If you were to have asked me last June if 2012 was a good year for movies my answer would have been a definitive "no."  Sure, "The Avengers," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and the long delayed "Cabin the Woods" provided some refuge, but for the most part the first half of this year was full of forgettable films.  This isn't necessarily anything new.  The better prestige films always tend to begin their roll outs in September.  By December - all of a sudden - there are seemingly enough great movies for people to champion.  The difference with 2012 is that while there were a lot of very good movies, there weren't necessarily a significant number of great movies.

In 2011, I chose "Shame," "Drive" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" as my top three films of the year.  Those pictures would easily land the same slots in 2012.  More disappointingly, there has been a glut of films that have been severely overrated by my critical and media peers. Unfortunately, sometimes you want something to be so good you overlook is obvious weaknesses.  But, I digress…

My personal top 10 took quite awhile to settle on.  Luckily, the top four films were pretty set.  The bottom six were not and I'm honestly less passionate about them than I have been regarding films from recent year-end lists. The biggest challenge was picking no. 1.  In theory, I would make it a tie, but that's a cop out and I decided to chose the picture that moved me more.  To each, his own. So, without further delay...

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2012

10. "Skyfall"
Not just the best Bond ever, but one of the best thrillers in the past 24 months. It also features, thanks to Javier Bardem, three of the most memorable scenes from a movie this year. 1. Silva's entrance. 2. Bond and Silva's island shooting competition and 3. M and Silva's reunion at Mi-6. A classic.

9. "Moonrise Kingdom"
Longtime Wes devotees may disagree, but "Kingdom" has to be ranked as the best film of Anderson's career. It perfectly captures his voice in an entertaining confection as an island of unhappy adults deal with the sweet indiscretions of young love.


With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.