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Criticker’s Twenty Best Films of 2012: #11-20

2012 has come to a close, which means it’s Year-End-List Time: always our favorite season! As usual, we’ve sorted out best films of 2012, as decided by the users of Criticker. Here’s the first part of our annual list, which represents a broad swath of genres, from fantasy to action to … non-narrative documentary?

Agree with the list? Disagree? Regardless, you might want to conserve your outrage for a little while. Because the Top Ten of 2012 is coming up next!

20. Beasts of the Southern Wild – 7.0728 Average Tier

“It’s like George Washington crossed with When the Levees Broke, which is a pretty great combination. Other than its imaginative portrayal of the South – really brought to life with a fantastical setting, and some incredibly gorgeous and intimate cinematography – what stands out above all are the performances by amateurs Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. They feel as real as any characters I’ve seen in a while. Props to the lovely musical score as well.” – Alex Watkins

19. Life of Pi – 7.1330 Average Tier

“Ang Lee’s adaptation is impeccably crafted; ought to be a lock for cinematography and special effects award categories. Beautiful to look at, solid all the way through, and with a memorable ending that I didn’t expect (haven’t read the novel). I don’t usually go for inspirational tales but, although it’s without question an Oscar-type movie, it’s pleasantly relaxed about its message. I found it thoroughly likeable. And I didn’t even get bored spending half the film at sea with a boy and a tiger.” – KasperL

18. Looper – 7.1601 Average Tier

“An exercise in style that mostly goes above its pulpy roots to create a thought provoking and entertaining tale of personal identity and the cause and effect of choices. It’s dark, dreary and occasionally violent but with a strong emotional core that prevents it from being too cynical or doom-saying. Questions do arise about possible changes in timelines that are never adequately addressed creating some sense of confusion that is hand-waved by telling us not to worry about it. But it’s all in fun” – ratedargh

17. Samsara – 7.2000 Average Tier

“The photography is astounding, and the colors pop off screen. Like Koyaaniqatsi, it has a message behind it, although a bit more heavy handed. But no matter what, this is life. This is the world we live in. And then some guy shoves clay on his face and goes crazy.” – TrixRabbi

16. Side By Side – 7.2143 Average Tier

“Nicely tracked history of digital filmmaking from an artistic perspective. It does a good job of getting a lot of voices in without losing their individual perspectives. The subject matter is really interesting , as is the way the film ties the technical and the creative ends together and shows how they can both complement each other and hinder each other.” – PeaceAnarchy

15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – 7.2902 Average Tier

“Lerman kills it, hitting all the right notes as the (try not to vomit) misunderstood outsider searching for acceptance. The character could have been a terrible cliche; it’s to Lerman’s credit that he is not. Miller nearly steals the show and again defies stereotypes. Some eye-rolling earnestness, yes, but overall quite funny and always sympathetic to those who live and mean well. Saw it with an audience packed with teens and was delighted that they responded to it. Maybe there’s hope after all?” – hellsditch

14. The Dark Knight Rises – 7.2924 Average Tier

“Nolan’s Batman films have often been wrongly described as ‘gritty realism’. But this isn’t realistic. It is operatic. It is Shakespearian. This is human drama and morality writ large on the screen. It is epic in every sense of the word; in its heroic narrative, its ambition, its stunning IMAX visuals, its massive set pieces, and its stellar ensemble cast. This has its flaws (see: forced moments, plot holes, pacing), but it is still deeply emotional, perfectly twisted, and supremely satisfying.” – mwgerb

13. Argo – 7.3123 Average Tier

” Affleck has crafted a first-rate thriller, smartly keeping the tension high by often cutting back to the situation in Iran to remind us how much is at stake. The story speaks for itself, as it is fascinating and mostly true – but Affleck’s talent behind (and in front of) the camera really hones this potential. There is also some fun movie-in-a-movie commentary by the characters of Arkin and Goodman, and the film hits every note that it aims for.” – caprimode

12. Lincoln – 7.3851 Average Tier

” Spielberg’s best work since Catch Me If You Can. Unlike most of his films Lincoln shows restraint and a surprising lack of sentimentality. Its greatest strength lies in a brilliant screenplay that feels stagey at times, but is moving, informative and doesn’t have an ounce of fat. As a bonus you have great acting from nearly every cast member, from leads Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, to supporting roles by James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, JGL, and David Strathairn.” – DougieD

11. Seven Psychopaths – 7.4000 Average Tier

“Confounding, insane, adorable, ridiculous, nonsensical, thought-provoking. Seven Psychopaths is a lot of things and it does most all of them well.” – wokhedinn


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