Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

December 22, 2012

Slate: The 10 best movies of 2012

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

"Lincoln."

Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner's warm, literate portrait of the 16th president in the last few months of the Civil War (and of his life) is like a treacle sandwich with the bread in the middle. But that bread is so substantial and so delicious that it's easy to forgive the movie its sentimental opening and tacked-on, reverential coda. And while the cast as a whole is superb, Daniel Day-Lewis' quiet, meditative, deeply lived performance as Lincoln catapults him into the acting stratosphere.

"The Master."

Paul Thomas Anderson's sixth film, a kind of twisted homosocial romance between a nascent cult leader and a damaged Navy vet who comes into his orbit in the first years after WWII, was the only movie this year so nice I reviewed it twice. OK, maybe "nice" isn't the best descriptor for a film that plumbs the darker recesses of both masculine psychology and mid-20th-century American culture. But "The Master" is original, startling and bold, from the glorious 65mm cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. to the unsettling soundtrack by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give performances that are somehow at once mythically impenetrable and alive with earthy detail. I also love that, even after three viewings, there are parts of "The Master" whose final "meaning" continues to elude me: that nude sort-of-dream-sequence around the piano, for example, or Hoffman's mysterious valedictory "Slow Boat to China" serenade.

"Once Upon a Time in Anatolia."

With its gradually unfolding murder-investigation storyline, starkly music-free soundtrack, and nightscapes straight out of a Rembrandt painting, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's bleak Turkish procedural makes for a demanding but lavishly rewarding two-and-a-half-hour watch. In terms of sheer visual and narrative sophistication, this may be the most accomplished film I've seen all year — there isn't an aesthetic detail it doesn't get right. If it doesn't get a best foreign-language film Oscar nomination, "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" could easily disappear from sight for American audiences. Don't let it.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Night & Day
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page