Brett Harrison Davinger and Dan Fields offer their 10 favorite movies of 2012. Plus some honorable mentions.
The Master‘s really an existential voyage where The Cause, alcohol, sex, and loyalty serve as poor substitutes to fill the emptiness of lost souls. The film is about characters more than condemnation, relationships more than religion, and a study of those people who are unable to become part of society.
Jonah Hill shows that he can do more than broad comedy. Although awkward and nervous, Brand is severely dialed back from what we’ve seen Hill play before, and Moneyball utilizes his strengths without showing his weaknesses. The movie also wisely doesn’t make this math genius some sort of Beautiful Mind-esque, socially incompetent robot. He’s good at statistics, but he’s still a human who gets caught up in the excitement of the game.
Aside from the lack of a true protagonist, a number of small story arcs fall a bit flat, and the film may be a bit long at over two hours. However, a hilarious cast, a few genuinely poignant moments, and a slightly silly but ultimately uplifting end save the plot from disaster. The brilliant cast and funny script make for a fine film that probably won’t enjoy the sort of release it deserves in America—which is unfortunate, since it’s exactly the kind of movie whose heart and ingenuity should trump trashy big budget disaster movies at the box office.