Best Movies of 2012

10. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

247 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
David O. Russell | 122 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Bradley Cooper | Jennifer Lawrence | Robert De Niro | Jacki Weaver

“An offbeat movie played by an offbeat ensemble, Silver Linings Playbook had nothing stereotypical with it, battling prejudices in every sense. Seldom does a deemed feel-good movie turn out to be worth it. David O’ Russell shows his plethora of stories with this odd tale about hope and willing to live life on one’s own terms. One of the most refreshing movies ever made, Playbook doesn’t have any deep layers or critical mastery but possesses a soothing narrative which is equally gripping. The lead trio were fantastic; Bradley Cooper showing the world that he was something more than a good-looking mannequin and Robert de Niro bringing his years of experience in the picture. Jennifer Lawrence took the gold for her own, a bit undeservingly, but satisfactorily for a performance which is way away from her usual path.” – Arita Dey, The Cinemaholic

9. AMOUR

250 LISTS | 38 TOP SPOTS
Michael Haneke | 127 mins | Drama/Romance
Jean-Louis Trintignant | Emmanuelle Riva | Isabelle Huppert | Alexandre Tharaud

“I’ve sometimes felt queasy about the Austrian director Michael Haneke’s relationship to his audience: In movies like The Piano Teacher or Funny Games, his merciless commitment to showing us the worst human beings are capable of can feel manipulative and sadistic.* But in the admittedly hard-to-watch Amour—which bears agonizing witness to the decline of a Parisian octogenarian (the astonishing Emmanuelle Riva) before the eyes of her devoted but ultimately powerless husband (the equally great Jean-Louis Trintignant)—Haneke goes beyond facile nihilism to create a soul-wrenching portrait of love at the extreme edge of life.” – Dana Stevens, Slate

8. HOLY MOTORS

265 LISTS | 58 TOP SPOTS
Leos Carax | 115 mins | Drama/Fantasy
Denis Lavant | Edith Scob | Eva Mendes | Kylie Minogue

“This gorgeous, goofy, deliberately baffling head trip from French bad boy Leos Carax – think “The Matrix,” as remade by David Lynch – is the year’s ultimate critic’s darling. But don’t let that deter you; I promise it’s not boring! There’s no point trying to decode the ultimate whys and wherefores of “Holy Motors,” in which a man named only Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) travels through multiple identities, multiple realities and many different genres of film, from science fiction to motion capture animation to action flick to romantic musical to family melodrama. You have to enjoy the ride rather than the destination, which isn’t too tough when the ride involves Eva Mendes being abducted by a subterranean, flower-eating troll, Kylie Minogue in a ‘60s air-hostess outfit, animated lizard sex and talking cars.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

7. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

265 LISTS | 26 TOP SPOTS
Benh Zeitlin | 93 mins | Adventure/Drama/Fantasy
Quvenzhané Wallis | Dwight Henry | Levy Easterly | Lowell Landes

“The year’s least self-conscious film was probably a little wide-eyed in its magic-filled take on a splinter Lousiana community trying to survive a suspiciously biblical flood, but don’t tell that to Quvenzhané Wallis, a tiny force of nature with the kind of presence and poise that can knock down walls. The most surprising and heartening thing I saw on a screen this year.” – Zach Baron, Grantland

6. DJANGO UNCHAINED

274 LISTS | 22 TOP SPOTS
Quentin Tarantino | 165 mins | Drama/Western
Jamie Foxx | Christoph Waltz | Leonardo DiCaprio | Kerry Washington

“While some might feel that Quentin Tarantino’s penchant for running big wrenching topics—the Nazis, American slavery—through the idiosyncratic prism of his own cinephilia represents a trivialization of those issues, my awe for the originality and sheer chutzpah of his dramatic face-offs is only increasing. No one else thinks and makes movies like this, no one else on the commercial landscape so confidently goes his own way and still finds his way home to a large audience.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

5. LINCOLN

299 LISTS | 35 TOP SPOTS
Steven Spielberg | 150 mins | Biography/Drama/History
Daniel Day-Lewis | Sally Field | David Strathairn | Joseph Gordon-Levitt

“Steven Spielberg comes at our sixteenth president from an unexpected angle: He’s an executive pushing a vital piece of legislation through a Congress full of boobs, cowards, and racists. How modern. The peerless Daniel Day-Lewis lets you see the wheels turning in that overfamiliar head. James Spader, John Hawkes, and Tim Blake Nelson can lobby for me anytime.” – Mark Olsen |Los Angeles Times

4. ARGO

309 LISTS | 44 TOP SPOTS
Ben Affleck | 120 mins | Biography/Drama/Thriller
Ben Affleck | Bryan Cranston | John Goodman | Alan Arkin

“This film takes first place on my best movie list because it is above all else a movie — pure, strong and sound. It has the classic values of a Hollywood thriller. It is “based on a true story.” Yes, it is. Countless movies are “inspired on real events,” but these truly took place. The extraction of the six Americans remained top secret for 18 years. They all returned safely to America. In “Argo,” a fake sci-fi movie called “Argo” is floated as a cover story to explain some Americans in Iran during the hostage crisis. This fake “Argo,” needless to say, was never filmed. The new film reveals surprises about a story we all lived though. It is told with classic comedy and tension.” – Roger Ebert

3. THE MASTER

349 LISTS | 57 TOP SPOTS
Paul Thomas Anderson | 138 mins | Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman | Joaquin Phoenix | Amy Adams | Jesse Plemons

“No movie this year is more divisive. The haters want to crush me for cheering the groundbreaking, untamable spirit of The Master. Which only means that filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson has touched a raw nerve by detailing the damage done by unthinking allegiance to God, country, sex and money. Joaquin Phoenix gives his all and then some as a World War II vet who falls under the spell of a 1950s cult leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. No one doubts their acting genius. But the neg-heads say, “I don’t get this movie.” Talk about it, people. See it again. Pry into it. Discuss your issues with friends. Argue. Debate. That used to be what movies were about till the multiplex turned our brains to mush.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

2. MOONRISE KINGDOM

355 LISTS | 44 TOP SPOTS
Wes Anderson | 94 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Jared Gilman | Kara Hayward | Bruce Willis | Bill Murray

“There’s almost nothing in Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, that isn’t in his earlier ones, and that’s not a bad thing. The movie is packed with whimsical details of a world not quite like ours; it’s immaculately framed and shot by Robert D. Yeoman, who’s worked on every one of Anderson’s films; it’s laced with dry wit, oddly hilarious turns of phrase, and awkward boys and girls trying to figure out how to escape becoming their parents. Maps are drawn. Records are played. You get the idea. Anderson is a writer and director who knows what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it, and he’s spent most of the past two decades working toward a state of creative focus and grace that make themselves known in every frame of his most recent film. He’s moved through the cockiness of youth and into a calmer, more measured approach without sacrificing any of the stylistic flair that defines him. In other words, for all his love of dysfunctional children, he’s grown up.” – Daniel Carlson, Pajiba

1. ZERO DARK THIRTY

388 LISTS | 78 TOP SPOTS
Kathryn Bigelow | 157 mins | Drama/Thriller
Jessica Chastain | Joel Edgerton | Chris Pratt | Mark Strong

“In the months and days leading up to the release of Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the film was pilloried by the right as propaganda for President Obama in an election year, and by the left as a love letter to torture. But director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, the team responsible for The Hurt Locker, are primarily interested in pursuing the truth wherever it leads them, and evoking history without appeal to ideologues of any stripe. Aligning itself with a CIA official (Jessica Chastain) whose decade-long pursuit of bin Laden calls on vast reserves of courage and resolve, Zero Dark Thirty goes deep into the shadow world of “enhanced interrogation” and black sites, details the many leads and red herrings that finally brought investigators to a compound in Abbottabad, and executes the raid itself with stomach-turning verisimilitude. Though Bigelow and Boal pay tribute to the dogged skill of the investigators who found Bin Laden and the SEAL members who stormed the compound, they aren’t interested in rah-rah triumphalism. It’s a sobering journey into the darkness.” – AV Club

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Zero Dark Thirty388783.6048%11%1933752%11%
2Moonrise Kingdom355444.7544%6%1612244%7%
3The Master349574.1543%8%1733247%10%
4Argo309444.0538%6%1271835%5%
5Lincoln299354.1937%5%1371437%4%
6Django Unchained274224.3634%3%114931%3%
7Beasts of the Southern Wild265264.2833%4%1251634%5%
8Holy Motors265584.5433%8%1352737%8%
9Amour250384.0131%5%1151931%6%
10Silver Linings Playbook247194.6730%3%98727%2%
11Skyfall18885.4423%1%74220%1%
12Looper166125.2220%2%66518%2%
13Life of Pi161144.9820%2%64317%1%
14The Dark Knight Rises147115.0418%2%45212%1%
15The Cabin in the Woods143135.6218%2%55715%2%
16The Avengers129135.0516%2%44512%2%
17Once Upon a Time in Anatolia129154.8416%2%681018%3%
18This Is Not a Film124224.3915%3%731320%4%
19The Perks of Being a Wallflower11275.0414%1%35010%0%
20Les Miserables10794.7013%1%3269%2%
21The Deep Blue Sea10485.1813%1%56215%1%
22The Turin Horse104153.8313%2%49713%2%
23Tabu92134.2511%2%50914%3%
24The Kid With a Bike8614.6111%0%45012%0%
25Cloud Atlas83104.9110%1%2627%1%
26Oslo, August 31st7914.9110%0%43112%0%
27Bernie7245.809%1%38310%1%
28Rust and Bone6334.638%0%3429%1%
29The Sessions6115.517%0%3118%0%
30Cosmopolis6085.117%1%3459%2%
31The Grey5845.557%1%2617%0%
32Killer Joe5715.167%0%2116%0%
33No5906.197%0%2908%0%
34The Raid: Redemption5635.287%0%2417%0%
35Magic Mike5615.637%0%3409%0%
36Anna Karenina5035.576%0%2938%1%
37Searching for Sugar Man5025.346%0%2517%0%
38Take This Waltz4935.776%0%2617%0%
39Killing Them Softly4906.376%0%2206%0%
40Flight4605.796%0%2106%0%
41How to Survive a Plague4504.956%0%1905%0%
42Compliance4455.475%1%2427%1%
43The Imposter4215.395%0%1514%0%
44The Loneliest Planet4214.985%0%2306%0%
45The Impossible4234.905%0%1915%0%
46Neighboring Sounds4215.225%0%2407%0%
47Safety Not Guaranteed4125.215%0%1715%0%
48The Hunger Games3915.935%0%802%0%
49The Queen of Versailles3806.205%0%1805%0%
50Paranorman3726.505%0%1304%0%

Lists Included 814 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 368

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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