Friday, 28 December 2012


Of the 565 films I watched this year only 65 were released during 2012. So compiling a top fifteen should be hard work, but luckily most of the films I saw from this year were well below par with only a few that will go on to be watched again and again in the future. So that’s the criteria I used when putting this list together. Obviously there are a whole slew of films that I never managed to see, so do remember this is only a top fifteen based on what I managed to watch. Right that’s that out of the way, now onto the fun stuff…

The Best Films of 2012

01. Into The Abyss - Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog’s blinding documentary about death row. One of the best things he’s ever made and that’s really saying something. Click the title for a full review.

02. The Imposter - Bart Layton
It was a great year for documentaries, and of all of them it's this and the one above that we'll still be watching in fifteen years time. Dark, bizarre and totally unbelievable. See it and make your own mind up just what the fuck happened.

03. Sleep Tight - Jaume Balagueró
Nasty Spanish thriller about a caretaker obsessed with one of the tenants in his block. Utterly horrid to watch, and shot through with the sort of tension that Hitchcock made seem so effortless. Dark and then some.

04. You’ve Been Trumped - Anthony Baxter
Totally engrossing documentary about the most hated haircut in the world. Trump has decided he is going to open a golf course on a stretch of Scottish coastline. The fact that it’s protected land and that people live there is of no impotence to him whatsoever. You’ll go in hating Trump and come out loathing him even more (if that’s possible). A real life David & Goliath tale.

05. Skyfall - Sam Mendes
Bond is back. Better than ever. Click the title for a full review.

06. The Avengers - Joss Whedon
Managing to weave multiple story strands together with an almost Altman like skill, this was that rare thing for me - an all out action summer blockbuster that was excellent in so many ways. And as if that wasn't enough they finally managed to get The Hulk right. One of the funniest films of the year too.

07. Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson doing what he does best. What his films lack in emotion they more than make up for in beauty and story. One of the few American directors working today who has a style that is instantly recognizable by what's up on the screen. Great performances from a stellar cast too.

08. The Queen of Versailles - Lauren Greenfield
Another wonderful doc. This time about a super rich American couple who decide to build the largest most expensive family home in America. Then the recession hits. Oops.

09. Wild Bill - Dexter Fletcher
Dexter Fletcher steps behind the camera and comes up with a winner! In an age where Brit drama’s are everywhere this is the one that stood out above the others. Bad dad returns from prison and reluctantly looks after his kids. It doesn’t sound much on paper, but it really comes alive on screen.

10. The Cabin In The Woods - Drew Goddard
Went in expecting a horror only to find it was more of a comedy. It works perfectly though and is made by people that obviously know their horror onions. Even managing to come up with an ending that makes a sequel almost impossible. Yay.

11. Lawless - John Hillcoat
For some reason this gem of a film was overlooked by almost everyone this year. Seen it all before seemed to be the general response, to which I’d ask - where? This tale of moonshine making backwoods brothers in depression era America felt pretty original to me. Scripted by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat it’s every bit as good as that would suggest. Plus Guy Pearce got to rock the weirdest look since Ziggy called it a day.

12. The Angel’s Share - Ken Loach
All Ken Loach’s films have comedic elements to them, normally to balance the sheer weight of the drama on screen. But who would have guessed he would allow that balance to shift towards comedy? First with Looking For Eric and now with this. He’s been on a roll since 2001 and it doesn’t look like that’s going to end anytime soon.

13. Dredd - Pete Travis
Despite disliking 3D to the extent that I would avoid seeing a film at the cinema if I can’t see it in 2D, I braved it for Dredd. Without ever really considering myself a comic book type I can say that I grew up reading 2000 AD every week, so this was a film I had to see. It didn’t disappoint either. The Raid had an almost identical story, our hero needs to fight his way to the top of a tower block and defeat the end of level boss to win the game. The Raid hitting cinemas a few months before Dredd's release really managed to steal it’s thunder. Shame since I really think Dredd is the better film. Even if one of the major plot points is lifted wholesale from a Brass Eye episode.

14. Hunky Dory - Marc Evans
A 70s musical version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest staring Minnie Driver really shouldn’t have any place on this list. But in the hands of Welsh director Marc Evans it becomes something far better than it’s Glee style roots suggest. Chock full of Bowie and Roxy music and great understated performances, this turned out to be the real surprise film of the year for me.

15. Margin Call - J.C. Chandor
An American drama like they used to make, it’s all about the financial collapse that is currently fucking the world. Well acted, reminded me in a way of Glengarry Glen Ross minus the Mamet words. But better than that sounds. Good to see Jeremy Irons being such an arse too.

Almost, but not quite good enough: - Shut Up And Play The Hits, Flight, End Of Watch, Killer Joe, The Raid, The Dark Knight Rises, Intouchables, Chronicle, Tiny Furniture, Haywire, The Descendants and The Rise And Fall Of The Clash.

The Worst Films of 2012

01. U Mugs
Just don’t. Ever. You’ll thank me one day.

02. Waterpark
No. Click the title for a full review.

03. V/H/S
Found footage hits rock bottom with this portmanteau effort. It all seems well and good until you think any of it through. Nothing operates on any level of logic. Plus it’s a shit film.

04. The Iron Lady
Ms Streep does a decent enough impression of Thatcher, but the film itself chooses to ignore any of what made her such a fascinating and controversial person. A wasted opportunity.

05. Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy
The only film I saw from this year that I couldn’t manage to stick out until the end credits. I love Irvine Welsh, but this was just pish.

06. Storage 24
Bad and then some. Click the title for a full review.

07. The Bourne Legacy
Remember when the first Bourne film hit and it felt like action films were going to need to up their game a little? Remember how good the sequels were too? How original it all felt. Well you can forget all that with this. Matt Damon has done a bunk, I just wish everyone else had taken notice and done the same. When an action thriller bores you, you know something ain’t right.

08. The Sweeney
I absolutely adore the TV series this was ‘based’ on. But this would have been so much better just going by a different name, since now all it does is force the viewer to draw comparisons. Ray Winstone always walks a tightrope as an actor veering dangerously close to caricature at times. It takes a decent director to make sure that doesn’t happen. Nick Love isn’t that director.

09. Pusher
Utterly pointless English remake of the seminal Danish flick. Why? God alone knows. See the original, and if you want more after that see the sequels. Nice Orbital soundtrack though.

10. The Grey
A return to form of sorts for Liam Neeson, who seems to take anything with a cheque attatched to it these days. Still utter cock though, wolves hunting humans through the harsh Alaskan landscape. Factually incorrect and nothing you've not seen before.

Things I haven’t seen yet that could make it onto either list include Holy Motors, Skyfall, The Hobbit, Life of Pi and a whole stack o’ films that I can’t be bothered to list.

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