Lists, Top 10s — January 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm



And now for something completely different.  We’ve all had a chance to rattle off our top 10 films or performances or breakout stars or any number of other clever list ideas.  But what say we just revel in some beautiful and/or striking images that the films of 2012 brought us?  Here’s 10 that will stick with me (you can click to get larger versions of most all of these as well):


Looks more like a painting than something from a film, right?  Not quite what you might
have expected from the Quentin Tarantino of 15 years ago.  (Django Unchained)


Hard to choose amongst TDKR‘s many visuals: this, the impossible prison, the opening plane
hijacking, or perhaps just a nice shot of Catwoman in her get-up?  (The Dark Knight Rises)


I didn’t end up loving Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, but it was a sight to behold, as usual,
and the stark desert motorcycle scene was perhaps the best sight of the film.  (The Master)


Jamie Foxx in blue velour set amongst the sun-stroked South and dense landscapes.
Beautiful and dangerous all at once – just like the film.  (Django Unchained)


I ended up being glad I couldn’t find a higher res version of this image; those that recognize
it recognize its brilliance, and those that don’t won’t be spoiled by it.  Doubled as a
huge geek-out moment for the film’s audience.  (The Cabin in the Woods)


It was a close race between this shot and the one of Hushpuppy running through the sparklers.
This one was saddled with an emotional punch as well.  (Beasts of the Southern Wild)


Rian Johnson is a compelling visual filmmaker to begin with, and Looper had no shortage of
interesting shots; this was just the showpiece one, made more important by its
placement in the film.  (Looper)


Oops – did I sneak two Skyfall images in here?  It deserved even more.  Sadly, I couldn’t
find a great image of Bond underwater.  It was the last chronologically in the film and
might have been the prettiest. (Skyfall)


In a film known more for striking blows and landing jokes, this struck me as oddly
beautiful (and no, not just Channing).  (21 Jump Street)


Say what you will about its flaws – and a lot has surely been said – it’s the most
gorgeous film I saw in 2012, topping Skyfall.  (Prometheus)


  • Very nice. I think of these, Skyfall (especially the first photo) is my favorite.

    Life of Pi had some truly great shots, as did Haywire.

    I could probably make a top 50 from Samara, however, and its easily the most beautiful film that I’ve seen since Tree of Life.

    • As you might have guessed, I didn’t see Life of Pi. I’m sure (from what I hear) *something* from it would crack this list.

      I thought about Haywire. It was a beautifully shot film, but I couldn’t recall one (or more) standout visual moment from it, so it failed my initial test right then and there.

  • Haywire has a great shot on a beach with Gina Carano taking out Ewan McGregor. That stands out to me, along with her taking down Michael Fassbender. I’m not sure that one would work for one shot, though.

    Moonrise Kingdom had a few great shots that have stuck with me, especially in the early shots of the entire house. You’re right that The Dark Knight Rises has so many strong examples, as does Prometheus. I also think the opening scene of Lincoln with the guys killing each other in the mud is something to see.

    That said, I think this is an excellent list that includes some of my favorites for sure.

  • I’ll back you up on Prometheus. You can attack the story, but you can’t really call into question Scott’s abilities as a visual filmmaker. And between the two Skyfall shots, it’s tough, but I’m going to take the Macau image– so long as we’re just talking about them as standalone images. For entire sequences, it has to be the Shanghai fist fight.

    I can’t remember if you caught Cloud Atlas or not, but for me the Son-Mi segment brims over with amazing visuals. The whole film does, of course, but that narrative thread is probably the most visually sumptuous.

  • Wow! That’s a solid list!

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