Year In Review
Explore the films you missed during the past school year
It’s been a good year at the movies. Since we arrived in Norman to start the school year, numerous quality films have been released to great reviews and packed theaters nationwide. In fact, every one of the nine Best Picture nominees at February’s Oscars were released after the school year began. Here’s a look back at some of the year’s most talked-about movies, beginning with fall 2012.
Known as a favorite angst-ridden book about our modern teenage years, author Stephen Chbosky directed a winning film version with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman that debuted September 21. It stayed true to its source, but no one could really complain about artistic license with the author at the helm. I’ve heard many predict this will be remembered as a classic teen film.
We knew the Academy was finally watching when Ben Affleck released his story on the Iranian hostage crisis, “Argo,” Oct. 4. Affleck’s mastery of dry humor, tension and cinematography are all on display in this fine work. As it turned out, it would be remembered as the year’s best film, but there was plenty more to come.
The directorial genius of Steven Spielberg and the acting genius of Daniel Day-Lewis merged in the remarkable “Lincoln,” a grand and probing look at America’s best-loved president. The story takes place over the course of mere weeks as the Civil War winds down, but still we feel by film’s end that we’ve witnessed all the traits that made Lincoln such a powerful figure.
We were reminded that romantic comedies could actually be good when Jennifer Lawrence, probably too young for her part as a shiftless widow, nonetheless danced her way to an Oscar in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Equal parts touching, charming and melancholy, “Playbook” was finally a romantic comedy that almost everyone could agree on.
He’s still got it: Quentin Tarantino hit another homerun with “Django Unchained,” combining the best elements of “Jackie Brown” and “Inglorious Basterds” to create classic moments, snappy dialogue and memorable characters.
And that was just 2012. Since the New Year, we’ve seen several entertaining flicks hit the big screen.
Lady-killer Ryan Gosling did not disappoint in this film noir-style gangster flick about the secret LAPD war on Mickey Cohen and organized crime. Also, it was Gosling’s second appearance opposite Emma Stone — they’ve become quite the onscreen power couple.
James Franco is having another interesting year, which I’m sure is exactly how he likes it. In a role originally meant for Johnny Depp, Franco plays the Wizard of Oz himself in this pseudo-prequel about the Wizard’s beginnings and the witches who run the land.
Fede Alvarez was assisted by Sam Raimi, director of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the “Spider-Man” trilogy and the original 1983 version of this film to produce its remake and make sure it stayed true to its bloody, bizarre roots while adding some new twists. “Evil Dead” is a quality possession flick that’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s hard to believe, but Hollywood has largely shied away from Jackie Robinson ever since he played himself in 1950’s “The Jackie Robinson Story.” This time it’s Chadwick Boseman who gives it a go, along with Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. The story can hardly help but dive into sentimentality, but it’s still a remarkable story and a worthwhile watch.
“The Place Beyond the Pines”
Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, this indie drama — which only had a limited release in Okla. — tells the honest, violent and hopeful story of a father (Gosling) who resorts to desperate measures to provide for his family and the ways in which it affects them throughout the years.
Now, with the summer blockbusters looming — “Iron Man 3” already came out Friday — it’s time to depart and reflect on what was an exceptional year at the movies. There were truly too many great films to mention all of them here. I expect the same quality from next year’s films, and I can’t wait to get back this fall and do it all again.