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My Top Five Films Of The Year...So Far

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 16:38 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Here is my mid-term report in which I reveal my five favourite movies of the first half of 2012.

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Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
2011 Best of the year so far... 2011 Worst of the year so far...

Mark's reviews on 5 live
A Royal Affair

The Angel's Share

Even The Rain

Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.



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  • Comment number 1.

    Am seeing A Royal Affair tomorrow so will go in with high expectations. Only other one I've seen out of your five is MMMM, and it creeped the living daylights out of me. Reminded me of how creeped out I was by Repulsion the first time round.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have not seen a lot this year so far ... and not a lot of good pictures in particular. Haven't heard much about those mentioned by Mr. Kermode but these sound like some good recommendations to check out.

    I thought "Martha Marcy May Marlene" was actually from last year. Well then, my number one pick so far would be a film also released last year (in the US at least, not where I live). That would be without any doubt "Take Shelter" by Jeff Nichols, stunning piece that literally took me by storm.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very interesting list, Mark. I must point out - and I'm sure I'm not alone in this opinion - that this year, so far, has produced some very fine films. I've yet to see A Royale Affair, however, I probably won't get the chance to any time soon given that I sadly live in a purely multiplex-infested city. However, I have been able to catch up with some of this year's "arthouse" flicks via DVD. Here's my top 5 so far:

    5. Into the Abyss
    4. Moonrise Kingdom
    3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
    2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    1. The Kid With a Bike

  • Comment number 4.

    Some choices you may hate Mark and some you may like. So here goes.

    1. Prometheus (A really solid sort of prequel that is by far and away the best Science Fiction Film since Minority Report and that was 10 years ago.)

    2. The Hunger Games (A Haunting and Somewhat Fascinating Adaptation of a popular Book. However disappointed that no one ranted against the Government in that film.)

    3. The Intouchables (I really liked the fact that this film was sucessful not only in France but elsewhere and if you haven't heard yet, it is one of the top grossing films of 2012 worldwide. Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet have great chemistry and I was really moved by the great friendship between them.)

    4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (I liked the film for the simple reason that it was a very honest film in that it didn't change what it promoted itself to be. Great performances all round especially from Tom Wilkinson.)

    5. The Raid (Well Mark you said nearly everything I would have said about it. But I think this was one of the finest and best choreographed Action Films I had seen in a long time certainly not since probably (and don't laugh), Hot Fuzz.)

    If I had to pick a film that will knock off another film in the upcoming year, it would most certainly be the cliched choice of The Dark Knight Rises.

  • Comment number 5.

    My top 5 of the year:
    1. Avengers Assemble - A great fun action ride which reminds the film going public of just how important good action scenes combined with witty dialogue and characters are like in the summer blockbuster world of Michael Bay

    2. Moonrise Kingdom - I don't really know how to describe why I thought Moonrise Kingdom was so good but the offbeat style of filming, writing and acting all form together to form a really entertaining and emotional film.

    3. Chronicle - I walked into Chronicle expecting some bog standard found footage rubbish but I found a film with some really likeable characters and which finds a way to make it so found footage films don't give the audience a headache

    4. The Muppets - The musical on my list and the most fun I've had watching a film for a while, the film is so happy and fun that you can't help feel happy after watching it, helped by the fact that the Muppets are still just as funny as ever

    5. The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists - A true return to form for Aardman after the CGI films which didn't capture the feel of Aardman and this captures the same style of big-jokes-for-kids-small-jokes-for-adults humour that made Aardman the British powerhouse in animation.

  • Comment number 6.

    Agree with Martha, Marcy, Paul and Mary. Great film and also one of your 'unexpected' ones as I knew very little about it. Aside from that, I loved 'Sound it Out' which looked at the last surviving record store in Teesside - slightly niche, and probably only loved it as I longed for home, but a gem indeed.

    If I had to make a list of 5 I'd probably throw in Young Adult, Headhunters and The Raid.

    Unfortunately, not any space for The Vow, Project X or Titanic 3D - must be a great year!

  • Comment number 7.

    So far, it's as follows...
    5. Young Adult
    4. Cabin in the Woods
    3. Chronicle
    2. The Raid
    and 1. Shame
    ...which made me think actually, so Shame is nowhere on your list?

  • Comment number 8.

    What "The Raid" did for you, Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" did for me. The opening scene to the film set a rare realistic tone of violence, no matter how predictable the story was.

    My Top 5
    1) A Separation (this came out on December 31s,t 2011 in NYC, but I saw it in 2012 so I'm counting it in)
    2) Moonrise Kingdom
    3) The Avengers
    4) Haywire
    5) The Grey

  • Comment number 9.

    My choices so far are;

    5. Avengers Assemble
    4. Prometheus
    3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    2. Carancho
    1. Shame

    I agree with Martha Marcy May Marlene, a brilliant and creepy film that shocked the hell out of me. I haven't seen Even The Rain, and I'm really annoyed that I missed it because this is a film that's after my own heart.

    However, from your list, I would replace The Raid with Carancho and A Royal Affair with Shame. Both these films were a literal punch to the senses. Carancho was film that really showed me the seedy underbelly of insurance fraud and ambulance chasing in the otherwise amazing city that is Buenos Aires. A tragic and beautiful film with a brilliant performance by Ricardo Darin. Dr. K I applaud you for even mentioning this little seen film.

    As for Shame, another tragic and provocative film that stays with you long after its over. A film that deals with an issue that hasn't been shown on screen very often before combined with a brilliant, memorable and tragic score by Harry Escot and last but not least two mesmerizing performances from Carey Mulligan and the brilliant Michael Fassbender. Shame also proves just how award ceromonies play it safe and forget the true brilliance of what cinema can be. Steve McQueen is The Artist.

  • Comment number 10.

    Intersting list... Though quite unremarcable. It forced me to think about my favourite so far and you know what?...I couldn't even get to 5... So far to me it's been quite an low-key year. Yes of course we've had few blockbusters here and there.. but I wouldn't really put Avengers among the best film of the year. Fun and entertaining yes... But best?
    About Mark's list... mmmm....The Angels' Share... I wish I could share his enthusiasm for that film. Aside from the fact that I could hardly understand half of the dialogue I found it quite unremarkable just like I did find "Made in Dagenham" quite bland... Sorry, but that's just me.
    However I did love "martha marcy may marlene" and thought "the raid" was pretty amazing, but then again, best of the year? Well maybe.... that tells you about the rest of the bunch though.

  • Comment number 11.

    Am I aloud to name Jaws as one of my top five? Without a doubt the best film I've seen at the Cinema this year...

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry Mark on Comment No.4 I am actually replacing The Hunger Games with the Josh Trank Film Chronicle. This is the actual list.

    1. Prometheus
    2. Chronicle
    3. The Hunger Games
    4 The Intouchables
    5. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  • Comment number 13.

    Interesting selection, none of which I've seen.

    Dr K, you need to stop this 'martial arts films as musicals' thing. It's an interesting view, but there's a few really important differences.

    First, dancing is dancing and it can't fail to look like dancing, but good fighting should not *look* choreographed. Anyone who's seen an actual martial arts match, of any discipline, knows it's much more impressive and fundamentally dramatic if it's visibly not pre-planned. Granted, I've not seen The Raid, but if the clip above is representative, it's one of those many martial arts films that's really impressive to watch, but has no real tension or drama to it as the action is so clearly choreographed. You know the hero will win; it's never about whether he will, it becomes about how he will. Perhaps I'm not really representative of martial arts film audiences, but I like a fight in a film to not be a foregone conclusion; I want characters to appear to be in danger. If your fight contains no danger, it's not a fight, it's a demonstration, and really, a fight without danger has nearly no place in a narrative. Look at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - that's a hugely choreographed film in every way, but the best fight is between Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and Jen (Zhang Ziyi), precisely because unlike most of the film, by that point we genuinely don't know what's going to happen. By contrast, other fights in the film use the choreographed nature of martial arts fights to foreground the visual beauty and grace of fighting, or things like control or power, all of which are themes of the film - plus, almost every other fight is a foregone conclusion, but that's done as part of the wider narrative.

    The other important difference between musicals and martial arts films is in the relationship of the choreographed thing with the world it happens in. The worlds we see in martial arts films are changed by this sort of thing, too - the fights are wholly diegetic and affect the characters, whereas songs in musicals rarely are, and even more rarely do they have any effect or consequences. To take this further, musicals fundamentally defy the logic of everyday life, whereas martial arts films only ever do so by building on it. If a man breaks into a song and everyone around him starts dancing, that's just something that doesn't happen, and the break with the real is instant, huge and sudden; that's not a criticism - the tone, pace and script of a musical is designed for that, so that's fine in context. Conversely, in a martial arts film, people can really do most of the things we see characters doing, and if the film starts featuring moves deviating from things people can really do (punch houses down, kick stones hundreds of feet, cut six people in half with one sword swipe, etc.), they exist as extensions of real feats into the realm of legend, a gradual move not a sudden switch.

    One final thing: choreography in musicals is the final purpose of the genre, and can't be replaced. Choreography in action films is simply a method of achieving the purpose, which is a fight scene, and needn't work comparably to musicals.

  • Comment number 14.

    5: The Angel's Share. As a Ken Loach sceptic this was a breakthrough film for me, i was really engaged in the story and the characters.

    4: Headhunters. If you overlook some of the plot contrivances this is one of the most purely entertaining films of year.

    3: The Muppets. One of the smartest and funniest films i've seen in ages.

    2: Two Days in New York. Contains very "fruitee" language, need i say more.

    1: Woody Allen: A Documentary. Or reasons to love Woody Allen. This is really a valentine to all those films we love and i can't wait for 3 hour version on DVD.

    I will have to wait for the DVD of Even the Rain and Planet of Snail which i think may be this years Divingbell and the Butterfly. I usually know when i've seen my film of the year and i haven't seen it yet. I think we're all curious to see if The Dark Knight Rises features in your top 10 come December.

  • Comment number 15.

    Heres my selection with a one word review for each. Yet to see most of the movies from this year, such as Woman In Black, Hunger Games, John Carter and The Raid, which unfortunately disappeared from my local multiplex too quickly for me.

    1. The Descendants (relaxing)
    2. The Muppets (jolly)
    3. 21 Jump Street (surprising)
    4. The Artist (stylish)
    5. The Three Stooges (nostalgic)

    1. Men In Black 3 (empty)
    2. Shame (impotent)
    3. The Iron Lady (tepid)
    4. The Avengers Assemble (shambolic)
    5. Sherlock Holmes (dumb)

  • Comment number 16.

    1. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    2. The Raid
    3. Cosmopolis
    4. Into the Abyss
    5. Cabin in the Woods.

  • Comment number 17.

    My best films of the year so far are:

    1. Moonrise Kingdom (although I am very excited for The Dark Knight Rises and expect it to be my numer 1 film very soon because I have no doubts whatsoever at this point)
    2. The Avengers
    3. The Hunger Games
    4. Prometheus
    5. The Deep Blue Sea

  • Comment number 18.

    1. Shame
    2. Moonrise Kingdom
    3. Cabin in the Woods
    4. A Royal Affair
    5. The Raid

    Moonrise/Shame/Affair all haunted my thoughts for days after viewing and Cabin/the Raid were just pure fun.
    Kid with a Bike was good , Avengers was decent, I really wanted to see Martha Marcy May Marlene but missd the 1 day window of opportunity my local cinemas were offering. They want £20 for the bluray is it worth splashing out ?.

  • Comment number 19.

    Loved Mx4,havent seen Royal Affair yet but on the whole i think the first half of the year has been pretty poor.Im hoping for a strong secand half or this will be the worst movie year for a while.

  • Comment number 20.

    Top 5 best of the year

    1. War Horse (A sweeping, deeply moving and utterly poigant mix of blockbuster and sentimentality)

    2. The Iron Lady (Not a popular choice I know, but with a majestic performance from Meryl Streep and, for me, enough political detail and backstory to make it a superb, classy piece of British political cinema)

    3. The Kid with a Bike (A tender, adorable and breezy film from those genius Belgians the Dardiennes who did it again with another richly rewarding arthouse treat. Bring tissues!'

    4. The Grey (Liam Neeson vs. wolves. What could be more fun than this surprisingly gritty and realistic survival flick that tops every other crappy January action movie in Joe Carnahan's best work since 2002's Narc with a rock-solid performance from the Big Man.'

    5. The Woman in Black (An bracingly old-fashioned haunted house chiller that will send shivers down your spine and Daniel Radcliffe proves he can really act. Brilliant, spooky stuff!'

  • Comment number 21.

    I am ashamed to say that I have not seen any of the films on your list Mr Kermode, although I am quite keen to see Martha Marcy May Marlene. I don't even think I have been to the cinema five times this year! I just turn up at cineworld and see what they have to offer. I enjoyed Avengers but I am still ambivalent about Prometheus. Weeks after having seen it I still can't form an opinion on it. It had all the ingredients for a really great film, but they just didn't come together as they should have done. Although there is one scene which did remind me force-ably of the time when my appendix tried to kill me.

  • Comment number 22.

    You didn't even give a mention to Marvell Avengers Assemble!?!

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm really dismayed to hear that Cabin in the Woods was that good, as I'd avoided it because of mixed reviews and, let's be honest, laziness. Now I'll have to give it a go, once the DVD hits shelves. I did think the idea had potential...

  • Comment number 24.

    If I'm perfectly honest it's been a year that produce more rubbish than good films So find my top 5 will be difficult, but I'll give it a go.

    5. The Muppets: I could sit and watch the Muppets any time.

    4. The Artist: Although it did win too much at the Oscars and Baftas (Gary Oldham should have got best actor), It was enjoyable film and clearly done by people who not just silent cinema, but cinema in general.

    3. Coriolanus: I quite enjoyed it although I know a lot of people who didn't. I do like the occasional Shakespeare play and this seemed to be well done. Although Ralph default acting setting is hugely over the top (He made HP4 from bad to worse).

    2. Avengers Assemble (aka The Avengers): This is probably in my top because I went in with quite low expectations what with the endless comic book adaptations and Joss Whedon at the helm (I think he is overrated), but what I got was a very enjoyable film with characters that you cared about Tom Hiddlestone is really the best thing about it.

    1. Cosmopolis: Yes I did like this I thought it was brilliant. It's a film about the time we live in now and how absurd and nihilistic everything has become. I love that it isn't that emotional engaging with the characters and that they aren't that likeable (people these days aren't). Robert Pattinson is surprisingly good in it. David Cronenberg finally some-what goes back to his roots with the surrealism after A History of Violence (half a good film), Eastern Promises (alright but no need for the naked wrestling) and A Dangerous Method (Ikea Knightley). I think also it's really good that a film like this got made and I think it's probably the most underrated film of the year.

  • Comment number 25.

    5. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Bill Nighy was just perfect in this.
    4. 21 Jump Street. Never gone into a comedy movie with such low expectations, but it's easily the funniest movie I've seen this year.
    3. The Hunger Games - wasn't expecting much at all (having never read the books) - very pleasantly surprised. I didn't see Winter's Bone until after this so Jennifer Lawrence's performance was a nice surprise too.
    2. Avengers Assemble - not a huge fan of big fun action movies that you're not meant to take seriously but as far as they go this was perfect.
    1. The Grey - I was expecting a Taken-style Liam Neeson action hero movie where he punches a few wolves - couldn't have been more wrong, absolutely loved this atmospheric thriller.

  • Comment number 26.

    I prefer to leave these things until the end of the year because it takes me a while to get around to seeing the best films, so I'll just pick a couple.

    1. The Avengers. All that I ever wanted from a Joss Whedon film. Smart script, empowered female characters, great performances, and everyone gets their time to shine. Weakest part of the movie were the space aliens, we just don't understand their motivations. Loki is an excellent villain, though.

    2. The Cabin in the Woods. Even if everything else in the movie was terrible, Bradley Whitford would still save it simply for being Bradley Whitford. It is great to see him playing someone who is totally evil. The opening scene where director Drew Goddard parodies the 'walk and talk' shots from The West Wing by putting Bradley Whitford and his co-star in a golf buggy is fantastic, as is the build-up to the merman later on. Some really shocking moments, as is deserving in a film written by Joss Whedon, I agree with Mark it could have been scarier but as a comedy-horror I think it is one of the best in its genre. All the self-awareness of a movie like Scream but with less cliches.

    3. The Artist. Not sure if I'm allowed this since it came out last year, but the first time I saw it was last week when the Blu-ray came out. It is amazing how those two characters had such a convincing relationship on screen considering the lack of voiced dialogue. A very fine production all around. I do think the sound at the end was completely unnecessary though, and nearly ruined the entire film for me. It felt like the director was saying, "Oh yeah, by the way, this guy you thought was American - he's French!". Bit too smug for my liking.

    4. The Woman In Black. A really big surprise for me, though I should have known it would be great seeing as Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class) wrote it. Daniel Radcliffe gives the best performance of his career to date, his portrayal of a broken, grieving man is surprisingly convincing considering how young he is. I've heard some very unfair 'reviews' from people who said they just can't think of him as anyone other than Harry Potter, that sounds pathetic to me, like saying you can't see Viggo Mortensen without thinking of Aragon, even though Mortensen is one of the best actors of this generation. I think with a few more films like this under his belt, Radcliffe could be among that group. The middle section where it is just him in the house, and the only dialogue comes when he is reading through the letters, is superb filmmaking. In the audio commentary the director cites Japanese horror films like Dark Water as his inspiration, and it definitely shows.

  • Comment number 27.

    5. Shame- Or should be more commonly known as 'if this was in 3-D Fassbender would have your eye out.

    4. Haywire- Or Bourne witha Bra, if Gina Carano does not make it as an action star their is no justice.

    3. Martha Marcy May Marlene- about as dark as films get. Although John Hawkes performance was a little to 'you got purty mouth' for me.

    2. The Avengers- Nonsense absolute nonsense, but one of the most enjoyable films Ive seen in quite sometime. Like Candyfloss it won't improve you, it isn't clever or will satisfy you for the long term. But by 'eck it it makes you feel great.

    1. Prometheus- Fassbender and Rapace give an acting tour de force not seen since Heat. although a handout explaining some of the 'mythology' would be helpful. It is none the less a fine companion piece to the Alien collection and Fassbender gets to keep his equipment hidden...

  • Comment number 28.

    My top 5 so far (since I live in Luxembourg, some releases are different,the excellent Even the Rain for instance was released a year ago here):

    5. tie between Monsieur Lazhar and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    4. Marley
    3. Haywire
    2. Pirates!
    1. Moonrise Kingdom

  • Comment number 29.

    Good list Dr K. I plan to watch a couple of these when they reach dvd later in the year as missed them theatrically. Actually this is the first year in a long time i can't really think of anything that has blown me away but i'm sure the films exist, i just haven't seen them yet. I loved "The Avengers" and i see,not surprisingly, it's popular too with many others but i'm not sure it'll be in my favourites come years end? Prometheus too could be on my year end list but i really need to watch it a 2nd/3rd time before i can fully judge that film.

    Look forward to the bottom 5 films so far..flash forward to 2014 and i'm sure Transformers 4 will be on it!

  • Comment number 30.

    I thought Martha Marcy May Marlene was a perfect film, perhaps even one of the best i have ever seen. It's the kind of film that makes me think i'll never need to watch another film again because they probably won't beat it. I had to wait 12 months to see it but my god it was worth it. It was properly projected too, hooray.

    Surprised 'Into The Abyss' wasn't up there, i don't know if anyone else noticed this, but the musical score to Into The Abyss has haunted me ever since i first heard it.

  • Comment number 31.

    In reference to Dr K's comments on The Raid as a fighting musical, it reminds me of a quote by Edgar Wright in which he called Scott Pilgrim a musical with fights instead of songs

  • Comment number 32.

    I must be one of the only people on here who did not find Martha Marcy May Marlene to be a good film at all. Maybe I need to go back and watch it again, but the only good thing I remember from the film is the strong lead performance from Elizabeth Olsen, in what was an otherwise very average psychological thriller.

    Anyway, best films of 2012 so far:
    1. The Avengers
    2. The Cabin in the Woods
    3. The Hunger Games
    4. The Raid
    5. Headhunters

    Other films just outside the top 5:
    The Woman in Black, 21 Jump Street, Chronicle, Prometheus

  • Comment number 33.

    1. Martha Marcy May Marlene - Terrific central performance from Elizabeth Olsen and very able support.

    2. A Royal Affair - Absolutely wondrous. Three fantastic performances from the main players and as Dr K says, so much depth to it. By the end you're so emotionally drawn to the protagonists.

    3. Coriolanus. I really must see this again. Superb directorial debut from Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgraves is imperious.

    4. The Hunger Games. I wasn't aware of the storyline before I saw the film. Intense, great stuff from Jennifer Lawrence and never a dull moment. Whether they can keep it up for the sequel I don't know but I was pleasantly surprised.

    5. Le Gamin Au Velo (The Kid With A Bike). Deeply sad in a way, but offering hope and redemption. First film i'd seen by The Dardennes Brothers. Thomas Doret as Cyril is excellent throughout.

    Bubbling under; Chronicle, The Woman in Black (would have been in Top 5 if Radcliffe could act), The Avengers Assemble, The Piratess!

  • Comment number 34.

    My top five films so far this year. We don't always get the movies released in Oz at the same time as the US and UK.

    1. The Artist
    2. The Avengers
    3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    4. The Woman in Black
    5. The Muppets.

  • Comment number 35.

    Stop picking S*&T films!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    5) The Hunger Games
    Definetly disappointed seeing the film after reading the book, because like Potter it skipped some of my favourite things and the book was so fantastic that the film felt like a rushed version... but it's still simply terrific and exciting and dark and a frightening parallel to the world today

    4) The Raid
    Think you summed it up perfectly, just simply wall to wall fantastic action

    3) The Artist
    Purists may argue this was a late 2011 film but for me like most probably, I saw this Jan/ early Feb and it is simply a masterpiece

    2) Avengers Assemble
    I wrote a review of this recently in which I said "A film this awesome is pretty hard to review because where do you start" and it is so true, everything is gotten so right from the laughs to the gut punches to the character development to the effects to the action sequences... a wild ride and a true example of exactly how to do a superhero movie and a summer blockbuster

    and No. 1!

    The Muppets
    Simply the funniest, most divine, fun, funny, heartwarming, cuddly movie I've seen in a million years... left me floating on air and singing and dancing, there's just nothing like it!

    Runners Up
    Cabin in the Woods
    21 Jump Street
    The Pirates
    Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    Men in Black III

  • Comment number 37.

    Nothing has really blown me away this year except for The Raid, so I think my top 5 will have changed pretty drastically by the end of the year. Also I have a top 4, because other than these, nothing has stood out. Still not sure about Prometheus; it was very solidly made, and looked absolutely stunning, but seemed to lack any real character.

    4: Marvel Avengers Assemble - As with every Marvel film I've found the dialogue to be far more entertaining than the CGI things hitting each other, but this managed to have pretty good action scenes too. Even a guffawing-too-loud Christopher Biggins sat behind me couldn't spoil my enjoyment of it.

    3: 21 Jump Street - Far funnier than I think anyone expected it to be. Who knew that both Channing Tatum and Ice Cube could be so good in comic roles?

    2: Headhunters - genuinely surprised me. I went in half not wanting to see it, expecting a rather plodding and joyless Euro-thriller. Turned out to be really snappy, compelling, exciting and with some brilliantly black (and occasionally brown) humour.

    1: The Raid - I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said. Heart-pounding and wince-inducingly brutal. Best action film in a very long time.

  • Comment number 38.

    hahaha an unbelievable snub from the dr for prometheus

    this year has been the worst year for films ever
    looking at my imdb ratings history

    i've watched 3 films from 2012

    and Prometheus was hands down the best one - largely due to noomi and fassbender

    compared to previous great years tho

    in 2011 i saw 4 films and only loved drive
    in 2010 i saw 4 films and loved all 4 of them
    in 2009 i saw 13 films and loved 10 of them

    and the list goes on and the numbers go up

    i can't see me enjoying any other films this year - 'batman' will be same ole - but 'looper' and 'cloud atlas' could be interesting - and fingers crossed for 'gangster squad' being amazing - i bet this year will be so bad that i will actually really enjoy 'the expendables 2' out of nostalgia and anger

  • Comment number 39.

    I think it says a lot that my favorite film of the year was my own short film. A short film that was intentionally made to suck.

    I haven't had a good year with films since Toy Story 3 came out in 2010, and I probably won't have another good year again until I start making feature films of my own. In my lifetime, I've never had a year where I saw tons of movies or where the movies I did/didn't see were usually great. I think the last great year for movies might have been 1999, and the last good year for movies maybe being 2010.

    Oh, and here's my crappy short film -

  • Comment number 40.

    Really surprised to see you didn't include The Kid with a Bike Mark, considering your enthusiastic review of it earlier in the year. Anyway here are my top 5:

    1. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    2. The Kid With A Bike
    3. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
    4. The Raid
    5. A Royal Affair

  • Comment number 41.

    Omitting Avengers is clearly a move to rile the viewers, right Dr. K? It’s the only explanation I can think of for excluding the best ‘blockbuster’ experience for years.

    Conversely, I’m relieved to see no room for Prometheus. Whilst not a dreadful as the subsequent bilious internet hate suggests, it’s still a deeply flawed mess of a film, fractured with little explanation and inconsistent characters.

    I'm looking forward to ARA, and will be sure to catch-up on the others on the list.

  • Comment number 42.

    Prometheus... Best movie of the year so far.

  • Comment number 43.

    1. Cosmopolis (Cronenberg's most challenging and experimental work for years and one of my very favourites of his films, deliberately alienating on many levels but that's the point)

    2. Prometheus (much better than people give it credit, it's a much more interesting film than Alien which of course I love but I almost prefer this)

    3. Moonrise Empire (Wes Anderson's best film since The Life Aquatic, absolutely wonderful with great supporting performances)

    4. Shame (kinda counts as last year but Steve McQueen shows again he is the future of British cinema)

    5. Lawrence of Belgravia (documentary on Lawrence from Felt, wonderful and insightful doc into one of pop's real mavericks)

  • Comment number 44.

    1. The Cabin In The Woods
    2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    3. The Woman In Black
    4. The Avengers
    5. Prometheus

  • Comment number 45.

    @41, eddbrown: It's a good job we don't all like the same stuff. Whilst it's unfair for me to do this to your post:

    "Omitting Prometheus is clearly a move to rile the viewers, right Dr. K? It’s the only explanation I can think of for excluding the best ‘blockbuster’ experience for years.

    Conversely, I’m relieved to see no room for Avengers. Whilst not a dreadful as the subsequent bilious internet hate suggests, it’s still a deeply flawed mess of a film, fractured with little explanation and inconsistent characters."

    ...because that's a bit too kind to P, and bit unkind to AA, but it's not that far from my own opinion. Avengers Assemble had absolutely nothing revelatory about it at all, beyond the interesting detail that it was clearly made for television - even the action sequences (bar parts of the big finalé) were constructed to make sense on small screens - without looking like it: kudos to Mr Whedon for pulling that off, at least. Prometheus looked gorgeous and tried to ask vaguely interesting questions whilst being properly bobbins, which is what I think I want from a film like that.

    Then again, I'm in the group that admired Andrew Stanton for actually taking the time to figure out how to make John Carter, and then daring to actually have a plot that required attention. But I imagine that in general only fans of the original book "got" it; heck, it's clear the marketing people at Disney had absolutely no idea what to do with it so I'm not surprised that few others did. It's downfall was probably that it wasn't a campy pastiche like Flash Gordon.

    (My own top 5 for this year so far is probably The Artist, Kid with a Bike, MMMM, John Carter and The Muppets. Certainly if I was locked in a room with only 5 DVDs then I'd take those.)

  • Comment number 46.

    1. Killer Joe (One second you're laughing the next deeply disturbed)
    2. Shame (Captivating performance from Fassbender that stayed with me)
    3. The Grey (Liam Neeson typecast trailer is misleading, Great film)
    4. The Cabin In The Woods (Not scary at all but fresh and original)
    5. Prometheus (Even with all its problems still a great cinema experience)

    Notable mentions: Wild Bill, The Kid With A Bike, The Raid, The Angels' Share, Chronicle, Rampart.

  • Comment number 47.

    1. Avengers
    2. Cabin in the Woods
    3. Chronicle
    4. War Horse
    5. Prometheus

  • Comment number 48.

    5. Moonrise Kingdom
    Not the biggest Wes Anderson fan, but this film made me retroactively angrier about Fantastic Mr. Fox. How could someone who made a film so understanding of children as Moonrise Kingdom, have previously made something that disregarded children entirely. Either way, it didn't affect my enjoyment of this adorable comedy.

    4. The Cabin in the Woods
    One of two films from this year where the third act gives you everything you never knew you wanted to see on the big screen, and they're both written by Joss Whedon. It's a testament to how original and funny it is, that it still feels like a vital and modern satire of slasher cinema, despite having languished on the shelf for three years.

    3. Shame
    All this time, clothes were just holding Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan back. Each of them is at the peak of their powers in this haunting, haunted drama. An unabashedly grown-up film, based around a complex character study.

    2. The Avengers
    Despite all that could have gone wrong, this is pretty much the best comic book movie ever made. It's not The Dark Knight, but then that's not a comic book movie as much as an adaptation of a comic book- Whedon captures, in living colour, all of the excitement of reading a comic where Hulk smashes, and then smashes some more. Five-star blockbuster entertainment.

    1. The Grey
    Not as fun as The Avengers, but still my favourite film of 2012 so far- Liam Neeson has never been better, in a film that ostensibly looks like "Liam Neeson, Wolf Puncher", which instead muses upon death, and the way that men react to death in an impossible situation. Like Jaws, but far more pessimistic, and I flipping loved it.

  • Comment number 49.

    This Must Be the Place is one of those films that just took my legs away with how likable it was & I expected it to be just as loved by everybody else, unfortunately it seems to be the number one forgotten flick of the year - not even meriting a mention in the half-way Kermode blog - it's without a doubt my #1 by a long shot, though. A surprisingly sweet & wonderful performance by Sean Penn in a rather wacky/funny road movie. Sure, it's not perfect but it knows it. Deserves more attention!

    #2 The Avengers, #3 The Cabin in the Woods (previously mentioned by others - high five Whedon-fans!!)

    #4 Young Adult - Charlize Theron's character is so unlikable, so detestable that I sort of wanted to reach into the screen and pull all the supporting characters out there and into safety. At the same time my heart breaks for her. A really clever, zingy script as expected - The Great Gatsby Generation X.

    #5 The Bengali Detective - This may be cheating because I saw it at a festival (Glasgow Film Festival, well done to the organisers) but it'd be impossible not to include in my top five. A documentary about a private detective agency set up in Kolkata, comprised of a Dad's Army style crew of detectives who branch out from piracy & counterfeit goods to murder & in the process highlight the despicable realities of living in the slums of India. A must watch.

  • Comment number 50.

    After a few years of abusing the potential of a certain cinema chains unlimited card, I’ve noticed that the first half of the year usually leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the truly great films come out in the latter half of the year, and judging by all the big titles yet to surface, I’d hazard a guess and say that same statement rings true this year.

    Nevertheless, I do have a top 5.

    1) The Raid. Huge martial arts cinema fan, right here. Gareth Evans breakout thrilled me in a way that is far too rare in martial arts cinema. Sans chocolate and Ong Bak, you have to go back to the 1980s with Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan at their peak to find a genre picture this good.
    2) Moonrise Kingdom.
    3) 21 Jump Street.
    4) The Innkeepers
    5) Martha Marcy May Marlene

    Honorary mentions: the avengers, shame and cabin in the woods.

  • Comment number 51.

    Roger Ebert gave The raid one star.

    Interesting to see opinions from two well-respected reviewers which differ so much.

  • Comment number 52.

    Clearly I haven't seen as many films as The Good Doctor, but my top 5 are:

    5 Into the Abyss
    4 Royal Affair
    3 Carancho
    2 Even The Rain
    1 Shame

    Surprised Shame didn't get a mention from Mark ...

  • Comment number 53.

    Do to health reasons I haven't seen a lot of films this year, but I have seen The Raid and it doesn't matter if I have seen every film this year that'd be number 2 or 3 without a doubt.

    Doesn't Dr K look more and more like Dan Ackroyd as Elwood Blues, as he is now (if slimmer) with every passing month.

  • Comment number 54.

    @45, Scurra

    Well, all comments are opinion of course, but whilst AA wasn't innovative it did a remarkable job with a vast raft of characters whilst providing a great blockbuster experience. Will it be the best film of the year? No. Will it be the best action/blockbuster film of the year? Quite possibly (personally, I've been left cold by the early TDKR trailers, but it may yet - and I hope so! - blow me away).

    As for Prometheus, I felt there's a very good film hidden in there somewhere - the premise is excellent and the themes (creator-creation-creator cycle etc.) was strong. I don't even mind the under-explored elements given that it's lining-up for sequels, but inconsistent character behaviour and random threads just spoiled it I'm afraid (all of which have been discussed and highlighted over many forums and sites). Perhaps it'll all come good with a proper Directors Cut and the sequel(s). Again, I hope so. I don't take pleasure from not enjoying a film, particularly one I've so looked forward to and has/had such promise.

    Looking forward to Moonrise Kingdom and ARA, both of which are coming to my local independent theatre over the next month. The artist, of course, was brilliant.

  • Comment number 55.

    Seen some great older films (Peeping Tom, The Tenant,etc) this year but the best new ones by a mile,so far, are:

    1. The Kid with a Bike- Very moving film with great performances all round. Really loved this movie.

    2. Shame- A brave film, considering the subject matter. Great direction from McQueen, stylishly shot, Fassbender has never been better and should have got an oscar.

    3. The Descendants- A relaxing, entertaining film. Not a patch on Sideways but still far above average.

    Most disappointing was easily Prometheus. Despite Fassbender's performance it had such a lame story, crap aliens,a laughable performance by Guy Pearce in ridiculous 'old person' make-up, poorly thought out scenes etc,etc

  • Comment number 56.

    Haven't got round to seeing Cosmopolis, Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene, Cabin in the woods or The Innkeepers...will do asap! Hence, they're not in my list,can't wait to see them!

  • Comment number 57.

    I had to go back and check quite a lot of release dates for this, and it's proven quite tough. I think I've seen 15 new films so far this year, if UK-wide opening dates are taken into account rather than one-off festival screenings.

    5. Moonrise Kingdom - quite surprised to find this on my list, but it was constantly entertaining and funny. Kara Hayward in particular was wonderful. I know Anderson movies can really irritate people (and unlike Dr. K, I really liked 'The Darjeeling Limited'), but I was totally drawn in by the visual stuff (art direction, colour pallette etc.) and stayed for the sweetness and humour.

    =3. Kosmos and Young Adult - I know these two are so different, but I can't decide which I prefer. I didn't like 'Juno' at all but 'Young Adult' just had exactly the right kind of bitterness for me, plus a pair of fantastic performances by Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt. I watched it twice, about two days apart, and for me that's really saying something. 'Kosmos', on the other hand, was just totally enrapturing stuff. Dr. K had his problems with it, some of which I agree with - it is indeed about a reel too long - and hardly anyone will see it because it only screened in one cinema last week, but I think that's a real shame. Perhaps it brings up more ideas than it can handle, but personally I'd love it if more arthouse movies had the same briskness of pace that 'Kosmos' has. Its setting in a snowy and forgotten Turkish city has led some to bandy around Tarr and Tarkovsky references, but that's superficial - their movies are deathly slow and 'Kosmos', like its protagonist, moves around with the freedom of defied gravity. It's probably not saying anything new, but I REALLY liked it. The only thing I can't do is rank it above Charlize Theron's performance in 'Young Adult', which is the less ambitious but surely more successful film of the two.

    =1. Shame and Martha Marcy May Marlene - Both examples of modern English-language filmmaking at its best. Not 'fun' movies, but gripping and disturbing, beautifully photographed and edited, with star turns from all principal actors. I could go on about these for ages, but I won't because many others will and I'm sure they'll do a fine job.

    Honourable mentions: 'Prometheus' almost made it because it was a highly enjoyable experience with several great set pieces, but I was crying out for it to just SLOW DOWN and ESTABLISH ITSELF a bit more. Dr. K's picks 'Carancho' and 'A Royal Affair' were both perfectly fine in their own way but neither did anything remarkable for me - they're the embodiment of 'seven-and-a-half out of ten' movies. I liked 'The Kid With a Bike' but I think I'd recommend last year's 'Tomboy' over it, in terms of modern European 'realist' dramas with troubled 10-12yr old lead characters. That brings me also to 'Michael', which was a brave and controlled piece of work but I'd have balls of brass to actually recommend it as a viewing experience. I'm also playing favourites and reserving a spot in my top 10 for 'Himizu', which I'm seeing tonight at the Duke of York's in Brighton. (I know that invalidates everything, but for some reason I just think it's going to be great). And finally, I caught Bela Tarr's 'The Turin Horse' and Ben Rivers' 'Two Years at Sea' back in December, but both have seen a proper theatrical release more recently. Hard-core B&W arthouse fare, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't something very special about both of them.

  • Comment number 58.

    Best filmns I saw this year are
    5 Prometheus-Not as good or as bad as people say but still visually stunning and I liked the performances
    4 Shame-I love Michael Fasssbender and hes never been better than this performance
    3. Haywire-Bimey charley was that impressive
    2. Avenger assemble- A great comic book movie and well done to peopl;e involved
    1. TH raid is one of the best martial arts films I have seen a a long time

  • Comment number 59.

    1. Chronicle
    2. 21 Jump Street
    3. Cabin in the woods
    5. Angels Share
    4. The Grey

  • Comment number 60.

    5) Haywire
    4) The Woman In Black
    3) The Raven
    2) Cosmopolis
    1) Prometheus

  • Comment number 61.

    My top five has two in common with your Dr K:

    1. The Turin Horse
    2. Shame
    3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    4. Avengers Assemble
    5. Even The Rain

    I've not seen A Royal Affair, The Raid or Angel's Share yet so they may well make an appearance later in the year. I also still have high hopes for Cosmopolis, Berberian Sound Studio, Tabu, Amour, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and The Master.

  • Comment number 62.

    Moonrise Kingdom
    Damsel in distress
    Jeff who lives at home
    Kid on a bycycle

  • Comment number 63.

    1. Marley
    2. Moonrise Kingdom
    3. Chronicle
    4. The Raid
    5. Cabin In The Woods

    H M's - Wild Bill and Ill Manors

  • Comment number 64.

    In no particular order:

    The Descendants (not a GC fan but I found it to be just delightful and loved the scenery and even loved GC in it)

    Michael (creepy but engaging)

    Marley (one of the best music documentaries I've seen)

    Headhunters (never read the book and didn't know anything about it - kept me on the edge of my seat)


  • Comment number 65.

    I had Martha Marcy May Marlene in my top 3 from last year, same goes for Take Shelter (My favourite from 2011 overall.) So far, I've a lot to see - The Raid, Once Upon a Time in Antolia, La Havre etc etc but otherwise the this year has been pretty mixed for me, my top 5 would look a little like this:

    There's a lot here that others have included that I haven't - Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus, The Avengers etc

    5) The Five Year Engagement

    Too long and as the good doctor said, it's too one sided in the character progression to stop it from being truly effective. But it's funny, fresh and modern relationship film with two good performances from two good actors.

    4) Chronicle

    I really liked this despite being a mash up of two genres, I don't really like. It had good honest character development, believable scenarios and the last fight was one of the best action scenes I've seen in ages.

    3) Cabin in the Woods

    When I got out of this one I was half ready to call it quits and name it my film of the year, since then I've calmed a bit and it's effect has been a little muted, that's not to say it isn't really fun and clever, despite it's flaws.

    2) The Grey

    Despite it's flaws; silly CGI wolves and some lacking development to the supporting cast this really works as a one part grisly survival movie and one part metaphysical piece on coming to terms with your life. Even those inherent flaws such as theatrical wolves and supporting cast become apparent within that role.

    1) The Turin Horse

    This is a landmark achievement as far as I'm concerned, I'd be surprised if anything could top Bela Tarr's grueling meditation on suffering and reptition. Although it has some stiff competition coming in off Cannes.

  • Comment number 66.

    Can't take seriously anyone that puts Prometheus in their top 5. The film was probably the biggest disappointment going.

  • Comment number 67.

    21 Jump Street is massively under-rated though, and would definately be in my Top 5.

  • Comment number 68.

    Well since it's entirely subjective...

    5. Prometheus
    4. Shame
    3. The Angels' Share
    2. Marley
    1. Monsieur Lazhar

    I sometimes think I'm the only one in the world who has seen Monsieur Lazhar, fantastic film that many people have missed.

  • Comment number 69.

    Mark, you always miss out "awards season" films in these lists! How about a mention for films such as Shame, The Artist and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which had most of their theatrical run in 2012?

    Here's my list in no order:

    The Artist
    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    The Raid
    The Best Exotic Mariogold Hotel

  • Comment number 70.

    Shame, Margaret, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Prometheus, Moonrise Kingdom

    special mentions for The Descendents, The Grey, Cabin in the Woods,

  • Comment number 71.

    RE: No Shame. I think he didn't include it because it's one of those films which whilst released over here this year, counts as a 2011 film. It was included in the BAFTAS for the 2011 film "year" anyway, and Dr K said with his top 11 list last year that he wasn't counting films which were technically previous year films. But then again I thought MMMM was in a similar position, so maybe not.

    As for me, my top five are:

    5. Prometheus. I've been getting a lot of criticism for liking this film, but I still stand by it as an interesting and visually stunning scifi film with strong performances from Theron, Rapace and Fassbender (more on two of them soon). I've seen it twice now and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

    4. Young Adult. The best performance from Theron I've ever seen. Her performance of a former prom queen sociopath is just so tragic and darkly funny at the same time. Jason Reitman is also one of my favourite directors and I love how his films revolve around the misfits of life.

    3. Shame. A tragic, fascinating and horrific (that threesome scene almost felt like something out of a horror movie) look at self destruction, Fassbender and Mulligan are mesmerising. I loved the single long take of Fassbender running along the streets of New York, trying to shake off the world and failing.

    2. The Cabin In The Woods. Funny, clever, well acted and atmospheric. Not so much a scary movie, as a movie about what is scary. And it's also a brilliant directorial debut, something I don't think a lot of people are giving Drew Goddard enough credit for.

    1. The Avengers. THIS is how you do a summer blockbuster. Big action, big setpieces, but still with the moments to actually make you care about these characters. Everyone is perfectly cast and the energy is just top notch. I have not enjoyed myself in a movie more this year (so far)

  • Comment number 72.

    been a disappointing year for me. a lot of the films others have been raving about have been genre movies that have left me cold:
    the raid (just 90 minutes of people hitting each other, albeit well done)
    cabin in the woods (one basic idea blugeoned to death before turning into a stock monsters-turn-on-their-creators movie)
    prometheus (promised a lot but didn't deliver)
    avengers (overlong, frequently clumsy, random bickering in place of character development)

    i'm not sure i've even got five to list. the descendants to be sure, very real, warm and funny plus a tremendous clooney performance. the muppets as well, god bless them. i'd put martha may in there at the moment but not sure it will stay. hoping for more from july-december. the dark knight and sam mendes does james bond in particular.

  • Comment number 73.

    5. Dark Shadows-For being quirky and all over the place, in a very comedic
    way. Which ultimately makes it work.

    4. Iron Sky-For being the most undissapointing film in the first half of the year.

    3. Marvel's The Avengers-For being the first "franchise clash" that raises itself above the film's it takes inspiration from.

    2. The Hunger Games-For using the element of suggestion to inspire fear in the audience as opposed to CGI Monsters. Being a hollywood movie, that's actually quite edgy. (Although the CGI it did use wasn't as good as it could have been)

    1. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists- Just for being made by Aardman, and currently being the most likable film of the year with perfect family gags and eye popping set pieces that really make you wonder why stop motion is rarely in the mainstream.

  • Comment number 74.

    An intriguing top 5, some I've seen some I haven't but will make a concerted effort to see them after Dr K's recommendations. Particularly love the choice for number one.
    Here's mine so far although it has been tricky as I've enjoyed a lot of movies so far this year.
    5) Polisse - a brilliant but hard hitting ensemble piece. Maiwenn deftly handles the many storylines of the lead characters and remains true to the disturbing yet very moving main subject matter of the Police Child Protection Unit.

    4) Jaws - still the best movie ever made, so wonderful to see it on the big screen again but didn't seem fair to put an older movie in pole position.

    3) Marley - completely fascinating and moving bio of Bob Marley.

    2) The Grey which was only just knocked off the top spot by...

    1) A Royal Affair - utterly gorgeous in every way, the cinematography, the script, the acting, a truly superior historical movie. The story is beautifully told and the drama does not swamp it, indeed the affair of the title does not begin until about half way through. It's emotional without being obvious and never resorts to cheap tugs on he heart strings. Perfect.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ps I'm sure the Woody Allen doc will feature in there somewhere when I finally see it ;)

  • Comment number 76.

    I must be the only person the entire world who found the Hunger Games one of the worst films so far this year. For starters, it's not helped by the fact that the source material is up there with twilight on how badly written a book can be. For the film though, I found it really really dull with characters I couldn't give one about (I know it's a bit rich coming from me who liked cosmopolis because the characters weren't emotionally engaging, bt that was ment to be like that) and at times very very annoying e.g. the shakey "it's gritty!!!" camera, the over the top costumes, the way it cuts to Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones just to explain what something is during the games, the way the "bad" children form a bully gang and are just exceptationly mean. Even at what wqas meant to be the most heartbreaking moment (when the 12 year old get's speared) I found hilarious. If you want to see something like this that's done properly go and get Battle Royale, at least in that it has characters that you actually give one about. Rant over.

  • Comment number 77.

    Iron Sky. Does what it says on the tin and then some. Bonkers but wonderful.

  • Comment number 78.

    1. Cosmopolis
    2. The Hunger Games
    3. Prometheus
    4. Avengers Assemble
    5. Haywire

  • Comment number 79.

    I think whichever my best five films are of the year (or even my worst), this is the cinema layout I want to view them in :D

    (Warning contains a bit of bad language)

  • Comment number 80.

    If Mark dislikes 3D so much, why is he wearing 3D glasses?

  • Comment number 81.

    I don't go to the cinema any more; I don't have a list. I aint in a hurry to see films.

    I'm comforted to see I wasn't the only one to like HAYWIRE, though. Hey, she's a chick who can kick arse, what's not to like? But in the top 5 best films of 2012 so far? Maybe not. It might be a cult-hit in later years, if nothing else. While I did like it, it wasn't without its flaws: it seemed all over the place, disjointed, clunky. But I think the lead actress (who is a cage-fighter in real life!) marked her début really well. And her fight scenes were just as believable as those in the Bourne series.

  • Comment number 82.

    OK. First off, you really let yourself down Kermode when you forgive The Raid's lack of narrative because it's just another martial arts film. Simultaneously, you give a right kick in the guts to all the MA films that have wonderful plots and storylines, character developments etc etc. Quid multa, 'The Raid' is rubbish!
    Next... The Angel's Share.... contrived, facile, insultingly simplistic - violent cokehead turns out to have a fine nose.... and seeks redemption by thieving.... aye, right! Ohhh, man..... give me peace....
    Other than that....

  • Comment number 83.

    Typically obscure list Mark, fair enough.

    2012 has not been the great year for films that i thought it would be so i actually dont have a Top 5 so far yet. Avengers was childish muck, Dark Shadows was Sweeney Todd set in the 1970s ie usual Depp/Burton rubbish, Prometheus never got going at all and Hunger Games is an overhyped bore.

    However, i haven't seen Killer Joe yet and The Dark Knight Rises is coming in about 3 weeks time so we'll see.

  • Comment number 84.

    Forgot to mention Lawless, i have high hopes for that.

  • Comment number 85.

    1. The Muppets
    2. A Royal Affair
    3. Moonrise Kingdom
    4. The Avengers
    5. The Pirates: In An Adventure With Scientists

    I've sat through over 40 films this year, but none of them have made me grin like the Muppets. Having seen it five times now, every single showing has caused me to shed a tear of joy. It's the perfect 'kids' film. Sheer brilliance.

    A Royal Affair follows as it's a different kind of brilliant. It ticks all the boxes and is far more engaging than I was expecting, while for me Moonrise Kingdom was so dripping with charm that to leave it any lower would've been inexcusable. The 4th and 5th slot were hotly contested, with the Hunger Games, Angel's Share and Cabin in the Woods, amongst others, only narrowly being beaten by the two I selected, simply because they were more fun, in keeping with a list that puts the Muppets up at the top.

    It's been a strong year all round, and there's still plenty I'm looking forward to to come.

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear Dr. Kermode,

    Not seen A Royal Affair yet but certainly will. Pretty much agree with your list. I do think a Norwegian film called Hodejegerne - Headhunters which was given a general release this year with English subtitles should be on someone's top five.

  • Comment number 87.

    My top 5 so far.

    5. The Woman In Black
    4. The Angels' Share
    3. Chronicle
    2. Headhunters

    and the No.1 - The Muppets

  • Comment number 88.

    Not seen many of these films. A Royal Affair and The Angel's Share are coming up at my local independent over the next few weeks and I missed Martha and the Raid.

    However my top 5 so far would look something like:-

    5) The Hunger Games (surprising good kids film)
    4) Avengers Assemble (Joss Whedon is the best)
    3) Moonrise Kingdom (so utterly charming left massive grin on my face)
    2) Shame (so utterly damaged left my heart broken)
    1) Marley (just wonderful in every way)

  • Comment number 89.

    A litter of puppies and employment as a travelling projectionist have reduced my cinema going this year. I'm not keen on lists, and certainly don't see the point of disputing other people's choices. If I was going to argue the toss at all, I'd say A Royal Affair, which is quite good and worth promoting isn't a better film just because you were pleasantly surprised by it (I found it slightly long, but it was a bit stuffy and uncomfortable in the cinema when I saw it which could be a factor, as irrelevant as those defeated expectations). For what it's worth in no particular order those I've enjoyed the most...

    Avengers Assemble -- proper fun, action, comedy, only thing missing, screenfuls of zigzag balloons with POWW! WHAMMM! etc.

    Being Elmo -- I remember where I was when Jim Henson died, but not JFK. A great story of a talented guy who gets to live his dream.

    The Muppets -- not just a return to form, quintessence.

    The Angels Share -- despite the trailer claiming that The Angel's Share is a feelgood comedy like a Scottish Full Monty, it actually IS a feelgood comedy like a Scottish Full Monty. And more power to Loach and Laverty.

    Cosmopolis -- maybe it was the mood I was in, I'd had a disastrous day and was beating myself up about it a bit (not quite like the protagonist), I was worried that going to see this would be yet another mistake I was about to make whilst overtired. It really cheered me up. Yes, it has slightly arch dialog and the kind of made up view of what a kind of work is like from a writer who just wants a metaphor, but once you accept that the vignettes and stylized dialog are more like a play, you can enjoy Don DeLillo's ruminations. Not Cronenberg's best, but it creates a throughline between the tragic surreal meandering journey of The Naked Lunch and the detached descent into self destruction of Crash.

    Moonrise Kingdom -- I put this on a par with Cosmopolis. You have to be able to meet Wes Anderson's style on its own hyperquirky terms. But by grounding the style and narrative in that of the teenage adventure stories beloved and read by the protagonists themselves, it manages to succeed by dint of the charm of the young actors, who were made all the more vibrant by the overly deadpan adults. It was like an update on those films Hayley Mills used to make with Disney.

    I would add the re-releases of Hobson's Choice and The Man Who Fell To Earth, but that would be stretching the already pointless exercise. (well you are meant to stretch before exercise....)

  • Comment number 90.

    Oh heck! I forgot to place Pirates!..... I'd swap that in for both Moonrise Kingdom and Cosmopolis. I'll be happy to sit through that half a dozen times if it comes up in the job.

  • Comment number 91.

    Mark..where's Intouchables? (Or were the English subtitles rubbish?)

    My top:

    1. Intouchables (haven't ever laughed so much)
    2. Avengers
    3. Muppets

  • Comment number 92.

    My top 5 so far:
    1. The Hunger Games
    2. Michael
    3. Shame
    4. War Horse
    5. The Kid with a Bike

    Not been too impressed with this year so far. Some good stuff but nothing has bowled me over. The Hunger Games was by far the closest.

  • Comment number 93.

    I love doing the mid-year report. This is my top five of all the films I have seen so far this year:

    5. Prometheus - I know there is a backlash against the film because of the hype, but i found it to be a intelligent sci-fi film that attempted big ideas, themes and questions about the origins of man, playing like a dark version of 2001: A Space Odyessy. There were great performances from Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace and whilst there are holes, but I think we need to see the Director's Cut before we can truely judge the film.

    4. The Raid - as a pure action The Raid is easily one of the best films in years and definitely the best martial arts film in a long while. The action sequences were incredible and the hallway scene will be one of the best action scenes of the year. The plot is basic but we get enough from the characters and it satifity my bloodlush.

    3. Headhunters - it darkly funny film, that was fast paced, exciting and really well acted. I enjoyed it and Eivind Sander deserves a spin-off.

    2. Martha Marcy May Marlene - it was a dark, grim interesting drama about the struggles someones who have to go through after being brainwashed. Writer/Director Sean Durkin was able to blend together the duel narrative with ease and it was all centred around a great performance by Elizabeth Olsen.

    1. The Avengers (I refuse to call it by it's British title) - I am a superhero fan, I enjoyed Marvel Studios' previous films and it was a film I was really looking forward to. It did not disappoint, supplying great action sequences, characters and was just a blast. The plot was a little simplistic but it is the most fun film so far this year: (

    Just missing out: The Hunger Games, The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists, Shame (which I actually saw in 2011, but I base my list on UK release dates), Moonrise Kingdom

    What I need to see: 21 Jump Street, The Woman in Black, In Darkness, The Cabin in the Woods

  • Comment number 94.

    5. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
    4. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    3. The Muppets
    2. The Avengers
    1. The Artist

  • Comment number 95.

    Unfortunately, I've yet to see enough movies to constitute a Top Five and a Bottom Five list, so I'm going to cheat and do a 'Top Three and Bottom Two' list:

    Top Three

    1. The Turin Horse - Majestic cinema of the purest form and the highest caliber, Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr makes his best film in this mesmerising picture that is strangely inviting and utterly full of dread.

    2. Into The Abyss - A thought provoking, truthful, and chillingly direct work from one of cinema's great masters. Herzog hows great tact and wisdom as an exploration into deep, dark waters.

    3. The Angels' Share - Ken Loach's latest is a charming film full of youthful vibrancy. Also, Paul Laverty knows how to scribe a 'social-realist' picture thoroughly entertaining.

    Bottom Two

    2. Rock Of Ages - This 'Pop 'n Roll' musical is the cinematic equivalent to Nickleback: no matter how much you try, you're still a sheep in human clothing, and you're never gonna be a rock star. Also, berserk does not neccessarily mean good!

    1. Jack And Jill - Adam Sandler's latest is another in an (unfortunately) ever-increasing pill of disposable fare. However, this is the top of the pile, its foul stench resonating through all, and causing potentially dangerous spasmodic convulsions to all within its reach.

  • Comment number 96.

    Monsieur Lazhar -
    The kid with a bike -
    This must be the place -
    Pirates -

    honourable mentions - Jeff, who lives at home. Marley. Marvels Avengers Assemble. Moonrise Kingdom

  • Comment number 97.

    Due to budgetary restrictions (I invested in "John Carter", no, not really), I haven't seen half as many movies this year as I would like, indeed I only managed one of Mark's top five. These are my top of what I have seen:

    1. Avengers Assemble
    2. The Hunger Games
    3. The Grey
    4. The Raid
    5. Prometheus

    Come on, insult me for rating "Prometheus" at all.

  • Comment number 98.

    The Artist - Insert any review here (apart from Christoper Tookey, I just don't like him)

    Haywire - Many raved about The Raid but I think the best actioner was earlier in the year. Great soundtrack, great stunt work, great film.

    Young Adult - Wickedly funny, how Charlize Theron got ignored over the awards season baffles me.

    Tyrannosaur - Finally made it to a cinema near me and was well worth the wait. Well acted and hopefully the start of a new career path for Mr Considine

    Fast Girls - Yes there's every stereotype in the book but I got choked up during the finale and that'll do for me.

  • Comment number 99.

    I've just seen Killer Joe at the cinema, my initial reaction ? Best film of the year so far.

  • Comment number 100.

    I wonder if Mark will make a top 10 list for sight and sounds poll of the 10 best films of ALL TIME?
    many critics have been posting theirs online over the last few months, most notably Roger Ebert with the inclusion of Terrance Malicks 2011 film THE TREE OF LIFE - I wonder what will make Marks list? (we all know what'll be number 1 anyway)


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