Monday, 31 December 2012

"I Can Only Hope That The 2012 Apocalypse Isn't Such A Letdown"

So said Some Grey Bloke. Was it? You decide.

2012 was the year that the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, Encyclopædia Britannica discontinued its print edition, Curiosity the Mars rover successfully landed on Mars and roved, the Olympics came to London and was nearly as good as the Paralympics, Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier unassisted as he fell from space and Lonesome George died making the Pinta Island Tortoise subspecies extinct.

I directed The Cherry Orchard, facilitated The Undiscovered, wrote some of Brandon Generator (sort of) and 'the incident' took place. It's been a very odd year.

These are a few of my favourite things from 2012:

The Avengers
Released in the UK with the slightly rubbish title of Marvel Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon's superhero team up is a brilliant action movie with a witty script, great set pieces and fight sequences. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson and Alexis Denisof are excellent. Whedon gives the 'little people' the big lines and so Harry Dean Stanton, Robert Clohessy and Ashley Johnson get the best moments, while every scene with the Hulk is fantastic.

The Cabin In The Woods
This movie reappropriates all the best and worst horror movie tropes to make a genre defining movie that takes on torture porn and wins.

A Fantastic Fear Of Everything
Sometimes paranoia in the launderette is entirely justified in this film adaptation of Bruce Robinson's novella Paranoia In The Launderette. Crispian Mills is intriguing, surprising and claustrophobic throughout, while Simon Pegg, Amara Karan and Alan Drake are phenomenal.

Red Dwarf: Trojan; Fathers & Suns; Lemons; Entangled; Dear Dave; The Beginning
The Boys from the Dwarf are back for six more episodes in Series X. Highlights included the frequency of moose-related car accidents in 1970's Sweden, Gerald Hampton and the Cat's map from Trojan, Lister's drunken conversation with his father in Fathers And Suns, everything James Baxter, does as Jesus in Lemons, Kryten and Cat's quantum entanglement in Entangled, the build-up to and the last line of Dear Dave and practically everything in The Beginning, while Richard O'Callaghan, Alex Hardy, Simon Treves and Philip Labey are fantastic. Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn and Doug Naylor prove they can still do it.

Dirk Gently
Stephen Mangan and Darren Boyd return for another three excellent episodes of holistic detection and then some idiot cancelled it. Whoever they are, they should be ashamed. They sicken me.

All In The Best Possible Taste
Grayson Perry's exploration of the relationship between taste and class is absolutely fascinating as are the tapestries that he created as a result of the people he met along the way.

Doctor Who: Asylum Of The Daleks; Dinosaurs On A Spaceship; The Power Of Three; The Snowmen
Jenna-Louise Coleman and Arthur Darvill are phenomenal as the TARDIS finds itself in the Asylum Of The Daleks and almost meets his new companion Oswin. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship does what it says on the tin, while the slow invasion of the cubes in The Power Of Three is a brilliant concept and Mark Williams is wonderful in them both. Coleman comes to the rescue in The Snowmen as Clara helps defeat the Great Intelligence, dies and still manages to give me hope for the future of the show.

Doctor Who: A Thousand Tiny Wings; Survival Of The Fittest 1
The Seventh Doctor returns on radio in A Thousand Tiny Wings, set during the Mau Mau uprising in fifties Kenya, the story deals well with its historical setting, Sylvester McCoy, Tracey Childs and Ann Bell are fantastic, the dialogue is sharp "your roots are showing", the base-under-siege is both traditional and inventive due to the fascinating historical setting and the all-female besieged cast of characters. The first part of Survival Of The Fittest tells Klein's Story in a fantastic series of flashbacks to an alternative reality in which the Nazis won World War II with a surprising guest star.

Cornershop: Urban Turban - The Singhles Club
The band evidently enjoyed their last album work with Bubbley Kaur, because their eighth album is entirely made up of collaborations. Cornershop have teamed up with the likes of Castle Hill Primary, Kay Kwong, SoKo and Castle Hill Primary for some great tracks.
Stand-Out Tracks: 'What Did The Hippie Have In His Bag?', 'Concrete Concrete', 'Something Makes You Feel Like' and 'What Did The Hippie Have In His Bag? (The High Slung Satchel)'

Doctor Who: The Chains Of Olympus 2-4; Sticks & Stones; The Cornucopia Caper; The Broken Man; Imaginary Enemies
On a visit to Ancient Greece, the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory meet Socates and Plato and face up to Zeus in the last three parts of a great story with a fantastic scene of Socrates outwitting his God with logic. Sticks & Stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you. Or they might in a story best summed up by the line "evil goth teen from outer space, turning everyone into zombies", the Leximorphs are a surprisingly impressive visual and ending is a nice touch. The Cornucopia Caper sees the TARDIS trio blunder into a great strip that is part heist movie, part Muppet Mafia and with a very shocking cliffhanger. The Broken Man is a cold war spy thriller with some very nice characterisation that leaves the question hanging "What is buried in man?", while Imaginary Enemies is a nice Doctorless Christmassy flashback to Amy, Rory and Mel's childhood, which builds to a brilliant last page.

Harry Hill's Britpop Coconuts

Harry Hill's series of Britpop-inspired painted coconuts proves that even frontmen are shy. From left: Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, Gaz Coombes from Supergrass, Damon Albarn from Blur and Noel Gallagher from Oasis. I love that these exist.

What were your favourites from 2012?

Recommendations welcome.

Next month: 1987


mooderino said...

Interesting selection. I missed the Grayson Perry thing completely, will check it out on the web.

Moody Writing

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those were two of my favorite movies this year.
Have a great 2013, Dave!