Best Films of 2012

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.

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2 Responses to Best Films of 2012

  1. Sam Fragoso says:

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

  2. 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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