Top 10 Films From 2012

The “best of” lists have been well underway, and it’s time for me to join in on the festivities. I wanted to wait until I saw a few of the most recent heavy-hitters, and now I feel confident enough to put together my own top 10. This has been a great year for film, and I could have easily stretched this out to a top 20, or even 25. For the sake of consistency, I am sticking with a top ten.

Honorable Mentions:
The Intouchables
Zero Dark Thirty
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Killer Joe [2011]
10) Killer Joe
“A totally twisted deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story.” Yeah, it’s as great as it sounds. I will never look at fried chicken the same way again.

Take This Waltz [2011]
9) Take This Waltz
Pretty much a “love it or hate it” film, but this one struck an emotional chord within me. I can’t get enough of Michelle Williams either.

Lincoln [2012]
8) Lincoln
Daniel Day-Lewis deserves every bit of praise sent his way, and he anchors a well-rounded cast in a film about one of America’s most pivotal moments.

7) Argo
Dare I say Ben Affleck is a much better director than actor? This is a gripping thriller that manages to maintain suspense despite the outcome being well-known.

The Dark Knight Rises [2012]
6) The Dark Knight Rises
I can’t think of a better conclusion to one of the best trilogies in recent times. The film flies by despite its lengthy running time, and Bane is a hell of a villain.

Indie Game: The Movie [2012]
5) Indie Game: the Movie
A documentary about indie game developers? Whaaaa-? This is actually a damn good film, one that shows a dedication to a craft where no outcome is certain.

The Imposter [2012]
4) The Imposter
The perfect example of truth being stranger than fiction. My favorite documentary of the year.

Oslo, August 31st [2011]
3) Oslo, August 31st
A look at a reformed drug addict trying to fit back into society. Sounds familiar, but this film looks at addiction in a fresh new light. Joachim Trier is a director to keep an eye on.

Django Unchained [2012]
2) Django Unchained
I could watch Quentin Tarantino recreate history any time. Just as stylish as expected from the eccentric director, with an especially memorable soundtrack.

The Master [2012]
1) The Master
I’m still a bit shocked at how divisive this film has been, but no other release resonated with me this year like Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest. The trio of Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams deliver some of the best performances of the year, and the film itself will leave you thinking about it for days (or much longer).

Still need to see: Amour, Seven Psychopaths, Rust and Bone, The Impossible, Holy Motors

Any thoughts? What do you agree with? Disagree?

Movie Review: The Imposter [2012]

The Imposter [2012]

The Imposter [2012]
Director: Bart Layton
Genre: Documentary/Biography
Starring: Adam O’Brian, Frédéric Bourdin and Carey Gibson
Runtime: 99 minutes

In 1994, a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay left his San Antonio home to go play basketball. He never returned, eventually assumed to be dead.

In 1997, his family received a phone call from someone in Linares, Spain stating that Nicholas was there, shaken up but alive. How did Nicholas get overseas?

We know the answer to this question right away — this isn’t Nicholas at all. This is a 23-year-old Frenchman named Frédéric Bourdin, an imposter posing as the long-lost teenager. In an effort to appear believable, Bourdin goes to great lengths to cover-up his appearance. He wears a hoodie, ball cap and shades as often as possible, and his timid demeanor goes in line with someone who underwent a traumatic experience. He dyes his hair blond and acquires crude renditions of the same three tattoos Nicholas had. Somehow, remarkably so, the Barclays take in Bourdin, fully believing (or at least wanting to believe) that this is actually their missing family member.

The Imposter [2012]

If that sounds too crazy to be true, well, it gets even more ridiculous. I won’t get into explicit details because it truly helps to go into this movie without knowing much, but the film takes a total 180 about halfway through. All of a sudden, all of my preconceived notions about the people we were introduced to were thrown out the window. My emotions were turned inside and out, and I was left wondering just who to believe.

In order to figure out just what the hell happened in this bizarre true story, we hear from a variety of talking heads. Bourdin himself tells his side of the story, very bluntly stating that he wanted “love and affection” in his life, even if that meant stealing another person’s identity. He is an enigmatic character, one who has a strange type of charisma even as we learn of his despicable deed. We also hear from many members of the Barclay family, as they stumble over their words to try to explain how they let this stranger into their home. Surely they must have noticed that Nicholas’ eyes suddenly changed from baby blue to brown?

The Imposter [2012]

Interspersed with interview clips are home video shots (including Bourdin’s U.S. arrival into open arms) as well as re-enacted moments using actors. The transition between all three formats is flawless, particularly when dialogue remains perfectly in sync while switching amongst them. This is an expertly crafted documentary from seasoned TV veteran, Bart Layton.

The Imposter asks a lot of questions, and it is almost certainly the most ‘thrilling’ documentary I have ever seen. It’s damn near impossible to write a story like this, and it’s mind-boggling that this could have ever happened. As a case of “stranger than fiction”, this is simply unforgettable. Folks, this is easily one of the best films of the year and it is an absolute must-see.