The best movies of 2012 run the gamut from fun-loving comedies to introspective coming-of-age tales to dark comedies to box office busting action films. While there were plenty of rehashed properties in 2012, the films that really stood out in terms of artistic excellence were almost always those that created new characters and worlds.
This is by no means a high-brow film, but Seth McFarlane’s sense of humor and Mark Wahlberg’s impeccable comedic timing made this film shine as the most accessible and thoroughly entertaining pure comedy of 2012.
11) “Seven Psychopaths”
This quirky comedy hit all the right notes with critics even though audiences mostly shied away from it at the box office. “Seven Psychopaths” is an off-beat movie with intelligent writing and the performances from Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken truly brought this off-the-wall film to life.
The latest installment in the long-running James Bond franchise perfectly struck a balance of tradition and modernity. The story was tight and concise and the action sequences beautifully choreographed.
9) “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
This coming-of-age story became one of the most memorable films of 2012 partly due to the tight adaptation from book to screenplay, but the casting knocked it out of the park. The performances from Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman were stellar, creating an infallible suspension of disbelief.
8) “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”
Taking on a documentary is a daunting task for a filmmaker, especially when they are not dealing with a major social issue. The film documents Jiro Ono’s endeavors in sushi-making and the beautiful cinematography makes us not only appreciate the food itself, but the craft that goes into creating the dishes. Rarely has a camera romanticized the culinary arts in such a perfect way.
While the film may not have been entirely historically accurate, that cannot be held against “Argo” due to artistic license. The tension that builds as the storyline unfolds is simply stunning and is a testament to the talent that Ben Affleck has as a director.
6) “The Cabin in the Woods”
“The Cabin in the Woods” elevated the horror genre with truly intelligent screenwriting and beautifully executed cinematography. This is a thinking man’s horror film that provides a nice reprieve from the mindless slasher flicks that litter our theaters.
5) “Safety Not Guaranteed”
A disillusioned college graduate takes out an ad seeking a companion in time travel, drawing the interest of local journalists. The plot is pure indie-film fare, giving the perfect set up for the brilliant performances and heartfelt moments that define “Safety Not Guaranteed.”
4) “Moonrise Kingdom”
Wes Anderson’s direction of “Moonrise Kingdom” shows the very best of his skills. There is a sense of urgency in the story that really makes the plot real, bringing the film far and above the level of cinematic quality expected from a so-called “rom-com.”
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt beautifully combine their talents in this time-traveling tale. Time travel is a difficult task to deal with in film but it was done masterfully in “Looper,” and the combination of modern sci-fi elements with classic action sequences gives the movie broad appeal, while the thought-provoking nature of the plot pleased critics and drama fans.
2) “Life of Pi”
“Life of Pi” is a textbook example of how to make a film with all of the elements working together to create a cohesive experience that submerses the audience. Every element of this film becomes a part of the storytelling and the beautiful cinematography is visually stimulating and engrossing at the same time.
1) “Killer Joe”
William Friedkin’s direction is apparent during every moment of this dark and gritty tale, while the story comes to life thanks to stunning performances from Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple. The story is beautifully told with each character’s motivation masterfully woven into the film’s world. A family film this is not, but the performances and direction on display should be seen by all film lovers, all who can handle it.
The contributor saw “Killer Joe” five times during its theatrical run.
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