Films to Watch From 2012

by nick-nelsonmovies | created - 29 Jan 2012 | updated - 27 Jan 2013 | Public

75% on RT more than 120 Reviews Or Mutiple Academy Award Nominations and wins, but can't be rotten

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1. Haywire (2011)

R | 93 min | Action, Thriller

67 Metascore

A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Angarano

Votes: 76,628 | Gross: $18.94M

80%

2. Coriolanus (2011)

R | 123 min | Drama, Thriller, War

79 Metascore

A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.

Director: Ralph Fiennes | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Lubna Azabal

Votes: 28,752 | Gross: $0.76M

94%

3. The Grey (2011)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

64 Metascore

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director: Joe Carnahan | Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts

Votes: 220,053 | Gross: $51.58M

79%

4. Chronicle (2012)

PG-13 | 84 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

69 Metascore

Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Director: Josh Trank | Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly

Votes: 221,256 | Gross: $64.58M

86%

5. Rampart (2011)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

Set in 1999 Los Angeles, veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, works to take care of his family, and struggles for his own survival.

Director: Oren Moverman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Bernthal

Votes: 21,293 | Gross: $0.97M

75%

6. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

G | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

80 Metascore

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their teenage daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Stars: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Moises Arias

Votes: 62,759 | Gross: $19.20M

94%

7. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 454,237 | Gross: $138.45M

85%

8. Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)

R | 83 min | Comedy, Drama

60 Metascore

Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.

Directors: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass | Stars: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer, Susan Sarandon

Votes: 58,729 | Gross: $4.24M

77%

9. The Hunger Games (2012)

PG-13 | 142 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 765,536 | Gross: $408.01M

85%

10. The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

R | 98 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The wife of a British Judge is caught in a self-destructive love affair with a Royal Air Force pilot.

Director: Terence Davies | Stars: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Ann Mitchell, Jolyon Coy

Votes: 12,974 | Gross: $1.12M

80%

11. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

R | 101 min | Action, Thriller

73 Metascore

A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah

Votes: 165,401 | Gross: $4.11M

84%

12. Damsels in Distress (2011)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

A trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus, and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.

Director: Whit Stillman | Stars: Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke

Votes: 8,398 | Gross: $1.01M

76%

13. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

72 Metascore

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.

Director: Drew Goddard | Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz

Votes: 315,662 | Gross: $42.07M

92%

14. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

PG | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

Directors: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt | Stars: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Martin Freeman

Votes: 39,929 | Gross: $31.05M

86%

15. Bernie (2011)

PG-13 | 104 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime

75 Metascore

In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman

Votes: 51,659 | Gross: $9.20M

91%

16. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,096,337 | Gross: $623.36M

92%

17. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

62 Metascore

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Director: John Madden | Stars: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 81,955 | Gross: $46.41M

77%

18. Rust and Bone (2012)

R | 120 min | Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.

Director: Jacques Audiard | Stars: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Céline Sallette

Votes: 55,763 | Gross: $2.06M

80%

19. Amour (2012)

PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Romance

94 Metascore

Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud

Votes: 80,122 | Gross: $6.74M

92% 5 Nominations

20. The Intouchables (2011)

R | 112 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

57 Metascore

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano | Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot

Votes: 614,705 | Gross: $13.18M

75%

21. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

PG-13 | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray

Votes: 272,756 | Gross: $45.51M

94%

22. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

60 Metascore

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.

Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon | Stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer

Votes: 135,256 | Gross: $216.39M

79%

23. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Votes: 108,586 | Gross: $4.01M

92%

24. Your Sister's Sister (2011)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

72 Metascore

Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.

Director: Lynn Shelton | Stars: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia

Votes: 23,909 | Gross: $1.57M

84%

25. Brave (2012)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

69 Metascore

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell | Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters

Votes: 313,589 | Gross: $237.28M

78%

26. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

86 Metascore

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.

Director: Benh Zeitlin | Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes

Votes: 75,307 | Gross: $12.80M

86% 4 Nominations

27. Magic Mike (2012)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

72 Metascore

A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey

Votes: 118,633 | Gross: $113.72M

80%

28. Take This Waltz (2011)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

A happily married woman falls for the artist who lives across the street.

Director: Sarah Polley | Stars: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Aaron Abrams

Votes: 24,734 | Gross: $1.24M

77%

29. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Thriller

78 Metascore

Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Votes: 1,300,989 | Gross: $448.14M

87%

30. Killer Joe (2011)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

62 Metascore

When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church

Votes: 64,914 | Gross: $1.99M

77%

31. ParaNorman (2012)

PG | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

72 Metascore

A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell | Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi

Votes: 82,144 | Gross: $56.00M

87%

32. Premium Rush (2012)

PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Crime, Sport

66 Metascore

In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

Director: David Koepp | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Sean Kennedy

Votes: 102,277 | Gross: $20.28M

76%

33. The Impossible (2012)

PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Director: J.A. Bayona | Stars: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast

Votes: 166,131 | Gross: $19.02M

81%

34. Anna Karenina (I) (2012)

R | 129 min | Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen

Votes: 80,121 | Gross: $12.82M

61% 4 Nominations

35. Arbitrage (2012)

R | 107 min | Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.

Director: Nicholas Jarecki | Stars: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth

Votes: 45,201 | Gross: $7.92M

85%

36. The Master (2012)

R | 138 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons

Votes: 121,483 | Gross: $16.38M

85% 3 Nominations

37. Dredd (2012)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

60 Metascore

In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.

Director: Pete Travis | Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Rachel Wood

Votes: 224,550 | Gross: $13.41M

77%

38. End of Watch (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

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.

Director: David Ayer | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera

Votes: 202,374 | Gross: $41.00M

85%

39. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

PG-13 | 102 min | Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Votes: 400,369 | Gross: $17.74M

87%

40. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 475,842 | Gross: $66.49M

93%

41. Frankenweenie (2012)

PG | 87 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

74 Metascore

When a boy's beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau

Votes: 83,875 | Gross: $35.29M

88%

42. Pitch Perfect (2012)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

66 Metascore

Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Director: Jason Moore | Stars: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp

Votes: 241,740 | Gross: $65.00M

81%

43. Argo (2012)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

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 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Votes: 508,145 | Gross: $136.03M

96% 7 Nominations

44. Seven Psychopaths (2012)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.

Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken

Votes: 210,758 | Gross: $15.02M

81%

45. Holy Motors (2012)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Fantasy

84 Metascore

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.

Director: Leos Carax | Stars: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue

Votes: 34,487

90%

46. The Sessions (2012)

R | 95 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.

Director: Ben Lewin | Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood

Votes: 38,726 | Gross: $6.00M

94%

47. Skyfall (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

81 Metascore

Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

Votes: 568,577 | Gross: $304.36M

92% 5 Nominations

48. Flight (I) (2012)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle, John Goodman

Votes: 287,948 | Gross: $93.77M

77% 2 Nominations

49. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

PG | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

72 Metascore

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

Director: Rich Moore | Stars: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman

Votes: 309,151 | Gross: $189.42M

87%

50. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History