IFB’s Top 10 Movies of 2012

10. The Dark Knight Rises

Sure, The Dark Knight Rises was brimming with plot holes. But the movie also worked on several levels, chief among them the ability to provide a fairly tight ending to what is – for now – the greatest superhero trilogy of all-time.

9. Lincoln

Lincoln feels like it was written for the stage, but Daniel-Day Lewis is so overwhelmingly convincing in the title role it tends to compensate for whatever shortcomings one might find in the screenplay.

8. The Central Park Five

In a year teeming with documentaries about wrongful conviction, this one takes the cake. And it does so because the stakes are so astoundingly high – a fact that seems to have led to the very unlawful incarceration of five teenage boys more than two decades prior.

7. Moonrise Kingdom

This is Wes Anderson’s most charming film. The palette alone is worth the price of admission. As an aside, I hope Universal builds an entire museum full of Wes Anderson set pieces some day.

6. Safety Not Guaranteed

No one ever expected Safety Not Guaranteed to be a fantastic movie. Therein lies its power.

5. Brooklyn Castle

This is the most uplifting documentary of 2012 – a feel-good film with a social conscience.

4. Skyfall

The best Bond film of all-time starring the best Bond of all-time – a stunning exclamation point upon this, the 50th anniversary of a franchise.

3. Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a phenomenal sleeper that succeeds on more levels than I could possibly delve into here. In fact, it’s a tragedy Arbitrage didn’t fare better at the box office. But it’s available on DVD now, and should be watched with all distractions cast aside. Richard Gere is aging remarkably well, and there’s even a quick cameo by Maria Bartiromo. Who could ask for anything more?

2. Zero Dark Thirty

This is the Osama Bin Laden movie we had every right to expect, only not until a good 10-15 years from now. To have constructed such a stunning examination of the hunt for Al Quaeda’s number one this soon after his assassination … well, the feat is as stunning as the film itself. Forget about the controversies. Films like Zero Dark Thirty are designed to court controversy. It’s a sure sign they’re doing their job. And this film does its job remarkably well.

1. Django Unchained

Django Unchained starts off slowly. But, man, oh, man, if this movie does not provide the perfect crescendo, unfurling in the form of an explosive climax that’ll stick with you for days to come. Leonardo DiCaprio takes a major risk here – a major risk any actor of his caliber does not really need to take, quite frankly. And yet, it pays off in spades. From the moment DiCaprio appears on screen, the intensity rises to a whole nother level. And it does not dare step back until well after the credits have rolled.

It’s difficult to put a finger on what it is about a Tarantino film that makes it so unique. The answer would require something more along the lines of a formal essay. Perhaps the best way to put it in perspective is to admit that If I was asked to put together a list of the top 10 movies of all-time, none of Tarantino’s films would appear on that list. That said, if I was asked to put together a list of the 200 greatest movies of all-time, at least four of Tarantino’s seven feature films would appear on that list. All of which is to imply that Quentin Tarantino has always been consistently great.

Vulgar. Violent. Bloody. Brash. Witty. Wild. Fantastic.

Long live the king.