What an exceptionally strong year for movies this was; with many top directors taking on projects many thought would be impossible. Whether it was the heart-pounding search for Osama Bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty” directed by Katherine Bigelow, or the passionately insightful look at high school in “Perks of Being a Wallflower” directed by Stephen Chbosky, there was a lot to choose from and savor. Though there were many films I clearly liked this year, I was able to trim the list down to the top three I enjoyed the most.
“Life of Pi” directed by Ang Lee, is an exhilarating adventure chock full of masterful visual moments. It is my favorite film of the year as it has a strong meaningful message and images that stay in mind. Following Piscine Patel (Suraj Sharma) known as Pi, who becomes separated from his family during a raging storm. He finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with only a tiger, and will not see civilization for 227 days. Using the 3-D technology to its strengths, Lee creates a realistic acting tiger that helps create a more believable conflict. I recommend seeing this film in theaters, and yes the 3-D is absolutely necessary and effective.
“Silver Linings Playbook” directed by David O. Russell, is a dark romantic comedy directed at frantic speeds. This film benefits in providing a useful view of mental illness, with characters that are realistically flawed. The film follows Pat Salitano (Bradley Cooper), a certified bi-polar who attempts to get back together with his wife Nicky after his release from a mental hospital. He eventually meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), someone just as messed up as he is. It becomes apparent that they need each other. In my opinion this film has the best script and cast of the year. I recommend this brave and humorous film, having two lead performances you don’t want to miss.
“Django Unchained” directed by Quentin Tarantino, is a brutally entertaining western that takes an unflinching look at the realities of slavery. It follows Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is freed by the smooth talking bounty hunter Dr. King
Shultz (Christoph Waltz). They eventually go on a journey to free Django’s wife from a plantation in the Antebellum South. Packed with Tarantino’s act for generous dialogue and larger than life characters, this is a surprisingly enjoyable ride that is in the vein of “Blazing Saddles” by Mel Brooks. This is a shockingly good time at the movies, full of audacious style and blood splattering shootouts.
Check out more movie reviews by Pat Hoeppner on his blog.