mine for a couple years now. These are my Top 30 films that I saw for the first time in 2012 that I adored.
Here's the blog that gave me the inspiration to do this project:
30. We Are What We Are [Grau, 2010]
29. City of Life and Death [Lu, 2009]
28. The Asphalt Jungle [Huston, 1950]
27. Out for Justice [Flynn, 1991]
26. The Big Heat [Lang, 1953]
25. Torso [Martino, 1973]
24. Still Walking [Koreeda, 2008]
23. Kiss Me Deadly [Aldrich, 1955]
22. Lady Terminator [Djalil, 1989]
21. Harold and Maude [Ashby, 1971]
20. Nostalgia for the Light [Guzman, 2010]
19. The Bad and the Beautiful [Minnelli, 1952]
18. Johnny Guitar [Ray, 1954]
17. The Hustler [Rossen, 1961]
16. The Exterminating Angel [Bunuel, 1962]
15. The Brood [Cronenberg, 1979]
14. Cocaine Cowboys [Corben, 2006]
13. Belle de Jour [Bunuel, 1967]
12. Young Frankenstein [Brooks, 1974]
11. Crimes and Misdemeanors [Allen, 1989]
10. Dressed to Kill [De Palma, 1980]
As close to a giallo that an American film has ever gotten. You have your mysterious, black gloved killer, some good sleaze, wonderful cinematography and great performances by Michael Caine and Nancy Allen. Top 5 De Palma for me!
9. A Bullet for the General [Damiani, 1966]
A favorite spaghetti western of mine. Damiano Damiani brings a more political message to this type of film which is great. It's about a Mexican bandits robbing a train and intending to sell the weapons to revolutionaries. A lot of commentary on the American involvement in the Mexican Revolution. Gian Maria Volonte rules the film and Klaus Kinski is still as amazing as ever.
8. Leaving Las Vegas [Figgis, 1995]
Finally got to see the film that got Nicholas Cage the Oscar and it didn't disappoint. The film proves that Nicholas Cage can put in a great subtle performance (and I do love his over the top performances). I love films about addicts and this is one of the best ones.
7. Hud [Ritt, 1963]
My second favorite Paul Newman film of all time and he just rules the world in this film!
6. Love Exposure [Sono, 2008]
This film and the ones following have been duking it out for #1 all year. A 4 hour film about panty peeking pornography, Catholic guilt, brainwashing cults and an amazing homage to Female Prisoner Scorpion that breezes by which is no small feat! Subversive, funny and sweet all at the same time. Really good stuff.
5. Lake of Fire [Kaye, 2006]
A modern masterpiece in documentary filmmaking in my opinion. I don't know if it's because it's shot in amazing black and white, a very balanced and even handed take on a hot button issue like abortion, no heavy handed narration, some incredible insights or all of it together that completely silenced me after the film was over.
4. The Face of Another [Teshigahara, 1966]
The 60s poll strikes back! The best thing I've seen during that practically year long project. My second favorite film in Teshigahara's trilogy along with Woman in the Dunes [my favorite] and Pitfall. A great look at struggling with identity.
3. Blow Out [De Palma, 1981]
The best De Palma film I've seen and possibly my favorite, although it has to duke it out with Scarface. What an amazing technical achievement with the editing and the sound design in my opinion that also served extremely well with the plot. Those who haven't picked up the Criterion blu-ray really should as it's amazing. Saw it a month after Dressed to Kill and it was staying at #1 for quite a while until I've seen the following 2 films.
2. Nostalghia [Tarkovsky, 1983]
Finally have seen everything that Tarkovsky has directed and he's one of my personal favorite directors but I do know that his films are not for everyone as they are quite arty in the art film genre. This was made in Italy after being exiled from the Soviet Union. It's about a Russian poet that is travelling in Italy researching the life of an 18th century Russian composer who imprisoned his own family to save them from the evils of the world. The film is also a nostalgic piece about a man's longing for his homeland in which he can't return to.
1. Harlan County USA [Kopple, 1976]
With all of the debate about right to work and worker's rights lately, this was quite good timing that I saw this film. This is about the coal miners strike in Kentucky over unsafe work conditions and low pay. It turned from extremely bitter to violent. I love films and documentaries that show blue collar, hard working people in an honest and genuine light instead of talking down to them or just using them as crutch for whatever platform that the filmmaker wants to push. This film hit me harder than everything else I saw in 2012 and I loved everything that I listed in here.
I'm interested in seeing what everyone else's favorite discoveries were this last year.