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2012 has had a slew of amazing films come out and it truly took me awhile to settle on this list. Quite honestly I am still wavering on which spot each film should be in. But I wanted to solidify it and get the list out before New Year’s so here it is. My top 10 film list (with some honorable mentions).

10. Cloud Atlas

This was a toss-up between this film and Cabin in the Woods but I settled with Cloud Atlas due to its ambitious and outstanding storytelling. This really underrated and under appreciated film from directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer was probably the most polarizing film of the year based on how split people were with their views of it. Some absolutely adored it while others reviled it. I enjoyed it and while I know I will probably come to appreciate it more with multiple viewings, in the end, I loved its storytelling and the array of characters was a spectacle to see. For more thoughts on the film I have my review here.

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Easily one of the more anticipated films of the year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a real treat but not always up to the expectations people made for it. In my opinion, the film worked as a fun lead-in to what could be a much better film in the second installment but on its own the first film was enjoyable and exciting at time but also tended to drag. Martin Freeman in the lead was fantastic and I’m excited to see more of him as Bilbo. More thoughts in my review here.

8. ParaNorman

There were many strong animated features that came out this year but my favorite had to be ParaNorman. It works thanks to its very likeable lead as well as cast and has a delightful homage to classic horror both through the characters and through the plot. The stop motion animation is breathtaking and the storyline has an original twist to the zombie genre that makes the film all the better. More thoughts in my review here.

7. Looper

My next film is Rian Johnson’s Looper. I found this film to be one of the most original pieces of writing this year which is saying a lot because there was an unusually large amount of original work on display. Looper worked well though because of its two great leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, who played off each other wonderfully and made the film not only a sci-fi action film but also one that had a real human emotion to it. More thoughts in my review here.

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild

A little known film that tackles a tough subject, Beasts of the Southern Wild, like Dwight Henry’s character, tried to have a tough exterior but in the middle it was a sweet hearted film. If that little girl doesn’t get recognized at the Oscars something is wrong because her alone can pull you emotionally to this beautiful film. Also it contains probably the best score of the year. More thoughts in my review here.

5. Skyfall

This film really did surprise me. I love a good Bond film but I never knew that they could be taken to the high level that director Sam Mendes took Skyfall to. Not only is it probably my new favorite Bond but it also is the best of the franchise. The new life that Mendes breathes into Bond as well as the fantastic performamces by Javier Bardem and Judi Dench make this the best blockbuster of the year. More thoughts in my review here.

4. Life of Pi

A film that blew me away visually and contains one of the best uses of 3-D technology ever, Life of Pi also had a delightful story about the human struggle when stranded, especially with a tiger. While most of the film took place on a life raft, it never lose my attention and the wonderful direction by Ang Lee and performances by its lead actor, Life of Pi was a must see in theaters and one of the best I saw. More thoughts in my review here.

3. Moonrise Kingdom

If you haven’t seen this film yet you are missing a true delight. A fan of Wes Anderson’s, I absolutely have fallen in love with his latest film that not only carries that distinct technical aspect that you would expect from Anderson but also contains a story of childhood and young love. Every character is hilarious and the ensemble is one of the year’s best. I hope to see a lot of love for this film around Oscars time. More thoughts in my review here.

2. Django Unchained

The most recently released film on my list, Django Unchained was one of Tarantino’s finest efforts and was a pleasure to watch on the screen. It’s well written story matched with the phenomenal performances by Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz paves the way for one of the finest films I have seen this year. The storytelling, characters, and soundtrack all go together perfectly to keep you entertained even with the long running time. More thoughts in my review here.

1. Argo

And finally my pick for my favorite film of 2012 and it is Ben Affleck’s Argo. Once this film ended I knew that this was one of the best films of the year. The superb directing by Affleck, the strong ensemble both in the action and outside of it give the film perfect tension and comedic relief. This film is so outstanding because it has an ending that people know but at no time does the audience ever feel like everything is going to be alright, they always feel uneasy and unsure if Affleck’s character will be able to succeed. This tension is what makes the film so incredible, the fact that they can have you sucked in even though you know they get away is done with skill by Affleck. More thoughts in my review here.

Honorable Mentions:

Lincoln: Spielberg crafts a well-made film with the best performance of the year by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Perks of Being a Wallflower: A John Hughes/Breakfast Club-esque teen drama that portrays high school in a very realistic light. Also great performance by Ezra Miller.

21 Jump Street: Best comedy of the year with hilarious performances by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. First hour will have you in tears.

The Dark Knight Rises: A somewhat disappointing conclusion to Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Tom Hardy is harrowing as Bane and the final act is a perfect ending.

Safety Not Guaranteed: A indie film that did not get much press. Great story with sweet performances by Audrey Plaza and Mark Duplass. Great cast and direction.

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