Friday, January 11, 2013

Top 10 Films of 2012

Although for the second year in a row my personal tastes vary wildly from those of Oscar voters, I can happily say that I saw a lot of films that affected me greatly in 2012. And that, to me, has always been film’s purpose: to generate feeling. Awards are a luxury, emotion is a necessity. In addition, I’m really pleased by the fact that all of the films listed below are so completely different. It was a fine year, and an eclectic one as well. (Titles link to my initial reviews. DVD dates are US specific.)

10. Holy Motors – dir. by Leos Carax
Earlier this year, I dubbed 2012 as The Year of the Polarizing Film. No truer word could describe Leos Carax’s first feature film in 13 years, the baffling, belligerent, and rather brilliant Holy Motors. Denis Lavant, playing a different character in every passing scene, redefines the artifice of acting in the most thrilling way possible. To divulge any more of the plot in the limited space I have here will prove to be an exercise in futility. Simply put: Holy Motors is best discovered for yourself, if you so dare.

I saw this film in a packed theater in November. The minute it concluded, my girlfriend looked at me and quietly said, “Uh, did I miss something?” My reply: “I think we all did.” Exactly. Available on DVD Feb. 26

9. Killing Them Softly – dir. by Andrew Dominik 
To continue the case of 2012 as the year of polarization, I present Andrew Dominik’s frustratingly deliberate Killing Them Softly as my next piece of evidence. The film’s story is thrilling – a mob enforcer (played with searing bravado by Brad Pitt) sent to New Orleans to whack two morons who jacked a card game – its execution, however, is not. And that certainly isn’t a bash. Killing Them Softly aims to be languorous. It opens doors it has no intention of closing, dives into wistful monologues that have nothing to do with plot (but everything to do with character development), and resolves in a way that many would not consider resolute. I loved the hell out of its careful tone. Many did not. And so it is and so it goes. Available on DVD March 26

8. Oslo, August 31st – dir. by Joachim Trier 
Oslo, August 31st is as fine a character study as was released this past year. A steely addiction drama capturing a life-in-a-day of a helpless young heroin fiend, the film slowly unveils its protagonist’s inner chaos with the pace of a snail, but the conviction of a judge. Anders Danielsen Lie, in one of the most criminally ignored performances of this or any year, portrays a haunting figure, a man we’re afraid to follow, but simply cannot leave in isolation. A cold and relentless movie feat. Currently available on DVD and Netflix Instant

7. Magic Mike – dir. by Steven Soderbergh
Perhaps the year’s biggest Joke’s On You cinematic achievement, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike was so much more than people initially gave it credit for. Smart, engaging, technically sound, structurally tight and, it must be said, fucking hilarious. Matthew McConaughey cemented his career comeback with a should’ve-been-nominated-for-an-Oscar role as sleazeball Dallas, while Channing Tatum proved that maybe just maybe, he’s got a little acting hustle. In short, Magic Mike was exactly what I’d hoped it’d be. And a little damn more, too. Currently available on DVD

6. Zero Dark Thirty – dir. by Kathryn Bigelow
Zero Dark Thirty was released wide only this morning, yet it has already stirred up more controversy than any film released in 2012. The film chronicles the arduous struggle to find and kill Osama bin Laden, and it does so in painstaking detail. With the precision of a surgeon, Kathryn Bigelow invites us into the closed-door moments (torturous and office-friendly alike) that are only absolutely necessary to propel the film’s plot. Personally, I think the people who refer to Zero Dark Thirty as pro-this or anti-that need to look closer. Bigelow’s film isn’t condoning or condemning anything, it’s a fly-on-the-wall approach to the greatest manhunt in human history. And a damn perfect one at that. Currently in theaters everywhere

5. Amour – dir. by Michael Haneke
It’s funny, Amour is easily Michael Haneke’s most controlled and… easy film, yet it’s certainly one of his most gut-wrenching. Known as the subtle provocateur of taxing works of art like Code UnknownCaché, and Funny Games, Haneke chose a more reserved (but no less devastating) route with Amour. The film tells the story of a husband’s increasingly inability to care for his wife following her debilitating stroke. As Anne’s health deteriorates, Georges’ self worth falls right with it. In two of the finest performances of the year, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva flawless convey the destruction of age and the heartbreak of despair. I mean really, who could possibly make a scene with a man, a pigeon, and a small blanket one of the most suspenseful sequences of the year? Michael Haneke, that’s who. Currently in a handful of independent theaters, expect more soon

4. Flight – dir. by Robert Zemeckis
There was no film released last year that I defended more tirelessly that Robert Zemeckis’ brutally honest Flight. Cinematically, I’m completely taken with the pain, anguish, deceit and possible resurrection of addiction. Noting this, Denzel Washington’s performance as a hopeless alcoholic in this film is one of the finest portrayals of addiction I have ever seen. Many would argue that a solid acting gig isn’t enough to root a feature film. Many would (and have), but certainly not me. The film’s climatic scene at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing was the single most devastating sequence I witnessed in any film in 2012. It was so profound, I put myself through it twice. Twice of many to come. Available on DVD Feb. 5

3. Compliance – dir. by Craig Zobel
As a rule, I firmly believe that no prior or subsequent research needs to be conducted in order to enjoy a movie. This includes reading books, evaluating comics, familiarizing yourself with a public figure – nothing. A film should be able to stand on its own as just that, a film. Which is why I cautiously admit that upon seeing Craig Zobel’s Compliance, I spent the better part of an evening scouring the Internet to see if what the film depicted was true.

Compliance tells the story of a seemingly average day at a fast food restaurant located in Middletown America. Soon into the day, shift manager Sandra (an alarmingly good Ann Dowd) receives a call from a police officer that one of her workers, Becky (Dreama Walker, heartbreaking in her acceptance) has stolen money from a customer. What develops is a cruel and unusual game in which the man on the phone exposes Becky to continued acts of humiliation at the hands of her friends and co-workers. Now, considering how far Compliance goes, I initially found it too improbable to be true. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. I went home and researched the film to death and, much to my disgust, discovered that everything depicted in Zobel’s film actually happened. Everything, documented unapologetically by security cameras. So, research or not, once you’ve seen Compliance, it’s impossible to turn your back on it. Currently available on DVD

2. Django Unchained – dir. by Quentin Tarantino
In looking at the films listed above, I can say honestly that they are a fair encapsulation of why I love movies. There’s pain, humor, heartbreak, some are dark, others are warm – collectively, they describe my cinematic tastes rather well. Django Unchained holds a different, special distinction. The others remind me what I love about certain movies, Django Unchained reminds me why I love movies period.

Tarantino’s bombastic slice of slavery pulp fiction was as daring and grand a film accomplishment as anything he’s done. He put a lot on the line in depicting Americans at their worst, for which he’s currently reaping praise and criticism alike. What I think some of QT’s detractors often forget is that the man never sets out to do anything more than make a film. He’s not setting a social agenda, he’s not telling you to view this thing his way – no, not in the slightest. The man aims to entertain, to elicit emotion, fervent delight – he wants nothing more than to make movies that are acutely aware that they are movies. The fact that his films are timestamp testaments of the best that the medium has to offer is simply a bonus. Currently in theaters everywhere

1. Rust and Bone – dir. by Jacques Audiard
As much as it pains me, I often find myself on the side of the argument lamenting that They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Sure, many good movies are made today, but measure the most recent Best Picture nominees to those of, say, 1975, and then you’ll get what I’m driving at. Despite this, it’s safe to say that I like a fair amount of movies every year. But love is a different word, one reserved for films special, and emotions reserved.

Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone is such a film. It’s a brutal, remorseless examination of sacrifice, desolation, and, most quizzically, true love. When we meet Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), I’m not entirely sure we’re meant to like him. He’s a dishonest, thankless man, and a neglecting father (at best). And when he literally runs into Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) I again don’t think it’s Audiard’s intention to make her likeable. She’s bitchy, despondent and generally cold natured. So, the moral dilemma of the film (from the audience’s perspective) is that once tragedy strikes Stéphanie, why are we supposed to give a shit? If we didn’t care about her then, why bother now? It’s a tough gamble, but one that, in my humble eye, Audiard executes miraculously.

The standard American formula for most romance films dictates that when the two unhappy people meet, they will form a quick and unyielding love for one another. Unanticipated tragedy only helps blossom the relationship. And that’s precisely what sets Rust and Bone apart: Ali and Stéphanie are essentially miserable with their lives, and once they circumstantially come together, it isn’t as if their misery is magically converted. Their affection for one another is never implicit, but rather reached through mutual understanding and horrifying consequence. In short, from the moment I fell under Rust and Bone’s spell, I was utterly enamored with its pain. Was, and am, and forever will be. Currently in a handful of independent theaters

And 10 More for good measure (alphabetically):
Argo, Ben Affleck
Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard
The Central Park Five, Ken Burns, Sarah Burns & David McMahon
The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan
Haywire, Steven Soderbergh
The Imposter, Bart Layton
Killer Joe, William Friedkin
The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson
Silver Linings Playbook, David. O Russell

73 comments:

  1. Right now, Rust and Bone is #2 in my list at the moment. There's a handful films for me to see till the night of the Oscars.

    For me, Rust and Bone is really unlike anything out there. It is a melodrama but not the kind of melodrama that is conventional. I didn't mind the fact that the leads weren't always likeable. It made it more appealing to me. I'm eager to see more of Audiard's work and await for what he'll do next.

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    1. Like I said on your site, I LOVE that Rust and Bone is ranked so highly on your list. Really glad we're in line there. You're right, it is so unconventional in all the best ways. Really quite something. A work of art I'll cherish forever.

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  2. damn. Rust and Bone, Amour and Compliance are on my must see list still. 3 of your good measure flicks are in my top 10 of the 2012 though.

    I enjoyed Flight and love Robert Zemeckis, but other than Denzil's stellar performance, I wasn't too head over heels with the film.

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    1. Oohh you have three GREAT flicks to see yet, in my opinion! Other than the people who made it, I'm not entirely sure anyone on the planet enjoyed Flight as much as I did. It just worked for me, in every way.

      I mean, I've known people like Whip. People exactly like Whip.

      Anyhow, thanks so much for reading. And hey, when you post your Top 10, be sure to let me know!

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  3. Great list Alex. I don't agree with all of them (I disliked Amour, Compliance and Holy Motors) but it's such a unique list!

    I'm really gutted I won't see Ruse + Bone before I make my list, I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

    Seeing Django next week too.

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    1. Thanks man! No argument whatsoever from me on your dislike for those three - three very tough films for very different reasons. I honestly had no idea Holy Motors would make the cut until the very end. But it has never escaped my mind.

      Hope you like Rust and Bone when you get around to it!

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  4. Neat list. My theater actually just got Rust and Bone so hopefully I'll be able to see it sometime soon. I do think it's kind of unfair you're comparing recent BP nominees with '75 (the one year that was literally impossible for the academy to fuck up) and I've always had the belief that most great movies don't make much of an impression on people when they first come out. The Shining, Blade Runner, and a majority of classic noir films are just a few of many examples of this happening. In the end it's how well the film holds up over time that really matters.
    -Dan

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    1. Oh my god, it is SO unfair to compare one year of films from another. No doubt, I openly admit that. But all's I'm saying is that the crop of films released in 2012 (or '11, or '10, or... you get it), don't measure up in the slightest to the crop of films released in any year of the '60s, '70s, or even the '90s. It may not be fair, but I do honestly think the overall quality of new releases has seriously diminished. Is all.

      Staying power for a film is arguably the most important aspect for me. Matt Damon said the Oscars for any given year should take place a decade after they were released. So this year, we'd be doing the 2002 Oscars. Think Chicago would win Best Picture? Ha. Interesting thought.

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  5. Glad Oslo made the list! I couldn't agree more about Lie's performance.

    I haven't seen the others yet. I'm most excited about Django Unchained and Amour. And I'm beginning to think Zero Dark Thirty would be a worthy addition to our homeschool history curriculum.

    Django is actually playing at the "dollar theater" downtown, but my husband never gets a night off work these days. And seeing a Tarantino flick without him would just be too fucking mean. :-)

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    1. That was a hell of a movie, for sure. Really blew me away. Probably the year's best kept secret. Ah, I'd love to dissect a few of these movies with you right now, but I understand that getting to the theater is a lot more difficult for some! Django, Amour, ZD30 and especially Compliance would, in my humble opinion, make for excellent topics for your curriculum. From a historical and/or moralistic perspective.

      Can't leave the man isolated alone from QT, no way!

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    2. Yeah ... film tickets are pricey for a family on a budget and the movie theaters are slim pickings in the Greater Staunton area.

      I actually found a link where I can watch a lot of those movies, though, if I can get it to work. I've been on a serious movie-watching jag this weekend, so maybe I'll try to see Amour, ZD30 and/or Compliance tonight.

      Would love to discuss them with you if we can both find the time. I'll tweet or e-mail you after I watch them.

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    3. It's damn expensive for my girlfriend and I... I can't imagine an entire family.

      Good stuff! Compliance is actually on DVD now, so that one should be particularly easy to find!

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  6. I liked Killing Them Softly, but didn't find it to be that great. I loved Django and Compliance. Didn't like Holy Motors and gave up 30 minutes in. I will be seeing Amour in the coming week. However, I'm profoundly sad that my phobia of whales is preventing me from seeing Rust And Bone since you've been recommending it so highly.

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    1. Dude first of all, thank you so much for your Best Discoveries of 2012 list. I put that on my Facebook (as did Catherine) and people flipped over it. What a genuine thrill to read that. So thanks!

      So glad you liked Compliance. And that's completely fair about Holy Motors. (Question: did you watch it at home, or in the theater? If I saw it at home, I honestly think I might've turned it off as well.)

      As for the whales... hmm, well, I'm sure you know what happens, and at the risk of giving too much away, let me just say that while it DOES happen, you honestly do not see anything. The only part of the whales you see is them doing their typical Sea World routine. The violence is implied, but not shown. So maybe that'll provoke you to see it...?

      Either way, thanks as always for reading, and thanks again for your inclusion of Earrings on your list!

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    2. No thank you for putting it out there. It's inspiring not just from a cinematic point of view, but in that you are accomplishing you goals. That takes guts.

      I did see Holy Motors at home on a boring Sunday, so maybe this has something to do with it. I can admit that I was not in the mood for a film of that type. I then cheated by reading what the rest of the plot was about and found it both off-putting and interesting.

      No, I literally cannot see whales. Even commenting on this piece is hard enough for me (I close my eyes and scroll to the death). I need serious therapy before seeing this film, which sucks because I'm a major Cotillard fan. One day...

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    3. Per Earrings: you are too kind, my friend.

      Holy Motors: hey man, I get what you mean. I'm guilty of doing the same thing in the past. Like I said, outside of the theater, I don't think that one would've played well with me.

      Whales: shit, that is like... intense. If it's that bad then yeah, best to skip R&B for now. Yikes!

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  7. I haven't seen 'Rust & Bone' or 'Compliance' ... the rest I like quite a bit. Aside from 'Killing them Softly.'

    Nice to see a unique number one choice. I'm pretty sure, aside from David Chen, I'm the only who listed 'Searching for Sugar Man' as their favorite film of the year (and for good reasons).

    Great list. Keep up the great work.

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    1. Nice man, glad you like the picks. Again, virtually no argument from me about your distaste for KTS... a style like that is bound to elicit polarizing opinions.

      Just scoped out your list, love that Sugar Man is at the top, that was one hell of a documentary right there. Also love seeing The Paperboy break your Top 20. That wasn't nearly as bad as I was led to believe. Absurd and trashy, but fully aware of its ridiculousness.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I haven't had the chance to comment on Movie Mezzanine much, but I have been reading much of what you're all putting out. Great stuff!

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  8. Amour and Django are in my list right now with Holy Motors, Oslo and Compliance on 11 to 13. Haven't seen Killing them Softly, ZDT and Magic Mike yet.

    Flight - Washington was great but I think I will go with the majority. It left me wanting more. I can say something similar for Rust and Bone too but the only reason why it is not in my 10 is because there can only BE 10. Tough World !! :)

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    1. Damn man, we have a lot of similarities there. Love it.

      There can be only 10 indeed. And fair enough about Flight and Rust and Bone. I don't think I've seen any other lists where they crack the Top 5 (if they're lucky enough to make the list to begin with!).

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  9. I've been looking forward to your list! I can get behind Oslo, The Master, & Beasts. About half of your top 10 haven't even been released in Europe yet, so I've decided to do my own year-end list with 12 months delay. Going to see Django this month!
    I agree 2012 is the year of polarizing films, so that produce very different yearly lists, no? Holy Motors was not for me, though other bloggers have it as their no 1.
    As usual are tastes differ quite a bit, are Life of Pi, Skyfall, Perks, or Moonrise in your top 30?

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    1. In an ideal world, wouldn't it be nice if movies were released across the world at the same damn time? I mean, I'm in marketing for a living, so I get it. Releasing a movie is expensive, and tiny indies like many on my list aren't exactly pushed to the top of the list for global distribution, but it's just a shame.

      Which reminds me, although it SUCKS that you all get so many movies later... what a joy it is to see you all flipping shit about a movie like Shame, 6 months after I've seen and fallen in love with it here. Sucks, but it breathes new life into some great films.

      Anwyay. I gave Life of Pi, Skyfall and Perks all very positive reviews, and if I made my top 30, I'm sure they'd be on it. I've always stopped at 10, for whatever reason. The Good Measure list is 10 films that pop into my head the minute I think about drafting that specific list. For example, I technically liked Perks of Being a Wallflower more than Cabin in the Woods, but that's just how the list plays in that particular instant.

      Either way, thanks so much for reading. I know our tastes rarely align, but I always love hearing and reading your thoughts. Let me know when you post your Top 10 flicks of the year!

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  10. Interesting list! Your tastes are obviously quite different to mine (I found Compliance and Killing Them Softly among my most disappointing film experiences of the year, each for very different reasons - Compliance may have been based on real events, but didn't tell a convincing story, while I found Killing Them Softly sluggish and limp, especially given Dominik's previous work), but you argue them convincingly.

    I haven't seen all these films (as many have yet to come out in Australia) but I'll definitely have to hunt down Rust and Bone.

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    1. Hey man, thanks so much for finding the blog, reading, and commenting! Even though it does appear our tastes differ slightly, I love hearing new input from bloggers new to me.

      Okay, Killing Them Softly: no argument. I completely understand what you mean. Compliance I'm more curious about. When you say convincing, do you mean the actual story itself, or was the story just executed in a way that didn't intrigue you? I personally found the story to be utter bullshit, until I researched it and saw that it really all went down that way. I mean, that final TV news interview in the film is word for word from real life. Crazy shit. But hey, we like what we like.

      Hope the ones you haven't seen find their way to you soon! Thanks again for stopping by.

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    2. The way it was executed for the most part - I'd heard about the story before watching the film, so I knew that the actual events had happened in a manner very similar to the film, but the filmmaking and acting didn't convince me that the characters would act in this way. I liked a couple of things about it - I thought the guy on the other end of the phone was well-played, with an interesting detachment, and Ann Dowd's performance was certainly convincing - no complaints there.

      But I didn't feel that the movie created an atmosphere where I could believe this was happening. Dreama Walker's character was too assertive in early scenes; I think she needed to come across as a more timid character, with a respect for authority (similar her friend - I just wasn't convinced that neither would speak up).

      Also, having worked retail, I didn't think it did a good job of creating the stressful, claustrophobic otherworldliness that occurs when you're in the middle of a really busy shift. If it had done that, I think the film would be a lot more convincing. As it was, it felt like a retelling of what actually happened without enough interest (on the filmmaker's part) on *why* it actually happened.

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    3. Hey man, damn fine job articulating your qualms here. I understand and appreciate everything you're talking about, and thanks so much for fleshing your thoughts out.

      Interesting notion about the film's lack of stress in the workplace. That's a fair point. I did like how the dude bitched Dowd out in the beginning though. Whatta way to start the day.

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  11. Glad to see Django Unchained on such a high spot. I am all confused now with which is my favourite film of the year, but that is definitely in my top 5.

    Yaay Magic Mike and yaay Holy Motors!

    Good list.

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    1. Thanks! Before seeing Django, I didn't know how highly it would crack my Top 10, if even at all. I was surprised by how fucking brilliant it was, so up to 2 it went. Be really curious to check out your list when you post it. Let me know!

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  12. I really want to see Rust and Bone! Hope it comes my way some time soon. There's actually quite a few on your list I haven't seen, but will definitely check out when I get the chance.

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    1. Ahh, I just love the hell out of Rust and Bone, but I've found that it's important to recommend cautiously, as it certainly is not a movie for everyone. (Which is a grand understatement.)

      I'm curious: which ones on my list are you most excited to see?

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  13. Awesome, I was looking forward to seeing your top 10! Plenty of interesting choices here, lots I still need to see. I'm glad you included Oslo, Flight and Magic Mike, especially since those haven't been getting a lot of love elsewhere. Can't wait to finally see Rust & Bone -- hopefully next week!

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    1. I am so glad you like Flight and Magic Mike. I agree, they didn't get much love, but it's all good. They impacted me, so I'm happy.

      Definitely hope you get to see Rust and Bone sooner rather than later!

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  14. Alex, your list is calling out the fact that I've missed so many of the most intriguing movies from this year. While I'm hoping to see Django and Zero Dark Thirty in the next few weeks, I also want to check out Rust and Bone and Holy Motors soon too. Finding the time is going to be tricky, but your rankings just reinforce that I need to see them soon. Nice job.

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    1. Thanks man! But I'm sorry my list reminds you of flicks you've missed! Really, I'm of the school of thought that a list like this is never really complete. I'm sure there is some obscure foreign film waiting to break into my Top 5, problem is, I haven't discovered it yet. So who knows.

      Hope you get to Django, ZD30 and definitely Rust and Bone really soon. Loved all of them.

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  15. Really interesting list. Even though I will go on record as saying I greatly disliked Killing Them Softly I will also say that "careful tone" describes your list. Which I mean as a significant compliment.

    I also suspect I really should have waited to see Oslo Aug 31st until I made my own list. God Almighty, was that film a great achievement. So it goes.

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    1. Thanks man! And hey, I've said it many times in this comment section, but any and all distaste toward Killing Them Softly are notions I completely understand. That one could've been disastrous for me, but it managed to grab me from frame one, and never let go.

      I'll probably see something a month from now and go, Well, that's obviously one of the best of 2012. So it goes indeed.

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  16. Fantastic picks man. Just polished off this list yesterday. With the exceptions of Flight and Magic Mike, I'd give every film on here an A- or higher.

    Just saw Compliance, and it's a great (and sadly overlooked) film, indeed. Also, Amour will be high on my list. :) Thrilled, of course, to see Holy Motors, Oslo, and Django on here as well.

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    1. Nice! Glad you were able to see all of my picks. Can't wait for your list, my friend.

      Curious, I forget, but did you like Denzel and McConaughey in Flight and Magic Mike, respectively? If so, then I'm happy. Ha!

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    2. Yeah, liked Denzel and McConaughey, but I didn't love the films. Still, both films get a B, respectively.

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    3. Hey, that's good enough for me!

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  17. Great variety Alex, Still have to see Amour in order to finish my must watch list before I put out a definitive list. I already know the first two spots, but there is still Life of Pi, Killing Them Softly, Django Unchained and ZD30 to review and list. I might have to include Miss Bala as well, Eh so much to do. It'll be done before February, I hope. Great wrap-up man, though I still have hang-ups about Flight, one of the better movie seasons in recent years, wouldn't you agree?

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    1. Thanks man! I would agree that this was a fantastic movie season. Many great, different films to chew on here.

      I know exactly what you mean about so many films, so little time. I get a little obsessive toward the end of the year and run a mad dash to see as much as humanly possible. Ahh, such is the life of a film addict.

      What will your first two spots be? Lincoln....?

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    2. Ah, you'll just have to check it out when I post. Lincoln may not even crack the top ten, as much I loved it. Django, ZD30 and Rust and Bone will all be high up, I can say that much... btw, I'm pretty sure you and I are the only interent people that enjoyed the hell out of Killing them softly.

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    3. Ha, I know right? Many of my digital Aussie friends enjoyed it, but yeah, stateside it was a dud. Bummer.

      Can't wait to read your list, be sure to let me know when you post it!

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  18. I was expecting to see Rust&Bone nr1, I know how much you loved it. But I am more happy for Django Unchained nr2, I loved that film. Nice list!

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    1. Thanks! I really loved how much I loved Django. Great great film!

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  19. Very cool list. There are several that I haven't seen due to their release dates in England, but I'm very glad to see Rust and Bone in first place!

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    1. You just made my day. A new reader/commenter who appreciates Rust and Bone at the top spot! That's awesome. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    2. Haha, I've just seen this! No problem, you've got a pretty cool site here. Plus Rust and Bone was fantastic!

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    3. Thanks man! I just rewatched Rust and Bone last night, and it is most definitely my top of the year. No question at all.

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  20. Oh man, I completely forgot about Cabin in the Woods!

    Great list. I still haven't seen many of these. I'm hoping to see Zero Dark and Django on Monday.

    Nick from the blog was telling me about Compliance. I need to see that. Holy Motors just looks nuts.

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    1. Thanks man, glad you dig it! Compliance is definitely intense, unlike anything I've seen. Same can be said for Holy Motors. Flick is BATSHIT nuts.

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  21. Amazing! That is all. Yet to see Flight or Compliance, but i have watched both Django and ZD30 in the last week and they will be in my Updated Top 10 come the end of February.

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    1. Ha, thanks! Love hearing that Django and ZD30 have cracked your Top 10. Be interested to hear what you think of the others.

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  22. Great top 10, I still have some I haven't seen on this list. I also have Amour in my top 10. I'd like to see Compliance. Huh, I thought everybody would have Beasts on Southern Wild in their top 10. Not me though.

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    1. Thanks! Glad Amour is in your Top 10 of the year. Whatta film, huh? That Haneke, he knows his stuff. I really enjoyed Beasts, but yeah, not Top 10 material to me. At least not this year.

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  23. I have only seen three of your top ten so far but two of them are in my top ten as well. Looks like I need to add some more films to my to watch list.

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    1. Well hey man, three for three ain't bad! Hope you get around to the others soon. They all blew me the hell away.

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  24. Very interesting list with some unexpected choices like Compliance, Killing Them Softly and Magic Mike.
    I haven't seen most of these, so I can't really say much. There's a lot of catching up I must do in the coming weeks. I do have a review coming up for Django, but not much else.
    Excellent write up.

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    1. Thanks! Be really curious to read your review for Django, as well as any others on my list that you catch in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  25. Awesome list. Still need to see rust and bone. Django unchained suffered for me because i watched Les Mis immediately after on Christmas day. Compliance was a hell of a ride. I noticed Cabin in the Woods and Dark Knight made the honorable mention... Avengers was just too commercial to make the cut?

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    1. Thanks man! Rust and Bone continues to floor me. I think about it everyday and... just, wow.

      Compliance was a hell of a ride, wasn't it?

      If I learned anything in 2012, it's that being a little nicer doesn't hurt. I think film criticism is just that, criticism. And with that comes calling out the good, the bad, and the ugly in the movies I see. My opinion is mine, and yours is yours (and theirs are theirs). Blah blah. My point is, me writing a review for Les Mis wouldn't have done anyone any good. That movie simply wasn't for me, and the nicest thing I could've done was leave it be. Same goes for The Avengers. I think I gave it a B in my review, and I thought that was that. But people ate me alive for not thinking it was the best film ever made. I thought it was a perfectly decent popcorn action movie, but nothing more. So, again, I try to be nice by exercising a little silence on that one.

      That was a long explanation, but I guess I've never typed all that out before. Ha.

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    2. Haha, thanks so much! I was really curious about that. It was a great popcorn movie. And i've only begun reading your blog (which i love, btw), and i noticed you dont say a lot of negative things. I thinks a great approach. But one of these days i would love to hear your thoughts on a film like troll 2 or the room lol

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    3. Oh God, this is embarrassing. I foolishly assumed you were another Pete that pops by this blog sometimes. Silly me.

      So, a proper introduction: thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and checking out the blog. Part of being a film addict is not liking a lot of what you watch, you know? But I've been better about being cruel about movies I hate. I thought This is 40 was dreadful and offensive, for example, but I still think I was fair in my review.

      The Room... jesus man. It's just awesome, isn't it? The fact that that movie cost 6 MILLION to make is just outrageous. More power to him.

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    4. Hahaha, no worries. I just watched Killing Them Softly last night... Holy smokes! that makes my top 10 for sure

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    5. Nice man! So cool that you liked that one. Not for everyone, but it blew me away.

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  26. Great list, Alex! 2012 really was a great year for film. Here's my Top 10 of 2012:

    1. Amour
    2. Zero Dark Thirty
    3. Lincoln
    4. Life of Pi
    5. Django Unchained
    6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    7. Les Misérables
    8. The Dark Knight Rises
    9. Compliance
    10. Magic Mike

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    1. Thanks! Love your picks, such a varied list of films. 2012 really was pretty solid. Rust and Bone still haunts me in the best possible way.

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  27. Man, am sorry. I really am. But my favorite of 2012 is.......
    21 Jump Street.
    Why? I saw tones of funny films: Some Like It Hot, The Hangover, North by North-West, The Room, Bridesmaids, Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, Knocked Up, This is the End, The Big Lebowski, The Naked Gun, Airplane!, Dumb & Dumber, Zoolander, Happy Gilmore, South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, Ghostbusters, Ted, The 40 Years Old Virgin, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Pitch Perfect, Hot Fuzz, Crazy, Stupid, Love., and even Seinfeld. But this one is too great. This over the top action scenes, Jonah Hill, (I hate Channing Tatum, but when is in a comedy, he is BOSS), FACKING Ice Cube. I love everything about this film and I trying to don't give it so much credit but it's impossible for me. This is my favorite comedy of all time, I have it on DVD, I watch it monthly, I watch it every time when is on TV. The second one is Dumb & Dumber.

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    1. Hey man, we like what we like. Did you enjoy the sequel? I just watched it the other day and thought it was pretty much the same exact film as the first.

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    2. You know, there are two types of comedy sequel. The ones that just copy the first one and destroy it, like Hangover. And the ones that copy the first one and update it. Don't know why, but when I saw the second one I thought that its better than the first. Then I saw the first one again I said to myself: It isn't as funny as the second one. So 22 Jump Street is in my opinion smarter. Its self aware that its just a comedy sequel and satirizes it. I never saw a film that did that in such smart way. More over the top action scenes, Jonah Hill is even funnier, Channing Tatum act better and Ice Cube is insane. I love everything about this sequel and I trying to hate it as much I hate Hangover 2 but it's impossible for me. For me it's a better sequel than the original. It isn't the best of the year, but definitely it's high on my list. I want to see what Phil Lord and Christopher Miller can do for 23 Jump Street.

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    3. Great news. 23 Jump Street could be a crossover with Men In Black. Excellent. What do you think about it?

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    4. I'm not opposed to a 23 Jump Street. And to be clear, I didn't hate either film. They are very self aware, which I always respect. But I think a 23 Jump Street could be funny, for sure.

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