Best Films of 2012, 11 months late

After more than 11 months have passed since the turn of the year, I finally get to posting the list for what I consider to be the best films of 2012.
Out of the more than 60 films from last year that I managed to see, 18 received at least a 4/5 or “very good” rating, which is exactly one more than the amount I rated as high in 2011. The average score at this moment is 2.9, which is also in line with the average from the previous year. Out of these 18, only 5 were given 4.5/5 and no films received a perfect score. My count for 5/5 rated films remains stationed at 14 films total, with the last entry being ‘A Separation’ from 2011.

Here is the list of my favorite 18 films of 2012:

4/5s

moonrise-kingdom

18. MOONRISE KINGDOM  

Whimsical and beautifully realized but without punch.

The Imposter

17. THE IMPOSTER

Suspenseful and disturbing documentary. Cleverly constructed, but with little replay value.

Brave

16. BRAVE

Not as adorable as Wall-E or as emotionally powerful as Up. Still compelling and beautifully animated. A return to form by Pixar.

Michael Fassbender - Prometheus

15. PROMETHEUS

Kick-ass performances by Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender save the film from its overly elaborate story. Less interesting than most of the Alien franchise, but with great special effects nonetheless.

The Raid

14. THE RAID: REDEMPTION

If this is how action films will be like in the future, please sign me up.  A take-no-prisoners approach that does without the fillers of the typical Hollywood blockbuster.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

13. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Some of the best acting of the year. A truly great performance by Jenniffer Lawrence in a compelling love tale between two misfits.

Affleck

12. ARGO

Certainly not my pick for Best Picture, but a very engrossing watch nonetheless. Ben Affleck proves he is a capable director with a knack for storytelling.

The Dark Knight Rises

11. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

At times it felt overelaborate but the twists toward the end are more than a fitting capstone for the greatest superhero franchise in film. Tom Hardy stole the show as Kane.

KillerJoe_2010.12.07_Day19of28_MG_6178.jpg

10. KILLER JOE

A killer for hire film with a twist. A tour-de-force performance by Matthew MCoughnahey, who is both terryfing and charming in his portrayal of the corrupt policeman with a very peculiar (and ironic) side job.

Holy Motors

9. HOLY MOTORS

A puzzle of a film that demands attention. Endlessly interesting as an art piece and a truly unique experience.

Ruby Sparks

8. RUBY SPARKS

One of the most original romantic tales I have seen lately.
Paul Dano plays his most approachable and likeable character yet with effortless intensity. A film of many layers.

End-of-Watch_05

7. END OF WATCH (originally a 4.5/5, reconsidered to a 4/5)

When it comes to buddy-films, it would be hard for me to find a film more genuine and effortlessly acted than End of Watch. Sure, the story in itself is not the most original or surprising, but the banter between Jake Gyllenhall and Michael Pena is to die for.

life-of-pi

6. LIFE OF PI

A visual marvel.
In terms of storytelling, Life of Pi is not without its faults, especially in the first and final acts. However, the adventure of a young teen and a tiger stranded in the middle of the ocean that takes up the majority of the running time is probably the most engrossing bit of cinema of 2012.

4.5/5s

django-unchained-1

5. DJANGO UNCHAINED

Up until the final act, Django was a solid 5/5 for me. A script that could have only been made by Quentin Tarantino, which is both a dark comedy and an epic drama that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

4. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (originally 4/5, reconsidered to a 4.5/5)

In terms of story, I cannot find any other film in this list that made me feel so many conflicting emotions. I could relate to what was happening on the screen because it is a sobering reminder of what high school was like or, should I say, what could have been like.

Looper

3. LOOPER

 ♦ Candidate to the Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 films ♦

The best sci-fi film of 2012 reunites Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis playing two versions of the same man, one the young and bashful, the latter the old and vengeful man full of regret.
The story is engrossing, the characters believable and the concept truly fascinating. A time travel film that manages to feel fresh and different.

Amour

2. AMOUR

♦ Candidate to the Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 films ♦

A beautiful tale of sacrifice in the name of love. It is Michael Haneke’s masterpiece of self-reflection and quiet perserverance. A must watch!

The-Intouchables

1. THE INTOUCHABLES

♦♦ Official Inclusion to the Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 films ♦♦

An incredibly charming piece of cinema that will make you fall in love with all of its characters. It’s impossible not to smile and feel good once you are done with this film. A delightful surprise.

Highly rated blind spots:

Oslo, August 31st
Chimpanzee
Safety not Guaranteed
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Rampart

Honorable mentions (almost 4s):

Chronicle
The Grey
Arbitrage
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Film of any year watched for the 1st time in 2012: A Separation

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10 thoughts on “Best Films of 2012, 11 months late

  1. Love the new layout.
    I keep getting Silver Linings Playbook from the library, but still haven’t watched it or the Perks of Being a Wallflower. Maybe I’ll get to them this Christmas.

    End of Watch: The whole time I could tell how it was going to end, but I still cried like a baby.

    Liked Looper. I don’t think it would have made my top 3, However I get tons of pleasure teasing my cousin who hates the ending and therefore calls it a dumb movie. Tear for JGL.

    The Dark Knight Rises would have been higher up for me, considering I didn’t really want to see it. I thought the trailer sucked and I’ve never been a fan of Christian Bale as Batman. I think he benefits from a stellar supporting case. However, the movie was great. I saw it in Chicago actually.

    1. The End of Watch is predictable, no question, but I still hoped for a different ending given that I had grown so fond of the characters. Also, I feel they handled it pretty well towards in the second to last scene and, instead of a speech at the funeral, he was just too overwhelmed and walked away. Heartbreaking stuff.

      You should definitely get to Perks and Silver Linings. The first resonated with me so strongly, it’s one of the best coming-of-age films I’ve ever seen, and the book is pretty good too.

      You should also give The Intouchables a shot. It was a no-brainer to have it come ranked in the #1 spot. It really was that pleasurable to watch and it’s a very happy film, so you shouldn’t feel hesitation.

      My blog missed you. I’ll head over to yours as soon as I get a chance.

  2. So many awesome films here, you certainly watched a lot of movies from that year! You are going by US release dates, right?
    Happy to see THE IMPOSTER, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and THE INTOUCHABLES feature, the later I included in my top 10 of the decade so far. Perks and Moonrise were considered. http://letterboxd.com/mas365/list/the-decade-so-far-top-10/

    I still need to check out The RAID and Safety not Guaranteed.Have you seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012)?

    1. I did catch “The Master”. It was an interesting watch but I can’t say it resonated with me, or that it stayed in my mind after a couple of days.
      I’m heading to your post to check on your picks for best films of the decade. I’m glad we both think so highly of The Intouchables, a film that was so under the radar but that deserved a lot more recognition.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Have watched all the movie and agree with your number one, it was mine as well. Amour I was not a big fan of, although it was a very well made film, just a bit too slow for my taste. Holy Motors was a very strange movie, the bit in the cemetery was fascinating, but the rest I really didn’t know what to think of.

    1. Amour can be pretty tedious if not watched on the right mood, but I connected with the story a lot as it had me almost in tears. The replay value is almost non-existent, but some films are only meant to be seen once.
      Holy Motors was definitely “strange”, but there’s just so much to talk about in the film that merits a careful analysis.
      Glad you agree about The Intouchables. The film should have received a lot more attention than it did. It was very well reviewed nonetheless.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Nice selections here Niels! Man I still haven’t got around to seeing THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. Will have to do that soon as everyone seems to love it. That’s amazing that the author of the novel is able to adapt it to film so well!

  5. Nice list, Niels. Cool to see The Intouchables at #1 — that was one of my biggest surprises last year. I was worried it would fall into the usual cliches, but I was hooked from the first scene. Great film.

    As for your blind spots, Oslo, August 31st and Beasts of the Southern Wild are must sees. Safety Not Guaranteed is a fun little film. Rampart is pretty bad though. I still need to see Chimpanzee.

    1. I’ve read mixed reviews about Beasts of the Southern Wild, and it just doesn’t peak my interest as much, but it’s there in my list of films to watch, just don’t know when I’ll get to it.
      I definitely mean to watch Oslo since everyone seems to have liked it a lot.
      Glad you enjoyed The Intouchables as well. The feel-good film of 2012 for sure.

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