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'Holy Motors' Tops Film Comment's Top 50 Films Of 2012, 'The Master,' 'Moonrise Kingdom' & 'Amour' In Top 10

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 14, 2012 4:16 PM
14 Comments
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Another awards season week draws to a close, and another poll drops, this time from Film Comment. And a few cinephile favorites feature in the top ten of a fifty strong list.

Leos Carax's oddball love letter to the movies, "Holy Motors," has topped the list with Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" coming in second and third, with Michael Haneke's "Amour" helping to round out the top ten. But with fifty slots available, this end-of-the-year survey of film critics, journalists, film section editors, and past and present contributors runs in danger of basically just being a list of every good movie that came out in 2012. But, a closer look is a reminder of how much great cinema is happening on the fringes, in arthouses and other corners of the cinematic world. It certainly makes us want to catch up with the movies that have passed us by.

So, take a look below and as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments. And in case you're wondering, "The Dark Knight Rises" came in 49th.For all The Playlist's year-end coverage make sure to follow all our Best Of 2012 features.

Film Comment Top 50 Films Of 2012

1. Holy Motors
2. The Master
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. This Is Not A Film
5. Amour
6. The Turin Horse
7. The Kid With A Bike
8. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
9. Lincoln
10. Zero Dark Thirty
11. Tabu
12. The Deep Blue Sea
13. Bernie
14. Beasts Of The Southern Wild
15. Cosmopolis
16. Barbara
17. The Loneliest Planet
18. Silver Linings Playbook
19. Oslo, August 31
20. Neighboring Sounds
21. Django Unchained
22. Almayer's Folly
23. Magic Mike
24. Argo
25. Attenberg
26. The Color Wheel
27. Rust & Bone
28. Killer Joe
29. Looper
30. Life Of Pi
31. A Man Vanishes
32. Skyfall
33. The Gatekeepers
34. Elena
35. Haywire
36. Damels In Distress
37. Abendland
38. Two Years At Sea
39. How To Survive A Plague
40. Keep The Lights On
41. A Burning Hot Summer
42. Miss Bala
43. Footnote
44. Compliance
45. Alps
46. Kill List
47. Farewell, My Queen
48. In Another Country
49. The Dark Knight Rises
50. The Day He Arrives

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14 Comments

  • nannasin smith | December 21, 2012 1:30 AMReply

    if so many hundreds of movies are being released every year..TL494

  • lENA | December 14, 2012 6:27 PMReply

    Argo #24?? Ridiculous!

  • Alien | December 15, 2012 6:09 AM

    Argo is a very mediocre film.

  • brad | December 14, 2012 5:20 PMReply

    Why is The Master on this list. Its awful.

  • AS | December 14, 2012 4:36 PMReply

    The fact that Django Unchained is only at 21 shows that most critics hadn't seen the film or didn't have time to process it. Rendering the list meaningless. If people aren't given enough time to see all of the films and spend some time considering them, of what use is the list?

  • Ben | December 15, 2012 5:40 PM

    Roughly translated:

    "The movie I liked is the bestest of alll of the moooovies! My opinion trumps that of people much more educated in the art than me that do this for a living! MY EMOTIONS! MY EMOTIONS!!! WOOOOOIN!"

  • Liz | December 14, 2012 11:09 PM

    AS, I think you are vastly underestimating the number of movies that are released each year. A. O. Scott recently wrote in the New York Times that the paper's policy is to review every movie that opens on a commercial screen in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Los Angeles, and they will have reviewed over 800 movies in 2012. And that's with three critics on staff. Surely you can see that it's simply not possible for a critic to see every movie that's been released. Simply put, the most likely explanation of Django's ranking is that they didn't like it enough to place it higher.

  • justin | December 14, 2012 10:51 PM

    i think, AS, that there is a good chance that they just didn't favor django unchained that much is why it placed 21st on their list. as to your statement about the impossibility of seeing every film released in a year, or at least major(?) films- how could you ever come up with what constitutes a major film? as in wide release? artistic quality? not only that, but take for instance that over 280 films are eligible for the academy award this year alone. that number only consists of films that are submitted. and film critics see films that have not been released yet, going to different festivals. if so many hundreds of movies are being released every year, and as you said in your first comment critics need time to process what they've seen, i'd say no, it's not possible for a critic to see every movie released in a year that's why publications have more than one critic, in hoping that they will have the chance to see as many as possible and provide their base with an opinion of all of them. plus, most individual critics will add after their list a small grouping of films they have not seen yet, but since this is an aggregated list by multiple people, that idea isn't as applicable.

  • AS | December 14, 2012 9:10 PM

    Well, that's an interesting point. Is it actually impossible for a film critic to see every film? I mean, it is their job after all. They get paid to watch and write about films, that's it. That is their job. They attend advanced screenings for free and receive DVD screeners constantly. Is it really "impossible" for these people to see every film? Or fine, how about this: every MAJOR film?

  • sam | December 14, 2012 6:57 PM

    Well, it's impossible to see every film. This isn't a science, these are movies we're talking about. True objectivity doesn't exist.

  • AS | December 14, 2012 6:03 PM

    But my real point is that you can't take a top 10, 20 or 50 list seriously if the critics haven't seen every film and had sufficient time to consider them. Have they seen The Guilt Trip? I'm not pretending like that's a quality film, but in the interest of objectivity, don't you think it's important to see all of the films if you're going to compile a list which claims to be "the best"?

  • sam | December 14, 2012 5:36 PM

    "that much." As in, as much as you clearly think they should have.

  • AS | December 14, 2012 5:19 PM

    Well, they put it at 21 didn't they?

  • sam | December 14, 2012 5:16 PM

    You know, it is possible they didn't like it that much.

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