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My 12 for ’12: Skyfall & Balancing Bonds…

I’m counting down my top twelve films of the year between now and January, starting at #12 and heading to #1. I expect the list to be a little bit predictable, a little bit surprising, a little bit of everything. All films released in the UK and Ireland in 2012 qualify. Sound off below, and let me know if I’m on the money, or if I’m completely off the radar. And let me know your own picks or recommendations.

This is #11

The wonderful thing about a pop culture commodity like James Bond is the flexibility that the character affords those looking to tell stories using the iconic character. Want to tell a story about high-stakes gambling? We can do that. What about averting a war between China and Great Britain? We’ve got it covered. Want to knock off Star Wars? Why not? How about pitching the character against Fu Manchu? We’re way ahead of you. Bond is flexible, and it’s one of the strengths of the character. Don’t like Roger Moore’s interpretation? Here’s Timothy Dalton. Tiring of Pierce Brosnan? Daniel Craig will be along to kick things into action.

While this makes for a fascinating study of the flexibility and adaptability of a cultural touchstone, it does create a bit of a dilemma when trying to celebrate his fiftieth anniversary. Given that Bond is so many things to so many people, can he be everything at once? Skyfall does an impressive job balancing the old and new, while managing to focus on the character at the heart of one of the most enduring cinematic franchises.

skyfall15

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Non-Review Review: The Joneses

The Joneses is a sharply observed, perfectly timed, more than a little cynical examination of American suburbia. Trust me when I say that it’s hard not to leave the movie thinking of American Beauty, I mean that in the most flattering way possible. Yes, I bought what it is the Joneses were selling.

Sometimes you can choose your family...

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Non-Review Review: Revolutionary Road

That was depressing. Really depressing. Soul crushingly depressing. What we have here is a good movie that flirts with greatness but never really comes to life. Perhaps Mendes is trying to evoke the dull lifelessness of suburban life, but the movie just doesn’t sparkle enough to engage the audience. Still, it holds two of the best performances of last year, and is never less than intriguing in its exploration of 1950s America.

Yep... Anyone want to bet things are going to work out better this time around?

Yep... Anyone want to bet things are going to work out better this time around?

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Non-Review Review: American Beauty

The Academy rarely gets it right when it comes to the Best Picture Oscar (GladiatorShakespeare in Love?), but this is one of the exceptions. Sam Mendes’ first major motion picture and arguably his best, American Beauty is a movie where all the elements seem to come together perfectly.

A bed of roses indeed...

A bed of roses indeed...

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