Top 10… New-To-Me Films of 2012

2012 saw me watch a total of 231 movies that were new to me. This is my list of the best of those, or rather, the ones I liked the most, and would be willing to see again some day, if I haven’t already. Some are from the 1001 List, some from my Film-Makers quest, some new, some a little older. This list does not include any of 2012’s new releases though, they were covered on this list.

Honourable Mention
Return to Horror High
Hang on, I’m going to clarify this. Return to Horror High, one of the first George Clooney ever appeared in, is a terribly made film, with poor acting, shonky sets and a frankly ridiculous final act. Fut it was also one of the most entertaining films I saw this year, because I watched it after a Friday night drinking session, for all the better to enjoy it’s ridiculousness. Maureen McCarthy as a cop bizarelly aroused at the site of a dismembered corpse, ridiculous lighting choices and the greatest behind-a-door silhouette of a decapitated head being flung up inexplicably into the air. I still stand by the 2/10 rating I gave the film, because it is terrible, but it was terrible in a really good way.

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Casablanca

I’ve finally watched Casablanca! After Gone with the Wind and Singin’ in the Rain I’ll finally be able to call myself a film fan. Don’t worry, they’re on the list, and GWTW is on my DVD shelf, so watch this space. There are many films – these three included – that are held with such high regard in the cinematic community – nay, the world – that one cannot possibly expect to leave the film having had expectations met and a smile on the face, so I went in expecting nothing but misquoted famous lines, romantic clinches and a bitter sense of disappointment, yet when those closing credits rolled the sense of elation tingling up my spine cannot be exaggerated. What we have here is more than a film, it’s a landmark in history.

Humphrey Bogart is of course Rick, owner of Rick’s Cafe American in Casablanca, French Morocco around the outbreak of World War 2. Bogey set the template for cynics on screen, sticking his neck out for nobody but those that will help him along. Rarely is there a moment when he isn’t drinking, smoking or both. The story involves a concentration camp escapee and secret documents containing a letter of transit allowing a safe departure from the town, but what you’re really here for is the script. Everyone knows the classics, “Here’s looking at you kid” “all the gin joints…” and “we’ll always have Paris” (“play it again, Sam” is never actually uttered) but the lesser known phrases are just as good, if not better: “I have given him the best, knowing he is German and would take it anyway” “this gun is pointed right at your head”/”that is my least vulnerable spot”.

Long scenes make the film seem longer than it is (for a classic it is surprisingly sleight at only 102 minutes) and Ingrid Bergman wears a distractingly terrible blouse for much of the film, but if yuo haven’t seen this film, I urge you to do so soon.I think I’ll go watch it again.

Choose film 9/10