Happy 2013! The Best of 2012 In Music And Movies – A Year-End Statement In Review

So some credit cards send out Year-End statements… and since I just got mine, I figured it was a good time to send out one of my own… My Movie And Musical Year-End Statement!

Yeah, I KNOW January is over.  Sue me.  No, not really… I don’t want to be sued.

Just enjoy the lists and let me know if I missed anything.

MUSIC:

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

The stunning song “Come Healing” literally saved me.  This album is truly fantastic, but seeing him live for the first time in 2012… fantasticer!  (I know it’s not a word, but I like it!)

Pink Floyd – The Wall (Experience Edition)

Roger Waters and I may never see eye to eye politically, but one of my favorite albums of all time sounds even better, and seeing The Wall Live… Wow!

Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

It’s all about the strings with Andrew, of course, and delightfully so… Moody at times… with a strong sense of melancholy… even in a poppier song like “Give It Away” but a gorgeous record.

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

One of his best albums ever… This one still tears me apart and gives me immense hope and pleasure… and live… LIVE!!!!!  Oh Bruce… you had me at E Street Band.

Great Lake Swimmers – New Wild Everywhere

Someone told me about these guys almost in passing.  Great tip, buddy.  There is so much going on, on this record… but gorgeous and lush are two words that come to mind almost immediately.

 

M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

I do not say this to be a braggart, but I did know M. Ward long before She & Him.  Just sayin’!  This is one of those rare musician’s musicians.  That should not mean that the average Joe or Joette cannot appreciate him… We can.  It just means this guy gets major insider props and respect… deservedly so.

Jack White – Blunderbuss

Whenever I think Jack is overrated… and maybe it is just my cynicism that he was so quickly and universally loved… I listen to an album or watch him perform and realize this dude kicks serious ass.  This is a fantastic record and the man deserves all his kudos.

Father John Misty – Fear Fun

He (being Joshua Tillman) seems to be compared to the late, great Nick Drake.  I’ll take that.  Love Nick Drake… But there are other elements there, too… I almost wanted to say John Denver on one song… but definitely that Laurel Canyon sound… Ahhh…

Melody Gardot – The Absence

My friend Denise hooked me into her.  Sultry as all hell… and that is just the cover of the album.  Thought she was French… turns out she is a Jersey girl… and her life’s story is absolutely tragic, but proof that music can lift us from the ashes and the literal broken pieces… She is described as a mix of Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy and Laura Nyro… I hear Edith Piaf, too… So good… So very good!!!  Sigh…

 

The Beach Boys – That’s Why G-d Made Radio

I was not expecting a lot… so is that why I like this album so much?  Or is it because it is just a good, solid and fun record?  I am going with that.  This is a really good, solid and fun album.

  

Rush – Clockwork Angels

The boys from Canada are back!!!  This one has elements and style reminiscent of my favorite Rush album 2112.  And now, finally, in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  I just wish their ticket prices were not so damn high.

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

Have loved this band for a long while… They are strong and consistent folksy rockers and this is a really great record.  Plus, they are from Jersey and love Bruce, so there!

 

Searching For Sugar Man (Soundtrack)

The movie is stunning… a remarkable thing to behold… His story… the music… Oh man, his music is so dang good… How this guy was not a superstar here is a literal and musical crime.  SEE THE MOVIE… BUY HIS MUSIC… NOW!!!!!!!

 

The Sheepdogs – The Sheepdogs

New band… Highly touted… Cover of Rolling Stone… blah, blah, blah.  A little bit country… a little bit Rock n’ Roll… You will hear a lot of the current crop of “alt country bands” like Dawes… And that dreamy music is never a bad thing.  Don’t be surprised to hear some Allman Brothers and Black Keys influences on tunes like “Javelina!”

 

The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

Anything these guys build is usually pretty darn fantastic… and this album is one of their best.  They are a hard-working, real world band and deserve lots of attention and support…

 

Ben Folds Five – The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

One of my all-time favorite bands… and seeing them live a week ago was utter joy.  They sound as good if not BETTER live.  Yeah!  Smart and just amazing, I think Ben is my musical Doppelganger.

Mumford & Sons – Babel

I got into this band well before the hype… I’m just sayin’… AGAIN… but hype they deserve.  They just know how to play and do it oh so well.  And I REALLY need to seem them live… Just wish they were back to the medium-sized venues… The arenas and stadiums can be such a pain these days.

The Vaccines – Come Of Age

New punk pop band who just put out album number two.  It is not as good as the first one… but still a very enjoyable record.

 

Bob Dylan – Tempest

People need to stop complaining about Dylan’s voice.  Listen to the damn songs… really listen!  Shit happens, people’s vocal chords change, so you can either shut up or continue to write great tunes and make great albums… We all miss the Dylan of old like we miss the sweet sounding Joni Mitchell… but the rasp is where they are now… and helps show what they have been through… Life, man… Age and life.

FILMS

Amour

Beautiful, poignant, brutal, depressing… And all because this may be the film that knocked Ben Affleck out of a Director’s nom… which is literally a crime…

But seriously, this is a tough movie to endure, but a look at life… and death… we seldom see.

Argo

Love this movie… and I cannot hold in my extreme frustration that Ben Affleck did not get an Oscar nod for this… Ridiculous.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

An amazing feat for a first time director… well, for any director.  This is a gritty and beautiful story told in the most interesting way.  True congrats to the other Ben for his nod on this.  Well deserved.

Brave

Great storytelling is now the hallmark of Pixar and Disney animated films.  I wish more scripts had the depth and beauty that this film does.

 

Cloud Atlas

Yes, it is confusing and frustrating at times, but you cannot stop looking at or pondering this film… THIS is what filmmaking is all about… and sometimes being challenged is a good thing.

 

The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan is a master, and while this may not be the best of the three, it was an incredible movie to see and enjoy on the very big screen!

The Impossible

Intense… brutal… and ultimately uplifting.  The visuals and especially the sound in a top-notch theatre were so hard to take… sickening at points… but so well done.  Both Naomi and Ewan were fantastic… as were all three kids.

Les Miserables

I love Anne Hathaway, but will admit that she is bordering pretentiousness in some of her humility… Not there yet, and hopefully won’t be… but close.  Did she overact?  No, she did not.  The film is heightened reality.  The story is huge and she served it well.  Will she win an Oscar?  Duh!  And to all you haters out there, what gives???  This is a great and powerful film.

Can Russell Crowe sing?  Hell, no… at least not here, and that was the one element that should have been changed.  The man is a brilliant actor, but seemed lost here… and not in the way Javert should be lost.  Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Bark were my two standouts… What futures they have.

 

Life of Pi

Ang Lee is a filmmaker of such skill and beauty and always finds stories that equal his talents. This is a fairytale set in a world of harsh reality.

Lincoln

What Lincoln showed me is this… War is a dirty, vile thing… and the Civil War and slavery are two of our greatest shames.  It showed me that Washington is a dirty, broken machine where principles and truths are too often buried in the “right” wording and hidden behind closed doors… Yet every once in a while, a thing of beauty, of great importance comes forth.  With too many gaps in between, a grand ideal is suddenly spoken and set to paper… and thus sets the world on fire.  Lincoln is a fantastic and important film… and Daniel Day-Lewis and the rest of the cast is nothing short of magnificent and breath-taking.

 

Moonrise Kingdom

Quirky and funny and a such wonderful film.  Few filmmakers can create and capture such wonderful, wacky and full worlds as Wes Anderson.

 

Paperman

I know it is a short… but it kicked ass.  And the music by Christophe Beck is stunning… Get it on iTunes… NOW!

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Powerful and beautiful, and an amazing ride.  Plus, the equally awesome soundtrack got my daughter to say “Now that was real music.  I want to listen to rel music and not just pop.”  Hallelujah!

To Rome With Love

Woody Allen is back.  While NYC is no longer his backdrop or playing field, he still tells a great story.

 

Silver Linings Playbook

This is another funny and quirky and fantastic film.  Jennifer Lawrence is simply amazing and if you are not already in love with her, you will be!

Skyfall

The new, gritty, real world Bond is here to stay. The film is action packed and has some great set pieces, but it is not your over the top, silly Bond.  Daniel Craig is great and gives the film a strong anchor, and a nice homage to the Bond of old in a few scenes is classic.  Loved it!

Wreck It Ralph

A sweet and well-told story with enough humor that will please parents as well as kids.  I love smart family movies.  This is one of them.

 

Zero Dark Thirty

Not that you can really compare one film to the other, but since they are in a similar vein, I preferred Argo to this one…  With that said, this is a great and powerful film and something that should be required viewing… Argo should be as well.  And how neither Kathryn Bigelow nor Ben Affleck nor Tom Hooper got Oscar nods for their works is a crime.  Yeah, I’ll keep saying it.

 

Documentaries

Searching For Sugar Man

What a story!  What a man!  What music.  This is one of the DO NOT MISS films of the year.  And please, track down his albums, not just the brilliant soundtrack.  Long live rock!

 

The Ones I Missed… (I know, I know)

Arbitage

The Avengers

Barfi

Frankenweenie

Hotel Transylvania

Jiro Dreams Of SushiMy friends gave me this… now I just need to watch it… Hear it is wonderful!

Killer Joe

Now Forager: A Film About Love and Fungi

Ruby Sparks

Oscar Predictions

Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway

Best Supporting Actor – Tommy Lee Jones

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence

Best Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Foreign Language Film – Amour

Best Director – Ang Lee (should be Ben Affleck)

Best Picture – Argo

Catch up quickly… 2013 is off to a fast and auspicious start!!!

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Filed under Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, One Thumb - My Movie Reviews

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