John Hanlon Reviews


The Ten Best Movies of 2012

Posted in: 10 Movies, Best of the Year  |  By: John Hanlon  |  December 19th, 2012

With the end of the year quickly approaching, visit web I decided to look back at the ten best movies of 2012. From a Bond movie that was as exciting as it was thoughtful to a time-travel thriller that actually thrilled, this year offered a variety of eclectic movies that will likely be remembered in the years to come.

Interestingly enough, this year seemed to be the year of great true stories brought to vivid life onscreen. Films like “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Argo” and “Bernie” easily made the list while others (like “Lincoln”) were enjoyable but didn’t merit inclusion on the list.

Check out my list of the best movies of 2012 below and let me know in the comments section what made your list of the best films of this past year…

10.) Friends with Kids

In “Friends with Kids”, writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt presents a warm dramedy about two best friends who decide– despite the objections of their friends– to have and raise a child together. Although the plot sounds cliched, the astute execution make this a wonderfully surprising and endearing film that could make you laugh at the same time that it breaks your heart. Read my full review here.

9.) Bernie

Absurd and surprising, this dark comedy stars Jack Black as a mortician who becomes great friends with a demanding widow played by Shirley MacLaine. Black is the face of restrained madness in a surprisingly inventive film that finds him and MacLaine in their best roles in years. It’s loosely based on a true— but nearly unbelievable– story.

8.) The Imposter

Without a doubt “The Imposter” had me on the edge of my seat more than any other film this year, especially in its exciting third act. The documentary presents the facts about a mysterious man who claims to be a kidnapped teen from Texas who had somehow escaped from his captors. The real story offered dozens of twists and turns and this documentary presents them all in a unique fashion that surprises and enraptures viewers until its very end.


7.) Lawless

Three distinct brothers share the spotlight in this film about bootlegging, corruption and violence during prohibition. Tom Hardy, as one of the brothers, steals the show but Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke also do strong work as the two other siblings. The movie, though violent, is a great drama with vivid characters and a psychotic but highly-watchable villain played by Guy Pearce. Read my full review here.

6.) The Perks of Being of Being a Wallflower

Director/screenwriter Stephen Chbosky adapts his best-selling book to the big screen in this highly- relatable drama about three high school misfits who spend most of their time together. The greatness in this movie partly lies in the honest depiction of teenagers onscreen. These characters are allowed to make heart-breaking and sometimes terrible decisions but despite such choices, they never lose their humanity or their charm. As one of the characters in the movie states, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” This movie deserves a lot of love indeed. Read my full review here.

5.) Skyfall

James Bond is back in this blockbuster hit that is delighting both fans and non-fans of the long-running series. In Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond, Judi Dench’s character stands at the forefront of the story and creates an emotional connection that has often been missing from this series. Javier Bardem is a great supporting villain in this movie that offers hints at a refreshing back story about the lead character. Action-packed, exciting and full of brilliantly-directed scenes, this is the best Bond movie in years. Read my full review here.

4.) Silver Linings Playbook

“Silver Linings Playbook” is the rare romantic dramedy that sharply creates two unique characters who begin a relationship together. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence play two flawed individuals– each with psychological issues of their own–who form an unlikely alliance with one another. Cooper is trying to make amends with his ex-wife while Lawrence wants to win a dancing competition in this funny and character-driven film. Read my full review here.

3.) Argo

Director/star Ben Affleck offers a look at an unbelievable true story in this powerful drama. After terrorists have taken over the American Embassy in Iran in 1979, a few of the embassy employees escape and find safe harbor in the nearby Canadian embassy. Affleck, starring as CIA agent Tony Mendez, leads an operation that attempts to rescue those hostages under the guise of a Hollywood production. With as great script and strong direction, this drama powerfully depicts the unique and controversial operation that remained confidential several decades after it took place.

2.) Zero Dark Thirty

“Zero Dark Thirty,” the controversial new film from director Kathryn Bigelow, focuses on the fight to capture and kill 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Chronicling the long and laborious journey to bin Laden’s lair, the movie shows how difficult it was to garner intelligence about the terrorist’s whereabouts. Jessica Chastain shines as a CIA analyst intent on the mission in this focused and tense look at the true story.

1.) Looper

“Looper” is a time-travel thriller that actually works. In the movie, Bruce Willis is kidnapped and sent to the past where a younger version of his character (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been assigned to kill him. Although the movie has a major plot hole at the end, the entire ride is thrilling and it’s easily the best and most inventive sci-fi movie since “Inception” (2010). It is a fun ride from beginning to end that will leave you thinking long after the credits have rolled. It is easily the best film of 2012.