Around this time of year (i.e. the end of it), film fans usually trot out their "Best of" Lists. As much as I'd like to do the same, I don't even think that I saw ten films this year. Of those I really enjoyed only a few which is why I don't ever make these lists but I'm always looking for more films to love.
Part of the problem is that I rarely see what end up being my favorites in the year that they're released -- does anyone? About 10,000 films were released on the planet so how do people find their favorites before the planet goes full circle around the sun... and how are those films supposed to find their fans that fast?
Of the films that I saw, I quite liked The master although though, as with most PT Anderson films, felt like it gave me more to hold onto than truly admire. Skyfall was mostly satisfying although the pacing allowed my mind to repeatedly dwell on Bond's waxed cotton jacket more than the story. I thought The Dark Knight rises, though deeply silly and self-serious, was really exhilarating. Flight, on the other hand, was deeply silly and self-serious yet not exhilarating at all after the opening scene -- for some reason I've seen nearly every Robert Zemeckis film despite having not honestly liked any since 1985's Back to the future. As someone who can't get enough Middle Earth I thought The Hobbit: an unexpected journey was flawed but enjoyable ...and frequently just... too much. I remember The campaign and Wanderlust both being pleasantly diverting when I saw them but now they've almost entirely extricated themselves from my memory. Tim and Eric's billion dollar movie was bizarre and should've been annoying but was mildly amusing. Casa de mi padre was bizarre and should've been amusing but was mildly annoying.
Of those films that I had plenty of opportunity to see but still haven't, I count End of watch, Jack Reacher, and Magic Mike. I probably just need one more recommendation from someone whose taste that I trust.
For some reason I can't get excited about Amour, Lawless, or Moonrise Kingdom to follow through with the whole process of actually watching them. And finally, I have little or no interest in seeing highly-regarded films Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, or The Impossible as they all look absolutely atrocious and I just know that I'd hate them.
I suppose the films that looked most interesting to me but I missed were the following -- oh, apologies for some of them having ads at the beginning. It indeed seems perverse that YouTube would require people wanting to see ads to sit through ads first:
The angels' share is a Ken Loach comedy-drama filmed in Scotland. I've really liked every film of Ken Loach's that I've seen so that's enough for me. To be honest, the trailer makes it look pretty unremarkable but trailers more often convince me not see movies than to see them.
Damsels in distress is Whit Stilman's first film in thirteen years. I loved his first three so naturally I'm anxiously curious about his latest.
ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ(Like someone in love) is a French-Japanese production about someone who supports herself through prostitution -- which sounds like it could be unbearable... but it's directed by one of my favorite directors, Abbas Kiarostami.
Nairobi half life is a Kenyan film directed by a first timer, David 'Tosh' Gitonga, that's gotten a bit of buzz. With African films continually snubbed by Criterion, New Yorker Films having reduced their output, and the Pan-African Film Festival increasingly showcasing "Pan-African" (in most cases independent black cinema from America) at the expense of actual African films from Africa, it's hard to know what great films are coming from the most cinematically-underrated continent.
アウトレイジ ビヨンド(Outrage beyond) is a Takeshi Kitano film. His output has been up and down for me for a while now but I'll always give him a chance... although I still need to see the first Outrage!
피에타 (Pietà) is the latest Kim Ki-duk film. It sounds as unsettling as most of his films but for some reason there's something seductive and poetic about his films that makes them something other than the arty torture porn or ugly endurance defiance contests (a la Lars von Trier).
Any thoughts or recommendations based on my "taste profile" that might have flown under the radar? Let me know and maybe I'll get back to you next year.