Slow Boat to China: Films of the Year 2012

I didn’t keep track of how many fims I saw in total this year, but I would estimate it was somewhere between the two and three hundred mark (including a few rewatches). Of those, 71 were either released in cinemas or went straight to DVD/Blu-Ray (possibly after earlier festival screenings) in the UK in 2012, and it’s those 71 that qualify for inclusion in this list. Disclaimers: I missed a few big ones that are making a lot of other folks’ best-ofs for the year – Holy Motors, TabuThis Is Not A Film – and I haven’t seen any of the listed films more than once, so all of this is going off of 1) first reactions and 2) memories of the film from, in some cases, nearly 12 months ago. Bear in mind, any non-UK readers, that most of the big award season contenders – Lincoln, Django UnchainedZero Dark Thirty – aren’t out here until next year, which may also explain the inclusion of some titles here that made a lot of lists in December 2011. I don’t have the time right now to fill out 3,000 words of capsule reviews as I did for the music list, but I did want to get something up before the year was out, so I’ll hopefully come back and do that over the next few days.


1. The Master (P.T. Anderson)



2. Moonrise Kingdom (W. Anderson)



3. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Ceylan)



4. The Turin Horse (Tarr, Hranitzky)



5. Damsels In Distress (Stillman)



6. Looper (Johnson)



7. ParaNorman (Butler, Fell)



8. Amour (Haneke)



9. Goodbye First Love (Hansen-Løve)



=10. Haywire/Magic Mike (Soderbergh)



Honourable mentions in no particular order:

War Horse (Spielberg)

A Dangerous Method/Cosmopolis (Cronenberg)

The Kid With A Bike (Dardenne, Dardenne)

This Must Be The Place (Sorrentino)

The Innkeepers (West)

Killer Joe (Friedkin)

Young Adult (Reitman)

Carnage (Polanski)

Brave (Andrews, Chapman, Purcell)

Killing Them Softly (Dominik)

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (Lord)

Into The Abyss (Herzog)

Prometheus (Scott)

Frankenweenie (Burton)

Faust (Sokurov)

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (Ice-T)

Nostalgia For The Light (Guzmán)

Skyfall (Mendes)

The Dictator (Charles)

The Descendants (Payne)

Wanderlust (Wain)

Shut Up And Play The Hits (Southern, Lovelace) [note: the full-length concert film that accompanied the documentary upon its Blu-Ray release, rather than the documentary itself]