My number one pick, The Master, confounded many. I get that. But I also thought director Paul Thomas Anderson's latest work was haunting and strange, an encompassing view of post-war America that, at least in my opinion, should be taken as commentary rather than as a reflection of reality.
Among the documentaries I admired in 2012 were The Gatekeeper, The Imposter, Searching for Sugar Man and The Central Park Five. The Central Park Five and The Gatekeeper are still opening around the country. If you miss any of these docs ... well ... that's what Netflix is for.
Among other observations: It seems 2012 was the year in which Matthew McConaughey proved that he's a better supporting actor than a leading man with impressive performances in Magic Mike and Bernie. Beasts of the Southern Wild , which will find its way onto many 10-best lists, probably deserved its status of the year's best-reviewed indie. The movie also earned praise for non-actor Quvenzhané Wallis, who played a six-year-old girl learning how to survive in a Louisiana backwater. Moonrise Kingdom strengthened director Wes Anderson s position with his loyal fans.
It also should be mentioned that the theatrical experience took on a new dimension in Aurora, Co., where shooting no longer was confined to the screen. After Aurora, I noticed no decline in the number of weapons that found their way onto the big screen. Sept. 11 didn't put an end to explosive violence, and I'm betting that we're not likely to see any gun control on the big-screen in the wake of 2012's Aurora carnage or the recent school shooting in Connecticut.
I hope Hollywood proves me wrong.
My 10-best list follows:
1. The Master
2. Zero Dark Thirty
4. Silver Linings Playbook
5. Life of Pi
8. The Dark Knight Rises
9. Farewell My Queen