2012 Top 50 Films


The cast of Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

In 2012 I watched 155 features that has some type of official release in America. There’s always some debate about what year to include foreign films if they debut at a major festival like Cannes yet don’t wash up on the shores of America until the next year. Overall it was a fairly decent year in cinema, especially as some great foreign films slipped into the list late this year (Tabu, I’m looking at you). Where the year might have been light on masterpieces there was a strong quality to the average range of movies I watched.

For the top spot it was a struggle to decide between two of my favorite directors in PTA v. Ceylan as each have continued to rumble around in my head for months, even after multiple screenings. It was easier to write about Anatolia whereas The Master still has me tied up in knots to properly write a review. I think after three viewings that Peggy is the master, a notion proposed to me by my better half and one that I tried to think about in the last viewing I had. A lot of attention is dedicated to the Freddie-Lancaster relationship but something about her presence in the film has serious importance. After another screening of it on dvd next month maybe I can formulate a better hypothesis on it. For now I will stick with my free-jazz review of the film.


Peggy Dodd played by Amy Adams

The links are to full reviews at Mile High Cinema.

The Top 10

1. Once Upon A Time in Anatolia

2. The Master

3. Moonrise Kingdom

4. The Loneliest Planet – Julia Loktev’s second feature is a gem of wordless landscape poetry punctuated by one brief, yet stunning scene which ruptures the tale of a couple on a hiking trip through the Caucus mountains. This slow burn of a movie really stuck with me for quite a while after it was over.

5. Amour – Michael Haneke’s unflinching look at an aging couple in Paris starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva who are both fantastic in the film. They play the usual Georges and Anne roles which are in Haneke’s movies. Really need to see again on the big screen when it arrives in Denver near the end of the month. #Pigeon

6. Barbara – Nina Hoss and Christian Petzold and the peanut butter and chocolate of German cinema for me. This period piece set in East Germany of 1980 is a tense and controlled slow burn thriller. Here’s a link to some stills from the film of Nina deep in thought.

7. Tabu – Miguel Gomes third feature is a black and white two parter set in present day Portugal for the first half and then back in colonial Africa for a l’amor fou backstory. Really need to see it again. #Crocodile

8. Beasts of the Southern Wild  #Hushpuppy

9. This is Not A Film –  House-arrested Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panhi’s pseudo-doc filmed (or not?) with Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. Panhai chats with Mojtaba, his family and his lawyer about his case on appeal in Iran where he faces twenty years in jail for his alleged subversive films. It starts off slow but once the college student comes to pickup his trash on Fireworks then the film really packs a punch ending with the haunting shot of Jafar filming a street fire just outside the gates to his building. #Iguana

10. Louie – Season Three – I am more than willing to call it a film as the show continues to transcend it’s television format. Building off each of the previous two seasons moving away from their Curb meets Seinfeld sitcom format to move into its own world where anything can happen, be it surreal, emotional, hilarious or any combination of the three. The two-episode arc with Parker Posey and the 3-episode arc with the Late Show and David Lynch packing more punch than 95% of what Hollywood churns out each year. The show is a great reminder that the auteur is not dead.


11. The Kid With a Bike

12. Django Unchained

13. Samsara

14. Seven Psychopaths

15. Holy Motors

16. Ted

17. Kill List

18. The Color Wheel

19. Killer Joe

20. Farewell, My Queen

21. Looper

22. The Imposter

23. Life of Pi

24. Rust and Bone

25. Sister

26. I Wish

27. Pitch Perfect

28. Klown

29. Elena

30. The Comedy

31. Cosmopolis

32. Extraterrestrial

33. The Ambassador

34. Miss Bala

35. Detropia

36. Compliance

37. Boy

38. End of Watch

39. Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry

40. Magic Mike

41. The Deep Blue Sea

42. Oslo August 31st

43. Marina Abramovic -The Artist is Present

44. Play

45. Alps

46. Attenberg

47. The Central Park Five

48. We Needs to Talk About Kevin

49. Post Mortem

50. Damsels in Distress

Others of Note:

Bernie, Killing Them Softly, Ruby Sparks, Beyond the Black Rainbow, Cabin in the Woods, Easy Money, Argo, Lincoln, Cat in Paris, The Monk, We Have A Pope, In Another Country, Premium Rush, The Day He Arrives, Cleveland 95 (NFL Films), Sleepwalk With Me, Payback, Khodorkovsky, Catastroika,  John Carter, Haywire, Cloud Atlas, Casa de mi Padre, The Revisionaires, Headhunters

Ones that were Missed:

Zero Dark Thirty, Turin Horse, Bestaire, Chicken With Plums, The House I Live In, Crazy Horse, Whore’s Glory


2 thoughts on “2012 Top 50 Films

  1. A really exceptional list, full of movies that me and my fellow website writers loved this year. I know that I haven’t seen Anatolia yet, but I have heard really great things so far.

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