Best Films of 2012

by James McNally on December 31, 2012 · 2 comments

in Lists

It’s almost impossible for me to make lists, and yet I com­puls­ively am drawn to making them, or reading other people’s. This is espe­cially true with film, where for me the pleas­ures of dis­covery out­weigh any sense of sat­is­fac­tion of “keeping up” with all the new releases. I might have seen about 50 films that were the­at­ric­ally released this year, which is a tiny frac­tion of the total, so my list is far from bul­let­proof. I tend to see a lot of my films at fest­ivals, too, which can skew the exper­i­ence one way or the other. With all that as pro­logue, here are my top ten films of the year:

1. The Master — Paul Thomas Anderson
1. The Master — Paul Thomas Anderson
2. Only The Young — Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet
2. Only The Young — Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet
3. The Imposter — Bart Layton
3. The Imposter — Bart Layton
4. Moonrise Kingdom — Wes Anderson
4. Moonrise Kingdom — Wes Anderson
5. Looper — Rian Johnson
5. Looper — Rian Johnson
6. Bernie — Richard Linklater
6. Bernie — Richard Linklater
7. Indie Game: The Movie — Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky
7. Indie Game: The Movie — Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky
8. Tchoupitoulas — Bill Ross and Turner Ross
8. Tchoupitoulas — Bill Ross and Turner Ross
9. Sound of My Voice — Zal Batmanglij
9. Sound of My Voice — Zal Batmanglij
10. Beasts of the Southern Wild — Benh Zeitlin
10. Beasts of the Southern Wild — Benh Zeitlin

 

  1. The Master (Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson)
  2. Only The Young (Dirs: Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet)
  3. The Imposter (Dir: Bart Layton)
  4. Moonrise Kingdom (Dir: Wes Anderson)
  5. Looper (Dir: Rian Johnson)
  6. Bernie (Dir: Richard Linklater)
  7. Indie Game: The Movie (Dirs: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky)
  8. Tchoupitoulas (Dirs: Bill Ross and Turner Ross)
  9. Sound of My Voice (Dir: Zal Batmanglij)
  10. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dir: Benh Zeitlin)

And because I’m such a huge fan of doc­u­mentary film, here is the list of top ten docs:

  1. Only The Young (Dirs: Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet)
  2. The Imposter (Dir: Bart Layton)
  3. Indie Game: The Movie (Dirs: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky)
  4. Tchoupitoulas (Dirs: Bill Ross and Turner Ross)
  5. The House I Live In (Dir: Eugene Jarecki)
  6. ¡Vivan las Antipodas! (Dir: Victor Kossakovsky)
  7. Room 237 (Dir: Rodney Ascher)
  8. Off Label (Dirs: Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher)
  9. The Ambassador (Dir: Mads Brügger)
  10. The World Before Her (Dir: Nisha Pahuja)

Stay tuned for the third annual CAST Awards list which gathers the opin­ions of Toronto’s “non-professional” critics and cinephiles. That should be ready by next week sometime.

{ 2 comments }

Sam Fragoso December 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Glad to see some love for Sound of My Voice, which has seemingly been forgotten since its release.

James McNally December 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I found it really affecting, especially seeing the breakdown in the relationship between the two main characters. I see the lack of love as a bit of a hangover from last year when there was so much culty/crazy goodness (TAKE SHELTER, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE). Even this year’s SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED took another more comedic crack at the “journalist infiltrates world of possibly crazy dreamer” scenario, but for me with less lasting effect. It didn’t hurt that Brit Marling turned in such a magnetic performance in SOUND OF MY VOICE, which she also co-wrote.

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