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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

2012’s films ranked

This ranking includes only new theatrical releases viewed for the awards year of 2012. Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/NYC Release Date/London Release Date; year is 2012 unless otherwise noted.

green light
worth paying multiplex prices for



Django Unchained (12.07/12.25/01.18.13)
Argo (10.17/10.12/11.07)
Cloud Atlas (10.15/10.26/02.22.13)
The Cabin in the Woods (02.16/04.13/04.13)
Moonrise Kingdom (05.21/05.25/05.25)
End of Watch (09.03/09.21/11.23)
Holy Motors (09.17/10.17/09.28)
Promised Land (11.20/12.28/04.19.13)
Lincoln (11.17/11.09/01.25.13)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (10.12/06.27/10.19)
Anna Karenina (08.20/11.16/09.07)
Compliance (10.18/08.17/03.01.13)
The Master (10.01/09.14/11.02)
Skyfall (10.22/11.09/10.26)
Les Misérables (12.11/12.25/01.11.13)
The Dark Knight Rises (07.16/07.20/07.20)
Searching for Sugar Man (07.18/07.27/07.26)
Life of Pi (12.04/11.21/12.20)
Silver Linings Playbook (11.20/11.16/11.21)
Lawless (07.09/08.29/08.31)
The Angels’ Share (06.07/04.12.12/06.01)
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (12.12/12.07/TBA)
Zero Dark Thirty (12.03/12.19/01.25.13)
The Imposter (08.31/07.13/08.24)
Seven Psychopaths (10.18/10.12/12.05)
The House I Live In (12.16/10.05/11.23)
Amour (10.29/12.19/11.16)
Looper (09.28/09.28/09.28)
Great Expectations (08.22/11.08.13/11.30)
Mirror Mirror (03.29/03.30/04.02)
Untouchable (aka Intouchables) (09.03/05.25/09.21)
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (09.02/06.08/10.19)
Dreams of a Life (12.12.11/08.03/12.16.11)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (06.19/06.22/07.13)
The Hunger Games (03.19/03.23/03.23)
The Snowtown Murders (aka Snowtown) (11.01.11/03.02/11.18.11)
ParaNorman (08.19/08.17/09.14)
The Impossible (12.05/12.21/01.01.13)
Red Dog (01.24/direct to DVD/02.24)
Avengers Assemble (aka Marvel’s The Avengers) (04.13/05.04/04.26)
Wreck-It Ralph (11.04/11.02/02.13.13)
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (10.14/11.16/02.15.13)
The Sapphires (10.14/03.22.13/11.07)
The Queen of Versailles (08.31/07.06/09.07)
Brave (07.06/06.22/08.13)
The Sessions (10.10/10.19/01.18.13)
The Invisible War (12.16/06.22/03.11.14)
The Campaign (09.21/08.10/09.28)
Safe (03.31/04.27/05.04)
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!/Band of Misfits (03.05/04.27/03.28)
The Grey (01.23/01.27/01.27)
Headhunters (Hodejegerne) (03.13/04.27/04.06)
Butter (12.03/10.05/TBA)
Savages (09.12/07.06/09.21)
Chasing Ice (12.06/11.09/12.14)
Killing Them Softly (09.18/11.30/09.21)
My Brother the Devil (09.24/03.22.13/11.09)
Smashed (12.11/10.12/12.14)
The Hunt (Jagten) (09.25/07.12.13/11.30)
Rise of the Guardians (11.19/11.21/11.30)
5 Broken Cameras (02.19.13/05.30/10.19)
The Bourne Legacy (08.13/08.10/08.13)
Men in Black III (05.21/05.25/05.25)
Robot & Frank (10.03/08.17/03.18.13)
Call Me Kuchu (06.02/06.14.13/11.02)
Up There (11.14/TBA/11.16)
Chronicle (01.30/02.03/02.01)
21 Jump Street (03.01/03.16/03.16)
Into the Abyss (10.22/11.11/03.30.12)
Petit Nicholas (07.03/TBA/07.13)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (06.19/06.22/06.20)
Ted (07.02/06.29/08.01)
Room 237 (09.24/12.07/10.26)
The Assault (04.13/04.06/04.23)
We Have a Pope (11.03.11/04.06/12.02.11)
The Central Park Five (12.19/11.23/TBA)
West of Memphis (09.28/12.25/12.21)
How to Survive a Plague (02.19.13/09.21/11.08.13)
Tatsumi (01.06/04.04/01.13)
This Is Not a Film (03.19/02.29/03.30)
Sightseers (09.04/05.10.13/11.30)
Ginger and Rosa (10.12/03.15.13/10.19)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (04.17/03.09/04.20)
Hope Springs (09.02/08.08/09.14)
Flight (11.09/11.02/01.25.13)
A Royal Affair (11.16/11.09/06.15)
Fast Girls (05.01/TBA/06.15)
Frankenweenie (09.04/10.05/10.17)
Your Sister’s Sister (06.25/06.15/06.29)
Trishna (03.07/07.13/03.09)
Natural Selection (10.06.11/03.16/TBA)
Return (03.30/02.10/04.06)
Celeste and Jesse Forever (09.24/08.03/12.07)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (02.23/03.16/04.20)
Monsieur Lazhar (05.15/04.13/05.04)
Woody Allen: A Documentary (06.01/made for TV/06.08)
The Forgiveness of Blood (03.07/02.24/08.10)
Undefeated (08.09/02.17/08.03)
How I Spent My Summer Vacation (aka Get the Gringo) (05.02/direct to VOD/05.11)
360 (10.12.11/08.03/08.10)
Casa de Mi Padre (04.18/03.16/06.08)
In Darkness (03.13/02.10/03.16)
Grassroots (10.03/07.20/11.09)
Hunky Dory (10.26.11/03.22.13/03.02)
Seeking Justice (aka Justice) (11.18.11/03.16/11.18.11)
Wanderlust (02.27/02.24/03.02)
Big Miracle (02.07/02.03/02.10)
Rock of Ages (06.08/06.15/06.13)
Premium Rush (09.10/08.24/09.14)
Liar’s Autobiography (10.16/11.02/02.08.13)
The Awakening (10.03/08.10.12/11.11)
2 Days in New York (04.23/08.10/05.18)
Hysteria (08.30/05.18/09.21)
African Cats (03.26/04.22.11/04.27)
Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX (09.14/09.07/09.21)
Titanic 3D (03.21/04.04/04.06)
Beauty and the Beast 3D (04.30/01.13/05.04)
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D (02.08/02.10/02.09)

yellow for maybe
worth seeing, but wait for DVD, unless your favorite actor is in it



Safety Not Guaranteed (12.12/06.08/12.26)
Margin Call (02.21/10.21.11/01.13)
Dredd (09.03/09.21/09.07)
Berberian Sound Studio (09.13/06.14.13/08.31)
Citadel (10.19/11.09/07.12.13)
Shadow Dancer (07.25/05.31.13/08.24)
Cosmopolis (06.18/08.17/06.15)
The Woman in Black (02.06/02.03/02.10)
Total Recall (08.30/08.03/08.29)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (06.01/07.27/08.10)
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) (09.03/11.16/11.02)
Barbara (08.07/12.21/09.28)
Haywire (01.05/01.20/01.18)
Hyde Park on Hudson (10.13/12.07/02.01.13)
Jackpot (Arme Riddere) (07.24/06.27.14/08.10)
Kill List (08.30.11/02.03/09.02.11)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (02.20/05.04/02.24)
Damsels in Distress (05.21/04.06/04.27)
A Dangerous Method (10.24.11/11.23.11/02.10)
Snow White and the Huntsman (05.29/06.01/05.30)
Jack Reacher (12.13/12.21/12.28)
Fury (aka The Samaritan) (04.11/05.18/04.20)
Sound of My Voice (07.30/04.27/08.03)
Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få meg på, for faen) (06.26/03.30/TBA)
Arbitrage (12.12/09.14/03.01.13)
Sister (09.28/10.05/10.26)
Pitch Perfect (11.26/09.28/12.21)
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (10.17/08.15/04.05.13)
The Secret World of Arrietty (aka Arrietty) (07.26.11/02.17/07.29.11)
Miss Bala (10.28.11/01.20/10.28.11)
Sinister (10.01/10.12/10.05)
False Trail (Jägarna 2) (02.18.13/TBA/12.14)
Hitchcock (11.14/11.23/02.08.13)
Free Men (Les hommes libres) (05.24/03.16/05.25)
Intruders (01.23/03.30/01.27)
Polisse (06.12/05.18/06.15)
The Deep Blue Sea (11.14.11/03.23/11.25.11)
Ruby Sparks (10.02/07.25/10.12)
The Raven (02.22/04.27/03.09)
The Amazing Spider-Man (06.25/07.03/07.03)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12.09/12.14/12.13)
For a Good Time, Call… (10.29/08.31/11.02)
Prometheus (05.30/06.08/06.01)
Contraband (03.06/01.13/03.16)
Gambit (11.08/04.25.14/11.21)
Black Gold (02.06/03.01.13/02.24)
Trouble with the Curve (11.26/09.21/11.30)
A Monster in Paris (01.29/TBA/01.27)
Wuthering Heights (11.07/10.05.12/11.11)
A Cat in Paris (03.30/06.01/04.06)

red for no
give it a miss



Lay the Favorite (06.22/12.07/06.22)
Playing for Keeps (01.09.13/12.07/01.01.13)
The Details (10.31/11.02/TBA)
Starbuck (11.20/03.29.13/11.23)
Now Is Good (09.04/direct to DVD/09.19)
Step Up 4: Miami Heat (aka Step Up Revolution) (07.31/07.27/08.10)
Hotel Transylvania (11.14/09.28/10.12)
God Bless America (07.04/05.11/07.04)
Magic Mike (06.11/06.29/07.11)
The Cold Light of Day (04.06/09.07/04.06)
Elfie Hopkins (04.13/direct to DVD/04.20)
I, Anna (11.22/TBA/12.08)
The Possession (08.31/08.31/08.31)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (07.22/08.03/08.03)
The Five-Year Engagement (06.11/04.27/06.22)
She Monkeys (Apflickorna) (05.15/TBA/05.18)
The Raid (aka The Raid: Redemption) (05.14/03.23/05.18)
Twenty8K (08.31/TBA/09.10)
Taken 2 (09.18/10.05/10.04)
Fun Size (10.29/10.26/10.29)
The Dictator (05.16/05.16/05.16)
Lockout (04.17/04.13/04.20)
John Carter (03.05/03.09/03.09)
One for the Money (02.28/01.27/02.24)
Safe House (01.25/02.10/02.24)
Alex Cross (12.09/10.19/11.30)
Strawberry Fields (05.23/TBA/07.06)
Tales of the Night (05.21/TBA/05.25)
Storage 24 (06.25/01.11.13/06.29)
Laurence Anyways (08.16/06.28.13/11.30)
Juan of the Dead (04.30/03.16/05.04)
The Lucky One (04.18/04.20/05.02)
Man on a Ledge (01.31/01.27/02.03)
The Woman in the Fifth (01.30/06.15/02.17)
Babycall (01.26/TBA/03.30)
The Vow (02.06/02.10/02.10)
The Monk (03.20/03.08.13/04.27)
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (01.29/02.10/02.03)
Bel Ami (03.05/06.08/03.09)
The Sweeney (01.21.13/09.12/03.01.13)
The Oranges (12.04/10.05/12.07)
Midnight’s Children (10.14/10.26/12.26)
American Reunion (aka American Pie: Reunion) (04.12/04.06/05.02)
Ice Age: Continental Drift (06.29/07.13/07.13)
Underworld: Awakening (01.20/01.20/01.20)
House at the End of the Street (09.21/09.21/9.21)
Goon (01.03/03.30/01.06)
Transit (04.11/05.11/04.20)
Gone (04.21/04.20/02.24)
Lola Versus (07.17/06.08/07.20)
Friends with Kids (11.12/03.09/06.29)
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (05.14/05.18/05.25)
Chernobyl Diaries (06.18/05.25/06.22)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (11.17/11.16/11.16)
On the Road (11.06/12.21/10.12)
The Watch (08.02/07.27/08.24)
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (07.10/03.02/07.27)
Piranha 3DD (05.11/06.01/05.11)
Silent House (04.17/03.09/05.04)
Delhi Safari (12.12/12.07/TBA)
A Thousand Kisses Deep (06.07/direct to dvd/06.15)
This Means War (02.09/02.17/03.02)
Act of Valor (02.21/02.24/03.23)
Battleship (04.10/05.18/04.11)
The Divide (04.12/01.13/04.20)
V/H/S (12.03/10.05/01.18.13)
Dark Horse (07.24/06.08/06.29)
Heleno (12.06/12.07/TBA)
Here Comes the Boom (11.14/10.12/11.09)
A Little Bit of Heaven (02.04.11/05.04/02.04.11)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (02.17/02.17/02.17)
Mercenaries (01.09/TBA/01.27)
Red Lights (06.07/07.13/06.15)
The Expendables 2 (08.06/08.17/08.16)
Paranormal Activity 4 (10.04/10.19/10.17)
The Man with the Iron Fists (12.07/11.02/12.07)
A Few Best Men (07.12/TBA/08.31)
The Three Stooges (08.23/04.13/08.22)
Himizu (05.14/TBA/06.01)
Project X (02.28/03.02/03.02)
Wrath of the Titans (03.27/03.30/03.30)
Parental Guidance (12.18/12.25/12.26)
This Is 40 (11.15/12.21/02.14.13)
Dark Shadows (05.08/05.11/05.11)
To Rome With Love (09.18/06.22/09.14)
Bachelorette (08.28/09.07/08.16.13)
A Fantastic Fear of Everything (05.31/02.07.14/06.08)
Killer Joe (06.29/07.27/06.29)
That’s My Boy (01.23.13/06.15/09.07)


  • HoPo

    Just saw The Angels’ Share tonight, here in the USA. Would really love to see a review from you, MaryAnn! I don’t always agree with your opinions, but you’ve often shed some light on aspects of various pictures that, without having read your review after seeing it, I probably would have missed. I don’t read reviews to decide what pictures to see; I read reviews afterwards to gain insights on what I’ve just seen from those who have a keen eye for story, character, and metaphor. My interpretation frequently differs from yours, but I may not have recognized an aspect of a film without you enlightening that part of it for meJust saw The Angels’ Share tonight, here in the USA. Would really love to see a review from you, MaryAnn! I don’t always agree with your opinions, but you’ve often shed some light on aspects of various pictures that, without having read your review after seeing it, I probably would have missed. I don’t read reviews to decide what pictures to see; I read reviews afterwards to gain insights on what I’ve just seen from those who have a keen eye for story, character, and metaphor. My interpretation frequently differs from yours, but I may not have recognized an aspect of a film without you enlightening that part of it

  • HoPo

    Ah, my favorite… my post became a jumble mess after I saved it. Most of the idea is there, even if it’s just the partial thought stated twice. I would just add that I appreciate the differing perspectives you offer, and I sometimes DO change my interpretations of certain things after reading your review. Thanks!

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