Favorite movies of 2012

I watched more movies in 2012 than any other year of my life, by far (132). I should have taken up cinephilia years and years ago. Although, um, I maybe should tone it down a bit?

Some of the high points this year came from diving deep into Michael Mann, Steven Soderbergh, and yeah, Ben Affleck, along with re-watching a good collection of old favorites. Below are some new-to-me movies that I loved in 2012. I looked at my diary on Letterboxd, and listed the movies that I gave either 4.5 or 5 stars. All the links go to my own reviews:

  • Heat (watched 3x!) “Yeah, this is definitely going on my list of movies that are 1) more than 2.5 hours long, and 2) worth watching 3x or more.”
  • Lawrence of Arabia. “David Lean? This, Doctor Zhivago, and Brief Encounter? There’s a resume for you.”
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild. “Best soundtrack of the year so far? I might have cried twice.”
  • The New World. “You’re forced to set aside Disney memories and whatever historical précis you’ve got leftover from school.”
  • The Iron Giant. “The greatest anti-war film ever made.”
  • Certified Copy. “The surprises depend on you coming to a conclusion, one way or another, and the way the movie unfolds, you have to question what you come up with.”
  • Take Shelter. “Often when I see extreme psychological issues on screen it feels like an excuse for spectacle, it’s motive, it’s entertainment. Michael Shannon’s paranoia just breaks him.”
  • Warrior (2x!) “Some plot points are about subtle as a kick to the head, but the power is there, too.”
  • Midnight in Paris. “I love our hero’s giddy, can’t-believe-his-luck enthusiasm. This might be my favorite Owen Wilson performance ever.”
  • The Night of the Hunter. “Some things aren’t right in this neighborhood. Perfect horror.”
  • Thief. “I also like that this thief isn’t an MI-style sneaky ninja techno-athlete or some kind of capoeira breakdancer. He’s an old man. He’s got a limp. He wants to have a wife and kid.”

And what the hell, here are the 4-star movies from 2012. It’s a thin line: