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Added by Xanadon't on 18 Oct 2012 09:26
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My 2012 Favorites - Xanadon't

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My Top 20 Films of the Year


*based on U.S. Theatrical release dates
People who added this item 478 Average listal rating (322 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
Smart, touching, funny, well-performed, and full of off-beat magic. This unlikely little movie came along and stole my heart this year and will be a source of joy as I revisit it many a time in the years to come.
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People who added this item 793 Average listal rating (400 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.6
Anna Karenina (2012)
In many ways it's the most vigorously alive "major motion picture" production of the year. Filled with visual splendor and flair, the movie captures timeless tragedy and sheer fun with equal grace, and showcases impressive performances all around.
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People who added this item 319 Average listal rating (174 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Another small movie, this one from the Dardenne brothers out of Belgium. The story is told with utmost efficiency and clarity and with aching emotional precision. It's a special movie, led by a special performance from its young star.
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People who added this item 981 Average listal rating (660 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
It's brazenly violent, funny, and meta. Sam Rockwell kills in it. Christopher Walken isn't far behind. One might argue that some scenes could've used some tailoring, but I loved getting lost in its gleeful tangled web of absurdity, hyper-violence, and spirited storytelling.
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People who added this item 942 Average listal rating (573 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Master (2012)
It's a big, bold, bully of a film and I very nearly drowned in it while watching. I'll be seeking it out for another wrestling match soon. I was transfixed, fascinated, angered, and moved.
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People who added this item 200 Average listal rating (116 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.7
A very emotionally gratifying movie experience powered by captivating performances from its leading trio. Three people in a mess never felt this good. This was a pure delight to my sensibilities.
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The rarest of rare- a post 2000 high school movie that I fell in love with. I don't remember the book moving me as pointedly and consistently as this film adaptation does. So.. even rarer still. There's an immense amount of young talent on screen, and a confident, intelligent and rather unfussy (but no less special) force behind its direction and telling. Very good stuff.
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People who added this item 415 Average listal rating (254 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
Holy Motors (2012)
An ambitious and unrelenting cinematic embodiment of "What the fuck?!" Just when I thought I had the movie by its tail, it transforms itself (much as the chameleon-like lead player) into something else. This is a humorous, troubling, mesmerizing, and confounding film that is brimming with life, even as it deals with sensations of grieving resignation.
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People who added this item 564 Average listal rating (368 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Ruby Sparks (2012)
As blissfully magical and smartly romantic a film as you're likely to see this year. Ruby Sparks says so much about the nature of life, love, creativity, and the human experience with remarkably observant grace and charisma. It touches on big ideas, without ever making a big deal of itself. Quite a treat.
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People who added this item 140 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.7
Director Whit Stillman constructs a collegiate world just far enough removed from reality to give this movie an agreeably quirky sheen, while staying rooted in "everyday concerns" with enough loyalty as to allow its characters to earn our recognition and goodwill. Nothing and everything is terribly important to Stillman. For the writer/director and his characters, Damsels in Distress is a collection made up of equal parts passing fancies and life-altering realizations. Oh yeah, and dance crazes.
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People who added this item 2560 Average listal rating (1788 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4
It's not the trash-art near-masterpiece that Inglorious Basterds is, but Django Unchained is a blood-soaked "cinema of excess" offering that entertains and challenges in ways that few other films this year did. Brilliant performances from every major player go a long way in off-setting a somewhat uneven final act. It's one that I hope to watch again soon.
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People who added this item 285 Average listal rating (156 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.8
The Paperboy (2012)
Unapologetically sleazy, pulpy, and distasteful. But oh, is it ever done right. Give it a try.
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People who added this item 1795 Average listal rating (1230 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
A splendid example of familiar destinations arrived by unfamiliar routes. David O Russel's Silver Linings Playbook is a much more welcome and fresh piece of cinema than 2010's The Fighter in every way. The movie charges forward with fierce and delightful energy- rarely has psychological dysfunction been given a cinematic treatment at once as honest and as purely engaging as it's done so here. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence deliver compelling performances and De Niro is more in-tune with his character than we've seen him in a long while.
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It could've been overly-gooey, overly-cynical, or overly-stupid and lazy. Thankfully I didn't think it to be any of these things. This movie felt good to me the way my favorite hoodie does when I pull it on, or the way a stray sunbeam does after several days of rain. I liked it the way I like how coffee smells, or how a campfire sounds.
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A highly impressive Danish period-piece by most all measures, and one of the most cinematic and purely compelling history lessons to come around in a long time. All three of its lead performers are a joy to watch work.
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People who added this item 619 Average listal rating (349 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Hitchcock (2012)
Certainly one of those 10x better-than-its-trailer type of movies. The film moves swiftly, and nimbly maneuvers across a wide expanse of mood and sensation. It's playful and compelling, emotionally rich, but never garish. Kind of like a good Hitchcock film, come to think of it.
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People who added this item 315 Average listal rating (218 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Bernie (2011)
Devilishly funny and unique in its construction. Jack Black creates a character that steadily becomes remarkably whole and human. Bernie is often very good, but never reaches greatness. Matthew McConaughey never settles properly into his character and this is one of the largest aspects holding the movie back. Still, an impressive and unusual offering from Richard Linklater.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Argo (2012)
You'll like it, your dad will like it, most everybody will like it. But I'm not sure how many will truly love it. Argo is no doubt solid, solid, solid movie-making. But it lacks any kind of distinctive personality. It's a smartly crafted (and casted) crowd-pleaser and its dramatic and suspenseful happenings go down effortlessly. So, great job all in all. But I don't know why I'd watch it twice.
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People who added this item 332 Average listal rating (216 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
Hysteria (2011)
Destined to forever be under-seen, this was one of the most agreeable surprises of the year. Hysteria is a fun and engaging movie filled with class, humor, and heart. Every performance is strong. It deserves to be seen.
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People who added this item 1324 Average listal rating (773 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Another polarizing movie, but once again I quite enjoyed it on its terms. This is a big, unwieldy, joyous romp in movie-making. I really don't think it's the think-piece that many claim it to be, want it to be, or criticize it for being. It's mostly just a call for human goodness and an enthusiastic project in world/character building.
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Cutting Room Floor

A collection of honorable mentions.
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Unlikely to see anytime soon

Movies that have received a good deal of attention/critical acclaim, but which I just can't get stirred up to watch.


All things considered, I count 2012 as a stronger year at the movies than 2011. At nearly anytime over the course of the year it seemed there was always a number of promising projects clamoring for our attention. And it felt like just about every week at least one of these titles actually deserved it and packed plenty in the way of merit. Oh sure, the year wasn't without its letdowns. Many walked away disappointed from Prometheus (though I didn't). And the Dark Knight Rises felt as much like a long tired final sigh as a stunning conclusion to Nolan's Batman trilogy. Then you have Pixar's annual offering which once again fell on the underwhelming side. And finally we're faced with the idea that Tim Burton may never direct another great- or even Very Good- film again.

Still, there was plenty to be excited about at the cinema this year. If I have a single personal complaint, it's that both of my local theaters that specialize in art titles were sorely lacking when it came to booking foreign language films this year. In fact, one of the two foreign films that made my list doesn't even technically count as a 2012 release. But it took all the way until May to show up in my neighborhood, so fuck it. Plus, I really loved it and didn't have the heart to send it packing, so there.

Anyways... Happy New Year everyone! Here's to another year of movies in the books and may 2013 bring us many new cinematic joys!


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Yearly Favorites Collection - Xanadon't (33 lists)
list by Xanadon't
Published 6 years, 2 months ago



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Comments

Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Dec 30 12:00
Happy to hear someone else enjoyed Hysteria. It's gotten pretty luke-warm responses for the most part, which is strange to me. Aside from the over-done courtroom scene I don't much know how to have made that movie much better than it was.

I'll be seeking out The Intouchables soon I hope. Thanks!
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Dec 30 12:31
Cloud Atlas I will give another shot - I attempted to watch it but just thought it was a mess...the novel is highly stylised and structured and an essential read ...not keen on the re-cycling of actors across the stories as it kind of messes with the concept of the book somehow

Xun Zhou - does look great in the movie

oh make Snowtown a must-see

2nd oh - lol at the Tim Burton pic...I am finding him a one trick pony tbh
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Dec 30 16:15
Ahhh! So glad that you placed Your Sister's Sister so high. :) Your comments about Argo are exactly why it probably won't make my list. It's one of those movies that doesn't necessarily have anything wrong with it, but still, not something one needs to see again. Surprised and very glad that you found room for 21 Jump Street in your honorable mentions- it came out in March, but I still feel there wasn't a single better straight-up comedy in the rest of the year.

Based on what I've seen recently, it looks like it's gonna be really tough to get a chance to see West of Memphis in January. That might be the one I'm most upset about not being able to see earlier. :(

I've no doubt that you're right that this year was stronger than last year. Some of the 2012 movies that I thought could be great ended up being disappointing, but then there were plenty of others that really surprised me (like Perks and Looper).
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Dec 30 20:12
@xxixii- Never read the novel, so I can't relate to the film on those grounds. But on its own, I think the multiple roles from the same actors was one of the film's charms.

Yep, Snowtown is toward the top of my queue. Just waiting until I'm ready to be properly emotionally devastated ;)

@lotr-- And just think- a rewatch may even bump it higher! As for Argo- I almost felt bad sticking it at #15. In truth, I liked it better than a great many films that have received as much praise and Oscar attention as it has, be it this year or any year. And if this was a list of "Best Films of 2012" it might rank a good deal higher. But since it's simply a list of personal "favorites" it stays. Glad you feel me on that.

Uh-oh. I haven't looked into it, but sounds like I too may have to wait a while for West of Memphis if that's the case.

Yep, lots of things pleasantly surprised me this year. I'd add The Avengers to that list too.
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Jan 10 10:14
@phillydude- that comes as a bit of shock to me too. Though now as I look over the list, I'm realizing that a great many of the titles were "small movies" and limited releases, so it starts to make more sense. I hope you find some joy in these movies as you seek some of them out!
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Jan 26 20:36
I take your ratings quite seriously, :P your taste is really good. So I got some movies on to watch list. great list :)

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