2012 had many above average, likeable films, but few truly amazed me. Here is the list of my favorite movies of the year with my scores for them. These are not necessarily the best movies of the year, though quality is significantly important in films I prefer. A+ doesn’t guarantee a top placement, as you will notice below. These are movies with a “wow” factor, the ones I am more likely to watch again.
10. Cloud Atlas (A) – Redefining epic, “Cloud Atlas” is a spectacle of huge settings and impressive make-up. Each primary actor plays multiple roles, despite race, sex, or age. The merging of genres might be too much to comprehend or enjoy for some, but the challenge is worth seeing the massive vision of directors Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer.
9. Brave (A+) – The latest from Pixar, “Brave” offers defiant, rebellious Princess Merida as the heroine. A beautiful film set in Scotland, “Brave” is one of Pixar’s greatest visual masterpieces and is great for mothers and daughters.
8. Killer Joe (A) – It is hard to admit to loving this disturbing and disgusting film about a trailer park family. I wish Matthew McConaughey had been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the killer hired to murder the family’s matriarch for her insurance money.
7. Looper (A+) – Very few movies have ever had me so excited to see what would happen next. The twists and turns are so smartly woven; it was truly a delight to watch.
6. Killing Them Softly (A) – “Killing Them Softly” looks like it is a modern, simpler “Goodfellas,” but it is far from a traditional gangster film. As Brad Pitt tracks two men that robbed a mob-run card game, a criticism about the American system takes root until it flowers at the close.
5. ParaNorman (A) – Hands down the best animated film of the year, “ParaNorman” has an inspiring message for those that don’t fit in. For someone that normally hates 3-D, “ParaNorman” offered the best 3-D since “Hugo” and “Avatar.”
4. The Master (A) – “The Master” has the best performances of the year, especially Joaquin Phoenix’s primal former soldier looking for guidance. Director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson has made an artistically done though very dark film. It mimics the style and tone of his “There Will Be Blood.”
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (A+) – Here is a film for anyone that has ever been an outsider in high school. Director Stephen Chbosky based the film on his popular novel and it stars some of the greatest young actors out there.
2. Robot & Frank (A+) – “Robot & Frank” is one of those movies that is better with the less you know about it, so I’ll only say that it showcases a warm friendship between an aging man and his servant robot.
1. Skyfall (A+) – Until Daniel Craig took the mantle of James Bond, the 007 movies have been somewhat silly and often lacked great action. After “Casino Royale,” it was hard to imagine that any future Bond film could measure up, but “Skyfall” does balance the quality of filmmaking with the thrilling action. Director Sam Mendes even salutes the fans of the series with references to some of the earliest of the series.
Honorable mentions: The Avengers (A), Beasts of the Southern Wild (A), Butter (A), Haywire (A-), Moonrise Kingdom (A), Prometheus (A-), Safety Not Guaranteed (A), Seven Psychopaths (A-), Zero Dark Thirty (A)
I have linked my reviews for those films I have reviewed for more information on each. The only ones I did not review are “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Butter,” and “Killer Joe.”