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Nigel’s top 10 films from 2012

2012 was cinematically a very good year for me. I was lucky enough to see lots of films in Canada and the US before returning to Ireland in September and catching up on a few gems that I’d missed out on. My final ten unfortunately missed out on films like The Grey, Holy Motors, Lawless, Bernie, Looper, Everyday, The Woman in Black, Monsieur Lazhar and Skyfall, but as the old Protestant proverb might say “you can’t fit more than ten into ten.”

And in case you missed it, our other “Best of 2012” features from the week – podcast/combined lists, Páraic’s top 10 list, documentaries and Irish cinema.


10. Battleship

What more can be said about one of the most misunderstood films of the year. Unlike other blockbusters like Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, Battleship never claimed to have any ideas about its stations. It’s pure escapist fun and worth a second look. I want more lines from Rihanna like these.


9. The Hunt (Jagten)

Mads Mikkelsen (whose I learned last week has a brother named Lars who played Dickie’s Dad in the film that comes fourth on this list) gives one of the finest performances of the year. An incredibly powerful, important film that raises questions about society’s role in blacklisting people who may or may not be guilty. Anyone not on the edge of their seat during the supermarket scene is dead to me.

Read my original review: A winter witch-hunt – ★★★★½


8. Footnote (Hearat Shulayim)

A film that has been tragically absent from UK or Irish screens so far despite its Oscar nomination for best foreign-language feature. Joseph Cedar’s film is one of the year’s finest black comedies with so many hilarious Hebrew hahas and a brilliant father-son dynamic from Shlomo Bar-Aba and Lior Ashkenazi. This film may even make you forgive Israel for all that dodgy Palestinian stuff.

Read my original review: Academia ahaha – ★★★★


7. Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence confirms she is soooooo much more than that girl from the Hungry Hippo Games and is a deserved odds-on favourite for the Oscar for Best Actress next February. Also serious props to Bradley Cooper for pushing himself, looking forward to his performance alongside the Gosling in The Place Beyond The Pines next spring.

Read my original review: Crazy Love – ★★★★½


6. Your Sister’s Sister

Emily Blunt’s big role this year may have been in Looper but spare a thought for this masterclass in mumblecore where she holds her own brilliantly when placed opposite Mark Duplass and Rosemary Dewitt.

Read my original review: Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister – ★★★½


5. Magic Mike

Soderbergh you must not leave us! With only one feature film remaining (next spring’s Side Effects), we better start drafting our eulogies to one of the most under-appreciated modern directors. With Magic Mike he gave us a terrific insight into the equally seedy and ridiculous world of male stripping. Supporting star of the show here was Matthew McConaghey with a token nod to part-time wrestler “Big Daddy Cool Diesel” aka Kevin Nash who proves once again that wrestlers can not and should not act.

Read my original review: Channing’s chaps – ★★★★


4. What Richard Did

Without doubt the outstanding Irish film of the year which more than holds it own when held up against international competition.


3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Three terrific performances from three young actors who are likely to be cruelly over-looked for awards attention next February. Let’s hope that Stephen Chbosky get some love for his screenplay, it would only be apt considering he also wrote the 1999 novel and directed the film.


2. Amour (Love)

Michael Haneke’s masterpiece is a breath-taking musing on old-age. It’s a testament to his ability as a writer and director that so many people across the world have connected with a film that on a very basic level is only about a happily married couple losing each other.

Read my original review: Dying with dignity – ★★★★★


1. Argo

Seeing this with a sold-out crowd at the Toron-o International Film Festival was one of my highlights of the year. The film is a perfectly crafted piece of Hollywood cinema bringing us to the edge of our seats with a thrilling story of escape from Iran.

Read my original review: The Great Escape – ★★★★★


Reasons to like this list: The Master does not feature, high placing for Amour. Reasons not to like this list: The Raid, Martha Marcy May Marlene & Shame do not feature (is this cause of silly Canadian time or did you not think they deserved a place?)

So yes M.M.M.M. and Shame would be there but I saw them at a festival waaaaay back in September 2011, so much so that they showed up in my 2011 list! As for The Raid, I really liked it but just not as much as some others I guess?! Or I’m a racist and hate Indonesians?!

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