In alphabetical order:

21 Jump Street

The surprise film of 2012.  A film that ought to have been a bomb of the worst order.  Its success may be due to incredibly low expectations.  Nonetheless, the film made me laugh, kept me laughing, and is infinitely re-watchable.

Argo

The best part of the film is the short history lesson that kicks the film off.  Detractors are right to criticize the flat treatment of Iranians in the remainder of the film.  Although it paints with broad brushes and prefers black and white to the nuance of grey, the film still tells a good yarn.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Highly engaging re-imagination of the fairytale genre.  More than anything the film captures how little we need if our lives are filled with love, joy, and community.  A gem of a film that more audiences ought to enjoy and discuss.

The Cabin in the Woods

A brilliant, genre eviscerating film.  Cabin is so well layered with insights about film troupes, storytelling, and horror movies.  A true masterpiece of horror-comedy.  The story is captivating, frightening, and fun.  The exact opposite of the ham handed satires that fill theaters.

Django Unchained

If you think the violence in the film is offensive, you are missing the point.  I am never certain if Tarantino is just brilliant at borrowing from his predecessors or a visionary.  But, it matters little when a film is this successful.  Both by capturing everything from Blaxploitation to Peckinpah to Kurosawa to Leone and viscerally More >