Jessica Chastain in Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty"

No fanfare this year and not a lot of dancing around or justifying. Here are my favorite movies of 2012:

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Amour
  3. Lincoln
  4. The Life of Pi
  5. The Kid with a Bike
  6. Holy Motors
  7. Cloud Atlas
  8. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
  9. The Master
  10. Beasts of the Southern Wild

I ultimately saw fewer movies than usual this year especially in the documentary department, but the amount I saw that was good compared to what wasn’t was as high as it’s been since 2007. There was a lot of great stuff this year, especially in US Cinema. Here’s looking forward to 2013.

Happy New Year, everyone!

20 Responses to “Living in Cinema’s Top 10 of 2012”

  1. Good list, though I would’ve left Cloud Atlas off but that’s no biggie. I’m looking forward to Amour and ZD30. Sorry I missed Jeff, and am very glad you reminded me of The Kid with a Bike.

    Have you been able to get to a screening of The Central Park 5 yet?

  2. Haha, I would argue it’s been a weak year, but it’s been a weak year since 2008, I think. But glad Cloud Atlas is in it, and I’m a bit surprised Life of Pi is so high up — I didn’t love the book, so it’s understandable why I didn’t love the movie… even if I think that both CA and LoP are the most beautiful movies this year. xD

    Also, great to see Kid with a Bike there, even though I wouldn’t be able to include it in my 2012 list. haha

  3. 1. django unchained
    2. killing them softly
    3. cloud atlas
    4. the turin horse
    5. samsara
    6. red hook summer
    7. lincoln
    8. zero dark thirty
    9. haywire
    10. the master

  4. My final new-to-me film from 2012 was Life of Pi. And it was really good IMO (it stands on my Top 10 at the moment).

    The other film that I have seen on your list is Lincoln. I liked the performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field… the rest of the film was pretty good, but I don’t think it’s that outstanding as most people say.

  5. Excellent list.

    Your top four would make my own 10 for sure. Your choices are an eclectic mix, with a few that obviously have shown wide appeal.

    I will be working on my own (pun intended, Ha!) over the next two days, as I have seen the last of the films I need to see.

    My #1 film is definitely THE TURIN HORSE.

    Then would come in any order to be determined 9 films of these:

    The Life of Pi
    Les Miserables
    War Witch
    Zero Dark Thirty
    Oslo, August 17th
    Lincoln
    The Impossible
    The Deep Blue Sea
    Amour
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    The Kid with a Bike
    Holy Motors
    Bernie
    Footnote
    Monsieur Lazhar
    Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
    This is Not A Film
    The Central Park Five
    Frankenweenie
    Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
    Argo

  6. I accidentally left off DJANGO UNCHAINED, which will definitely make the final cut of ten.

  7. Good to see Anatolia and Bernie mentioned. I loved Jack Black in it — he doesn’t get enough respect for his talents.

    But what’s the fuss about The Impossible? Is it really good? The trailer leaves me thinking it’s rather mushy, even though I love MacGregor and Watts.

  8. I never did catch up with JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME. I got it out of Redbox one day then never watched it and took it back.

    For what it’s worth, my top ten this year was:

    1. The Turin Horse
    2. Holy Motors
    3. Amour
    4. The Master
    5. The Deep Blue Sea
    6. This is Not a Film
    7. Lincoln
    8. Barbara
    9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    10. Girl Walk//All Day

    Sam, I find it interesting that you hated TABU so much but loved THE TURIN HORSE. I’m obviously a big fan of TURIN as well, but I would think that some of the criticisms you leveled at TABU could easily be applied to TURIN HORSE from a certain point of view.

  9. Pierre, I really liked THE IMPOSSIBLE. It’s schmaltz, but it’s pretty damn good schmaltz. The tsunami sequence is one of the best scenes of the year.

  10. Matthew I also had no use for BARBARA, but was was a huge fan of THE LIVES OF OTHERS, a film that had some similar vibes.

    Tarr’s vision was acutely focused while Gomez’s was not for me. Tarr was going for a wider, more apocalyptic vision here. But I see what you are saying.

    I do like HOLY MOTORS quite a bit, and it just misses my list. I have voiced my issues with THE MASTER in the past. Still yet again we show we have similar taste in movies for the most part. This has been running for several years now. I also like THE HOBBIT, but it misses the list.

    My final list:

    1. The Turin Horse
    2. The Life of Pi
    3. Oslo, August 17th
    4. Les Miserables
    5. War Witch
    6. Zero Dark Thirty
    7. Lincoln
    8. Django Unchained
    9. The Impossible
    10. The Deep Blue Sea and Amour (tie)

    Every year I have a tie for the 10th spot, thus my list is 11.

    The very close runners-up list of films that barely missed are:

    Holy Motors
    The Kid with a Bike
    Monsieur Lazhar
    Planet of Snail
    A Royal Affair
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    Footnote
    Bernie
    Frankenweenie
    Argo
    Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
    This is NOT a Film
    The Central Park Five

  11. I haven’t had time to watch WAR WITCH yet since it’s technically a 2013 release, but I’ll carve out some time for it soon. I’m a big fan of OSLO, AUGUST 31ST as well and it just missed my list. Also just missing the list were FOUND MEMORIES, BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, TABU, PARANORMAN, CRAZY HORSE, THE IMPOSTER, ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, STARLET, and MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

    I’ve had the ROYAL AFFAIR screener sitting on my DVD player for months. I’ll try to watch it sometime before the Oscars. I also really liked MEA MAXIMA CULPA, and think it may end up winning Best Documentary.

  12. I have so much left to see, but here’s where my top 10 stands at the present time:

    1. It’s Such a Beautiful Day
    2. The Loneliest Planet
    3. The Turin Horse
    4. Holy Motors
    5. Cloud Atlas
    6. Bernie
    7. Moonrise Kingdom
    8. Only the Young
    9. Goon
    10. The Day He Arrives

    Runners-up: Damsels in Distress, Django Unchained, The Grey, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, The Kid With a Bike, The Master, This Is Not a Film

    Need to see again: The Deep Blue Sea (which kind of lost me after the shark at Samuel L. Jackson)

    Still need to see: Almayer’s Folly, Amour, Argo, Barbara, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Cosmopolis, In Another Country, Lincoln, Looper, Oki’s Movie, Room 237, Rust and Bone, Silver Linings Playbook, Sister, Skyfall, To Rome With Love, Zero Dark Thirty, and many many more.

  13. Nowhere near having seen as many films as I need to in order to feel like I can offer a Top Ten, but among my favorites of 2012 are Lincoln, Bernie, Holy Motors, The Turin Horse, The Day He Arrives, Killing Them Softly, Damsels in Distress, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Killer Joe, Monsieur Lazhar, Samsara, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which kind of floored me since I was so apathetic toward seeing it).

  14. Moonrise Kingdom, too! Meant to write it among the very first three films, as it is probably currently my “rough draft” #2 or #3. Most emotionally devastating film for me all year, actually; maybe I wanted to repress it for a moment, ha. This actually was a damned good year, and like I say above, I’m still in need of seeing so many other films…

  15. The last thing this thread needs is yet another list from Sam Juliano. I know that and I come back here red-faced. Alas Matthew Lucas is correct. By my own rules I must hold WAR WITCH for 2013, since it opens in US theatres commercially in March and will make the lists of the professional critics at the end of next year. I saw it at Tribeca. It’s a very great film, and I’m sure it will hold up all the way through to the end of 2013. So I revamped and re-evaluated my list, making a few relatively minor chambers.

    My final list:

    1. The Turin Horse
    2. The Life of Pi
    3. Oslo, August 17th
    4. Les Miserables
    5. Zero Dark Thirty
    6. Lincoln
    7. The Impossible
    8. Monsieu Lazhar
    9. Django Unchained
    10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
    and
    The Deep Blue Sea

    Every year I have a tie for the 10th spot, thus my list is 11.

    The very close runners-up list of films that barely missed are:

    Holy Motors
    Amour
    The Kid with a Bike
    Planet of Snail
    A Royal Affair
    Footnote
    Bernie
    Frankenweenie
    Argo
    Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
    This is NOT a Film
    The Central Park Five
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
    The Hobbit

    Done. I wash my hands of it.

  16. Sam — it’s still not too late to do a little tweaking…… :)

  17. Didn’t mean to rain on your parade Sam. You’ve just gotten a head start on your 2013 list. :-)

  18. Thanks for that Pierre!!! LOL!!!

    No Matthew, you were right there. The idea is maintaining consistency every year.

    Don’t know why I keep writing down AUGUST 17TH instead of AUGUST 31ST for the Norwegian film.

    Senility. The 17TH has no special meaning to me! Ha!

  19. There are so many movies that I still haven’t caught up with that it’s impossible for me to make a top 10 list at this point. But it’s nice what made everyone else’s cut.

    Happy New Year to all the LiCers!

  20. I’m with you, Alison — too early to say.

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