The Ten Best Movies of 2012 (So Far)

by Alan Rapp on June 30, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

Super-heroes, aliens, character studies, parents and their children, time travel, the Scottish Highlands, young love, monsters, and the end of the world. Halfway through the year we take a look back at the ten best movies from the first-half of 2012.

10. Brave

Pixar’s latest is the studio’s first fairy tale involving a curse, destiny, and a complicated mother/daughter relationship set in the Scottish Highlands. I wouldn’t rank it among Pixar’s best, but Merida’s (Kelly Macdonald) tale is the best animated film of the year so far (and even so-so Pixar is still pretty damn good).

Currently in theaters. Read the Full Review

9. The Amazing Spider-Man

Director Marc Webb‘s reboot of the Spidey franchise is at least as good as Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man in an origin that borrows as much from Marvel’s Ultimate line as it does from the hero’s original 1960’s comic origin. This Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) gets web-shooters, a far more effective leading lady (Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy), another so-so villain (Rhys Ifans as The Lizard), and tons of amazing web-slingin’ action.

Opens in theaters on July 3rd. Check back for the Full Review on Monday

8. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Steve Carell and Keira Knightley star as two neighbors who find themselves on a road trip days before the end of the world. Both funny and heartfelt, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World doesn’t pull its punches or find a way to cheat an ending it has already sold us on. The world will end, but you can bet the journey getting there will be highly entertaining.

Currently in theaters. Read the Full Review

7. Safety Not Guaranteed

When a Seattle reporter (Jake M. Johnson) and two interns (Aubrey PlazaKaran Soni) investigate a paranoid grocery store clerk (Mark Duplass) who posted a classified ad looking for a time traveling companion they get more than they bargained for in this engaging indie film from screenwriter Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow. Plaza is the stand-out in this tale of four lost individuals, all looking for meaning in a world that’s done it’s best to beat the hopefulness out of them.

Currently in theaters. Read the Full Review

6. Cabin in the Woods

Despite sitting on the shelf for three years Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard‘s collaborative effort is a stunning success as they attempt to move the horror genre away from torture porn by deconstructing it in front of our eyes. Cabin in the Woods gives us far more than we were expecting, including a final act that can’t be missed!

Still playing in theaters in select cities. Read the Full Review

5. We Need to Talk About Kevin

Writer/director Lynne Ramsay‘s adaptation of the novel by Lionel Shiver is a bleak and depressing character study that casts Tilda Swinton as the mother of a young sociopath named Kevin (Ezra Miller) who meticulously plans and executes a brutal school massacre. Swindon is terrific in the role of a mother who is fearful of a son that despite his faults she still loves.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD. Read the Full Review

4. Moonrise Kingdom

Writer/director Wes Anderson‘s latest is a tale of young love between two social outcasts (Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward) on a small New England island. Filled with terrific supporting performances (Bruce WillisEdward NortonFrances McDormandBill MurrayBob Balaban), Moonrise Kingdom  may not be Anderson’s best, but it is a hugely entertaining film with wit, humor, and real emotion buried just under the surface of the director’s trademark style

Currently in theaters. Read the Full Review

3. A Separation

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, A Separation stars Leila Hatami and Peyman Moadi as a husband and wife separating over differences surrounding the future of their daughter (Sarina Farhadi) and a legal battle with the nurse (Sareh Bayat) hired to take care of the man’s invalid father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). The dilemmas each character struggles with are universal and profound and it earns its Oscar win in every frame.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD. Read the Full Review

2. John Carter

John Carter may have struggled at the box office, but this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ first story, A Princess of Mars, is a must-see. Taylor Kitsch stars as a Confederate soldier who finds himself miraculously transported to the surface of Mars where he encounters a tribe of four-armed aliens known as Tharks, falls for a Martian princess (Lynn Collins), and finds himself in the middle of a war between the Martian cities of Helium and Zodanga. One of the year’s best!

Available on Blu-ray and DVD. Read the Full Review

1. The Avengers

Writer/director Joss Whedon earns a second spot on the list with the early Summer’s best film. The Avengers assemble to battle Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and an extra-dimensional army in this terrifically engaging story that incorporates all of the Marvel Studios separate franchises – Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – into a single ass kickin’ film.

Currently in theaters. Read the Full Review

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