Happy New Year, Insiders! 2012 turned out to be a pretty terrific year for the movies, not just in box office receipts, but also in giving us some fine viewing choices. In this annual roundup, I’ve selected the ten films that were my favorites this year. Read through my choices, and then hit the comments to commend or chastise.
Here are my favorite 2012 films, in no particular order.
Bold, bloody, and brilliant, this is Tarantino at his finest. Could it have been 30 minutes shorter? Absolutely. Should he have left his indulgent and awkward cameo on the cutting-room floor? Definitely. Was this film hilarious and completely entertaining? Positively.
The Cabin in the Woods
The dark horse on this list, this is a horror movie for people who don’t like horror movies. Twisty, tautly directed, and featuring a near-perfect ending, this film makes me think the tired horror genre may just have been reinvigorated.
Though it’s hip to hate on this earnest, in-their-faces take on the smash musical, the fact remains that the scope, story and music are epic and beautiful. Did I get a bit of a tear in my eye during Anne Hathaway’s achingly moving “I Dreamed a Dream”? You bet I did.
Life of Pi
Is there a more visually stunning movie that came out this year? With a though-provoking premise to go along with the beautiful visuals, Ang Lee has crafted a truly magical film.
I cannot imagine a movie world without Wes Anderson in it producing his quirky little films. The love story between the pubescent protagonists not only demonstrates how powerful young love can be, but also stands as something that folks of all ages should aspire to. A beautiful, manila-tinged palette and trademark deadpan Anderson humor complete this movie treat.
The super superhero movie that never should have worked, somehow did. Funny when it needed to be, bombastic when it needed to be and superbly directed throughout, The Avengers was about the most fun two hours I had at the movies this year.
Daniel Day-Lewis owns the title role in Steven Spielberg’s return to form. Epic and intimate, Lincoln is superbly acted and surprisingly entertaining for a long, talky period piece. The master filmmaker shows us that he hasn’t lost his touch just yet.
Silver Linings Playbook
A romantic comedy in my top ten list? When it’s this well-written and acted, absolutely. Robert DeNiro finally shows us he remembers how to act, and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence also shine. Top notch.
The first billion-dollar Bond movie is also one of the very best. After the dismal Quantum of Solace, 007 comes back firing on all cylinders. Between Sam Mendes’ beautiful direction and Craig’s, Dench’s and Bardem’s brilliant performances, this is one of the best spy movies ever.
Ben Affleck, after Gone Baby Gone, The Town and now Argo, I take back all the bad things I said about you during your “Bennifer” phase. Affleck has proven for the third time running that he belongs both in front of and behind the camera.
Best movies I didn’t see: Looper, Zero Dark Thirty
Biggest Disappointments: The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey