The Best of Cinema 2012

My ten favorite films of the year:

10. Killing Them Softly

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A grimy, blunt weapon against the corruptive political and economic forces around it, Andrew Dominick’s unforgiving mob tale is the most bitter, but necessary, pill of the year. For my full review, click here.

9. Magic Mike

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Steven Soderbergh’s wild and colorful romp may ostensibly wear an MTV cloak, when in fact it exposes the core of an individual in crisis under a crumbling economy, and a true star performance from Channing Tatum. For my full review, click here.

8. The Master

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s examination of postwar anxiety and the corruptive power of religion is the most challenging yet fascinating film of the year, spearheaded by two polar opposite career best performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. For my full review, click here.

7. Life of Pi

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Though its bookends detract slightly from the whole, the middle hour of Ang Lee’s epic showcases some of the very best filmmaking of the year, with brilliant CGI, a courageous performance from Suraj Sharma, and a resonant reflection on the power of spirituality. For my full review, click here.

6. Django Unchained

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Having meditated on the revenge narrative for nearly a decade, Quentin Tarantino arrives at his culmination, forgoing an episodic structure, and favoring an unabating momentum that protracts in its finale, but is significantly bolstered by its intimacy with America’s deeply troubling past. For my full review, click here.

5. Skyfall

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James Bond could not have asked for a better 50th anniversary with an extraordinary 23rd outing, marked by strong direction from Sam Mendes, career topping photography by Roger Deakins, and a contemporary relevance heretofore unexplored by the franchise. For my full review, click here.

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth is occasionally hampered by pacing issues, but its lighter tone and brilliant overall execution perfectly evoke the original masterful trilogy, culminating with the cameo of the year, a flawless performance by motion capture king Andy Serkis. For my full review, click here.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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A testament to the fact that the times may change, but adolescence never does, Stephen Chbosky’s cinematic adaptation of his own novel is poised to become a future high school classic, and perfects its atmospheric emulation of the south hills of Pittsburgh. For my full review, click here.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

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An already underrated work by Christopher Nolan, this exceptional finale surpasses its predecessors through its narrative thrust, its fusion of influences by way of Doctor Zhivago and The Battle of Algiers, whilst completing the thematic arc of the trilogy’s examination of the relationship between the individual and society. For my full review click, here.

1. Lincoln

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Taking a cue from all great biopics by focusing on a singular event in defining one man, Steven Spielberg’s film stands among his very finest, humanizing the most towering of American figures and vitalizing the democratic process, all brought to life by his flat out best ensemble, with what may very well be the pinnacle of Daniel Day-Lewis’ legendary career. For my full review, click here.

Honorable Mentions: Argo, The Avengers, Lawless, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook

Also,

Underrated: Haywire, The Grey

Overrated: The Hunger Games, Les Miserables

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~ by romancinema on December 30, 2012.

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