The Ten Best Movies of 2012 – Nathan's List

When looking back at the films from 2012, I’m happy to report seeing a fairly solid line up.  I’m not saying it was the best set of films, as I felt it lacked a certain passion that I prefer to have when rooting for the top tier.  Nevertheless, this year’s showing was much stronger than last year’s, which I think really only had an exceptional five – starting with the best: THE TREE OF LIFE, WARRIOR, DRIVE, MONEYBALL, and A SEPARATION.  I think it’s important to point out that those films were relatively unseen and fairly unsuccessful at the box office.  Unlike this year, where the big budget blockbusters like THE HUNGER GAMES and SKYFALL were actually well made films, whose entertainment factor were overwhelmingly fun. I laughed – 21 JUMP STREET, I stressed out – THE IMPOSSIBLE, I endured the dangerous elements – THE GREY, I was tickled – MOONRISE KINGDOM and SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, and I was a sappy emotional mess – THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN.  Overall, I can safely say this was a fairly decent year for movies that is heightened even further by the fact this was the last year to suffer through the TWILIGHT craze. (Click on the movie title for full review.)

Don’t forget to check out Brad’s top ten movies of 2012 for a different take on the year’s best.  The Ten Best Movies of 2012 are:

Joseph Gordon Levitt in Looper

Honorable Mention:  LOOPER – Since I’ve seen this film, it has really stuck with me.  This was surprisingly far more enjoyable than expected and it is a highly creative and original take on the time travel genre.  There is always a special place in my heart for creative Sci-fi films. This one is excellent and is only furthered by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s terrifically committed performance.

10. AMOUR – The foreign film that will surely win the Oscar is an unsettling look at an elderly couple when one begins to fall ill with old age and the other is forced to take care of her.  The film is frighteningly real and a sad truth that has yet to be captured with such brutally relentless patience and calm honest darkness. Think the sad part in THE NOTEBOOK when the two lovers are an old couple, except now picture it for the whole film without any of the happiness.

9. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – I may catch some grief for this one, but no matter how many flaws this film has, I can’t help but love it.  Unlike most of Christopher Nolan films which are at the top of my list due to their exceptional quality in redefining filmmaking, the third installment in one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, plays more like a guilty pleasure. Still, TDKR has some exquisite cinematography, ambitious story telling and a villain whose ferocity in presence and voice had me irresistibly imitating.

Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. in The Avengers

8. THE AVENGERS – This was probably the most fun I had in the theater this year. While Nolan found a way to make the superhero genre relevant as a serious Oscar contender, Joss Whedon has perfected making the genre into entertaining comic book fun.   With a top notch cast, humorous dialogue and epic action sequences, this is any fanboys heaven.  There are numerous scenes worth watching over and over again and the best part is, they finally nailed the Hulk!   “That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always angry.”

7. ZERO DARK THIRTY – Intense from start to finish. An in-depth look at one woman’s plight to capture Osama Bin Laden,  From brutal interrogations to the patient desk work, ZERO DARK THIRTY captures every major behind the scene moment until finally culminating to the riveting SEAL Team Six secret mission.

The Life of Pi 1

6. LIFE OF PI – Arguably this year’s most inspirational film, LIFE OF PI might also be the most interesting story – a young Indian boy trapped on a lifeboat with a full grown Bengal Tiger.  Doing the impossible, Ang Lee adapted the best-selling novel to the big screen with mesmerizing visuals that capture the spiritual journey beautifully.

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