The Best Movies I Saw in 2012

This list has a very simple set of criteria: I include all movies that I watched for the first time in 2012, and have given a rating of 9 or 10. These movies do not necessarily have to be new releases as of my viewing, though many of them were. I have listed these movies in chronological order as I saw them.
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1.
The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
 
2.
A Trip to the Moon (1902 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon. (13 mins.)
 
3.
A Serious Man (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking. (106 mins.)
“ This is my favorite movie that I saw in 2012. ” - Notspartacus
 
4.
Drive (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor. (100 mins.)
 
5.
Another Year (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends. (129 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
6.
The Machinist (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity. (101 mins.)
Director: Brad Anderson
 
7.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son. (95 mins.)
Director: Kurt Kuenne
“ One of the greatest movies that I will never, ever want to see again for the rest of my life. ” - Notspartacus
 
8.
Departures (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. (130 mins.)
Director: Yôjirô Takita
 
9.
Memories of Murder (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead... (131 mins.)
Director: Joon Ho Bong
 
10.
Chronicle (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides. (84 mins.)
Director: Josh Trank
 
11.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye. (94 mins.)
Director: Gregory La Cava
 
12.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight. (94 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
13.
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them. (123 mins.)
 
14.
Blow-Up (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A mod London photographer finds something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park. (111 mins.)
 
15.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined. (112 mins.)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
“ I'm not sure I can recommend this. I think I should point out that it's the ultimate horror movie for prospective parents. And current parents. If you are considering having kids, or already have kids, and they're not grown and out of the house, then you might be uncomfortable watching this movie. ” - Notspartacus
 
16.
Melancholia (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth. (135 mins.)
Director: Lars von Trier
 
17.
The Avengers (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity. (143 mins.)
Director: Joss Whedon
 
18.
Elite Squad (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
1997, Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
 
19.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
 
20.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
21.
[Rec] (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying. (78 mins.)
 
22.
Warrior (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother. (140 mins.)
Director: Gavin O'Connor
 
23.
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A French Resistance fighter named François Leterrier attempts to escape a Nazi occupied prison while he awaits a death sentence. (99 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
24.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Selina, is forced from his imposed exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane. (164 mins.)
 
25.
Le Boucher (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An unlikely friendship between a dour, working class butcher and a repressed schoolteacher coincides with a grisly series of Ripper-type murders in a provincial French town. (93 mins.)
Director: Claude Chabrol
 
26.
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant... (104 mins.)
 
27.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. (68 mins.)
Director: Dziga Vertov
 
28.
Banshun (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father. (108 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
29.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. (93 mins.)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
 
30.
Le Cercle Rouge (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist. (140 mins.)
 
31.
Bakushû (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans. (124 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
32.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel. (86 mins.)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
 
33.
3 Women (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Pinky is an awkward adolescent who starts work at a spa in the California desert. She becomes overly attached to fellow spa attendant... (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
 
34.
End of Watch (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves. (109 mins.)
Director: David Ayer
 
35.
Argo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980. (120 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
 
36.
Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment. (115 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
37.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. (172 mins.)
 
38.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods. (95 mins.)
Director: Drew Goddard
 
39.
Playtime (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it's still under construction. (115 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati