The Best And Worst In 2012 Films

‘Beasts’ provided both best movie and best actor of 2012, says the author. Image from Bob Jones

Picking great, good and OK movies to see has become much more difficult, and with today’s prices, you don’t want to waste money on the dregs.

Should movie critics lean toward movie-making magic or scripts that enlighten us? That’s a tough call between pure entertainment and art. In 2008 I was torn between In Bruges and The Reader and picked the latter. The former was better entertainment. The Reader made you think. Non-think Slumdog Millionaire won the Oscar …

Why is it that we in Honolulu see so few of the great foreign movies? Because we won’t spend money to watch subtitles. Look at how positively critics rated last year’s foreign films we never saw here:

* Footnote, 87 percent,
* Piña, 87 percent
* The Imposter, 87 percent
* The Turin Horse, 86 percent
* Le Havre, 86 percent And we didn’t get the highly rated The Queen of Versailles

I don’t believe in gender discrimination in acting awards, and don’t recognize that “supporting” award. You’re either best actor or you’re not. Here’s what did it for me in 2012:

* Best Movie: No question about this one. Beasts of the Southern Wild.

* Worst Movie: Cloud Atlas. Yes, even worse than last year’s The Tree of Life, but with barely understandable dialogue.

* Best Actors: No. 1 Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. No. 2 and 3, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

* Worst Actor: Josh Hutcherson in Hunger Games. He must have blackmailed somebody to win that role.

* Best Director: Maybe Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. But she won in 2010 for The Hurt Locker, so this year’s Oscar should go to Behn Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

* Best Ensemble Cast: Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

* Best Editing: The motorcycle chase in Skyfall.

* Best Set Design: Rick Carter for Lincoln.

* Disappointments: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s not a movie, it’s a video game. Hyde Park On Hudson has FDR’s love life and polio all upside down, i.e., wrong.

* Fun Movie: Django Unchained. Ignore complaints about language and violence. It’s the best spaghetti Western (hey, Tarantino is an Italian name) since A Fistful of Dollars.

* Worst Movie Criticism: Matthew Dekneef of Honolulu Weekly on Woman in Black. “A safe movie making for a safe movie that asks audiences to feel unsafe. You can’t have your Cauldron Cake and eat it too.”

Yes, that’s what he wrote. No, I don’t understand it either.