Feature: Top 20 Films of 2012

We were about to write 2012 off as a so-so year for cinema, but looking through the list of films we’ve seen – there is certainly no shortage of fantastic films. So have a scroll through and let us know if you agree, disagree or just don’t particularly care.

20. 21 Jump Street
The perfect comic pairing of Tatum & Hill, alongside some hilarious supporting performances and crude R-rated humour, makes for an unashamedly stupid and thoroughly entertaining comedy. 21 Jump Street is worth it alone seeing Tatum and Hill’s characters roam round the school when high.

19. Prometheus
Ridley Scott produced a visually spectacular piece of sci-fi cinema that does everything from tackle philosophical questions to present us with gruesome body-horror. Staying true to the chronology of the series, Prometheus also had several surprises that kept most of the Alien fans incredibly happy. It also introduced us to the concept of the Fassbot, the Michael Fassbot.

18. Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
Dori Berinstein’s portrait of the iconic Broadway and film star is as heart-warming and lovable as Channing herself. After watching, one cannot help but feel we know the real Channing slightly better, yet still completely mesmerised by her good humour and presence. Larger Than Life is chock full of showbiz nostalgia, glamour and proves to be an unmissable look at why we love the legendary Carol Channing.

17. Argo
Argo proves Beard Affleck (because he has a beard, get it?) is one of the most talented director’s working today with this powerful watch remaining energetic and gripping throughout. Intricate period detail and stellar performances from Affleck, John Goodman and Alan Arkin ensure Argo is one of the most refreshing films of the year. It certainly was not turkey time, so keep your gobble gobbling to yourself, Lopez.

16. This Must Be The Place
Since posting last February, our review for This Must Be The Place has been one of the most popular articles on Silver Screen Slags. It sounds like a horrible cliche, but Paolo Sorrentino’s film really does take you on a journey – it may not always be completely understandable, but you are guaranteed to connect with the characters and genuinely feel something. Sean Penn has never been better, and we’re not just saying that because he does a cracking La Toya Jackson impersonation throughout.

15. Killer Joe
Killer Joe is a magnificent example of modern-noir, with William Friedkin proving to still be one of the most exciting figures in modern cinema. The director’s latest feature is one of the most energetic, brutal, tense and darkly comic pictures of the year, featuring an unforgettable career best performance from Matthew McConaughey. You will never look at a KFC the same way again.

14. Lockout
One of the most enjoyable sci-fi romps in recent years. Lockout is an incredibly self-aware return to genre basics with not a naked blue man in sight. It’s just unashamed schlocky fun with a pitch-perfect, wise-cracking turn from Guy Pearce.

13. The Wicker Tree
The Wicker Tree is truly a one of a kind cinematic experience. Like its thematic predecessor, The Wicker Man, it fuses humour, eroticism, music and horror, with utmost success. The horror comes second to these other aspects, however, with The Wicker Tree’s key focus being on satirizing religious ideology. Robin Hardy has presented us with another fully fledged piece of cinematic vision.

12. Bad 25
Spike Lee delivers all that a Michael Jackson fan could want. We are given full coverage of every track and video produced during MJ’s Bad Era from those involved in its production. Lee must also be commended for the amount of heart put into Bad 25 – with the last few sequences proving completely touching, showing the emotional impact that Jackson had on nearly everyone who worked with him.

11. W.E.
Don’t scoff or sigh. Without turning into crazed worshipers of Madge (to be honest that happened when we first heard Open Your Heart), we think W.E. got rather unfairly treated by critics. Whilst it was by no means perfect, W.E. was aesthetically stunning – chock full of visual delights and a magnificent soundtrack. Both Andrea Riseborough and James D’Arcy give mesmerizing performances in this sympathetic and unconventional take on an iconic piece of British history.

10. 7 Days in Havana
If 7 Days in Havana doesn’t make you want to go to Havana, then there is something wrong – or probably just from Havana. Like all anthologies, some segments are worse than others but those that work are tremendous – capturing many areas of a stunningly diverse city, from the music filled, rum soaked nightlife to the lives of its everyday residents – 7 Days in Havana is an unforgettable watch.

9. The Expendables 2
The Expendables 2 is a tremendous improvement on the first, surpassing the original’s narrative, set-pieces and star power. It proves to be high-octane fun from the onset, as well as an action fans dream – where else would you see Stallone, Lundgren, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Norris and Van Damme all in the same film? It is simply unashamed great fun.

8. Skyfall
Whilst it is certainly not the best Bond film (nearly anything from Dr. No to OHMSS takes that title), Skyfall provides the Bond series with a much needed jolt of energy after the disappointing Quantum of Solace. Craig finally feels at home in the role that takes Bond back to his literary origins whilst also celebrating the past fifty years of cinematic Bond in a mature, respectful fashion.

7. V/H/S
After deciding it was awful within the first ten minutes, V/H/S completely challenged my attitude when it delves into its various anthology tales. V/H/S flips traditional genre norms and revitalised the handheld camera medium with alternative takes on the haunted house tale, teens in the wood narrative and many more genre staples.

6. Magic Mike
There was more to Magic Mike than semi-naked hearthrobs thrusting in every direction imaginable (although that certainly helped its inclusion on this list). Soderbergh has managed to create a fantastic fusion of entertaining, raucous humour alongside moments of delicately handled drama capturing both sides of the stripping world. Realistic and natural performances from Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McCoughnahey helped Magic Mike further excel as one of the most entertaining films of the Summer.

5. On The Road
On The Road is a magnificent attempt at capturing Kerouac’s challenging source novel. Salles manages to convey the real essence and spirit of the Beat Movement, set against a stirring backdrop of character transformation. Garrett Hedlund is truly unbelievable in the role of Dean, proving to be one of the finest performances of the year – although we’ve still not recovered from seeing him pummel poor little Steve Buscemi.

4. Killing Them Softly
Andrew Dominik presented us with a brutal and visually unforgettable piece of crime noir, complete with biting social commentary about the 21st Century America, as the tagline perfectly captures – ‘In America, you’re on your own.’ Stellar turns from Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and leading man Brad Pitt, help cement this as one the most powerful features of 2012.

3. The Hunter
The Hunter is a beautifully well crafted, slow burning thriller. Willem Dafoe’s leading performance is mesmerizing, as is Daniel Nettheim’s awe-inspiring direction.

2. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
This should not simply be limited to fans of the series, but to all fans of action/sci-fi/horror cinema. Day of Reckoning is ferociously directed, filled with visceral, bone-crunching action scenes, and guided with a refreshingly original screenplay (paying many a homage to Apocalypse Now), that helps it stand as the pinnacle of the series. Scott Adkins is flawless in the lead – an utterly convincing action star with an undeniable screen presence. Series veterans Jean-Claude van Damme and Dolph Lundgren feature in integral supporting roles and of course, fulfilling the nostalgia factor whilst also showing they are still at the top of their game.

1. Excision
Excision is a dark, visually rich tale, filled with stirring horror and tinges of black comedy. The unique style and self-awareness that fills Richard Bates Jr.’s film helps assert it as our favourite picture of 2012. Excision does not hold back in any way, thrusting us into the twisted mind of a troubled teenage outcast – the central performances, mainly AnnaLynne McCord and Traci Lords feel hugely authentic, bringing a dark sense of realism to this brutal, outstanding tale.

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