"Entertainment Weekly" movie critic Owen Gleiberman shares his top 10 picks for best films of 2012.
Richard Linklater made a deviously droll tabloid docudrama, in which Jack Black infectiously plays a sweet-natured small-town Texas undertaker who turns out to be the most cunning of sociopaths.
This is Denzel Washington as you've never seen him: stirringly troubled and neurotic as a veteran airline pilot, whose hot-dog heroics rescue a crashing flight, even as the event slowly cracks open the door to his hidden alcoholism.
A rare thriller that has great fun while touching a raw political nerve, Ben Affleck's film achieves a heart-in-the-throat suspense as it tells the wilder-than-fiction tale of six American diplomats who escaped Iran in 1979 by pretending to be a film crew at work on a cheesy sci-fi movie.
7. "Killing Them Softly"
Andrew Dominik's scuzzy gem of a hitman drama didn't connect with audiences, but it was like a Quentin Tarantino film written by David Mamet back when he was good, full of outrageous verbal power duels, all anchored by Brad Pitt's menacingly magnetic performance as a mob enforcer.
6. "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower"
One of the only high school movies that gets everything right, Stephen Chbosky's rapturous adaptation of his own novel is the story of a shy, smart kid who discovers that friendship is the secret romance of teenage life.
5. "Zero Dark Thirty"
Kathryn Bigelow's electrifying docudrama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is bold enough to say that so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" really work, even as it pays gripping tribute to an eagle-eyed CIA analyst, played by Jessica Chastain, who spent years going in for the kill.
4. "Room 237"
Rodney Ascher's amazing documentary is about Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," or rather, all the mind-boggling hidden meanings that film geeks now ascribe to it. It's a veritable Kubrickian "Da Vinci Code" that's really about the power that conspiracy theory now holds over our thinking.
3. "Silver Linings Playbook"
In David O. Russell's exhilarating high-wire act of a romantic comedy, Bradley Cooper plays a man with bipolar disorder who can't see past the shards of his broken marriage, even with Jennifer Lawrence standing right in front of him, ready to dance. Talk about disordered vision! Cooper's performance has the beautifully unhinged quality of a man trying to outrun his own pain.
At once a love story, a horror movie and the greatest drama of old age ever made, Michael Haneke's tenderly devastating tale of what happens to a Parisian couple when one of them starts to slip away is a tale of what love really is, and what it may, at its most secret moments, demand.
Steven Spielberg's grand, immersive movie stays true to the Abraham Lincoln of our dreams and profoundly humanizes him, too, thanks to Tony Kushner's staggering screenplay and Daniel Day-Lewis's miraculous, "here's Abe Lincoln and you're standing right in front of him" performance. It’s one of the rare historical dramas that makes you feel as if you've stepped right back in time.