Anna Karenina: Joe Wright finally over-directed his way into my heart.
Bad 25: Solid doc on the album and cross-format world takeover planned with it.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Vomit.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: As dreary as its title.
The Comedy: One of the year's best. Irony as a life vest that has taken on too much water.
Generation P: Satiric reach exceeds grasp.
Holy Motors: A work of cynicism so filled with life that the cynicism crumbles.
Life Without Principle: Beats to hell and back all American financial collapse drama-thrillers.
Lincoln: Hampered by Spielberg's worst impulses but also powered by new levels of maturity.
On the Road: Man, and you thought the book was self-absorbed and unbearable!
Romancing in Thin Air: This Is Not a Film finally got topped for my year-end list.
Skyfall: Might have been a bit harsh on this but even my initial thoughts were mostly positive.
First Time Viewings
49th Parallel: No one made humanist propaganda like Powell/Pressburger.
The Bridges of Madison County: An Eastwood high point. Never once ironically distances himself from the melodrama.
The Day He Arrives: Hilarious, beautiful, and perfectly directed.
Detention: The best parts of Donnie Darko and Southland Tales mashed together without all the crap.
Election: No democracy among gangsters. To is, of course, a master.
Fixed Bayonets!: Fuller's second Korean War film of 1951, and somehow the superior of the masterful Steel Helmet.
Hatari!: Both Hawks' most laid-back and one of his most foreboding. Here, even the safe microcosm can fight back.
The House of Steinbrenner: Too slavishly loyal for my tastes. Slaps more clay on the feet of Steinbrenner's statue.
I Know Where I'm Going!: Even light romance is pure poetry in the Archers' hands.
Ishtar: The weakest of the three Elaine May films I've seen, and still incredible.
The Ladykillers (1955): Perfectly directed and extremely funny.
The Last Wave: Effectively makes concrete and workmanlike the abstractions of Roeg.
Lockout: New rainy-day film alert.
Perfect Blue: Finally watched a Kon movie. More than lived up to expectations.
Streets of Fire: It's like everything I want in a film, including big dumb Jim Steinman sing-alongs.
There's Always Tomorrow: A women's picture for men. Appropriately hollowed out as a result.
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie: Insane enough to work.
The Turin Horse: Tarr goes out and takes the world with him.
White Hunter, Black Heart: One of Eastwood's best, and maybe his purest self-deconstruction.
Woman is the Future of Man: I really need to explore Hong's work after the end-of-year rush dies down.
The French Connection: About as visceral as cop thrillers come. An entire way of filmmaking came out of this, and almost nothing can match it.
The Game: Oh to be a filmmaker so good that this would be considered a "minor" work.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011): The feeling that this is a summary work of Fincher persists, but the notion that this may be a masterpiece of new digital cinema is a fresh one.
Johnny Guitar: What can I even say? A masterpiece.
Little Shop of Horrors: First time with the newly restored director's cut. A big improvement over an already watchable film.
Moonrise Kingdom: I think Darjeeling Limited has officially been replaced as my favorite Wes.
The Rescuers: Not as good as I remember from my childhood.
The Rescuers Down Under: Even less good.
Week End: This year is all about either apocalypse movies or Death of Cinema movies. Jean-Luc beat allll y'all to the punch.
Total Films Seen in 2012: 390
Total New to Me Films: 274
Top Five First Time Films Viewed in November (excluding new releases)
1. There's Always Tomorrow
2. White Hunter, Black Heart
4. Fixed Bayonets!
5. Streets of Fire