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It’s now half way through the year 2012. I’m not quite sure where the year’s gone so quickly, but I know where the year in movies is at. It’s in a pretty damn good place, considering the fact that three auteurs (Oliver Stone, Woody Allen and Ridley Scott) didn’t even make the halftime list this year with their respective efforts of “Savages,” “To Rome With Love,” and “Prometheus.” Even Seth MacFarlane’s utterly hilarious “Ted” wasn’t able to find a spot on this list. That speaks to how good of a year 2012 has been and hopefully how good it will continue to be. Without further ado, here are my ten favorite films released in the United States so far this year.
10. Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin In The Woods” – Contrary to popular belief, “The Avengers” was not the best script from a film that Joss Whedon has written in 2012. Save that trophy for the long-awaited (it was finished and ready for release in 2010) “The Cabin In The Woods.”
9. Maïwenn’s “Polisse” – This French piece of work from Maïwenn didn’t see the widest release in the United States, but “Polisse” has still got its own style to it – like a “Law & Order: SVU” episode with a whole bunch of realism and whole lot more emotion.
8. Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano’s “The Intouchables” – The second French film on this list is also a record-breaker in that country, but “The Intouchables” is more than just an overseas blockbuster. It’s a warm tale about the diversity of friendship and the prospectus of finding joy within lives that you wouldn’t normally think you could.
7. Michael Dowse’s “Goon” – There has yet to be a flick more singular this year than “Goon” – it’s basically what would happen if Happy Gilmore became a pro hockey player instead of a PGA golfer.
6. Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire” – Director Steven Soderbergh’s (this is not the only time he’s featured on this list) movies are filled with realism, and “Haywire” is no exception. The MMA techniques employed by UFC star Gina Carino and the supporting male actors (who aren't UFC stars) are so real that it often feels like you’re watching a professional match – until the well-placed props and gorgeous Soderbergh cinematography come into play.
5. Joe Carnahan’s “The Grey” – Carnahan’s film bears a strong resemblance to those of the great German director Werner Herzog with its man vs. nature theme, but what “The Grey” also does is solidifies the fact that every January, Liam Neeson must have a movie come out where he plays a complete badass.
4. Mojtaba Mirtahmash’s “This Is Not A Film” - Contrary to the statement made in its title, “This Is Not A Film” is surely a film – and it was smuggled out of Iran in a fucking birthday cake so that mainstream audiences throughout the world could finally understand the atrocity that is the government of Iran. This is the state of movies in 2012 – censorship has overtaken cinema in basically every country that film has a strong cultural and economical foundation in. Many films in our United States don’t get made simply because they can’t possibly fare well with the MPAA, restricting artistic output to the point where theaters have no choice but to re-release superhero camp day in and day out.
3. Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” – Us less chiseled and ripped guys need to face the facts: Channing Tatum is a BIG TIME star, the 2012 King Of The Box Office, a true American sex symbol who’s even won over the love from high-sounding critics like me.
2. Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s “21 Jump Street” – Combine undercover cops in a high school with dick jokes and a new, acid-like drug and you have the majority of the simplistic hilarity behind Lord and Miller’s first effort since “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.”
1. Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” – Is there any director in this country whose films feature better composition than Wes Anderson? I think not. I wouldn’t be surprised if this masterwork is still my #1 film at the end of the year, but its competitors like “Django Unchained” and “The Master” haven’t been released yet. Can’t. Wait.
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