Here we go now with Part Two of the Mid-Year look at the best and worst that cinema has to offer. As you saw in Part One here, Robert Hamer is joining Joey Magidson on this journey, and we’re tackling things as basically one long conversation/debate. Today is going to focus on our awards and what we would do if we had a ballot to cast about the best aspects of film so far this year. Enjoy!
Robert: Huh…honestly, what surprises me most is how often we agree below-the-line. We both think The Immigrant’s bronze-tinged cinematography and its detailed, expressive makeup work are Oscar-worthy efforts? We both thought Godzilla had the most impressive visual effects of the year so far? Both of us are in the tank for Mica Levi’s unnerving score for Under the Skin? That’s…interesting, don’t you think?
Joey: It definitely is. Part of that I’m sure has to do with only half of a year to cull from, but at least for the Under the Skin score, I’ll admit to part of that being that I was given a copy of the score when I spoke to Scarlett Johansson about the film, so I’ve been able to hear it more than once. I’m usually more of a soundtrack man myself (and The Fault in Our Stars is one of the year’s best so far in that regard to me), but Levi’s work has stayed with me. As for Godzilla, I loved most aspects of it, so the effects do make sense, and with The Immigrant, it’s a film I like more than people realize, so I’m happy to support it.
Are there any random sort of awards you’d like us to bring to the forefront?
Robert: “Random sort of awards?” You sure you want to open that Pandora’s Box? Well, okay. Just remember, you asked for this:
Robert: Only Lovers Left Alive. Wonderfully allusive and mysterious.
Joey: God’s Pocket. Not a good movie, but it fits the film like a glove.
Most Pleasant Surprise:
Robert: The Lego Movie. This was not supposed to have been a good film. Period. Based on a toy line, cross-connected with pop culture franchises, sets itself up as a “Chosen One” narrative, featuring Will Ferrell…this should have represented the worst of contemporary animated film. Instead I was treated to one of the most delightful theatergoing experiences of the year.
Joey: The Lego Movie as well. I was so uninterested I only first saw it last month…silly me!
Most Unintentionally Hilarious Scene:
Robert: Max Dillon becomes Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Virtually indistinguishable from what you would see in a Joel Schumacher-directed Batman movie and one of my favorite moments in the film.
Joey: The sex scene in 300: Rise of an Empire. Not in a good way though.
Robert: Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow.
Joey: Tim Jenison in Tim’s Vermeer. He’s a real-life Tony Stark.
Robert: Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow.
Joey: Scarlett Johansson’s alien seductress in Under the Skin.
Robert: Uma Thurman in Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1. I know, I know, such an obvious choice, right? Well, the overwhelming consensus can’t be wrong all the time, and certainly not when it comes to the absolute best scene in either volume of Lars von Trier’s psychosexual grind. In just one scene and one scene only, Hell truly has no fury like the rage, heartbreak, and wickedly cutting humor of Thurman’s woman scorned. It’s such a great scene, in fact, that the rest of the movie sort of deflates in comparison.
Joey: The unexpected appearance of a certain actor in The Lego Movie was when it became something more to me.
Robert: The Quiet Ones. This movie came and went so fast I never had the chance to see it. Not sure if I would’ve anyway, considering my lack of faith in the Hammer Horror brand, but if I didn’t know any better I could see myself buying a ticket based on this simple, elegant, yet disarmingly unsettling use of viscous artwork.
Joey: Boyhood, particularly because of how simply yet effectively it depicts the story at hand.
Robert: “You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant…aw, fuck it.” – M. Gustave, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Joey: “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars. It’s just one from the film that has stayed with me in a big way…there are other ones, but they’d be spoilers.
Robert: Blue Ruin. The keys are in the car…
Joey: 5 to 7. A chance encounter that touched me deeply.
Films I Most Wished I Had Seen Before Collaborating On This Article, Because One Way Or The Other, I Likely Would Have Had A Strong Opinion Of Them:
Robert: Borgman, Obvious Child, and The Rover.
Joey: Blue Ruin (go figure, this literally arrived at my doorstep yesterday), Obvious Child, and Only Lovers Left Alive.
Next up will be Part Three tomorrow, focusing on what we found overrated, underrated, and worst of all so far this year, so stay tuned for that penultimate article in this series Robert and I are doing…
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!