Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: The Year in Memorable Movie Images

At the end of each year I tell myself to do one of these photo posts, but this time I finally got around to it. Consider it a somewhat flimsy replacement for a "Best of the Year" list, which would be unfair to compile without having seen at least the majority of the year's releases. Looking at all these screenshots, it seems I have a ways to go, with a lot of the really heavy hitters still coming up. But they're coming. It's always regrettable how many movies I just don't get around to reviewing, so this post at least confirms to you I'm aware of their existence or acknowledges, "Yep, I saw it." In a perfect world I'd use this list as a viewing guide or make a pledge to see every last one, but if I'm being completely honest, that's probably not going to happen. That said, the sheer volume of releases within a given year never ceases to amaze me, with most of them represented below.

While it may seem like I just threw up some screen grabs from the web (true to an extent) it took a while to compile this because I didn't want to just pick the obvious shots, or worse yet, promotional stills. These were selected because I either thought it was either the most impressively photographed or captures a visually memorable moment. There's something for everyone here, serving as a reminder that bad movies can contain unforgettable images. I may have found The Hunger Games to be a Battle Royale with cheese, but I scoured the web for a screenshot of the film's one true moment of genuine intensity that was singled out in my review (and was shocked how quickly it turned up). Similarly, after a spectacular pre-title and opening credit sequence, Tim Burton's Dark Shadows went straight downhill so it's easy to guess which image I chose to include. Those two films were at least fascinating near-misses. Others weren't so lucky, not even warranting placement here.

As hard as it may have been to find the right screen captures, what might be harder for audiences is trying to seek out some of the actual films, specifically lesser known titles many still don't even know exist. And I partially contribute to this problem by sometimes not reviewing certain films because I assume no one knows what they are, or if they do, have little interest in seeing them despite my enthusiasm. That's something that really has to change on my end. And considering 2012 was one of the stronger years for independent cinema in some time, and there are more media options than ever for watching movies, it's still kind of depressing just how hard it is to seek these out, or at least determine WHERE to seek them out.

For my money, two of the year's best films were the criminally little seen Take This Waltz and Bernie, which featured Earth shattering performances from Michelle Williams and Jack Black (yes, Jack Black) respectively. Anyone who saw those movies know that both these actors could easily be handed gold statues right now, with hers arguably being overdue.  But I'm betting far more casual moviegoers have no idea both titles are currently streaming on Netflix and that's through no fault of their own.  This increasing problem of not able to see anything was discussed on a recent episode of Movie Geeks United! and they sure hit the nail on the head. And sometimes it's not just limited to smaller films, with some giant Oscar contenders literally not being seen in certain areas of the country for months. That (and admittedly some laziness on my part) has often contributed to many of my viewing and reviewing droughts over the past year. Readers of this blog are loyal and on the look out for quality movies so I'm more likely to add that fourth star to one I feel really needs it and hasn't gotten enough attention elsewhere.  From where I sit, that's always seemed like a fair policy, even as I still struggle with the balancing act of reviewing more mainstream releases and smaller, potentially overlooked titles.

The shots below aren't labeled but have been placed in order by release date, from January to December. Most are easy to figure what film they're from. Others? Maybe not so much. As I said, I tried not to be obvious. Click here if you need to cheat. Consider this your unofficial 2012 movie photo album. Happy New Year!


Francisco Gonzalez said...

The man with the red suit, in the mirror room, what movie is that image from?

Dean Treadway said...

Good stuff! Amazingly, you picked THE EXACT FRAME from TAKE THIS WALTZ that I was going to use for my year end wrap up, which I won't publish until the 16th when Jamey, Jerry and I reveal our top ten of the year (on FILMICABILITY, I'll be revealing my top forty, and will be talking about each film a bit). Anyway, really great post. I'm amazed you used that WALTZ took me a long time to get that exact image!

jeremythecritic said...

Francisco- It's from BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. One my favorite images here.

Dean- Thanks! Yeah, I had a surprisingly tough time finding that shot also. It's worth mentioning I gathered by far the most images from TAKE THIS WALTZ, but there was no question which one I had to go with.

Really looking forward to hearing and reading those top tens!