Once again we’ve come to the end of another year and it’s time for the various top 10 lists to emerge covering everything from video games, comics, and of course films. Below you will find my best films for 2012 with a couple of caveats. Firstly there are a number of films that might make my list but which I have not yet had time to view, or alternatively despite international openings in December, the Australian release date has tipped over into 2013 excluding the film from consideration until this time next year.Secondly in previous years I’ve wrestled with the idea of a definitively ranked “top 10” list as different films lend to different viewing experiences and it’s difficult to apply a baseline level of enjoyment for comparison across all kinds of films. I love both 500 Days of Summer and Dredd but they offer incredibly varied viewing experiences.
For this reason I have compiled my top 10 films of 2012 without any order of ranking, I’ll merely list them in alphabetical order below, followed by some honourable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut. Here we go……
Ben Affleck continues to show his prowess behind the camera with the release of Argo, based on real life events (but not without some creative licence) Argo captures some wonderful performances, while featuring excellent suspense and a nod towards the 70’s sci/fi film industry which I found unapologetically charming.
Dredd 3D took the character of Judge Dredd out of the source material and propelled him up onto the big screen without sanitisation, without making it palatable for the masses, and with the uncompromising vision that was required to translate the spirit of the books. It’s violent, brutal, cleverly shot, comprised of a strong cast, and comes with some of the best use of 3D this year and all on a modest budget.
Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly excelled at weaving together an immersive story in the criminal underworld, displaying an excellent narrative, with some stylish (albeit brutal) cinematic sequences. Both Brad Pitt and Ben Mendelsohn delivered great performances from an excellent script.
Unfortunately Lawless went under the radar somewhat without leaving any real impression at the box office however written by Nick Cave the film is quite ambitious and weaves together an interesting tale with good acting against a grounded setting of the great depression.
Director Rian Johnson left a great impression on this year with his refreshing take on the very familiar genre of sci/fi time travel films. Johnson was able to bring out the best performance from Bruce Willis we’ve seen in a while, and delivered a science fiction film with emotionally relatable themes. Looper is a great modern example of a film containing as much substance as style. Minor spoiler here but who would have guessed one of the best sci/fi films of the year would at its heart be as much about loving parenting as anything else!
There’s little that can be said about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers that hasn’t already been said, however there is no doubting the achievement of this film. It was unprecedented for a movie cross over event to span no less than four separate franchises with a story arc of arguably up to six films but Marvel has pulled it off, and a film that could have been an incoherent mess is one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan wrapped up his take on Batman/Bruce Wayne this year with some mixed reactions from critics. Rises is without a doubt a hugely enjoyable and generally well crafted film though it is also not without its problems. After so many films we still have yet to see the “definitely version” of this character on screen but overall this is a compelling film and a fitting send off to this incarnation of the long celebrated character.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Financially the latest trek across middle earth is doing very well, critically not so much. For myself however I couldn’t help but love it. Martin Freeman has done a wonderful job as Bilbo, and it’s refreshing to see a hobbit who actually wanted to go on an adventure. The High Frame Rate version of this film is unquestionably a mixed experience, but the film itself takes the smaller tale of The Hobbit, and delivers a lovable and engaging experience. I still consider the jury out on whether a trilogy adaptation was a good thing or not, however the seeds are evident in An Unexpected Journey on what the additional material is going to cover but we’ll have to wait two more years before having some more perspective on that decision.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky’s passion project The Perks of Being a Wallflower is filled with good writing, good performances and a very intimate tale that explores the friendships and relationships of its central characters. The film displays a clear progression of its characters arcs with a great amount of detail and care. Thematically the content of the film is very dark, though it achieves a good balance of drama and humour along the way without compromising the gravity of the subject matter.
The Sessions is another strong character piece of 2012 with a brilliant performance from John Hawkes who displays so much commitment to the role. With a confronting issue as the centrepiece the film takes an uplifting approach to the subject matter.
So there you have my top 10 films for 2012, however there were many others coming close so for some honourable mentions we have;
Cabin in the Woods
21 Jump Street
2013 is looking to be another big year in movies, some of my most anticipated releases include;
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Oz: The Great and Powerful
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lastly for good measure, the biggest announcement in film news for 2012? The Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, Star Wars: Episode VII cannot come fast enough, no doubt there will be much news on this project in the months ahead.
Happy new year to all our readers!