The Movie Doc’s Best and Worst Lists of 2012

By Mark Saldana

2012 did not mark the end of the world as some people predicted, based on the end of the Mayan calendar, but it almost seemed liked many filmmakers gave audiences some really high quality offerings as if these were to be their swan songs.  2012 was a year that gave us Earth’s mightiest heroes, a man dressed like a bat, people attempting to end a terrorist’s reign, and those striving to restore the heart that humanity has seemed to lose through centuries of existence.  These heroes had their villains and their demons, some of which came from within.  I have reviewed films for TVR for four years now, and 2012 has been the year with the best movies so far.  So, I raise my glass to the filmmakers who made this fine year possible, but being the critic I am, I will lower my glass and replace my prideful smile with a stern look of disapproval and disappointment for those who didn’t deliver their best this year.  Without any further ado, here are my best and worst lists of 2012.  Here’s to 2013, let’s hope that the films of the upcoming year continue to please and amaze.

Mark’s Top 10 Films of 2012

  1. Cloud Atlas – The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer blew my mind with superb storytelling so epic it is impossible to categorize it by only one genre label.
  2. The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson’s incredible film about a broken man seeking help from a charismatic guru. Excellent performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams
  3. Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow’s intense and realistic portrayal of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. Grand and epic in scope, the film features a stand-out performance by the incredible Jessica Chastain.
  4. Beasts of the Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin’s first feature truly is a revelation.  A story of impoverished people clinging on to what little they have and fighting to survive in what seems to be a cruel world, as seen through the eyes of a child.
  5. Jeff Who Lives at Home – This somewhat forgotten/overlooked film really captured my heart at the 2011 Austin Film Festival, but did have a limited release this year. This serendipitous tale by the Duplass brothers could make even the hardest of hearts shed a tear.
  6. King Kelly – Entirely shot on camera phones, this film serves as a commentary on these devices, social media and the self-centeredness associated with them. Exceptionally written, acted and shot.
  7. The Avengers – THE Superhero movie for which Marvel fans have been waiting. Joss Whedon hits it out of the park with what is probably the most fun time at the cinema this year.
  8. Silver Linings Playbook – David O’Russell delivers a movie which appears to be a typical romantic comedy on the surface, but really is so much more. Bradley Cooper offers his best performance as an actor so far.
  9. The Sessions – Courageous performances by Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, along with tasteful direction and writing made this one of my favorites this year.
  10. The Dark Knight Rises – Granted, this flawed conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy doesn’t hold up as well with repeated viewings, but I still cannot forget the feelings of awe I felt after my first viewing.  While inferior to its predecessor, The Dark Knight, I still found this final installment thrilling and satisfying.

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)

Best Animated Film Limited/Indie: Gordo, Calvo, y Bajito (Colombia)

Best Animated Film Mainstream: Wreck it Ralph

Mark’s Top 10 Worst Films of 2012:

  1. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
  2. Chernobyl Diaries
  3. That’s My Boy
  4. The Devil Inside
  5. Piranha 3DD
  6. Step Up: Revolution
  7. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  8. Alex Cross
  9. Playing For Keeps
  10. The FP

 Happy New Year, Truevies!


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