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Favorite people’s favorite movies

By Philip Martin

This article was published January 4, 2013 at 1:58 a.m.

— For the past decade or so, I’ve asked a few friends who have a particular interest in the movies to send me their lists of the best films of the year. And then,sometime in late December (or early January), I run them in this space.

I’m doing it again this week. Now, before we get started, let me say that I asked for these lists a while ago, which means most of our panelists hadn’t had a chance to see a few of the movies they considered promising. Some of them have no doubt changed their minds by now and re-jiggered their lists.

Also, newspaper space is finite, and these lists might be deeply and truly edited. We’ll run any leftovers on the blog blood, dirt & angels. (My list ran on Sunday.)

And if you have a list, feel free to send it to the e-mail address at the bottom of the page. You might find that you’ve provided us with content.

Favorite (not necessarily the best) 2012 movies from film critic and Home Movies columnist Karen Martin, in no particular order:

Argo, Moonrise Kingdom, Skyfall, Your Sister’s Sister, Lawless, Anna Karenina, Arbitrage, Flight, Killing Them Softly, This Is 40

Armchair critic Sam Blair’s “Nine Best, more or less in order”:

  1. Lincoln - Even flawed by the usual Spielbergian multiple endings, this is the finest film I’ve seen this year.

  2. Argo - Like Lincoln, it’s a true tale whose ending most of us know, yet it grips us in a vise of suspense that makes you squirm.

  3. Les Miserables - Think musicals are silly? Hate opera? Then you may be one of the miserable at this one. Blame the convoluted plot on Victor Hugo, but the risky, sung-live musical numbers, many done in a single take, give the triumphant feel of a live production.

  4. Bernie - Made me, for the first time, appreciate Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey.

  5. Beasts of the Southern Wild - Little Rock Film Festival prize winner ... is authentic without straining to be “Southern.”

  6. Amour - Emmanuelle Riva is collecting Best Actress nods as the wife in a long, loving marriage. It’s easy to see why.

  7. Life of Pi - I’m not a fan of computer-generated imagery or even of 3-D, but Ang Lee’s directing and the dazzling cinematography had me wanting to believe this allegory, irrational or not.

  8. The Kid With a Bike - ... slender ... unsentimental movie about an 11-year-old boy abandoned by his father packs a wallop. He wants to find his father and does, but not with the result he expects.

  9. Silver Linings Playbook - I was slow to warm to this one ... but the last half-hour is as satisfying as any movie I saw this year.

Honorable mentions (in no particular order): Arbitrage, Moonrise Kingdom, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Keep the Lights On, Magic Mike, Skyfall, Margaret and The Master.

Jay Russell, Little Rock Film Festival Diamond Award winner and Delta Sky Club member since 1982, 10 favorite films so far (in alphabetical order):

  1. Argo, 2. Beasts of the Southern Wild, 3. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 4. Cloud Atlas, 5. The Impossible, 6. Life of Pi, 7. The Master, 8. Moonrise Kingdom, 9. Silver Linings Playbook, 10. Queen of Versailles

Special mentions: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer (the other Lincoln movie); Boy (from New Zealand); The Dark Knight Rises; Looper; Perks of Being a Wallflower; Skyfall; Ted.

Joe Riddle, movie buff and self-proclaimed film historian (and editor extraordinaire), Top 10 films of 2012 (in no specific order):

  1. Skyfall, the best Bond in 40 years, hands down

  2. Seven Psychopaths, funny, violent and a great history lesson at the end

  3. Hitchcock, with the great Helen Mirren as his wife

  4. Argo, excellent history with exciting climax

  5. Boy, delightful gem from New Zealand

  6. This Must Be the Place, Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli 30 years and many drugs later

  7. Madagascar 3, way silly but my great-nieces, Caroline and Olivia, loved it

  8. Life of Pi, visually a masterpiece in storytelling

  9. Bernie, who knew Jack Black could act?!

  10. Jeff Who Lives at Home, great indie film with surprising denouement

And one that was praised but did not deserve it: Magic Mike. Too many tired cliches to list here and no nudity. I mean, what was the point?!

Dan Lybarger, frequent MovieStyle contributing critic (see more on blood, dirt & angels):

  1. The Master, 2. Beasts of the Southern Wild, 3. The Imposter, 4. Amour, 5. Queen of Versailles, 6. Life of Pi, 7. Lincoln, 8. Zero Dark Thirty, 9. Silver Linings Playbook, 10.Searching for Sugar Man

Piers Marchant, frequent MovieStyle contributing critic (see more on blood, dirt & angels):

  1. The Master, 2. Beyond the Hills, 3. Footnote, 4. Amour, 5. Lincoln, 6. Argo, 7. Moonrise Kingdom, 8. Beasts of the Southern Wild, 9. Killing Them Softly, 10. Room 237

Honorable mentions: A Royal Affair, Compliance, Queen of Versailles, Being Flynn, Searching for Sugar Man, The Kid With a Bike, Arbitrage, Rust & Bone

Danny-Joe Crofford, husband, father, state employee and friend of the court:

  1. Zero Dark Thirty - The best picture of 2012. Period.

  2. Argo

  3. Les Miserables - Not a musical fan, but found it really entertaining.

  4. The Dark Knight Rises - I’m biased about Batman, but you need The Joker to get higher on the list.

  5. Ted - The funniest film of the year. Who doesn’t love a cussing, drug-using teddy bear?

  6. This Is 40 - If you havekids and are almost 40, you will understand.

  7. The Avengers

  8. Skyfall

  9. The Intouchables - The best foreign film. The subtitles didn’t even bother me.

  10. Hitchcock - Lincoln should have been like this.

Jonathan Nettles, Today’s THV film critic, frequent vacationer and abstainer:

“My Top 10 consists of some Oscar nominees and a lot of blockbuster films. I’m a sucker for big-effects movies.

“Here they are in order of favoritism:

  1. The Intouchables, 2. The Artist, 3. Cloud Atlas, 4. The Dark Knight Rises, 5. Looper, 6. The Avengers, 7. Skyfall, 8.Think Like a Man, 9. The Descendants, 10. Chronicle

Blake Rutherford, public servant, moviegoer and founder of Movies in the Park:

  1. Amour, 2. The Master, 3. Beasts of the Southern Wild, 4. Silver Linings Playbook, 5. Argo, 6. Moonrise Kingdom, 7. Anna Karenina, 8. Skyfall, 9.Lincoln, 10. Arbitrage

My next five: Bernie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Dark Knight Rises, The Late Quartet, Your Sister’s Sister

Noel Murray, Conway resident, Onion A/V Club critic:

  1. The Master, 2. Zero Dark Thirty, 3. Life of Pi, 4. Damsels in Distress, 5. Holy Motors, 6. It’s Such a Beautiful Day, 7. Photographic Memory, 8. Looper, 9. The Queen of Versailles, 10. The Deep Blue Sea

Levi Agee, multitasking procrastinator, Screengems columnist and programmer for the Little Rock Film Festival: Top films: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Paranorman, The Master, Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looper, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty+, Silver Linings Playbook+, Amour+

(+ indicates films Agee hasn’t actually seen) E-mail:

MovieStyle, Pages 29 on 01/04/2013

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