Sunday 16 December 2012

Be Careful! Your Hand! Top 10 Films of 2012

Amidst all the generic sequels, prequels, reboots and Adam Sandler comedies, 2012 has been another fantastic year for cinema. As always, it's been tough to pick only ten favourite films and so some great movies had to fall by the wayside - sorry Magic Mike! - but after much deliberation, here is the final selection. There's a mix of arthouse cinema here alongside some blockbusting crowd pleasers but surprisingly, there is a noticeable lack of world cinema in the list. I'm not sure if this reflects poorly on the biggest foreign releases of the year or just whether English language cinema has been particularly strong in 2012. Finally, this list is part of a blogathon titled 'Best of the Best', which is hosted by the site 'A Potpourri of Vestiges'. Find out more about the blogathon by clicking here.

Anyway, let's get started with the film in the number ten slot.

10. Paranorman

Norman can see dead people but sadly, they're his only friends. That is, until he meets a chubby Gonnies-esque kid who helps him on a quest to save the town from a supernatural invasion. From the makers of Coraline, this stop-motion release was a breath of fresh air in a crowded marketplace of crappy kids films this year. And like all the best childrens films, 'Paranorman' works on two levels; throwing in the slapstick and spectacle for the children but with a knowing wink to the adults with its zingy script and classic horror references. 'Paranorman' really took me by surprise and was overshadowed somewhat by bigger releases such as 'Madagascar 3' and 'Hotel Translyvania' but this is definitely the superior film. Seek it out. 

Best Moment: The zombie film parody at the beginning sets the tone of the film perfectly. Hilarious.

9. Sightseers

The story of two misfits and their sightseeing trip around the UK is both hilarious and unsettling in equal measure, when a number of dead bodies are left in the couples wake. Few directors can balance these two styles effectively but Ben Wheatley does a great job in his follow up to 'Kill List'. Tina and Chris are terrifying creations and what's most impressive is that the two actors not only succeed in making their characters strangely likeable, but they even wrote the script themselves as well! It's hard to compare this eccentric yet brilliant film to anything else out there right now so you just have to watch the trailer to see what I mean. And for a more detailed review of 'Sightseers' click here.

Best Moment: It has to be the giant pencil scene for me. Letter writing will never be quite the same again.

8. The Imposter

Some great documentaries were released in 2012 but 'The Imposter' was the clear standout of the year. This true story of a man who somehow managed to impersonate a missing teenage boy and infiltrate his family is just mindblowing, containing more twists and surprises than any Hollywood thriller. The mixture of interviews and reconstructions are expertly directed and I guarantee that if you're not normally a fan of documentaries, then you will still love this film. For more documentaries that break the mould in their approach and content, check out this link right here.

Best Moment: The big reveal at the end is as nail bitingly tense as any classic Hollywood thriller but its even more unsettling for the viewer knowing that this is actually real life.

7. Cabin In The Woods

'Cabin In The Woods' starts off as a conventional slasher movie but then subverts the genre in a number of unexpected ways. This came as no surprise to me as the film was written by fan favourite Joss Whedon, the visionary behind groundbreaking TV shows such as 'Buffy' and 'Dollhouse', as well as the record smashing 'Avengers Assemble'. I had huge expectations for 'Cabin In The Woods', despite mixed reviews and the film did not let me down. So much of Hollywood these days is too safe or conventional in its storytelling and it takes something really different to surprise me so that's why I am so in love with this film. The final third in particular is just mindblowingly bizarre and while it is certainly not a perfect film, 'Cabin In The Woods' has secured a place on this list for sheer originality alone. 

Best Moment: The freaky creations shown throughout the elevator scene are genuinely terrifying and this one scene is more inventive than any other moment in horror this year. 

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Hmmm so how do I describe the plot of 'Silver Linings Playbook' without making it sound generic? The basic story behind this drama revolves around Bradley Cooper's character struggling to cope in the real world after an extended stay at a mental hospital. While staying with his family, Cooper meets a kindred spirit in the form of an unbalanced Jennifer Lawrence, but there is much more to the movie than this! Lawrence steals the film in what should hopefully be an oscar-winning performance and in fact the whole cast shine throughout 'Silver Linings Playbook', but its David O. Russell's quirky screenplay and direction that really elevate the film, making it one of the years strongest and certainly one of Hollywood's best. Watch the trailer to get more of a flavour.   

Best Moment: The cafe scene between the two leads is just devastating and for me, this was the moment when Jennifer Lawrence proved that she clearly deserves this years oscar.

5. 21 Jump Street

No film released this year made me laugh out loud as much as this remake (?) of the classic 80s TV show. In this reimagining (is that it?), two cops are sent back to high school to investigate a potential drugs ring. The plot alone doesn't hold much promise but the simple premise allows the cast and crew a lot of freedom to improvise the ridiculous set-ups. Jonah Hill is great as always but the real surprise for me was Channing Tatum. I never used to be much of a fan and I'd always thought he was fairly wooden as an actor... until I saw this film. Tatum really shows off his comedic chops here and I think he had previously missed his calling, being thrown into every soppy rom-com going. Forget what you thought you knew about Tatum. He's actually amazing. I just hope he doesn't film another crappy Nicholas Sparks adaptation after the huge success he has enjoyed with '21 Jump Street' and 'Magic Mike'. 

Best Moment: The montage scene where Tatum and Hill are high at school could have easily been dull and cliched but this turns out to be the funniest moment in the whole film, culminating in Tatum jumping through a drum skin in a genius moment of improv.

4. The Woman In Black

Before I first saw the original play of 'The Woman In Black' at the West End, I wondered how a stage show could possibly be scary but just minutes into the actual performance, I was feeling pretty jumpy. Stupidly, I then wondered if the film adaptation would be anywhere near as scary as the play, due to its 12A certification. How did this version get past the BBFC? I am not easily scared due to a lifelong love of horror films but 'The Woman In Black' has some freaky ass moments that scared the crap out of me! I was also impressed by Daniel Radcliffe's central performance, which the film basically hangs on. If he had failed to throw aside the Harry Potter persona, then the whole movie would not have worked but luckily, it turns out that Radcliffe is actually pretty good. If you haven't seen it yet, then you must watch what is easily the scariest 12A film of all time. There's nothing better than a good old-fashioned haunted house movie to freak you out. 

Best Moment: In a film this scary, there were many standout moments but what I found most unsettling were those quiet moments when the camera pans down the long dark corridors. It's knowing what could jump out at you any moment which truly unsettles the viewer. And that freaky ass rocking chair!

3. Prometheus

Ridley Scott's prequel to the Alien franchise that he started so many decades ago was one of the most highly anticipated sci-fi films of all time. Critics then ripped it apart upon its release for not matching up the classic status of previous Alien films, but as I argued in this post earlier in the year, 'Prometheus' was never supposed to be just another Alien movie. The horror elements have been toned down and the sci-fi has been cranked right up, resulting in a film that looks absolutely stunning and has some genius ideas. Sure, it doesn't all make sense after one viewing but then its not supposed to! 'Prometheus' is one of the most intellectual blockbusters that Hollywood has released in years and with it comes one of the most intelligent performances I have ever seen in genre cinema. I can almost guarantee that Michael Fassbender will not be nominated in the oscars for his performance as the android David, which is a crying shame as I think he would deserve to win.

Best Moment: When the day finally comes and someone invents an automated machine that can carry out medical operations, I for one will say no thank you, due to this very film.

2. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Earlier in the year, I read Stephen Chbosky's coming of age novel and instantly fell in love with it, to the point where it's since become one of my favourite books of all time. So obviously, I became s**t scared that the film would just be terrible. Thank god then for the genius at the studio who asked Chbosky to not only adapt but also direct his fantastic novel. The film adaptation of 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is a stunning movie that perfectly evokes that feeling of being young and free, while still somehow feeling the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. The casting is brilliant, with a standout performance from Ezra Miller as the flamboyant Patrick and the central story of Charlie's struggle to fit in is beautifully told. I can guarantee that this will be a cult classic for years to come. Love it.

Best Moment: It's a small scene but I love it when Charlie jumps in to defend Patrick after his douchebag secret lover turns on him in the cafeteria. So sweet!

1. Avengers Assemble

So here we are at the number one spot and what else could it have been? 'Avengers Assemble' took superhero films to the next level and achieved the impossible by successfully bringing together a whole team of iconic superheroes onto the big screen after spending years on perfecting their solo projects. No other film made such an impact in 2012. I knew Joss Whedon had it in him. Now I just can't wait until the next installment arrives in 2015, which you can read more about here. Everyone has a favourite scene, from when the Hulk flicks Thor away like a gnat to when Loki freaks the s**t out of everyone when he threatens the Black Widow. And then there's the eye candy. Hello Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremey Renner...the list goes on. Even people who hate superhero movies had to begrudgingly admit that 'Avengers Assemble' is fricking amazing. And what other film in 2012 can say that? Click here for 5 more reasons why 'Avengers Assemble' just kicks ass!

Best Moment: It's so random but my favourite moment in this film has to be when the Avengers are facing off against the alien forces towards the end. Working together in perfect synchronicity, Captain America uses his shield to deflect Iron Mans repulsor blasts straight into their attackers. This small geek out moment of mine was just like seeing the comics that I read as a child coming to life in front of me on the big screen. And I loved it. 

So what did you think of my top 10 film picks for 2012? I may be biassed but I think they're fricking awesome choices! However, if you think I left out any major players or even just think some choices are plain wrong then please let me know by commenting, liking and sharing below!


  1. An eclectic list... enjoyed it a lot. It seems that I will have to do a lot of watching. And thanks a lot for your participation!!! :-)

  2. Thank you for checking out my blog! Great idea for the blogathon by the way. Enjoy the films!

  3. Amol ghadigaonkar9 January 2013 at 18:19

    You should try movies from this certain director called Christopher Nolan. He just had a blockbuster released named 'The Dark Knight Rises' based on Batman. In case you don't know who The Batman is check Wikipedia. And check IMDB for Nolan.

    1. Yeah I seem to remember him releasing an incredible Batman film called 'The Dark Knight', but then he ended up making a sequel which felt overlong with a ridiculous ending. If I'd done a top 11 though, then 'The Dark Knight Rises' would have just made it. Great film but I felt let down compared to how brilliant the previous film was.

  4. Amol Ghadigaonkar10 January 2013 at 11:46

    For me...

    ...certainly the previous film was brilliant too. But TDKR certainly wasn't so bad for that it would fall out of Top 3 of 2012-movies of mine. But I guess each one has own opinion because for me 'Avengers' was pure torture and doesn't even stand in any of my favorite movies list...anytime.

    1. Dark Knight was the pinnacle of DC comic adaptations for me but as a Marvel fanboy, I just loved Avengers, even though its not the best film that has ever been made. Each to their own I say. I hope you liked some of my other choices though!

  5. "Silver Linings Playbook" caught my attention after the Oscar nominations. "The perks of being a wallflower" is also another that I intend to watch, but I'm thinking about reading the book first.
    Don't forget to reaad my contribution to the blogathon! :)

    1. Hey thanks for visiting the site. I would definitely recommend that you read the book first for 'Perks' as its one of my favourite books of all time.
      For some reason, I wasn't able to comment on your blog sorry, maybe something to do with google translate but its a great post. My pick would have to be Sinatra between the two!
      Thanks again, David