films_ten_12

So, 2012 has been another interesting year in cinema, with Hollywood once again relying on climaxing franchises and comic book adaptations to keep their industry alive with mixed results, while the odd indie gem slips through unnoticed. Meanwhile the rest of the world has been flexing their creative muscles and digging deep into their own cultures to produce more stunning, original and evocative films that rarely get seen outside of the hardcore cineastes circles.

Admittedly there are some titles from this year which have received great praised that I was unable to see (Untouchables, The Hunt, Amour, The Thieves, Rust & Bone) which I am sure would have lead to a much different list you see here. That isn’t to say I am dissatisfied with my final choices (otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen them) I just wonder how the list would have turned out with their inclusion.

As always opinions will differ and these are my own personal choices, so if your favourite film is either absent from this list or lower than you would place it – tough! It is my list after all!

So without further ado I present to you MIB’s Top Ten films of 2012!!

 

10. The Dark Knight Rises

dkrChristopher Nolan rounds off his reboot trilogy of the Caped Crusader in spectacular fashion that may not hit the same giddy heights of its predecessor The Dark Knight but doesn’t disappoint either. The major loose ends are tied up yet the end leaves the door nicely open for a future continuation, but for now Christian Bale’s term under the black cowl is conclusively over and he bows out on a truly explosive high.

Read the full review HERE

9. Shame

shame

Brit director Steve McQueen delves deep into the psyche of a sex addict in this bold and unflinching drama that pushes the talents of Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan further than they’ve been before. This is not an easy film to watch but it is a powerful one, especially for mainstream cinema with two current marquee names in the lead roles. A compelling and audacious slice of modern movie making.

Read the full review HERE

8. Girlfriend Boyfriend (Gf*Bf)

gf_bfTaiwanese cinema is largely overlooked in favour of its Hong Kong, Chinese, Japanese and Korean neighbours but this love triangle drama is a great example of why this is a huge oversight. Starring the criminally undervalued Lunmei Kwai, this story spans three decades and while it is stuck with certain familiar conventions the genre brings, it manages to not be confined by them, offering a sublime and enjoyably fresh viewing experience.

Read the full review HERE

7. Pieta

Prolific Korean auteur Kim Ki-Duk delivers a trademark subversive film about a violent debt collector bonding with the mother who abandoned him as a baby, which is not only a stunning return form but also a Golden Lion winner at the Venice Film Festival. Punches are never pulled and the images will shock, yet Kim’s twisted view of the human psyche still retains that potent human interest aspect to make you think.

Read the full review HERE

6. King Of Devil’s Island

devils_island

This Norwegian drama took a couple of years to make our shores but it was worth the wait. Based on true events, this tale of a prison island where the reform of male juvenile delinquents is conducted under a strict and brutal regime stars Stellan Skarsgård as the austere Governor, in a performance so chilling it’s hard to tell which is colder – him or the wintry setting. A stunning film.

Read the full review HERE

5. Living

living

From Russia comes this hard hitting and brutally frank portmanteau film that ironically is about death, contrary to its positive title. Three stories run concurrently dealing with the fallout of a death under different circumstances – all of them believable and heart wrenching. Director Vasili Sigarev doesn’t sugar coat anything, making the audience feel everything the characters do. This is not a feel good movie but raw, honest cinema.

Read the full review HERE

4. A Simple Life  

A_simple_lifeBased on the true story of its producer, this film brings together Hong Kong legends Andy Lau and Deannie Yip in a heartwarming and poignant tale of role reversal. Both Lau and Yip deliver career best performances as the film producer duty bound to look after his long serving housekeeper after she has a stroke. Touching without becoming slushy this film showed the world that Hong Kong cinema is more than Triad/cop thrillers.

Read the full review HERE

3. Kotoko

kotokoShinya Tsukamoto’s output ranges from low budget shockers to intense psychodramas and horror, maintaining his idiosyncratic style in this unflinching look at the effects of mental diseases. Co-writer Cocco suffers the same ailment as her character, playing into the incredible debut performance she delivers here. Uncompromising yet oddly touching.

Read the full review HERE

2. Himizu

himizuSion Sono does it again. It is simply amazing how he manages to produce such powerful, original, esoteric yet brilliant films with such consistency. Sono doesn’t play by the rules and his work is all the better for it as this devastating tale of a young lad struggling in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami demonstrates with aplomb. Another gem from arguably the most exciting director of the moment.

Read the full review HERE

No.1. THE ARTIST

artist

Okay before you start moaning – yes it was a 2011 release but it didn’t get a full national UK release until January 2012 and while it may be a safe choice for the top spot, this is MY list not yours!!  And I’m not going to apologise for putting this loving homage to the bygone era of silent cinema on top as it has tremendous appeal to me as a fan of said period. In a time of vapid CGI heavy romps or endless anodyne and unnecessary remakes this for me was a breath of fresh air to remind us that less is more. Love it or loathe it it’s a true modern classic – as ironic as that sounds.

 Read the full review HERE

So there you go. I hope you haven’t choked too much on your breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks (delete where applicable) but that is how my list for 2012 goes. Agree or disagree as is your wont. That’s life!

 

Thanks for reading!!

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2 thoughts on “MIB’s Top Ten Films of 2012

    1. Sion Sono is on something of a roll at the moment with his films although they are an acquired taste. You always start off his films thinking “where are going with this?” and you finish them with “Wow!”. Well, I do at least. 😉

      Like

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