The 10 Best Movies of 2012!

Posted by Eugene Hernandez on 12.31.2012

What is your favorite movie of 2012? 

In a New York Times Magazine article earlier this month, A.O. Scott wrote about the state of cinema under the headline, "Film Culture Isn’t Dead After All."

"I hate to ruin a good funeral, but all of this is nonsense," Scott said, reacting to the recent spate of writing that declared the decline of movies. "The coffin is empty. The habit of issuing death notices for various cultural forms is a vivid example of sentiment and ideology masquerading as sober historical judgment. Film has been buried alive, sharing cemetery space with the novel, painting, serious theater, rock ’n’ roll and all the other still-vibrant artistic pursuits that are routinely mistaken for corpses or shambling, brain-dead zombies."

Here at the FIlm Society of Lincoln Center, we're inclined to agree! For immediate proof take a look at our Top 10 lists for 2012.

What do you think?

More then 800 new movies opened in New York City in 2012 and we've limited our pool to the best movies that received a theatrical release this year. Here are some of our staff lists featuring our ten best rosters for the year.

Will you share your list in the comments section below?

Jeryll Adler
Advertising Director

In alphabetical order – not by first to last, and qualified by the fact that there are many films I hear are amazing that I have not had the opportunity to see yet because I am here and you are there and this is Los Angeles and the roads are a tragedy! But I do also have a real soft spot in my heart for Bernie, so it is sort of my favorite, and I would include Beyond the Hills if it had been released this year.

Argo
Bernie
Farewell My Queen
First Position
The Impossible
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook
Tabu

Matt Bolish
Operations Coordinator

Amour
Looper
Cabin In The Woods
Moonrise Kingdom
The Master
Robot & Frank
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Zero Dark Thirty
Safety Not Guaranteed
Argo

Bronwyn Cunningham
Executive Assistant

In alphabetical order:

Amour
Barbara
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Holy Motors
Marina Abramovic: the Artist is Present
Searching for Sugar Man
Silver Linings Playbook
Starlet
Take This Waltz
Zero Dark Thirty

Jeff Delauter
Associate Director of Theater Operations

In no particular order:

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Footnote (Joseph Cedar)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard)
Amour (Michael Haneke)
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
This is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi)
Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendonça Filho)

Michael Gibbons
Manager of Digital Strategy

In alphabetical order:

Django Unchained
How to Survive a Plague
The Kid with a Bike
The Master
Miss Bala
Neighboring Sounds
Silver Linings Playbook
Tabu
Wuthering Heights
Zero Dark Thirty

Honorable Mention: Farewell, My Queen

Eugene Hernandez
Director of Digital Strategy

1. Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
2. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr)
4. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
5. Amour (Michael Haneke)
6. The Kid With a Bike (Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardennes)
7. Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
8. How to Survive a Plague (David France)
9. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
10. Girl Walk // All Day (Jacob Krupnick)

MORE: Here's my Top 25 of 2012.

Kent Jones
Director of Programming, New York Film Festival

10 Best (alphabetical)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin)
Bernie (Linklater)
Haywire (Soderbergh)
Holy Motors (Carax)
Lincoln (Spielberg)
In the Stone House (Hiler)
The Master (Anderson)
Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson)
small roads (Benning)
Something in the Air (Assayas)

Nicholas Kemp
Digital Content Coordinator

1. In the Family (I'm cheating a bit since it got a limited release at the end of last year, but I refuse to let this wonderful movie slip through the cracks any more than it already has.)
2. The Kid With a Bike
3. How to Survive a Plague
4. Las Acacias
5. Oslo, August 31st
6. Neighboring Sounds
7. Zero Dark Thirty
8. Holy Motors
9. Compliance
10. The Waiting Room

Honorable mention goes to a trio of new frights (Kill List, The Snowtown Murders and Sinister) and two long overdue U.S. releases (Battle Royale, The Loved Ones) that made 2012 especially terrifying.

Robert Koehler
Director of Programming, Year-Round

Tabu / Miguel Gomes
Django Unchained / Quentin Tarantino
This Is Not a Film / Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
Holy Motors / Leos Carax
Two Years at Sea / Ben Rivers
The Turin Horse / Béla Tarr
It’s the Earth Not the Moon / Gonçalo Tocha
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia / Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Elena / Andrei Zvyagintsev
Neighboring Sounds / Kleber Mendonça Filho

Marian Masone
Associate Director of Programming, Special Programs and Industry

in alphabetical order:

Amour
Five Broken Cameras
Holy Motors
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
The Master
Neighboring Sounds
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
This is Not a Film
Zero Dark Thirty

David Ninh
Publicist

What a great year to go to the movies! These films touched me, made me tense, made me cry, made me think...

1. Amour - Devastated me. I felt guilty watching this beautiful couple go through so much pain.
2. Zero Dark Thirty - I love my strong female leads. You go girl!
3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Amazing portrait of a devoted artist. Sushi is beautiful.
4. Kill List - Creepy beyond belief!
5. Tabu - So romantic.
6. Keep the Lights On - Crazy in dysfunctional gay love. 
7. Holy Motors - A fun, wild ride. Never knowing where it was going was the best. 
8. Neighboring Sounds - Made me super tense.
9. The Deep Blue Sea - Beautiful, lush movie about a not so beautiful breakdown of an affair. Rachel Weisz breaks my heart.
10. Take This Waltz - Michelle Williams breaks my heart too. The "Video Killed The Radio Star" amusement park ride scene is magical.

Glenn Raucher
Director of Theater Operations

The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh): Both dispiriting, due to the subject matter and the fact that those who are in a position to know strongly suggest that peace is not ever likely, and exhilarating, due to the intelligence and creativity of the filmmakers.

Argo (Ben Affleck): An old-fashioned film, which despite it's "twisting" of the truth [the Canadians get short-shrift; the final scene was not as hair-raising as in "real-life"], captures you early and never lets you go.

The Hunger Games (Gary Ross): Popular entertainment, well-done.

The Invisible War (Kirby Dick): Devastating, heartbreaking, and rage-inducing.

Lincoln (Steven Spielberg): Sometimes knowing a lot about an era/topic can negatively impact your ability to enjoy fictional representations of that period. With "Lincoln", my knowledge of the Civil War era in some cases made me mutter "didn't happen"--the first scene's recitation of the "Gettysburg Address" by soldiers, Grant's "we can't spare you, Mr. President" bit toward the end--but the performances by Day-Lewis and Tommie Lee Jones (as well as a host of small, well-honed ones), override any historical quibbling I might have. Whether or not Day-Lewis captured perfectly the voice of Lincoln--we'll never, ever know--he certainly captured the essence of the man I've read about as much as any figure in history.

Chasing Ice (Jeff Orlowski): The glaciers are disappearing and we're all going to die. Popcorn? Despite the foreboding of the film, James Balog's time-lapse photography of said fated glaciers, and Jeff Orlowski's extraordinary capturing and presenting of Balog's work, make the film compelling despite the unbearable truths they portray.

Knuckleball! (Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg): The filmmakers got caught covering the decline of one great knuckleballer--Tim Wakefield--more than the ascent of another--R.A. Dickey--but despite the unavoidable circumstances, they present both men and their "uncontrollable" pitch with depth, humor and grace. Dickey in particular is revealed in the film--as he has been elsewhere now, many times over--as an uncommonly thoughtful person, never mind athlete. A full movie could easily have just covered his long, painful, circuitous route to success.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb): I've always said that if an artist portrays something primal, you'd better walk away from the experience wanting to do that thing--with sex and food being the main topics. Here, you do walk away searching for the nearest sushi bar, but also with thoughts of the challenges of navigating familial history, legacy and obligation, as well as the demands of being an artist, whether your milieu is one of canvas, paper or yellowtail.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Alison Klayman): Protest at its peak, in the face of real threat.

The Dust Bowl (Ken Burns): Maybe I am cheating here. I think this DID premiere at Mountainfilm in May. A riveting, terrifying depiction of the worst man-made environmental disaster in American history.

Irene Meltzer Richard
Manager of Ticket Strategy / Production

(titles in alphabetical order)

Fave Raves
Argo (Ben Affleck)
Anna Karenina (Joe Wright)
Found Memories (Júlia Murat)
The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh)
The Kid With a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling -- Ireland 1965 (Mick
Gochanour & Peter Whitehead)
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr)

Big Disappointments
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Peter Lord & Jeff Newitt)

Better on the Big Screen
2001 (Stanley Kubrick)
The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner)
Max et les ferrailleurs (Claude Sautet) [1971]

Bryce Richardson
Senior Accountant

Neighboring Sounds - Kleber Mendonça Filho
Two Years at Sea - Ben Rivers
The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson
The Turin Horse - Béla Tarr
The Night Watchman - Natalia Almada
The Loneliest Planet - Julia Loktev
This Is Not A Film - Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
Crazy Horse - Frederick Wiseman
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Dark Horse - Todd Solondz

Note: Cosmopolis & Holy Motors would be included but I can't decide which one I like best so I'm leaving them both out. That's what you get when you mix sleek digital photography and limousines the same year.

John Wildman
Senior Publicist

Top Films Released in 2012:

1. The Master
2. Django Unchained
3. Argo
4. Holy Motors
5. The Dark Knight Rises
6. Green
7. Zero Dark Thirty
8. The Invisible War
9. The Cabin in the Woods
10. Skyfall

Will you please share your Top 10 list for 2012 in the comments section at the end of this message.

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