Moments Out of Time 2012

Images, lines, gestures, moods from the year’s films

• Asleep in a balcony seat at the top of some golden-age movie palace, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is brought a telephone: The Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd) is calling from England….

• In Lincoln, the magnetic clasp of hands at the moment Stanton (Bruce McGill) and Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) finally receive news about a crucial battle…

• Fireflies: the compound at Abbottabad aswarm with night-vision dots, Zero Dark Thirty

• Gothic night woods, the rattle of wagon wheels on rough ground, the contrapuntal swinging of a lantern and a giant tooth: enter Dr. King Schulz (Christoph Waltz), Django Unchained

Skyfall: 007 (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) at the threshold of 39 Steps country…

• On the beach in Moonrise Kingdom: Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) tentatively boogie to Françoise Hardy’s “Le Temps de l’Amour”…

Moonrise Kingdom

• “Girl from the North Country” playing as Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper) sit cross-legged on the floor, beginning a life-saving dance—Silver Linings Playbook

• “I would like to be cohesive” … Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Moon and Cate Blanchett sharing a frame, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

• Cat sitting atop abandoned iron lung in a dark room, The Sessions

• Coffin with memory drawer optional, Bernie

• In the sepia palette of memory, the soft, volcanic flare when (Rachel Weisz) lights, draws on a cigarette, one measure of appetite and passion in The Deep Blue Sea

Easy Money: JW (Joel Kinnaman) stares at the back of a golden girl’s neck, turned on by the erotics of privilege….

• Young Heathcliff (Solomon Glave), pressed against Cathy’s (Shannon Beer) back as they ride on the moor, breathes in her hair while his hand grazes the horse’s flank — Wuthering Heights….

• Orgiastic swell of sacred harp hymn as Bertha (Mia Wasikowska) kneels and washes Jack Bondurant’s (Shia LaBoeuf) filthy feet, in Lawless

• Deep in a Paris sewer, a perverse pietà: Beauty (Eva Mendes) and the Beast (Denis Lavant), Holy Motors

• Pietà in Robot & Frank: Frank (Frank Langella) cradling his “son,” after erasing Robot’s harddrive…

• Freddie Quell, surreally tiny, sharing a bench with his hometown sweetheart, just one of his larger-than-life Mothers in The Master

• “Name me.” Olivia Wilde to Charlie Hunnam, Deadfall

Anna Karenina: The crackling sound of Anna’s (Keira Knightley) agitated paper fan, like the wings of a moth beating against light, as she watches her lover ride in a horserace…

Hope Springs: Kay (Meryl Streep): “I’m not comfortable with oral sex.” Dr. Feld (Steve Carrel): “Giving or receiving?” Kay: “What?”…

Django Unchained: blood spattering snow-white cotton bolls…

Looper Senior (Bruce Willis) face to face with Looper Junior (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) over breakfast in a heartland diner…

• Late-night diner schmooze between two battered hockey “enforcers,” one rising (Seann William Scott), one in decline (Liev Schreiber)—Goon

Amour: a slap that, in small, shatters civilization…

• Shadows of passing soldiers flickering over the faces of Lincoln and Grant (Jared Harris) as they keep each other company on a roadside porch, post–Civil War carnage—Lincoln

• Tarantino’s uncanny instinct for setup and suspension: in Django Unchained, the hilltop vantage on a man plowing a field, as two men (Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx) argue the merits of his extermination…

• Surveyed from a distance, on high, the track that connects Prometheus and the alien ship takes on a strange immanence: an umbilical link between “gods” and men….

• Barely glimpsed in Life of Pi: the shape of the eat-and-be-eaten island softens into the form of dreaming Vishnu….

Tabu: In silent black-and-white, Portuguese colonials do the twist on a lawn in the middle of darkest Africa….

• Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) coping with horse dander, The Hobbit

The Intouchables: Driss’s (Omar Sy) amoral delight when his paralyzed employer (François Cluzet) doesn’t react to the hot coffee Driss has just poured over his leg…

• Debbie (Leslie Mann) touching Desi’s (Megan Fox) breasts in This Is 40: “They’re like memory mattresses—Tempur-Pedic!”…

• In Argo, the always Moment-ous Philip Baker Hall: “The United States Government has just sanctioned your science fiction movie.”…

• Michaels Stuhlbarg and Pitt: who better to initiate us, however unexpectedly, into the madcap zone of Seven Psychopaths?…

• Kneeling aurochs, paying homage to Hushpuppy—Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) summoning her orca, the great black perfect circle of its head, front on, materializing out of the blue of a screen-filling tank—Rust and Bone

• In Luck, a man falling in love: Chester Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), seated outside his ailing horse’s stall in the night, registers a noble head swinging toward him….

• A gigantic jellyfish swimming in a night-blue sky, backdrop for silhouettes practicing lethal martial arts—Skyfall

• The erotic squeak of rubber against rubber as two figures in scarlet motion-capture suits mimic sex, replicated by writhing alien avatars on the screen behind them—Holy Motors

• “One of your vertebrae is protruding—it must be put back.” The awful craaackk! that follows marks an end to the orgy of breakage in The Dark Knight Rises

Bernie: Preparing to address the jury, pompous DA Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) carefully wipes his mouth with his tie….

Magic Mike: Leather-vested cowboy Dallas’s (Matthew McConaughey) deliciously dirty drawl as he explains the rules to the ladies packing his strip club: “The laaaaw says you can’t touch….”

• Mr. Tarantino blows up real good, Django Unchained

• Crate delivery at 4 a.m., Boardwalk Empire

• Flaying a man down to the soul—Carrie (Claire Danes) breaking Brody (Damian Lewis) in Homeland

Silver Linings Playbook: Just finished reading A Farewell to Arms, Pat wakes his father (Robert De Niro) to register a protest—”She dies, Dad!”…

• Aro’s (Michael Sheen) maniacal shriek of laughter at the sight of Renesmee—most welcome blasphemy in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom: the once and future Mr. Big (Chris Noth), naked except for a leopard thong, pounding away on his treadmill…

Sons of Anarchy: On his knees, howling, at the edge of a pit, Tig (Kim Coates) watches his daughter burn alive….

• A twinkling yacht gliding under the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk: The Master‘s West Coast version of Gatsby’s green light…

The Paperboy: in the bayou at night, the eye of a gator glowing like a lantern…

• Three sick souls (Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, James Badge Dale) sharing a smoke and some straight talk in a hospital stairwell, Flight

Prom­etheus: Über-android David (Michael Fassbender) gravely combing his hair to look like Peter O’Toole’s do in Lawrence of Arabia

• The costumes that fail: KKK bagheads in Django Unchained (it’s the eyeholes that’s the problem)…

The Sessions: Father Brendan (William H. Macy), decked out in bandana and red-white-and-blue running gear, toting six-pack, arrives at the home of his paralyzed parishioner (John Hawkes)….

• Moral nicety in Deadfall: When a killer (Eric Bana) sneers, “Who are you, my mother?” Sissy Spacek ripostes, “Somebody’s mother.”…

• “Look upon your work, Mother”: in Skyfall, Silva (Javier Bardem) removing the scaffolding of his ruined face for M’s edification…

• The Home we must care for … Promised Land pauses to enjoy the pastoral magic of farm pond and hills as night comes on in Western Pennsylvania….

• Depending on your POV in The Deep Blue Sea: “This is a tragedy” … “Sad perhaps, but hardly Sophocles.”…

• “That’s it for me.” In The Grey, camera moves slowly in on Diaz (Frank Grillo), propped against a log, surveying magnificent forest, mountains, and what might be the big two-hearted river….

• “A lady from days gone by and a sad and melancholic crocodile,” keeping ghostly company in a moonlit jungle, Tabu

• Odalisque with kitten: Eve (Kara Hayward) in her Moonrise Kingdom

• Tiffany’s (Jennifer Lawrence) one-word eloquence in Silver Linings Playbook: that “Hey!” grenade each time she ambushes Pat (Bradley Cooper), and her flat, deal-closed “OK” after his passionate declaration of love…

• “Argo fuck yourself!” John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck sharing a toast…

• Freddie Quell’s gaunted, crucified face as he listens to Lancaster Dodd crooning “Slow Boat to China,” in The Master

• Introductory CU of dead-eyed Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), a perfectly malevolent black snake—Django Unchained

• In This Is 40, Albert Brooks explaining, “You can’t use up a Jew card—it goes forever!”…

• “Make her fun! I want a fun queen!” Christian, King of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), demands of his personal physician and fellow-rake (Mads Mikkelsen) in A Royal Affair….

• Auntie Phyllis and Frankie—Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam—dreamily slow-dancing … so wrong, and yet so right: 3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom

The Hobbit: Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) dialogue with their eyes….

ParaNorman‘s ringtone: the iconic theme from John Carpenter’s Halloween

• While Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) hides from her demons under a pool table, the past starts to replay as a little girl’s legs suddenly dangle from table’s edge—Silent House

The Grey: A little girl’s long hair sweeps over a dying man’s face in benediction….

End of Watch: Every sweet, raunchy conversation—the jazzy riffs of friendship—between cop brothers-in-arms (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) as they cruise the mean streets of South Central…

• In Premium Rush, Michael Shannon as psycho cop Bobby Monday, nailing the kind of genial, even reasonable dementia that shrinks the world into his personal playpen; possibly American kin to Hans Landa…

• The prolonged demolishing of a man in a bathtub, The Snowtown Murders

Magic Mike: Stripper Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), bent over a sewing machine, mending his jockstrap…

• The future Robin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ducking a swarm of bats just before the end of The Dark Knight Rises

• Any one of Tommy Lee Jones’ many eloquent double-takes on the therapy couch, in Hope Springs

• Bedtime reading in Lincoln: the 13th Amendment…

The Hobbit: the fingers of a statue flexing…

• Say goodbye to Miss Lara, Django Unchained

Killing Them Softly: Cogan (Brad Pitt) watching Mickey (James Gandolfini) drink a beer…

• Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), blood-smeared and naked except for the belt wrapped tight around his neck, lurching dreamily down a hotel hallway—Boardwalk Empire

• Last man standing in The Grey, Liam Neeson shoves his great Celtic mug up into a dead-white sky and thunders at God: “Show me something real!”…

• Maya (Jessica Chastain) alone in the back of a vast transport plane, Zero Dark Thirty: where to now?…

 


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