2012* has been a great year for movies thus far, has it not? The pre-Oscars period has always been a good period for the middle-to-high-brow releases but, thanks largely to large dollops of cine-nostalgia, the last couple of months have seen a number of films that really hit my sweet spot.
In particular, I have really enjoyed these four gems.
Despite being pitched at the family market, you could pick this as a Scorsese film. It’s not just the visual flair and references to classic cinema, there’s also the moment where a character basically looks into the camera and states “Time has not been kind to old movies”. Marty spends a lot of time on film preservation, and it is interesting to see this passion appear in his fiction work.
I found it a wondrous experience, but younger viewers will likely be baffled by the second half, which concentrates on an old man’s regrets rather than the adventures of the preceding hour.
More retro happiness. I’ve actually had trouble persuading people that a silent, b&w film can be so fun but presumably Oscar excitement will help box office significantly. I’m still trying to figure out how much substance lies behind the surface panache but, really, who cares? It’s a blast.
Like Hugo, a plot about the cost of passing time may be lost on the kids but my whole family enjoyed this classic Henson mix of daftness and sentiment. I’ll never forget the bit with the singing chickens during which all four of us were laughing together, a rare occurrence indeed. The early, smalltown USA musical numbers are a treat, reminiscent of classics such as The Music Man, and if Man Or Muppet doesn’t win the Best Song Oscar it will be a travesty of Driving Miss Daisy proportions.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The three other movies I would recommend unreservedly, but this is a little more difficult. Several people I know have struggled to follow the plot, which is pretty byzantine. Having had the advantage of prior experience (both book and TV series), M&I had no problem keeping track of things; perhaps for others a second viewing would be rewarding? Plot aside, both the direction and the outstanding cast are top notch, and never has the phrase “It was nothing personal” felt more brutal.
*I am in Australia, release dates may vary