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Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously: The Honorable Mentions

Often during the calendar-straddling list-making frenzy of "top ten season" a scene or a line of dialogue or even a whole film will refuse to dislodge itself from any internal conversation you may have with oneself about the year. That moment for me this year was Kylie Minogue's cameo late in Holy Motors when she arrives in a trenchcoat, like some lost Casablanca love, to sing:

Who were we. When we were. Who we were back then?

It'd be ineloquent bathos, too crudely and redundantly stated, if it weren't sung. But this heightened musical longing for a lost identity, lifts and soars with pathos instead. The year's best films kept reinforcing this most interior of questions as they wrestled with their past selves towards an uncertain future.

Nathaniel's Top Ten of 2012
From all movies screened that received US theatrical releases...

ZERO DARK THIRTY (Kathryn Bigelow)
Sony/Columbia. December 21st 

[SPOILERS FOLLOW] My favorite exchange in Mark Boal's dense script occurs between a government official and a CIA operative. "What the fuck does that mean?" "It's a tautology". I laughed at the wordplay in the film but wasn't expecting the widespread tautological eruptions that followed the film's premiere as everyone bent themselves into self-affirming pretzels to debate its portrayal of torture in the film's opening scenes as if there were only one way to look at the damn movie... as if torture were the only thing worth discussing about the film! To Zero Dark Thirty's credit, though I too was discomfited by its suggestion that torture yielded useful intel, there's nary a comfortable or pandering moment in the film. Like The Hurt Locker before it, ZDT attempts something like an apolitical stance though how successful that is (or ever can be) will be left to each viewer to decide. In my mind, Bigelow doesn't suggest that you're meant to enjoy torture or even embrace the mission's success, exactly...

more on Zero Dark and 9 more triumphs after the jump...

For me the most brutal moments are in the film's last half hour when our nation's "triumph" is depicted as a mercilessly precise mechanical setpiece filled with casually quick killings of men and women alike in Osama's compound. Nothing could be more uncomfortable than "friendly" soldiers played by actors you already love, attempting to soothe traumatized children whose parents they've just killed. The film ends with a shot of Maya's (Jessica Chastain) face as a mask of tears in an empty aircraft. Where would she like to go? She doesn't say. Who was she and who were we when we were driven to these things? And what can possibly come next? As the film ended I kept thinking of Maya's unquestioning emphatic statement earlier in the film when she was asked to list her accomplishments outside the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and how little it's done to prepare her for a world after him...

I've done nothing else."


HOLY MOTORS (Leos Carax)
Indomina Media. October 17th 

If you've ever read an article declaring that the cinema is dead (and who hasn't?) than here's your ticket to the mournful funeral, lively wake, and scattering of ashes that the artform demands and deserves all rolled up in one. That amaglam is then shoved into an actor's (Denis Lavant) makeup kit as he rolls from one assignment to the next, never questioning but definitely agonizing over his multiple temporary identities. This might be the strangest choice I've ever made for a top ten list in that I was drifting off for the whole screening (not the movie's fault - definitely my own). I thought I'd lucid dreamt it until the internet kept reconfirming it's every insane monstrous detour, crazypants tangent and rousing accordion intermission. Play on, Leos Carax, play on.

Participant Media. October 12th. 

Movies about emotional stasis are rare despite it being a rather universal experience. Everyone hits a brick wall of indecision or treads water in a stagnant relationship or whatnot at some point in their life. I suspect these movies are rare because it's hard to dramatize the fact of being stuck. DuVernay's supple drama poses an interesting central question: what if you want to stay stuck? Ruby (Emayatzi Corinealdi) has transformed herself into a human countdown clock, merely waiting out her husband's prison term in an attempt to begin again where they left off. Nowhere finds multiple artful ways to jostle its stubborn heroine out of her self-imposed rut. The past is forever lost to us whether we're willing to admit it or not. 


LINCOLN (Steven Spielberg)
Touchstone Pictures. November 9th

In retrospect it's amusing that the first line of dialogue we all learned from Lincoln is "...clothed in immense power!" since the shock of this Abraham Lincoln is how nakedly human he is, as if just (re)born. It's not that you can't see the solitary white marble giant in DC or the godlike face on Mount Rushmore in Daniel Day-Lewis' towering performance. But what the great actor shows us is the less familiar man who earned this stony immortality, these elevated abstractions. Steven Spielberg wisely steps back to let the accomplished ensemble and the great Tony Kushner tell the story. Kushner's tightly focused screenplay never forgets that politics is people as it details the way a political team and an entire country waged war. They fought to send an immoral way of life into the graveyard of the past so a nation could move forward, free of the weight of its chains.


FAREWELL MY QUEEN (Benoit Jacquot)
Cohen Media Group. July 17th

The first signs that this isn't your average fussy costume drama is the way the servant Laborde (watchful intriguing Lea Seydoux) slips and falls as she races around Versailles to serve the whims of her fickle queen Marie Antoinette (a brilliantly distracted Diane Kruger). There's also the crude sight of a dead rat that one servant shows to another, symbolic shorthand for the external pestilence and poverty that will soon topple the outwardly beautiful but obscene aristocratic way of life? Talk about redistribution of wealth... it's all gone upward. This bracing retelling of the Marie Antoinette story takes you deep into the interior of the kind of gated community drama that usually keeps the viewer at a certain fussy distance. Its court politicals and sexual liaisons intrigue and resonate in whole new sociopolitical ways from this servant's eye view. Laborde is a smart working class beauty but the vampiric greed of the wealthy, emotionally...sexually...financially, knows no bounds and could cost her deeply. [REVIEW]


Universal Pictures. December 25th.

It's often a bummer to realize you're alone or at least widely abandoned in the act of loving a movie, so allow me to wallow in that terrible moment that the young revolutionaries experience late in this film's second act when they realized the citizenry has bolted their doors and abandoned them. Ouch! But they rally on.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?

*Sniffle* The top ten exercize is a personal one, however public movie love may be. All I know is that I wouldn't trade Hugh Jackman's riveting "Soliloquy", in which the actor delivers a stunning monologue of conversion and repurposing while walking in and out of the spiritual light for anything. I had to remember to breathe. And I can't even start on Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" which is everything -- the single best scene of the movie year. The movie may peak there and too early and [insert any complaints about visual flexibility here] but I don't require perfection in film and especially not in any of the theatrical high-wire genres. I require soul. Mine was worked over and edified.


Focus Features. May 25th

Anderson's critics may gripe that his films are too twee, his visuals too fussy and diagrammed, his concerns too myopic. Let's say, for argument's sake, that those things are true. If they are he hasn't found a better story, theme or setting in which to funnel all of them. In this hilarious and precocious synaptic map of adolescent formation and adult melancholy, Anderson sees the invisible connecting lines (love and heartbreak) between them and his camera moves accordingly to trace them. It's his best and most transcendent film since his masterpiece The Royal Tenenbaums, and the first in which I've ever wanted to revisit the characters later in life to see what kind of people they've become.

What kind of bird are you?"


MAGIC MIKE (Steven Soderbergh)
Warner Bros. June 29th

If only all pet projects of movie stars were this low in fussy noble ambition but this high in entertainment value and smarts. (Note: Channing Tatum's dumb hunk persona is just a front). Every scene here, even the ones that don't attempt to escape cliché, play enthusiastically or with a slight twist on expectations. My two favorite moments involve the brother and sister caught in Mike's orbit: Brooke (Cody Horn) watching Magic Mike's (Channing Tatum) routine for the first time, with equal parts dismissive judgment and reluctant fascination - that's as perfect a mirror as you're ever going to get of the audience watching the film; Adam's (Alex Pettyfer) endearing boyish enthusiasm after an all nighter on the town with Mike...

I think we should be best friends."



AMOUR (Michael Haneke)
Sony Pictures Classics. December 21st

You'll often read that Amour has a single setting (the Parisian apartment of Georges and Anne played by the French thespians Jean-Louis Trintignant and Oscar nominated Emmanuelle Riva) but this isn't strictly true. We first see the married couple at a piano recital though the Austrian master Michael Haneke refuses to do the work of pointing them out to us. They're merely two people in a crowd. Amour narrows its focus after this opening and we soak up the emotional details of this long marriage between two cultured octogenarians as they tell stories (or don't) and receive (or refuse) visitors. As Anne's health rapidly deteriotates, Georges plays caregiver. It'd be comforting to continue thinking of their story as merely Georges & Anne's, but despite the indelible specifics of pigeon invasions, watery nightmares, and caretaking drama, the cold hard truth somehow warmly delivered by Michael Haneke is that "the end" is a universal experience, an anonymous devastation, a vanishing act. [FULL REVIEW]


Fox Searchlight. June 27th

"Who'da man??? I'm da man!!!" screams pint-sized Hushpuppy (Qu'venzhane Wallis) more than once as her purposefully distant father attempts to toughen her up for orphan life in the harsh environment of "The Bathtub". If Beasts had felt any less poetic, or any less generously open-hearted, you could have easily imagined the entire filmmaking collective responsible shouting this to each other boastfully as they crafted this wholly original triumph. Surely they deserve bragging rights.

I lost my own father shortly before seeing this film, and I'm sure that my copious tears had as much to do with that as anything happening in the film. But we don't see art in a vacuum nor should we. I've come to treasure Beasts not for that first magical cathartic experience but for the ways it continues to shapeshift in my memory. Maybe it's an apocalyptic drama about being forcibly removed from your nest. Maybe it's a fantastical appropriation of Hurrican Katrina narratives. Maybe it's a political poem. Maybe it's a manifesto about harnessing the power of childlike imagination to survive anything. Whatever it is and becomes over the years -- I suspect it'll continue to fascinate -- it's as rare and weirdly startling as those ancient aurochs released from their glacial prisons.

I showed you mine... your turn in the comments.

Film Bitch Awards: Picture, Director, Screenplay 
Team Experience Honor Roll
Michael's Top Ten
Beau's Top Ten

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Reader Comments (64)

SO SO SO HAPPY you finally posted it and we match, my top 5 is Farewell, My Queen, Magic Mike, Moonrise Kingdom, The Hunt & Beasts of the Southern Wild. 4/5 :D

Hope you're feeling better too, thank you for another year of brilliance!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

Mine are:

1. Amour
2. The Master
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild
6. Holy Motors
7. Oslo, August 31st
8. Wuthering Heights
9. Django Unchained
10. Middle of Nowhere

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterÁngel Ramos

Man, I love seeing Moonrise Kingdom so high on this list. I may understand people dismissing Anderson's films, but I don't "get" it, if that makes any sense (I'm not sure it does).

Either way, it was my favourite of the year.

By the way, I haven't gotten around to seeing Les Mis, yet, but your love of it gives me hope that I will enjoy it.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOwen

Genuinely beautiful piece Nathaniel. You should be very proud of this.

As for my top 10, I wrote mine for my site sans order, minus my top pick. So it went alphabetically after that.

1. The Kid with a Bike.
- Amour
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Holy Motors
- How to Survive a Plague
- Kill List
- Lincoln
- The Master
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Zero Dark Thirty

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

I'm still catching up on a lot of 2012 releases. I do know that Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty and Amour will all factor in heavily, as well as Magic Mike. But honestly, when I'm really honest with myself, my favorite film of the year was How to Survive a Plague. No film affected me more on a gut emotional level.

I made a Top 15:

1. Take This Waltz
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Perks of Being A Wallflower
4. Jeff, Who Lives At Home
5. Chronicle 
6. Arbitrage
7. Safety Not Guaranteed
8. Sister
9. 2 Days in New York
10. Entrance
11.  The Loneliest Planet
12. Marley
13. Girl Walk//All Day
14. Bernie
15. Battleship

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

I still have a few to see but ZDT won't be on mine. Too big an issue for me. KB is too unforthcoming. Torture is to ZDT what bribery is in LINCOLN: the thing that serious people do to accomplish the good end: passing the 13th, killing OBL. Except it's torture.

I did like the undramatic raid on the compound. I thought the "Candidate"/"Graduate" where-do-we-go-from-here end was fine. But can't recommend or top 10.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Your #1 is correct.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Mine would be:

1) Zero Dark Thirty
2) Moonrise Kingdom
3) Magic Mike
4) Lincoln
5) Amour
6) The Master
7) Looper
8) Beasts of the Southern Wild
9) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
10) Silver Linings Playbook

Wreck-It Ralph and Skyfall are the runners-up.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwglick

I'm curious Nathaniel, why do you think Beasts has been so divisive?

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Erick -- it always is!

January 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Mine are:

01 Holy Motors
02 Amour
03 Zero Dark Thirty
04 Tabu
05 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
06 Oslo, August 31st
07 Beasts of the Southern Wild
08 Les Miserables
09 Magic Mike
10 Lincoln

HM: Looper, Elena, Declaration of War & Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterca

I went with a Top 12 because shut up, that's why. I still had to bump The Avengers and The Raid: Redemption from the list and it hurts me so. Holy Motors similarly fell right outside of my list.

12: The Hunger Games
11: Sound of My Voice
10: The Secret World of Arrietty
9: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
8: Django Unchained
7: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
6: Cosmopolis
5: Safety Not Guaranteed
4: Seven Psychopaths
3: Cloud Atlas
2: The Grey
1: Beasts of the Southern Wild

So 10 genre films and 2 revenge films. Sounds about right for me.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G


DJANGO, SKYFALL, ARGO and LES MIS just missed.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Beasts tops the list! Oh that's so awesome! I had been disappointed when critics lists were coming out, and it was either totally ignored, or relatively low in the rankings. How wonderful to see it top the ranks here!

My top ten would also have Beasts at the top, followed by Magic Mike, Zero Dark Thirty, The Kid With A Bike, Farewell My Queen, Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Sister, The Paperboy, Anna Karenina, and Take This Waltz. Runner's up Moonrise Kingdom, Rust And Bone, Silver Linings Playbook, and Oslo August 31st. There are a couple I have yet to see that could probably make an impact on this list, most prominently Middle Of Nowhere, which just never got a release anywhere near me. Frustrating, and it always seems to happen with fresh minority or female voices. Very annoying, and very telling of a distribution system that almost seems designed to keep new talent down.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

A list in progress....

1. The Master
2. Anna Karenina
3. Cloud Atlas
4. Moonrise Kingdom
5. Rust and Bone
6. Argo
7. Holy Motors
8. United in Anger / How to Survive a Plague
9. The Sessions
10. Keep the Lights On

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I was expecting a Top 10 list like this judging from the grades you gave those movies in your reviews. Although I was expecting either Amour or Magic Mike to be number one.

Anyway, here's my list:

1. The Master
2. Moonrise Kingdom
3. Zero Dark Thirty
4. To the Wonder
5. Arbitrage
6. Looper
7. Oslo, August 31st
8. Life of Pi
9. Amour
10. Skyfall

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I haven't seen "Amour" yet, so I feel like I'm missing a big one, so for now:

1. Oslo, August 31st
2. Holy Motors
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Life of Pi
5. The Deep Blue Sea
6. Zero Dark Thirty
7. Lincoln
8. Magic Mike
9. How to Survive a Plague
10. Django Unchained

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I saw Beasts. Personal view: Low A-. Probably in my top 10.

As for Benh Zeitlin, it's tied to a message to DC:

Warner Bros., if you really want to go forward with this Dark Universe thing here are some pointers:

1. The first Dark Universe movie should have a MAX budget of $110 million. Second entry should cost no more than $140 million.
2. Open with, at the very least, second stabs at Swamp Thing and John Constantine.
3. Encourage cost cutting and getting in UNDER budget. These are supernatural and magic based heroes, after all, so you are baiting some level of controversy.
4. Hire Benh Zeitlin for Swamp Thing at the very least. He seems to have some affinity for the swamp based on his first film, so he might have a very interesting approach to the material.
5. Don't get discouraged from doing this if Man of Steel flops. These seem to be the kind of characters great directors want to do these days, so bending your public image to raise them above Superman (for a bit, anyway) is in your best interest.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

1. "The Impossible" (Unapologetic!)
2. "Argo"
3. "Zero Dark Thirty"
4. "Amour"
5. "How To Survive a Plague"
6. "Lincoln"
7. "Life of Pi"
8. "Silver Linings Playbook"
9. "Magic Mike"
10. "Holy Motors"

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKB

A little pet peeve I must air:
Of your comments about "Lincoln", one I've oft heard repeated is about Spielberg's role in its success. It seems to me that many are phasing their praise for the film to suggest its quality is somehow in spite of Spielberg and attributing most if not all the kudos to the screenplay and cast. I'm a unabashed admired of Spielberg I must say I've heard that said not only of "Lincoln" but any of a number of his films. Yes Tony Kushner is a genius and the cast superb but as the man running the show Spielberg contributions shouldn't be marginalized.
Sorry to get preachy but it's just a particular nerve of mine that's been worn raw.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ'sDiner

I only caught 40-something movies last year, so my list is far from set in stone... but thus far, this is what I've got.

15. The Avengers (Joss Whedon)
14. Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard)
13. Les Miserables (Tom Hooper)
12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
11. ParaNorman (Chris Butler and Sam Fell)

10. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
09. Bernie (Richard Linklater)
08. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
07. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
06. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
05. Looper (Rian Johnson)
04. Prometheus (Ridley Scott)
03. Argo (Ben Affleck)
02. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
01. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

Ooooooh we have the same #1! Pending viewing of Amour and Zero Dark Thirty of course, but Beasts has been lodged in my top spot ever since first seeing it. I think part of it was that the film was so unexpected in so many ways.

Oddly enough, the only other films our Top Tens share are Magic Mike and Moonrise kingdom, and their order is switched (they currently sit at #6 and #5 respectively). Of course, I also still haven't seen Holy Motors, Middle of Nowhere, and Farewell My Queen, but the latter was the only one that played near me. SIGH. I long for the day when I get to see Holy Motors on the big screen!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

2-Beast of the southern wild
6-Moonrise Kingdom
7-Killer Joe
9-The perks of being a wallflower

Honorable Mentions
Dark Horse-Friends with Kids-End of Watch

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstjean

Beautiful list and descriptions.

Mine: (still haven't seen Amour)
1. Les Miserables
2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
3. Lincoln
4. Life of Pi (obviously I love the BP list with these being my top 4)
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. Looper
7. Anna Karenina
8. The Avengers (appreciated your Screenplay mention - everyone seems to have forgotten it)
9. How To Survive a Plague
10. Brave

Zero Dark Thirty and Magic Mike just miss the cut. I could easily do a top 25 I love though.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

1 - Zero Dark Thirty

2 - The Master

3 - Beasts of the Southern Wild

4 - Life of Pi

5 - Magic Mike

6 - Skyfall

7 - Keep the Lights On

8 - Lincoln

9 - End of Watch

10 Django Unchained

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

My top 10 now, though I still need to see Middle of Nowhere, Holy Motors, Farewell my Queen, The Master, Silver Linings Playbook, Flight, and How to survive a Plaque

1. Zero Dark Thirty (Love what Nathaniel said about the ending)
2. Moonrise Kingdom
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
4. Life of Pi
5. Lincoln
6. Magic Mike
7. Looper
8. Skyfall
9. Take this Waltz
10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I really admired Amour, but just couldn't bring myself to love it. I'm also torn about whether to watch it again.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRic

No offense intended, but Magic Mike being anywhere near a top 3 for anyone of any year is just mind-boggling to me. It's going to take me a while to come to terms with it being a Film Bitch Nominee

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

Nathaniel, are you and the gang still gonna do a podcast about the oscar nomination and your personal top tens? Miss listening to you guys while driving/jogging.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRic

"I require soul. Mine was worked over and edified"

Mine too, Nathaniel. I saw Les Misérables this morning. I was literally blown away by the power, the emotion, the amazing performances. Great, great movie.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Life of Pi, The Deep Blue Sea, Holy Motors, The Master, Lincoln.

Amour, Cloud Atlas, Neighboring Sounds, The Impossible, Flight.

I am not sure about the order, but at least I have to tiers.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Mine can be found here:

Great list, Nathaniel! Great year, movie gods!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChase Hilton

Woohoo!!!!! BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Great Choice. :D

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

"Magic Mike" and "Les Miserables" are, respectively, my best and worst films of the year. To see them both on the same list should only merit my respect. Also, mad kudos for having "Farewell, My Queen" on your list. If there's a film this year I wish I loved to the high heavens (but don't), that's it.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDuncan Houst

I fully admit a bias to period/historical settings... but it's my top ten, so it is what it is.

1. No
2. Anna Karenina
3. Argo
4. Moonrise Kingdom
5. A Royal Affair
6. Sister
7. Lore
8. Lincoln
9. Skyfall
10. Life of Pi

(I'm including films from LFF which haven't all made it wide yet.)

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmes

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. Life of Pi
3. Amour
4. Anna Karenina
5. Argo
6. Cloud Atlas
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
8. The Deep Blue Sea
9. Looper
10. Lincoln

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Magic Mike >> Les Mis??!! I just don't know what to think!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

10. 21 Jump Street
9. Hunger Games
8. Cabin in the Woods
7. Dark Knight Rises
6. Les Miserables
5. Seven Psychopaths
4. Cloud Atlas
3. Life of Pi
2. Lincoln
1. Moonrise Kingdom

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Q

morganisquat -- The Hunt hasn't come to the States yet but I can't wait. Love Mads.

Chase Hilton -- this time of year always makes me so grateful to filmmakers for making these beautiful objects we can all enjoy and treasure.

Ric -- we recorded a podcast about the noms already. i'll put it up this weekend.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

My Top 10:

1. Amour
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3. The Dark Knight Rises
4. Indie Game: The Movie
5. Holy Motors
6. Cloud Atlas
7. The Cabin in the Woods
8. God Bless America
9. The Turin Horse
10. Safety Not Guaranteed

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaime Grijalba

Jaime -- highly unusual bedfellows there!

Anna -- think that we're lucky to have both!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I included festival films but alas:

1. Laurence Anyways
2. Take This Waltz
3. Century of Birthing
4. Amour
5. Barbara
6. This is Not a Film
7. Alps
8. Two Years at Sea
9. Romancing in Thin Air
10. Paradise: Love

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew P

There's a bunch of films i have yet to see (Argo, Beasts, The Impossible, The Master) which might change things but here's a partial list:

(not in order)

1) Anna Karenina
2) Skyfall
3) Looper (tiny issue with the telekinesis though)
4) Les Miserables
5) Perks of Being a Wallflower
6) Django Unchained (not as good as Inglorious in my mind though)
7) The Hunger Games

Movies I should love but don't:
- Not to sound totally plebeian but i *really* found myself bored by Zero Dark Thirty. I guess it was not my kind of thing. Maybe because i'm not American? I don't know.
- I liked Silver Linings Playbook but it was verrrrry overrated. The only reason why i'm cheering for Jennifer Lawrence is because of that First Wives Club joke she made at the Golden Globes where she forever won my heart. I mean, when in life can you actually beat Meryl Streep and make a reference like that?
- Amour was very well-made and acted but because watching the content of the film was so excruciating for me, i can't seem to put it in a "best" list.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

1.Margaret - extended version
2.This is not a film
4.Holy Motors
5.The Master
7.How to Survive a Plague
8.Perks of Being a Wallflower
9.Take this Waltz
10. Neighboring Sounds

Mr. Goodbar

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterj

Without having seen Django, Lincoln or ZD30 yet, this is my Top Ten:

10. Argo
9. Killer Joe
8. Life of Pi
7. The Master
6. Amour
5. Oh Boy
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
3. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Holy Motors
1. Beasts of the Southern Wild

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannes

you should watch laurence anyways.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterblair

Here's my list. Mostly an on-consensus year for me. The only exception being, arguably, Anna Karenina.

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. Amour
3. Lincoln
4. Anna Karenina
5. Zero Dark Thirty
6. Holy Motors
7. Moonrise Kingdom
8. Looper
9. The Master
10. Magic Mike

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Blair -- it never came out here. But i like Dolan... i am worried abotu the running time, though.

January 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

1.) Amour
2.) Zero Dark Thirty
3.) Rust and Bone
4.) Beasts of the Southern Wild
5.) The Master
6.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
7.) The Master
8.) Middle of Nowhere
9.) Looper
10.) Moonrise Kingdom

Honorable Mentions: Les Mis, Django Unchained, Oslo, August 31st, Keep the Light On and The Cabin in the Woods

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I've still got too many to see to create a top 10 list , but The Master and Amour are fighting it out for the #1 and #2 slots.

Nat, I was worried about the long running time of Laurence Anyways, but I didn't really find it overly daunting when I saw it. It could be cut, granted, but it works at it's current length.

And...a little correction: Georges and Anne are at a piano recital, not at the opera, in that early scene in Amour.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

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