Writer Elizabeth Hughes-Belzil doesn't always see eye-to-eye with the mainstream opinion on film, but good luck not being persuaded by her in-depth analysis in this recurring feature.
I saw The Wolf of Wall Street in early January, a few weeks after its release in a New Jersey multiplex nestled in a dingy strip mall not unlike the one where Jordan Belfort (the Wolf) founds his corrupt brokerage firm. By this time I had already heard the varied reactions of both critics and friends.
There's a reason "critically acclaimed horror film" sounds like a paradox. The genre suffers from poor production values and inept acting. Clichés cling to them like mange on a stray dog. Their success lies in their ability to capitalize on the most primal human instinct: fear of death. The form of the nightmare -- a dark amorphous mass in its infancy -- is given shape by the culture and time we inhabit.
2012 was a year full of surprises: the world did not end as predicted by the Mayan calendar and two of the best films were about America. Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty not only concerned America but depicted two triumphant moments in the nation's history; the passing of the 13th Amendment that ended slavery in the former and the take down of Osama Bin Laden in the latter.
During the first half of Silver Linings Playbook I squirmed with excitement, elated that I might be watching my favorite film of the year. I was visiting my dad in Texas over Thanksgiving -- the escape from the familial fray to catch a movie was no small feat. After the buzz surrounding David O. Russell's latest at its TIFF debut, I had spent several months awaiting its theatrical release.
About Critical Perspectives: 2012 was a good year for film -- especially Hollywood. The Academy actually managed to produce a diverse and interesting list of nominees. In the weeks leading up to Oscar night, I hope to start conversations about the various films honored.