2012 has been a great year for movies. With a superb array of films coming from almost every genre we at Sound And Motion wanted to celebrate this fact, and bring you our lowdown on what we think have been the key pictures this year, from January to December.
Released: April 26th.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansspn, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson.
Directed by: Joss Whedon.
The first in a line of three box office dominating super hero movies this year, Marvel’s The Avengers is Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon’s second triumph of 2012.
A movie long awaited, The Avengers takes some of Marvel’s most popular characters from page and screen, and brings them together in a move meant to defend Planet Earth from menacing, invading forces.
When the exiled Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) emerges through a portal and takes possession of the Tesseract, along with the minds of several S.H.I.E.L.D personnel including Dr Erik Selvg (Stellan Skargard), director of the international peacekeeping agency Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative, bringing together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
As Loki opens a gateway above the isle of Manhattan, an alien race known as the Chitauri pour through the dimensional gap, leaving The Avengers with no choice but to defend the city in order to prevent the invasion and keep the disgruntled god from taking control of the entire planet.
Arguably inferior to Joss Whedon’s earlier offering The Cabin In The Woods, The Avengers is an absolute triumph, and utterly exciting. With a cast of actors clearly meant to perform alongside one another the movie raises the bar for future comic book adaptations, perfectly blending humour, action and threat into an ideal mix. Scarlett Johanson is, however, the least impressive star, clearly chosen for how she looks in leather rather than her ability. She’s not a poor actor, she just wasn’t allowed to shine here.
Visually stunning with special effects that look and feel real, The Avengers is one movie, along with the beautifully polished turd that was Avatar, that we really didn’t mind having to watch in 3D.
Released: April 27th.
Starring: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson.
Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia.
The thirty-years toiled for adaptation of an off-Broadway play Glenn Close starred in in 1982, Albert Nobbs is the Oscar-nominated tale of a woman forced to live as a man in 19th century Ireland.
Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a middle-aged butler working in the well-to-do Morrison’s Hotel, run by the stingy and controlling Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), saving hard so that he/she may well one day have enough money saved to open up his/her dream business venture; a tobacconists. But Nobbs is no ordinary Butler. Dressed in men’s clothes Albert, as we only ever know him/her, hides his/her real identity, disguising shapely curves with a bowler hat and tightly strung girdle. In love with bimbo waitress Helen (Mia Wasikowska) Nobbs soon meets another in the same situation, Hubert Page (Janey McTeer), who teaches him/her that, much to his/her sheepish surprise, life can be lived differently.
Engaging despite its deliberately slow pace Albert Nobbs is a movie with expectations that suffers from under indulgence. A picture that seems to beg for awards it seems a husk of what it could have been, and really disappoints.
From the outset the film is a little difficult to take seriously, initially because of its title. Close’s get up as Nobbs is almost laughable, with prosthetics that surely wouldn’t fool a child. Her character’s taste in women is also confusing; why would a woman on the edge of middle-age be so interested in such a ditzy young woman as Wasikowska’s Helen. Temptations of the flesh can easily be ruled out; Albert seems incredibly prudish.
But, to be completely dismissive of Albert Nobbs is unfair. A movie that will, despite what you may think, keep you interested throughout it’s well worth watching, and something you’ll unlikely encounter anywhere else.
The film also has the sob factor; often you’ll really feel empathy for the central character, sharing every rare smile, and every sadly commonplace heartache.
Overall Albert Nobbs is just a shell of what it could’ve been, like the “man himself”, it’s too tightly bound to allow itself to truly shine. Watch it, it’ll still leave you emotionally changed, even if you do find yourself asking; “what was that?”