Editor’s Note: I’ve been updating this list lately, so this could change based on my current opinion.
Okay, as with all top 10 lists, this is opinionated. These are the ten films I think are the strongest of the year. While I had my doubts before, 2012 was a pretty good year and by the end of the year we had plenty of great films. In fact, some movies I really liked didn’t make the list because there wasn’t enough room (some honorable mentions would go to Argo and Silver Linings Playbook). I also haven’t seen some pretty critically praised movies, like Rust and Bone, Holy Motors, and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which I hope to watch eventually.
So anyway, my picks below.
10. The Dark Knight Rises
I know some people were disappointed with the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, but I couldn’t have been more satisfied. It was everything I was hoping for and a great way to end the trilogy.
I’m a big James Bond fan and Skyfall redeemed the series after the misfire Quantuam of Solace. In fact, I would name it as one of the best Bond films ever.
8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
I sobbed uncontrollably at the end of this film. Beasts is an emotional wondrous film that was the year’s biggest surprise for me. I hope the Academy will listen to me and give some accolades to this masterpiece.
7. Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise is probably Wes Anderson’s most accessible film, which is strange since Anderson has turned up his usual quirky humor. Moonrise Kingdom isn’t just the year’s best comedy but one of Wes Anderson’s strongest works.
6. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino’s southern vengeance tale was violent, controversial, and deviously funny. This just further proves how great of a director Tarantino is.
5. Life of Pi
The most beautiful film of the year, Life of Pi is a magnificent movie that manages to adapt an “unfilmmable” book. It’s also one of the few films I would recommend seeing in 3-D.
4. Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow has established herself as a powerhouse with Zero Dark Thirty, which boasts a powerful performance by Jessica Chastain. Definitely the most tense film of the year.
Lincoln is Steven Spielberg’s strongest film in about ten years. The historical biopic boasts a fantastic performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, who further proves why he is the best actor currently working.
Michael Haneke has made the most powerful film of the year. Like Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour is a very emotional film, telling the story of an old French couple. The movie’s gentle tone, unusual for a Haneke film, keeps the story moving at a calm pace.
1. The Master
Depending who you are, The Master was either a spiraling masterpiece or a pretentious mess. But you cannot deny Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambition in the film, which makes this one of the strongest films of the year.