As the end of the year approaches, the task of crafting the Best of 2012 lists falls on journalists, bloggers & pop-culture nerds alike. Lists run from the long-ranging 100 to a carefully crafted Top 5, and whether you divide your choices by music and film, sub-genre or theme, the debate never truly ends. It’s easy to lavish attention on the bigger films, the ones who dominate the box office and continue epic franchises. But behind the superheroes and star-studded biopics stand the quiet ones, the independent films that you may or may not have seen, yet are just as worthy of recognition. Amidst a number of brilliant indie flicks, we chose a handful that stuck with us long after the credits rolled – Buzzine’s Top 5 Indie Movies of 2012.
French-language drama Amour is one of those tremendous films that is both relentlessly beautiful and painful to watch. Based on writer/director Michael Haneke’s own family, Amour focuses on an elderly couple, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant). After a paralyzing stroke, Anne sinks deeper and deeper into silence. A love story seeped in experience and the inevitable, Amour is a powerful film; honest, and remarkably brave.
It may surprise you to learn that one of the best sci-fi, superhero movies to date was made for a mere $12 million. Chronicle, a found-footage film by first time director Josh Trank and written by Max Landis, grossed $126 million worldwide, a sign that independent movies can still be successful. Focusing on a troubled teen boy (Dane DeHaan), and his two friends (Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan) who develop supernatural powers, Chronicle is a chilling and impressive debut that leaves its competition in the dust.
If you’ve learned anything from David Cronenberg at all, you should know to never have expectations. If you, for instance, believed Cosmopolis, (adapted from the Don DeLillo novel) would be in the same vein of his now iconic body horror fare, you would be so very wrong. Reading much like a play, where characters stare off into space and seem to be speaking in riddles, Cosmopolis’ stark tones and direction fuse with a surprisingly confident performance from Twilight’s vampiric hunk Robert Pattinson to create yet another intriguing controversial masterpiece from the iconic Cronenberg.
Your Sister's Sister
From The League and Jeff Who Live At Home to Looper and Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Mark Duplass (co-founder of the “mumblecore” filmmaking aesthetic) and Emily Blunt have both had quite the successful year. But it’s their work in Your Sister’s Sister, an indepedent film from fellow mumblecore writer/director Lynn Shelton, that sticks out as one of the best films of the year. The superb drama was fashioned from sketched plot points and superb improv from Duplass, Blunt, and Rosemarie DeWitt, resulting in a delightfully raw look at honesty and relationships. More details in our exclusive Buzzine Interview with Mark Duplass, Lynn Shelton and our Your Sister's Sister Film Review.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Tucked away in the basement of the Ginza Metro Station in Toyko, Japan, 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono works tirelessly, flawlessly, at his Michelin 3-Star restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. Jiro, whose schedule, work ethic, and reputation is unparalleled in the sushi chef world, is the focus of David Gelb’s documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Following Jiro from fish market to monastery, the film is both a masterful look at the art of sushi and a charming peek into one man’s rich life.
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