My top films of the year

While I didn’t manage my target of watching 100 films in the year, I didn’t do too badly. Seen a lot of films I’ve been meaning to see and plenty of great stuff in the cinema. For that reason I’m going to cheat and do two lists of my top films of the year. Yes, cheat!

One’s a top 10 cinema releases and the other is a list of my top 10 small screen films I’ve watched from the comfort of my own home.

Both have been pretty tough for me. I reckon it would have been tougher had Les Miserables and Django Unchained been released over this way this year. Though, that’s all here-say!

Enough babbling, here are my lists:


My Fave Cinema Releases of the Year

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises
Yes, I’ve put The Dark Knight Rises in the top spot. Don’t look at me that way. This is my list! The Dark Knight Rises was all I could have hoped for with the conclusion to Nolan’s Batman films. Emotional and ultimately satisfying. Even if I thought the film should have ended a few seconds before it did.

Avengers Assemble

The Avengers Assemble
In at number 2 is the other big comic book film release of the year. To be honest, Avengers is tied with The Dark Knight Rises. I can’t say one is better than the other as they feel like two completely different beasts – incomparable. I loved the ‘fun’ that was packed in this film. Though unlike The Dark Knight Rises I was terrified that Joss Whedon’s big film of the year was going to fail horribly.

Argo

Argo
A political thriller where you forget that it’s actually a political thriller at times. Argo is one of Ben Affleck’s best films. (Though I still rate Gone Baby Gone higher than Argo.) He does as great a job offscreen as the director, as he does onscreen.

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon’s second film release of the year and it’s on my list. No, this isn’t just because I’m a ye olde Whedon fan. Honestly think The Cabin in the Woods is one of the best and most unique films of the year. Dialogue that snaps and a genuinely great horror film.

Skyfall

Skyfall
It was a big year for the Bond franchise and it would have gone horribly wrong if Skyfall had failed deliver. Thank you Sam Mendes for not only producing a great Bond film but the most beautiful Bond film yet.

Looper

Looper
Words could not describe how excited I was about this film. And it didn’t fail me whatsoever. Looper isn’t a time travel film. It just uses time travel to tell the story. And it does a brilliant job at that.

Brave

Brave
Sure, Brave hasn’t been one of the most popular Pixar films. But I fell in love with it. It could all be down to Patrick Doyle’s stunning score. Honestly. These days, sometimes a great score is enough, for me, to elevate a film. Sure Merida comes off as a bit of petulant child, but seeing her journey got to me. Big time.

Prometheus

Prometheus
Another controversial film. So many disappointed viewers out there. Honestly, I got frustrated with the disappointment. I wondered what people were honestly expecting that they were that disappointed. It’s a solid sci-fi film for me. It’s been a while since we had one of those.

The Muppets

The Muppets
This only got released here in the first few months of this year, which is why it’s on my list. Songs from Bret Mckenzie. Jason Segel. MUPPETS. What’s not to love?

Headhunters

Headhunters
This film came out of nowhere for me. Man did I love it. A sharp little Scandinavian thriller with that dark sense of humor those guys seem to love.

My Fave Small Screen Films Seen this Year

Britain in a Day

This film popped up on the Beeb and I was not expecting much from it. I was blown away. This film was so much more emotional than I was expecting. I found myself in tears of happiness and sadness throughout the entire film.

The Big Lebowski

Trying to catch up on my classic Coen Brothers films. The Big Lebowski is now up there with being one of my all time favourites from these two. Hilarious and utterly insane.

The Apartment

This is film gets dark. Unexpectedly dark. But with Jack Lemmon playing such an endearing character, it’s hard not to fall for this film. A very lovely film with an almost perfect ending.

Young Frankenstein

Hilarious. Ridiculous. And so much fun to watch. Probably made all the more enjoyable because I’d just recently seen the 1931 Frankenstein film. Gene Wilder, you comic genius.

The Raid

There needs to be one action film in this list and it’s only logical that it’s The Raid. A pure action film that really delivers. I just wished I’d seen it on the big screen.

Lars and the Real Girl

Just thinking about this film gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. On the surface it’s a bit, peculiar, but it will warm the cockles of any cold heart!

Reservoir Dogs

Playing catch up with Tarantino’s films too this year. And this might just be my favourite Tarantino film. The characters and the dialogue make it just that for me.

Watchmen

I remember Watchmen being one of those films that people either loved or hated. There was no in between. I’m firmly in the ‘loved it’ camp. It is a tough film to get through. But the visuals drew me in. A great superhero film.

The French Connection

Excellent police drama/thriller from the 1970s that still holds up today. The opening alone let you know what you’re in for. And that car chase sequence? Loved it!

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I was umming and ahhing about putting this film on my list. Sure, it’s a great film. But it’s one of those films I’m not really itching to see again. An uncomfortable watch at the best of times. But completely engrossing.


There you have it. Picking out small screen films was a little trickier. Seems I’ve seen a fair few average-ish films. But these were definitely the stand outs.

42 comments

  1. You have great taste Jaina! Surprised you didn’t make it to 100 this year, I remember thinking ages ago that you were going to fly past it!

    TDKR, Argo, Skyfall and Cabin all in my top 10! Still need to see Headhunters. Seeing it in a few top 10s has made me more eager!

    • Me too! Man, I was sailing through the year and then I just… stalled! Ah well, it wasn’t a bad effort.

      Headhunters is fantastic. It’s getting an American remake (*rolls eyes*) but they will not be able to capture the feeling of the original. I know that already.

  2. Great list, many of those will be on my top movies list too. Glad you chose tDKR as your number 1, it’s a solid number 1 for me too. Love the movie so much!

  3. Nice list. A bit action/thriller driven but everyone is entitled to their own taste. I haven’t seen Argo or The Muppets yet, though they’re both in my queue of films to get to, especially the former.
    Glad to see some love thrown in the direction of The Raid. It’s the most brainless of films, but the degree of action and the ferocity of the film’s pace was really astounding. I can’t think of a more action-packed and intense film than this one. Curiously enough, many people have said the same thing about The Avengers, but they’re both “big and loud” in different ways. The Raid was just superior in that it didn’t have that overcomplicated, over stylized Hollywood feel. It was just raw and in-your-face.
    I’ve also written my share on The Cabin in the Woods earlier this year and I actually think I raised some good points about why I didn’t love it, though many disagree.
    Always interesting to see what tickled everyone’s fancy…haha

    • Yeah, it is a bit action/thriller heavy. It’s always trickier finding cinemas showing some of the smaller films. End up catching them on the small screen a few months down the line.

  4. Jaina, it’s so great to see Headhunters on this list. I caught it randomly at the film festival here last year and was blown away. I’m glad to see that you were able to see it this year and enjoyed it. I really need to seek it and watch it again. Cool list!

    • So great to see that there’s a lot of love for this film. Another one of Jo Nesbo’s books got the film treatment this year – Jackpot, but didn’t get a wide release, if at all. But looks like another good Scandinavian thriller.

  5. Out of your cinema list I’ve only seen Avengers Assemble. I thought it was a solid action film with some really funny bits, although it did drag a bit at times. Overall, excellent movie considering I’d only watched Thor and none of the other character’s films!

    Lars and the real girl as I said for me was one of the most endearing films I’ve ever watched. I actually fell in love with Ryan Gosling more as Lars than I did with any of his other films. Need to work through the others on your list!

    • Lars is probably one of Ryan’s most endearing characters he’s played, that I’ve seen. I challenge anyone not to fall for Lars!

  6. Jaina, I started reading your list saw TDKR at the top said what the hell read your comment and started laughing out loud.

    Good list many of those will make my year end list. Just wondering, did you see Moonrise Kingdom?

    • Ha! Yes, that much debated blockbuster of a film makes the top of my list and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it! ;)

      I missed out on Moonrise Kingdom :( Lack of screenings! I’m not a huge Wes Anderson fan, but I desperately wanted to see it. Hoping to soon.

  7. Great list, Jaina. I’m not going to argue any of the films on the list — though I am just a little surprised at TDKR being quite that high, but I can certainly see it.

  8. We Need To Talk About Kevin sure is an uncomfortable watch, I have the book at home, and haven’t dared start it! The UK based film Fishtank (2009) had the same ‘stay with you’ effect on me.
    I agree with what you say about Lars And The Real Girl, to not be so prejudice when someone is different, that’s a good message.

    • Was tempted to read the book after seeing the film, but yes, like you, I’m sort of terrified to read it. Books tend to stay with me more than films and the film stayed with me for a LONG time!

  9. Solid selections, Jaina. I enjoyed the inclusion of the movies you’re just catching up on for the first time, too. :D Its great seeing “Big Lebowski”, “The French Connection” and “Young Frankenstein” making a best of list this year! :D LOL. That’s awesome.

    • Saw a lot of average cinema releases last year, but a whole lot more GREATS on TV/blu-ray. Catching up on films I need to see is one of my main aims for this year!

  10. some GREAT selections here, Jaina. I am still waiting to see Headhunters. It’s on Netflix and in my queue. Just gotta sit down and watch it. ha.

    and a valiant effort for your 100 films. I’m sure there’s a few you just forgot to count. :)

    btw, did you get my email abt the Red Web Awards?

    • Ha! I hope there were some I forgot to count or put them in last year’s list by mistake! Never mind, 90 new films isn’t a bad tally.

  11. I am so proud of you! I know you didn’t hit your target goal, but you were so close! I know tomorrow (next year! OMG!) you will do it!

    I agree with you on DKR, Avengers, The Raid, and Skyfall. I didn’t watch a lot of movies this year, which is not like me. I guess I was busier than usual.

    I can’t wait for 2013’s movies. I really want to watch This is the End! I’m a sucker for a good comedy!

    Happy new year!

    • This is The End looks hilarious! The trailer had me lol-ing. That rarely happens.

      Happy New Year to you too, Jen!

  12. Great lists! What you wrote about Prometheus could have been a quote from me! I totally agree. But I still haven’t seen Loupers! I know!!

  13. I agree with almost all of your choices (wasn’t as big a fan of the Muppets as everyone seems to be, but we already discussed that last year I think). Best wishes for the new year Jaina!

  14. Ahh, I still need to see Headhunters! Really like your list overall — The Dark Knight Rises and Argo will almost certainly be making mine as well.

  15. Great post! On your list of new films, I’ve only seen Brave and Cabin in the Woods. I really liked both of them, especially Cabin in the Woods. I like many of your “small screen” movies too. I feel the same way about We Need to Talk About Kevin. I thought it was brilliant, but I have no desire to watch it again. :)

    • Cabin in the Woods is one of my all time favourite horror films I think. A great bit of film making from Joss Whedon.

      Wondering if I should read We Need To Talk About Kevin. The book has me intrigued, but seeing as the film was so intense, thinking the book would be more so.

  16. We actually have very similar lists although I was highly disappointed by Brave and Prometheus isn’t the movie it could’ve been. If I was doing a Blind Spot list this year, the French Connection would be near the top. I’ve only heard good things about that movie.

    • The French Connection is a fantastic bit of cop drama/thriller/action. Think my favourite role that Gene Hackman’s played. Encourage you to catch it this year.

  17. I’ve seen Avengers, and I knew it’d be awesome. But on a whim, Alan rented Brave and it was a total surprise, that movie! Very touching and a great story. My lil J liked it too ;).

  18. Hey, we’ve got quite a lot in common Jaina. I also put TDKR, Avengers, Brave, Looper and Skyfall on my list, though I didn’t rank mine. Nice to see Headhunters here too, that’s on my top 10 rentals list. I saw The French Connection last year, too. Totally get why it’s a classic.

    • It was because of you I gave The French Connection another shot – my first time attempting to watch it ended with me falling asleep. Multiple times!

  19. Hey Jaina, this is a great list! I had The Muppets listed on my 2011 list since it came out a bit earlier in the States than it did in England. The Cabin in the Woods was one of those movies I always wanted to see but never got the chance — I will have to rent it as I have seen it on quite a few lists, which is great given that it is a different type of film. No doubt I will have several of the same films make my top 10 list or come very close, namely Skyfall, Avengers, TDKR, and Argo.

    • Hope you enjoy Cabin when you get around to seeing it. It’s a brilliant little film. Though I won’t hype it up too much, don’t want you to be disappointed!

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