Totem in motion.
It seems that this year’s list is no exception: as usual, it is miserably mediocre and as joyless as a matinee viewing in a cinema hall full of screaming toddlers and sneaky schoolchildren. But it also has a lot of Tom Hardy, which I must say I mind not one bit at all. (See also lists for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy // Christopher Nolan
Cobb: Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realise something was actually strange.
At some point in our lives, there will always be a movie that has to be filed into a must-watch list. With a star-studded cast and crew and an intriguing plot line, Inception falls into this category easily. The story, which revolves around a team that pulls off intelligent heists that take place within the mind, simply has to be seen to be believed. The dream scenes are tastefully done although not overly fantastical, thus creating an illusion that is still grounded to reality. Add to that an ambiguous ending that calls for additional hours of noodle baking, what else could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, by the end of the movie, I, too, was somehow exhausted at having to climb through the many layers to be jolted back to reality.
Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte // Gavin O’Connor
Tom Conlon: You had a choice, okay. You had a choice.
I have never been interested in gritty fighting movies, but then I was reminded of my favourite mistake that is The National’s Boxer. The tough, pugilistic notions of that album title was misleading at best and shed absolutely no clue to the timeless tunes that lie within. Similarly, Warrior offers not just a tale of triumph brought about by shiny medals and MMA rings; it tells of champions that are made by walking on the road to redemption and forgiveness. Plus, it did not help at all that the movie was bookended by music by The National; the band’s “About Today” that came on at the end was such an emotional punch to the gut, that box of Kleenex nearby would soon be empty before long.
Knight and Day
Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz // James Mangold
Roy Miller: Nobody follow us or I kill myself and then her!
Knight and Day is an entertaining action flick that works mainly due to the brilliant chemistry of the two leads: one sometimes cheesy yet always charismatic thanks to his super megawatt smile, the other ditzy and sufficiently spunky but with a lot of heart. Add in a dash of mystery, hints of romance and plenty of humourous banter, and you get a mindlessly fun ride from start to finish. I think it works on so many levels because the two key players make it all seem so believably sincere and real (despite some over-the-top acting), so much so that this has become one of my guilty pleasures of the year.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Never Let Me Go
Win Win #
X-Men: First Class
Playing catch-up with my favourite TV series proved easier this year, thanks to the long-awaited installation of fibre optic broadband at home. Strangely enough, it still was not quite as speedy as I thought – but at least my attempts to binge on episodes of The Amazing Race (season 21), Fringe (season 5), Modern Family (season 4) and Sherlock (seasons 1 and 2) online went relatively smoothly. Did you think I would omit to mention Game of Thrones (season 2)? I will never forget those chilly goosebumps that lingered long after the song “The Rains of Castamere” had faded out at the end of the credits to the penultimate episode of the season. Thank you as always, Mr Berninger.