Top 10 Best Movies of 2012

1. Argo
It was difficult putting this above “Lincoln,” however I think that “Argo” really was ahead in a few ways. It’s intense, it’s funny, it’s interesting and it is very well put together by director Ben Affleck. “Argo” was a really nice follow up to “The Town” and shows that Affleck can take on different sorts of films and pull them off. I was really impressed with the acting, the portrayal of Hollywood and especially the exciting climax.

2. Lincoln
“Lincoln” is by far one of my favorite Spielberg films in a long time. The film only focuses on a small part of Lincoln’s life and the Civil War, and yet the film really lets the audience know who Lincoln is as a person which really allowed me to connect to a larger than life character. The political drama was also exciting and showed off how good of a strategist Lincoln was as a president.

3. Zero Dark Thirty
Once I get to this part of the list, the films become a bit interchangeable since they are all so good. Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” may not have had a major emotional connection in my view, yet it was still very interesting and exciting. This was due to the craftship of Bigelow and the rest of the crew recreating so many things to a point where it felt very real. It’s one of those movies where you practically know what happens at the end, and yet it still keeps you on the edge of your seat.

4. Django Unchained
“Django Unchained,” despite being a little bit long, to me was thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. The film, like other Tarantino flicks, has sort of chapters to it and Tarantion manages to pull it off quite well. I really enjoyed both the buddy cowboy aspect and the rescue storyline in the second half. This was all done with the backdrop of being a spaghetti western with great dialogue and nice delivery by the actors as well.

5. Les Miserables
Yes, I can hear the people sing, and for the most part they can sing pretty well. I didn’t like every musical number in “Les Miserables,” yet the ones I did like were so powerful and moving that it made up for every part that was a bit dull. Anne Hathaway was fantastic, however, the person who really impressed me the most was Hugh Jackman, the guy put the movie on his back and carried it all the way. The movie also had a great look and style.

6. Chronicle
What really impressed me about “Chronicle” was its ability to make me invested and engaged in the characters. They felt real and relatable, with much of the reason coming from the three actors who portrayed the lead characters. These three had a lot of chemistry and made their friendship really believable. This was mixed with a really cool take on super powers as well as the entire ‘found footage.’

7. The Avengers
Every time I rewatch this movie I think, “wow, they actually pulled this off.” The way they were able to put this film together, all these characters, the helicarrier, the villains plot, the dialogue, and make it all very believable, was incredible. This was a comic book movie in every sense of the word, I felt like I was watching the characters from the comic books, not just the actors who were portraying it. It was also impressive how accessible the film was made to be for everyone to enjoy.

8. Silver Linings Playbook
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a textbook on how to do a dramedy right. The lead characters, played by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, are intriguing and through the movie it was interesting to see them grow and understand who they were. The performances were also good, Robert De Niro is strong and Chris Tucker surprisingly is good.

9. Rise of the Guardians
“Rise of the Guardians” was my favorite animated film of the year hands down. The animation was asolutely gorgeous, so much so that just the visuals are worth the price of admission. What pushes Guardians over the top was in my view the story. I really enjoyed both angles that the film took, one was about Jack Frost coming into his own and learning who he is and the other was a team up almost like the “Avengers.” The movie put the two together for a really fun time.

10. Magic Mike
In the hands of a lesser director, “Magic Mike” may not have been anything special, however Steven Soderbergh, the great actors director that he is, brings out the best performances to make for a really good character study and day in the life of a male stripper. Channing Tatum delivers, so far, his best performance and Matthew McConaughey is really solid. Certainly a different subject to undertake yet Soderbergh made it work into a strong story.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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