[Valeri Randalainen/Unsplash]

Cinema 2012: The Year In Review

00:00 December 19, 2012
By: David Vicari

2012 wasn't a great year in cinema, but there were some good times to be had at the movies. The superhero action films fared well, for The Avengers was a perfect piece of summer movie escapism, and The Dark Knight Rises was a fitting end to one of the best trilogies even made.

We got a bunch of ho-hum horror flicks like The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity 4, The Possession, Silent House and Sinister. However, we did finally get Cabin in the Woods, which had been sitting on the shelf for several years because the studio that produced it, MGM, was having financial difficulties. Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, delivering a wild and crazy chiller that was both funny and scary.

As for animated films, Brave was good but not great Pixar, but Wreck-It Ralph was pure joy. ParaNorman trumped Tim Burton's Frankenweenie to be the better stop-motion animated Halloween horror-comedy.

How did popular directors fare in 2012?

Paul Thomas Anderson's religious cult drama, The Master, came up empty despite good performances, but Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom was successfully whimsical. Steven Soderbergh scored not once but twice with Haywire and Magic Mike.

Actor Taylor Kitsch starred in two major box office flops in 2012, but only one was deserving of that fate. Battleship, where Kitsch plays a Navy screw up, is based on the old Hasbro Naval combat game, and someone decided to throw an alien invasion into the mix. It's a pretty dumb movie and hardly engaging. On the other hand, the science fiction fantasy John Carter, about a Civil War vet transported to Mars, is an exciting adventure. The film had production problems resulting in some reshoots, but I think its biggest problem was the title. This is based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs story titled “A Princess of Mars”, so the makers of this film should have taken a page out of the Indiana Jones/ movie serial arena and titled it John Carter and the Princess of Mars. I think that title would have gotten more attention.

Silver Lining Playbook was the best romantic comedy of the year, and proved once again that Jennifer Lawrence is one of the best young actresses working today.

Last but not least, let me take a look at the local front. The locally-made Beasts of the Southern Wild was the darling of the independent film festivals as well as most critics. I wasn't among them. The allusions to hurricane Katrina mixed with magical realism just felt wrongheaded to me. More my speed was the black comedy It's a Disaster, about four couples getting together for brunch while the world outside begins to unravel. This wasn't shot in Louisiana but it was made by locals – Todd Berger (director) and Franklin Peterson (editor) – and it's laugh-out-loud funny.

Here's hoping 2013 is as good or better.

Check out the short film, Indian Santa, about the principal chief of the Houma Indian Nation, Thomas Dardar, who, every year along with his wife, travel all across Southern Louisiana giving gifts to less fortunate children. You can also contribute to the fund raising campaign on the website as well, so visit:www.indiansanta.com

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