10. John Carter
[pause for derisive eye-rolling]. Everyone hated this movie but me! So maybe it's not for you? The first time I saw it, I really enjoyed it, but was willing to concede that it was pretty rote. The second time I saw it I liked it even more. I think what I respond to most is the obvious love for adventure stories present. I was transported. My crush on Lynn Collins probably helped.
9. Pitch Perfect
School competition movies have predictable outcomes, but what elevates the good ones from the bad ones are charm, energy and wit. This has all three.
Beautiful to watch, great action sequences, a great villain and a great Bond. Who cares if the plot doesn't make much sense?
7. Life of Pi
A really beautiful story about the value of religion, with the understated emotions that we've come to expect from Ang Lee on display in the Irfan Khan scenes. And the visuals are mind-blowingly gorgeous.
I went in to this expecting to hate it, as I have done with all of the movies Ben Affleck has directed. But it's great! The period details are perfect, and it succeeds at the difficult task of balancing funny moments with more serious thriller stuff.
5. Cabin in the Woods
Inventive, that's what I'd say about this movie. I'll avoid spoiling it here, since if you haven't seen it, it's best to go in completely blind. It's hilarious and scary at the right moments and just a really clever script.
4. Moonrise Kingdom
The first half of this movie is absolutely magical. The second half is weaker, which is the only thing keeping this from being higher on my list. Probably Wes Anderson's best film since Royal Tenenbaums.
Despite the seemingly dry material, this film had a buoyancy that really kept things moving for its two and a half hour running time. The period details are immaculate and Daniel Day Lewis is always fascinating to watch. It's Spielberg's most restrained film in years.
2. Django Unchained
Tarantino's larger-than-life stories are self-indulgent and excessive, but oh so filling. I think this is his best film since Jackie Brown. More restrained than Kill Bill, a superior narrative to Inglorious Basterds, and terrific performances by Sam Jackson, Leo and Jamie Foxx.
1. The Avengers
No other film this year filled me with the joy of the movies more than The Avengers. Somehow able to appeal to my childhood nostalgia while tweaking my adult cynicism, with witty banter, fabulous action sequences, tons of energy and a cast who obviously loved working together. With the possible exception of The Dark Knight, this is the best comic book movie ever made.
The self-made cynic
- Top Ten Movies of 2012
- January 2nd, 2013