Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

TOH! Top Tens of 2012 (UPDATED)

News
by TOH!
December 20, 2012 12:26 PM
12 Comments
  • |
'Zero Dark Thirty'
'Zero Dark Thirty'

BILL DESOWITZ

 1. "Lincoln"

 This is Steven Spielberg's "Citizen Kane," with its reliance on dialogue and performance and theatrical mise en scene. It explores Lincoln from the inside out and Daniel Day-Lewis gives a performance for the ages.

 2. "Zero Dark Thirty"

 Kathryn Bigelow never lets up on the intensity in which pre and post 9/11 rules of espionage come into conflict in the hunt for bin Laden. And Jessica Chastain's unrelenting CIA analyst fittingly represents our need for retribution and catharsis.

3. "Skyfall"

 James Bond loses his mojo and gains an extended family at MI6 in this rite of passage. And Daniel Craig adds some of the mystique back to 007 after demystifying him. What a lovely 50th anniversary present from Sam Mendes.

4. "Life of Pi"

 Ang Lee presents the "2001: A Space Odyssey" of 3-D movies: spiritually uplifting with the most creative use of dimensional space yet. And the CG Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, holds his own with Suraj Sharma's indefatigable Pi.

5. "Amour"

 Michael Haneke dispenses with the usual visceral game playing to give us a great end-of-life, classical love story. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emanuelle Riva are divine, bringing back memories of their earlier roles in "A Man and A Woman" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour."

 
6. "Silver Linings Playbook"

Leave it to David O. Russell to deliver a brilliant rom-com that combines "Goodfellas with "It's a Wonderful Life," with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence finding the primal route to love.

 
7. "Anna Karenina"

What's old is new again in Joe Wright's inspired theatrical adaptation of the Tolstoy classic. The Russian aristocracy crumbles in a derelict theater, with Keira Knightley as enchanting as ever and Jude Law surprisingly sympathetic.

 8. "The Master"

 A post-World War II allegory from Paul Thomas Anderson about power, manipulation, and human nature that's tailor-made for our times. The volatile master/servant relationship between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix is spellbinding and the 70mm film presentation brings clarity to every texture.

 9. "Cloud Atlas"

The ultimate time travel movie spanning 500 years of connecting and reconnecting with the acting ensemble changing roles became the most polarizing movie of the year. Yet the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer are to be commended for aiming for the stars with such passion and beauty.

 
10. "Les Miserables"

Tom Hooper delivers the celebrated Victor Hugo-adapted musical at a fever pitch and like the long-suffering Jean Valjean, we, too, feel as though we've gone to hell and back. It's intimate and gritty and digs deeper into Hugo. And Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway find transcendence in their roles.

12 Comments

  • Austin | December 28, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    Great lists! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought TDKR has received undeserved praise.

  • raprap | December 28, 2012 1:39 PMReply

    AMOUR for me was the best film this year. Hands down.

  • Simon Paiva | December 26, 2012 7:06 PMReply

    Ok, I just need to say something here. I've been trough all the lists and I see that The Hobbit was not mentioned in any of them, not even as an " honorable mention", and I find that to be quite unnaceptable. Anyone with knowledge of Tolkien's book knew months prior to seing the film, that it was not going to be like LOTR, it's a different story, different aproach at times. But I didn't think the movie was dissapointing. It's Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth after nine years, that alone for me made the movie the biggest cinematic event of the year. And it didnt made it into any of these lists? and movies like: Hunger Games, Premium Rush and Cabin in the Woods did? Seriously???

  • LeZee | December 21, 2012 7:53 AMReply

    Really good specially Top5

  • JAB | December 19, 2012 8:23 PMReply

    After revisiting "The Dark Knight Rises" & getting some distance from it on a 32" Blu-Ray TV screen after having 1st catching it on IMAX this summer, I think this film maybe even better than "The Dark Knight" & will go down as the most under-appreciated movie in an "awards season" since Michael Mann's crime classic "Heat". How long is Christopher Nolan going to have to wait for his Oscar?
    (I loved "Lincoln" & "Argo" & really enjoyed "John Carter" & "Flight". Haven't seen "Zero..." yet, but I'm big fan of Kathryn Bigelow.)

  • JAB | December 19, 2012 8:23 PMReply

    After revisiting "The Dark Knight Rises" & getting some distance from it on a 32" Blu-Ray TV screen after having 1st catching it on IMAX this summer, I think this film maybe even better than "The Dark Knight" & will go down as the most under-appreciated movie in an "awards season" since Michael Mann's crime classic "Heat". How long is Christopher Nolan going to have to wait for his Oscar?
    (I loved "Lincoln" & "Argo" & really enjoyed "John Carter" & "Flight". Haven't seen "Zero..." yet, but I'm big fan of Kathryn Bigelow.)

  • Steve G | December 16, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    Is a list from Meredith Brody forthcoming?

  • eurocheese | December 15, 2012 9:13 PMReply

    Love all the lists and loved hearing Anne's comments on the podcast. It's been such a wonderful year for movies. In other years I've ended up passionately defending the one or two I really like, but this year there is so much to love. I'm hoping Jan/Feb just serve as catch up time to watch all the great films we had in 2012. We need more years where a slew of great directors make top tier work and we all walk away liking them more!

  • John | December 15, 2012 6:34 PMReply

    I think I like Jacob Combs list best. No critic would probably put it in their top 10 list for the year, but I had a hell of a good time watching the Avengers. A few good movies (like the Master and Lincoln) I still haven't gotten around to seeing yet.

  • brian fantana | December 14, 2012 11:14 PMReply

    so BEASTS is a better film than either DARK KNIGHT RISES or SKYFALL - seriously??? the absence of serious film criticism in this country is stunning (but then again not surprising given this blogger's history)

  • Sara | December 18, 2012 12:40 PM

    Dude... TDKR was bad... I mean... when you really think about it... I can see that was a bad film

  • turner | December 16, 2012 11:37 AM

    @Brian-Beasts is an original piece of work and deserves mention here. Batman and James Bond are well executed rehash.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Why Weinstein Is Re-Releasing Summer ...
  • First Gurus 'O Gold Pre-Festival Top ...
  • Emmy Watch: As TV Enters the Future, ...
  • Emmy Awards: Lena Dunham Wins the Red ...
  • The Radical World of Avant-Garde Master ...
  • Participant Joins DreamWorks' Spielberg ...
  • Trailers From Hell and Joe Dante on ...
  • EXCLUSIVE: Watch the Trailer for Chinese ...
  • TIFF Thriller 'Cut Bank' Picked Up by ...
  • Screen Talk: Telluride Film Festival ...