Tuesday, February 19, 2013

LowRes 2012 Movie Awards: The Sights

The 2012 LowRes Movie Awards: Video Compilation / 35 Amazing Moments / Best Trailers / Best Techs (Visual) / Best Techs (Audio) / Screenplays + Director / Supporting Actor + Actress / Lead Actor + Actress / Breakthrough + Cameo + Ensemble / Top 10 Films

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Magic Mike
Sound of My Voice
Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty managed to deliver tension (the final raid), misdirection (the Marriott bombing), and pulled together about a billion characters into a bullet train of a story. It only loses points for the crushing predictability of that Jennifer Ehle meetup scene. Amour handled the dreamlike interludes into the hell of daily life. Similarly, the Beasts editing kept the balance between what felt all too real and what felt dreamy and magical. Magic Mike gets a Masters degree in delivering finely-tuned casualness. Sound of My Voice built tension through secret handshakes, costumes, and other things that could have read as silly in lesser hands.


Anna Karenina
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Cabin in the Woods
The Master

That apartment in Amour, you guys. I may never stop talking about it. All those little, unshowy details, illuminating a long life spent within its walls, and an even longer decline therein. The Anna Karenina art direction had a big ol' spotlight put on it, and it lived up to the attention. Beasts did world-building like no other movie this year, while Cabin in the Woods did the same kind of service for underworld-building. Finally, The Master, with all that I found overblown and faux-profound about it, managed evocative period detail with as little self-satisfaction as possible.

Anna Karenina
Damsels in Distress
Magic Mike
Sound of My Voice

Damsels does one of my favorite things with costumes in stylized movies: making period-looking clothing in a contemporary setting. For that matter, Magic Mike does Tampa costumes as if central Florida is its own country, which it kind of is. The simplicity of the cult-wear in Sound of My Voice is so straight-forward it ends up being off-putting, in the best way. Argo might have done period clothing and hair better than anything else. And Anna Karenina ... I mean, my God, the dresses, the jackets, the HATS by God the hats!


The Grey
The Impossible
Life of Pi

The weird Killface-looking guys in Prometheus were a letdown narratively, but boy did they look cool. Plus all the goopy, gooey, biological awfulness you'd expect from an Alien movie. For all its CG wonderment, the deteriorating physical state of Pi was a triumph of makeup, ditto Liam Neeson in The Grey (plus all those bloody wounds). Speaking of wounds, The Impossible gets a nod simply for making Naomi Watts's leg gash the most kinetic moment in the movies all year. But it really all comes down to Lincoln, right? Praise Daniel Day-Lewis all you want, and rightly so, but that makeup work on Lincoln's face walked right up to the line of being a Bill & Ted parody and never stepped across it.

The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi

Nothing really touches the technical achievement of Life of Pi this year, from top to bottom a breakthrough in blending realism (the tiger!) and fantasy without sacrificing the veracity of either. Of all the summer blockbusters, The Avengers had the courage to go big and bright, and it paid off with the climactic midtown showdown. The Dark Knight Rises was comparatively safer, but it had its moments of muted, realist brilliance. Whatever my problems with Prometheus, we'll always have that crazy-ass birthing scene. As for Chronicle, I loved the way it pulled off high-stakes visual wonders while keeping to the film's low-fi aesthetic.

Roger Deakins - Skyfall
Greig Fraser - Zero Dark Thirty
Darius Khondji - Amour
Ben Richardson - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bradford Young - Middle of Nowhere

Roger Deakins does it again, I don't know what to tell you. He brings it every single time, gifting the Bond franchise with some of its most stylish images of all time. Richardson and Khondji both get to every last corner of their vastly different environs. Bradford Young makes some very commonplace locations look positively sumptuous in Middle of Nowhere (that nightclub scene alone...). And Greig Fraser is quickly building a reputation for excellence, and with good reason. Bureaucracy never looked so handsome.


1 comment:

JA said...

The ZD30 "meet-up" scene bugged me the first time I watched the film but strangely the second time through it felt kind of purposefully obvious? Like it was showing how easily it was for someone in these women's circumstance to step a little to the side off of this long path they were on, follow one eensy little incorrect lead, and then to not even notice that you've veered off the right track, so laser-focused in on the false little minutiae (that birthday cake!) that you've become unable to see the big picture. I think we're supposed to see it coming and feel crazy because Ehle's just not able to.

Anyway I'm loving it all, keep it coming!