Michael Bergeron
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Best Films of 2012

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The announcement of a top ten among film editors is de rigueur although perhaps it should be rigor mortis. A top ten suggest the top ten-percent of a given output yet counting foreign films and indie fare there’s nearly 400 movies a person could see in the last year, which would yield a ten-percent payback of about 40 films.

Applying the Bell Curve to the whole affair I’ve whittled this trite endeavor to a manageable baker’s dozen plus two. Then we’re going to toss in some others in the categories of foreign and documentary films. The reason for this thusness points to films that were such an incredible experience the first go-round that they simply demanded a second viewing as soon as possible.

Just to digress on a pure meaning of second viewing let’s say that it’s not a repeat trip down memory lane because it’s the only thing on cable. But rather the kind of encounters that reveal themes or actions that were previously invisible, and upon new reflection reveal a deeper meaning. And we all know that we’re all looking for deeper meaning.

Top Ten (in alphabetical order): Cloud Atlas, Compliance, Django Unchained, God Bless America, Looper, The Master, Not Fade Away, On The Road, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook.

Five more quality films: Argo, Bernie, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, and Zero Dark Thirty.

Foreign Films: Headhunters (Norway), Holy Motors (France), Amour (Austria/France), Klown (Denmark), After Lucia (Mexico), The Raid: Redemption (Indonesia).

Documentary: Room 237, Side by Side, The Imposter, Samsara, Paul Williams Still Alive, Searching For Sugar Man.

Animated: Frankenweenie, Wreck-It Ralph.

Soundtrack: Danny Elfman (Frankenweenie, Silver Linings Playbook), Jonny Greenwood (The Master), Dan Romer and Benh Zeitland (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

Best Song: “The Thunder Song” from Ted.

Perhaps the ingredient of films this year that most demanded my attention was acting. Some of the strongest performances include John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in The Sessions; Jack Black in Bernie; Joaquin Phoenix in The Master; Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike; Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly; Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy; Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables; Tom Hardy in Lawless; Tara Lynne Barr and Joel Murray in God Bless America; and Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.

— Michael Bergeron