"The big news about 2012 is that American popular culture was rescued by a quirkily sexy twentynothing woman with a lot of privilege and not much experience. No, not Lena Dunham, ding-dong! Megan Ellison!
I think the "big story" here should be Sharon Waxman's disgraceful article about how Megan Ellison is set to "ruin the movie business"--yes, if ruining means making sure THE MASTER, KILLING THEM SOFTLY and ZERO DARK THIRTY were actual great movies instead of a twinkle in their makers' eyes. Someone should post that article, and I hope people in Indiewire-Land would noodle on it...and comment on why it is that if a very rich woman spends some money on films by PTA/Dominik/K-Big, it's a potential "ruination of the business," yet whatever executive hit send on JOHN CARTER or BATTLESHIP or MARS NEEDS MOMS or whatever big lamebrain turkey you can think of...remains unknown. Anonymous. Probably not fired. Just doing their job. I mean, hello? Who WOULDN'T spend a buck fifty more on BATTLESHIP?
In Egghead-Land, there were a few movies this year I thought were slight, good, but somewhat overpraised: THE DEEP BLUE SEA, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, HOLY MOTORS. Then there were a couple of movies widely and wildly loved that I find, both of them, abominable: Michael Haneke's AMOUR, and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Both inflict a "You must like me or else" edict upon a helpless audience. If you don't like BEASTS' brand of hipster-childlike whimsey, you are on the side of FEMA, Brownie, Bushie, and the uncharming bourgeoisie. And if you don't respond to Haneke's inexplicably punitive AMOUR...well, you must have *no feelings at all* when Grandma falls down and breaks her hip, right?
Okay, reboot: the "big story" is that mainstream movies--many of them straightforward genre movies--were far and away the strongest movies this year, not Portuguese indies projected on a sheet in a microbrewery. A few kind words should be said for this year's strong comedies--BERNIE, THE CAMPAIGN, THE DICTATOR--which were both flat-out funnier and had more satirical bite than those of recent years. But more importantly, two brutally violent sci-fi movies, PROMETHEUS and DREDD, brought that genre back to near-seventies heights. PROMETHEUS was Ridley Scott's strongest movie of the last thirty years, a Matthew Barney-like orgy of the imagistic that was dully misread as a failed ALIEN knockoff. And DREDD used Christopher Nolan's genre-refurbishing license to strip the paint off the comic-book genre, erasing memories of Stallone's joky 90s version and rebooting DIRTY HARRY and PRECINCT 13 for a grim, post-financial-crash future. DREDD's visual design--based on the concrete and wino-vomit colors of the civic buildings of downtown Los Angeles--may have been the year's most inventive, yet brutalizing, cinematic idea." -- Matthew Wilderfrom Collider.com