From innocent young love to superhero destruction. From hitmen of the future to operatives of the past. From post-war America, through the troubled-eyes of veterans to the wide-eyes of restless youth. Hollywood gave us a year of refreshing contrast, and though it’s not over yet, myself and The Mancunion Film Section contributors have painstakingly devised for you the definitive, indisputable list of the best films of the 2012.*
10. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
It does pain me to include this but I suppose if you are an unfortunate enough soul to be captivated by the Twilight saga, this final conclusion (thank the lord), I am sure proved a fitting and emotionally satisfying climax. My co-Film Editor Sophie James does assure me that it is an engrossing tale of love, light and redemption…drenched in a thick cheesy sentiment that will leave your arteries begging for mercy.
9. On The Road
A rather diversely received film, many argued that Kerouac’s streams of consciousness, by nature, could not be put to film. While this may well be true I feel Walter Salles delivers an authentic and faithful production of this iconic novel of the 20th century. All the more enriched by a great ensemble cast, most especially in Viggo Mortensen’s Old Bull Lee and Garrett Hedlund who commendably grasped the enigmatic legend of Dean Moriarty.
Joss Whedon achieved the seemingly impossible with Avengers. He not only managed to meld a bunch of blockbuster characters into a coherent film but actually made it a damn good one at that. Spectacular action was expected, and achieved, but the real star of the show was Whedon’s zippy dialogue. This is what made Avengers not only the best action film of the year but also one of the funniest. Dylan Wiggan
Far more than a token ‘foreign’ film to add colour to this Hollywood-heavy list (though it certainly serves such purpose) Amour is a engrossing tale of the twilight years of a elderly Parisian couple. Poignant and an unflinching in the face of its rather tender subject matter, Director Michael Haneke creates an engrossing story out of the bleak end which awaits us all.
Argo is Affleck’s third film as a director, and definitely his finest. It follows the so-ridiculous-you- can-barely-believe-it true story of how the CIA created a fake Sci-Fi film, Argo, in order to get escapees past Iranian border control. Yet this film is no ordinary hostage story. Argo takes a slower pace than your typical Hollywood heist, helping to build it to a conclusion of almost unbearable tension, whilst being interjected with moments of comic brilliance in the form of Alan Arkin and John Goodman. The result, a highly engrossing political thriller. Rebecca Williams
Sometimes baffling but always compelling, Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow up to There Will Be Blood is not the contentious Scientology critique that was predicted. Instead, it is so much more – a woozy, disorientating and brilliant exploration of post-war America and the nature of faith. Joaquin Phoenix puts in a magnetic performance as a WWII vet whose frenetic life often resembles a fever dream, and who finds a possible kindred spirit in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s titular Master. A film you itch to re-watch from the moment the end credits roll. Alex Larkinson
4. Searching for Sugarman
Documentary filmmaking at its best, Director Malik Bendjelloul delves into the shrouded history of folk artist Rodriguez who fell tragically short of the American Dream, but whose music found an unexpected home in apartheid South Africa. Beautiful and compelling with a wonderful twist, Sugarman is a delightful reminder that a big budget is by no means necessary to create a highly entertaining and engrossing film.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan’s follow up to The Dark Knight may not have eclipsed its predecessor but it was confirmation of Nolan’s brilliance in reinventing Batman into a more dark and sophisticated series of films. Heath Ledger’s presence is sorely missed but that does not take away from the adrenaline filled spectacle Nolan gives his audience. A fitting conclusion to the indisputable king of the Batman sagas. Joshua Brown
Skyfall went far, far beyond most expectations. We were treated to a plethora of memorable performances, most notably of all by Dame Judi Dench, who provided us with a handkerchief-soaking au revoir and re-instated our belief that Bond has the power to move. Daniel Craig has won us over, and stood out alongside his on-screen nemesis Javier Bardem in some enthralling action sequences and chilling verbal exchanges. Roll on the next installment! Alex Morrison
1. Moonrise Kingdom
Quirky. Whimsical. Offbeat. All words which could describe the latest offering from Wes Anderson. Yet it would be a disservice to a film which has more heart that quirk, more wit than whimsy, and is offbeat in a way that makes this tale of young love and adventure thoroughly refreshing. The supporting cast, including Bruce Willis, Ed Norton and Tilda Swinton, are all great, but it is the two child leads who really impress, and who make Moonrise Kingdom quite possibly the funniest and most entertaining film of the year. Alex Larkinson
*list based largely on hearsay, conjecture and deeply biased views