1. Lincoln (2012)- A law room procedural with a musty made for TV history documentary feel. Daniel Day Lewis is really good, but Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner seem much more preoccupied with creating grand moments and Oscar bait than a lived-in, intellectual dissection. And it seems to me Lincoln only sulked around and told stories.
2. The Seventh Cross (1944)- A terrific film of two halves. The first part is a tense and dirty road movie in which an escaped Jewish prisoner (Spencer Tracy) desperately tries to seek refuge from his Nazi captors. Once under roof, the film plays out like a film noir as old friends could become betrayers and every shadow looms with danger. Directed by Fred Zinneman, its an unheralded classic.
3. Electric Dragon 8000 Volts (2000)- Whew.... watching a Sogo Ishii film is always an endurance test and this one is no exception. Filled with chaotic images and an aggressive (almost nauseating) soundtrack, two electricity filled men (due to childhood accidents) meet and duel it out for supremacy. Running a scant 50 minutes, the length is perfect for this steam punk effort.
4. The Babymakers (2012)- Partly a Broken Lizard team comedy, I'm beginning to wane on their output. Despite getting to watch a scrumptuos Olivia Munn, there's little else to delight here.
5. 360 (2012)- Fernando Meirelles' modern remake of "La Ronde" deals with so many unbelievable moments of human connection that I began to wonder if the whole thing was a comedy... least of all a beautiful young girl (Maria Flor) being attracted to weirdo Ben Foster in an airport.
6. The Wide Blue Road (1957)- Gillo Pontecorvo clearly understands and loves the working class. This drama follows a young Yves Montand and his lifestyle defying the local Coast Guard in favor of dynamite fishing. Italian neo-realism at its finest, even if the proletariat point of view is a bit much at times.
7. Flight (2012)- It's rereshing that a main character in a Hollywood film is so uncompromisingly addicted and complex, but that's the portrait we get of Denzel Washington's pilot in "Flight". If only the film would have gone to other such uncompromising heights instead of the junkie with a heart of gold and a John Goodman performance that borders on loony tunes.