The Best Films Of 2012 So Far – as voted by you!

July 4, 2012 by Simon Kinnear in Opinion with 2 Comments

Last week, I asked readers of this blog and my Twitter followers to vote for their favourite films of 2012 so far, following a successful survey of 2011’s best films at the halfway mark.  The results are now in, and make for interesting reading.

Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson 2012In 2011, Richard Ayoade’s Wes Anderson-influenced comedy Submarine won the poll with the most votes; this year, the most popular film was actually directed by Wes Anderson.  There must be something in the water that makes my primarily UK-based readership love a bit of quirkiness.

Nearly half of those who took part (19 out of 40) listed Moonrise Kingdom in their top 5, well ahead of a stack of films – Avengers Assemble, The Cabin In The Woods and The Raid – sharing joint 2nd with 15 votes.

The top 10 – well, 11 – based solely on top 5 mentions, reads as follows:

1) Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson) [19 votes]
Anderson’s 1960s teen romance is his most affectionate, accessible film to date.  Basing the story on Boy Scouts (with their fussy uniforms and unusual skillsets) is wonderfully apt for this quirkiest of directors.

2=) Marvel Avengers Assemble (Joss Whedon) [15 votes]
Marvel cluster-fucks the opposition by bringing together four franchises worth of superheroes, but Whedon’s knack for Buffy-esque bickering makes it seem less like franchise overload than simple good taste.  (Read my Marvel Avengers Assemble review.)

2=) The Cabin In The Woods (Drew Goddard) [15 votes]
More Joss Whedon, as the co-writer effectively makes Horror Cliches Assemble to remind us that this genre thrives on jolting us out of complacency.  (Read my The Cabin In The Woods review.)

2=) The Raid (Gareth Evans) [15 votes]
A Welsh director goes to Indonesia, gets into local martial arts and wonders what Die Hard would be like if the entire building was filled with bloodthirsty bad guys.

5) Shame (Steve McQueen) [12 votes]
The reason I’ve been getting Google searches for “michael fassbender’s willy in shame porn video.” (Read my Shame review – or my in-depth 5* rave for Total Film.)

6) Chronicle (Josh Trank) [8 votes]
An original superhero fable, which replaces the baggage of a pre-existing mythology with shrewd teenage psychology and inspired use of ‘found footage’ techniques. (Read my Chronicle review.)

7=)  Martha Marcy May Maylene (Sean Durkin) [7 votes]
Durkin’s disturbing study of the ties that bind Elisabeth Olsen is, literally, cult filmmaking par excellence.

7=) The Muppets (James Bobin) [7 votes]
Nostalgia only gets you so far, so Jason Segel adds a few new tricks as he starts the music and lights the lights. (Read my The Muppets review.)

7=) Young Adult (Jason Reitman) [7 votes]
Reitman reunites with Juno writer Diablo Cody to take the piss out of this generation’s inability to grow up. Given how many of the films in this top 10 are about “young adults”, they kinda have a point.

10=) The Kid With A Bike (the Dardenne brothers) [6 votes]
The Belgian art-house darlings belie their reputation for being miserable with a warm and immensely likeable story about a neglected boy finding his way in the world. (Read my The Kid With A Bike review.)

10=) Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Ceylan Bilge) [6 votes]
A near-three hour, deliberately boring Turkish film about a botched police investigation sounds like torture. Instead it’s a hypnotic, unexpectedly funny watch. (Read my Once Upon A Time In Anatolia review.)

Bubbling under on 5 votes each were 21 Jump Street and Killer Joe, with Cosmopolis, Headhunters and Prometheus each scoring 4 votes.  Killer Joe and Cosmopolis, especially, I think were victims of having only recently been released, so I have a hunch they’ll be keeping pace with the other films here by the year’s end.

Many specified the order of preference.  If I rank films by popularity, with a sliding 5-1 scale, then the top 11 doesn’t change, but the order of preference does.

1) Marvel Avengers Assemble [57 points]
2) Moonrise Kingdom [56 points]
3) The Cabin In The Woods [46 points]
4) The Raid [45 points]
5) Shame [35 points]
6) Martha Marcy May Maylene [28 points]
7) Once Upon A Time In Anatolia  [21 points]
8 ) The Kid With A Bike [19 points]
9) Chronicle  [18 points]
10=) The Muppets [17 points]
10=) Young Adult [17 points]

The switch at the top can be explained by the fact that twice as many people (6 compared to 3) selected Marvel Avengers Assemble as their first choice than chose Moonrise Kingdom.

Martha Marcy May Maylene and Once Upon A Time In Anatolia were the main beneficiaries of high placings amongst their fans; Chronicle dropped rapidly by being mainly a fourth or fifth choice.

In total, 56 votes were cast. Despite my emphasis being on UK cinema releases between January and June, some voters opted for forthcoming films they’d already seen at festivals (one national newspaper critic made it very obvious he’s been to Cannes!) while others voted for films that came out at the tail-end of 2011.  All of these votes counted – I’m not going to penalize anybody on the grounds of pedantry – although obviously choosing films that the majority avoided limited their impact on the top of the chart.  No matter: half the fun is gathering a list of recommendations from my peers, so there’s a full alphabetical run-down at the end of this post of stuff you’ve liked.


1) Aside from the UK-made (but US-set) Shame, Britain doesn’t have a single entry in the top 15.  Compare this to last year, when Submarine was joined by Attack The Block, Hanna, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech and Senna in the top 20.

2) After a month of intense, borderline-insane debate amongst critics, Prometheus turns out not to have been good enough to make an impact.  Fellow hype-magnet The Hunger Games did even worse, being mentioned by just two out of 40 voters.

3) Only Christopher Nolan can ruin Joss Whedon’s party now.

PS I didn’t vote in this survey for fear of distorting the results.  Had I done so, my top 5 would have been as follows:

1)      Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
2)      Shame
3)      The Cabin In The Woods
4)      Moonrise Kingdom
5)      The Kid With A Bike

The only major difference my votes would have made would be to take Moonrise Kingdom into first place in the points system, so I think the moral victory is with Wes, don’t you?

Please share your thoughts on these results. Do you agree with the consensus? Or is there a future classic we’ve all been mad to disregard?

To help you decide, here is the full list of films you voted for:

21 Jump Street
The Artist (2011 release)
Avengers Assemble
Being Elmo
Berberian Sound Studio (not yet released)
Bernie (not yet released)
Brave (not yet released)
The Cabin In The Woods
Crazy Horse
Damsels In Distress
A Dangerous Method
The Descendants
Goodbye First Love
The Grey
Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai
Havre, Le
Holy Motors (not yet released)
The Hunger Games
The Hunt (not yet released)
Ill Manors
In Darkness
The Innkeepers
Jeff, Who Lives At Home
The Kid With A Bike
Killer Joe
Killing Them Softly (not yet released)
Margaret (2011 release)
Margin Call
Marina Abramovic: Artist Is Present (not yet released)
Martha Marcy May Maylene
The Mirror Never Lies (not yet released)
Moonrise Kingdom
The Muppets
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
The Raid
Samsara (not yet released)
A Separation (2011 release)
Tabu (not yet released)
This Is Not A Film
The Turin Horse
Viva Las Antipodas (not yet released)
War Horse
We Are Poets
Wild Bill
Young Adult
Your Sister’s Sister

See you again this time next year!

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