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:

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  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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