The 25 Best Films of 2012

12/17/2012 5:00 AM |

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10. The Color Wheel
Alex Ross Perry
The new Tarantino or Bogdanovich, cinephile Perry uses his exhaustive, almost autistic knowledge of cinema structures to merge romantic comedy and the family forgiveness film and creates something new. With his assured direction, weaknesses (some performances for instance) become strengths, and strengths (Sean Price Williams’s black-and-white cinematography) are given free reign in this unusual, abrasive indie. Miriam Bale

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9. Holy Motors
Leos Carax
Its journey through Monsieur Oscar’s nine bizarre appointments is a puzzle of a narrative, but that’s secondary to the rousing entertainment it provides. No need to search for clues about what it all might mean; they’ll hit you naturally, weeks later, while you recall your favorite scene for the umpteenth time. Tomas Hachard

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8. Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow
A political parable camouflaged by a hyperactive, middlebrow pulse, this is the “war on terror” era’s most beguiling “open” text. Many will ask if the violence depicted is “worth” the boon of Osama bin Laden’s body; are the gender clichés indexed similarly a means to an end? The film subtly suggests that protectorates of any culture’s dominant subsets are terrorists. Joseph Jon Lanthier

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7. Magic Mike
Steven Soderbergh
This is a smart hit movie that is very non-Hollywood in its attitude toward pleasure: people have sex and do drugs here and actually look like they are enjoying themselves. Soderbergh brings just the right amount of clinical distance to his warm material and treats us to very atmospheric views of sultry Tampa, Fla. Dan Callahan

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6. The Turin Horse
Bela Tarr
The great director’s supposedly final film opens with a furious single-take prologue in which a man rampages down a country road on his horse-drawn cart. The harrowing and withering journey that follows explores what it means to be on the precipice of philosophical and physical erosion and still somehow survive the windstorm. Glenn Heath, Jr.

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