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Five Slick Films from 2012

Looking back over my records, it’s nice to see 2012 served up a healthy dose of super stylish films — so stylish in fact, they may well be worth your time based on their looks alone. From December back to January, here are my top five.

The Master
Every now and again, you watch a film and think every second could be a photo. Lighting plays a huge part, and Paul Thomas Anderson did well to select Mihai Malaimare Jr. (who also worked wonders on Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro back in 2009) as cinematographer for his strange and enchanting character piece.

I must admit I’m not always the biggest Tim Burton fan, but this black-and-white stop-motion animation balances charm and dramatic lighting perfectly. Also, New Holland, the town in which it’s set, is a real feast for the eyes — ’30s architecture and neon cinema signs aplenty!

Ruby Sparks
Clean and uncluttered, just like Paul Dano’s characters’ house, this film sees Calvin Weir-Fields conjure up his dream girl using only his mind and trusty typewriter. Although the plot itself is interesting, and somewhat dark at times, it’s the house I really fell for. If there was an award for best abode in a feature film we’d have our winner right here. In case you’re wondering, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain would have won last year for their lovely space in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

Shot almost entirely in a stretch limousine, David Cronenberg’s latest wouldn’t be out of place in a gallery. Although I found the story a little hard to connect with, it’s certainly hard not to admire.

Moonrise Kingdom
The true maestro of detail and precision is back with a childhood love story, and this time he’s teamed up with letterer and illustrator Jessica Hische. Mesmerising camera movements, razor sharp quirk and a warm glow are all present and correct. If you haven’t done so already, check out this illustrated script.

These obviously weren’t the only good looking films on the screen last year. If five aren’t enough, have five more:

The Hunt
Rust and Bone
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Martha Marcy May Marline

Did you see anything visually stunning in the cinema last year? Do you agree of disagree with my selection above? And finally, is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to setting your eyes on this year?

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Have your say

    8th Feb 2013
    12:15 pm
  1. Excellent list Sam. A couple amongst those that I’ll have to add to my Love Film playlist :)

  2. IndiaOsaka
    8th Feb 2013
    12:47 pm
  3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.

    Like The Master, every frame could be a photograph, and not because it was shot on film: Gökhan Tiryaki’s cinematography under Ceylan is a tour de force.

    This is a little let down by the quality of the subtitles (the translation’s good, but the subtitles are a bit ugly), but it’s very much worth a watch.

  4. Sam MallettSam Mallett
    8th Feb 2013
    5:51 pm
  5. Enjoy, Glenn! Did you get round to Life of Pi?

    Thanks for the tip, IndiaOsaka — I’ve added that to my IMDb Watchlist. The stills look lovely.

  6. Justin
    10th Feb 2013
    1:41 pm
  7. A Liars Autobiography was completely different and nuts, something like never before. 17 styles of animation in one film. Worth a watch.

  8. Sam MallettSam Mallett
    11th Feb 2013
    9:59 am
  9. WOW, just watched the trailer — looks wild!

  10. GreigGreig
    13th Feb 2013
    4:39 pm
  11. Nice selection. Moonrise Kingdom is good, will need to get on the others. Good work Sam. Im also hearing good things about HeadHunters?

  12. Sam MallettSam Mallett
    15th Feb 2013
    5:58 pm
  13. Yeah, Headhunters was good too, Greig. Well worth a watch.

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