Carlos (Olivier Assayas) **** - Calling this a "biopic" is almost an insult. I would consider it more a fascinating character study more than anything. I also would personally rank this as one of the best films about terrorists and terrorism alongside Battle of Algiers. Edgar Ramirez gives a mighty impressive performance as Carlos The Jackal (Funny, the over-5-hour miniseries never once called him that). His arc throughout the (fictionalized) film resembles more of a down-and-out celebrity than as this legendary larger-than-life revolutionary/evil terrorist (depending on who you ask). It's a miniseries, technically but you'll most likely find yourself wanting to watch it in one sitting. It's really that compelling. Probably my favorite film of 2010.
Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright) ***1/2 - This is
probably my least favorite Edgar Wright film but that's like saying dark
chocolate is my least favorite chocolate and I love chocolate. This film is a
real treat. It's a very funny film that both satirizes and pays tribute to big
loud action movies of the '80s and '90s particularly the Tony Scott/Michael Bay
flicks while still maintaining a strong sense of story and character. The last
45 minutes is particularly amazing.
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
****- The last Best Picture of 2012 finally crossed off. Ah yes. Writer-director
Quentin Tarantino doesn't say anything new about slavery and racism in the
South. But what he does is an extremely effective highly stylized ode to
spaghetti Westerns and exploitation flicks. It is a Tarantino film through and
through, complete with the over-the-top violence and hilarious dialogue to go
with it. It is NOT my favorite Tarantino flick but I'm an unapologetic fan of
his work so this is indeed one of my favorite films of the year. I had a
problem, at first, with its weird structure that introduces, what is essentially
a fourth act but after thinking about it and letting it digest, I decided it was
a real good touch.