In conjunction with my favorite films of the year list, I offer up some moments out of 2012 films that made an indelible impression on me. Older online buddies will recognize this as a recurring event. This list is a collection of film dialogue, gestures, camera movements, moods or looks and ideas within a given scene. This list is inspired by Roger Ebert's list of movie moments as well as the once great (now defunct) yearly wrap up in Film Comment. Possible spoilers so beware!
1. Gina Carana slipping off her heels before a fight. “Haywire”
2. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) standing to fight with his dog Woola as a horde of alien warriors encroaches upon them in “John Carter of Mars”
3.“oh shit… our donkey’s in the ditch” Texan poetry in “Bernie”
4. Penny (Kiera Knightely) and Dodge (Steve Carell) looking into each other’s eyes as the world crumbles around them… probably the finest scene in film this year “Seeking A Friend For the End of the World”
5. In a long tracking shot, a group of men hide behind trucks and vehicles underneath a highway overpass and engage in a confusing shoot-out- and then a burning tire rolls by….. The excitement of Gerardo Naranjo’s “Miss Bala”
6. In “Beasts of the Southern Wild”- in what feels like an improvised moment- a man (Dwight Henry) looks at the camera and says “I got this”
7. In a jail cell, a man and woman sit with their backs to each other and talk “Seeking A Friend For the End of the World”
8. In a wordless, dreamy sequence lit only by candlelight, the expression on each man’s weary face as they look up at the beautiful girl serving them drinks…. A brief, melancholy respite from the doldrums of searching for a murdered body in “Once Upon A Time In Anatolia”
9. “Polisse” and the disco dance of a group of cops at play
10. The small hesitation of the hunter (Willem DaFoe), his gun slightly lowered, and the almost welcoming head bob of the Tasmanian tiger he’s been hunting. “The Hunter”
11. At a house party, the gently protracted long shot as Monica Bellucci dances with various partners….. Yet another glorious musical interlude in the work of Philippe Garrel in “A Burning Hot Summer”
12. Against a sunset backdrop, Christopher Walken talks into a tape recorder and weaves a story about a homicidal priest and his few final last thoughts…. While intentionally self deprecating for most of its running time, “Seven Psychopaths” turns genuinely moving
13. The way Pete (Paul Rudd) begins to walk into the kitchen, and sees his wife (Leslie Mann) and father (Albert Brooks) talking.... then slowly backs out of the room. "This Is 40"
14. The stuttering and stammering of Mark Duplass with “what did you, how did you, what did you, what are you doing here?” as Emily Blunt crashes a drunken hangover in a cabin…. “Your Sister’s Sister”
15. A man walking up the pier, the camera seamlessly going in and out of focus on him, then a yacht, back to him as if the two images are inextricably linked in “The Master”
16. In “The Day He Arrives”, a group of people stumble into the cold morning waiting for a cab and the way one of them leans forward to hold his balance. The drunken state we’ve all experienced in a patient long take
17. “Jack Reacher” and the very 70’s car chase
18. “I wanna do heroin and listen to Radiohead!” Patton Oswalt in “Seeking A Friend For the End of the World”
19. Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) meeting “The Master” and a series of questions where the camera holds on is face for an uncomfortable amount of time, then tears begin to fall and he fights them back
20. The sound of fists pummeling a sheet of ice. "Rust and Bone"
21. Inside a wooden bridge, two dark shadows fight and the sounds of a knife ripping open skin... probably one of the more boldly staged final fights I've ever seen in "Lawless" where foreground and background are blurred into one another
22. A slow motion death.... a simply breathtaking puzzle of images and sounds as Garret Dillahunt meets his end. "Looper"
23. A hand fan, fluttering at the speed of running horses, and then the scream that erupts from Anna (Keira Knightley) as her lover is tossed from his horse.... and the crowd turns to face her. "Anna Karenina"
24. In "Rust and Bone", a woman (Marion Cotillard) walks up to a glass of blue water that fills the screen and summons a whale with a gentle tap on the glass and then forgives it.
25. The reverberating sound of a car bomb... one of the most realistic sounding explosions I've ever heard. "Zero Dark Thirty"
26. The performance of Lola Creton in "Goodbye First Love" and the way she carefully puts a straw hat back onto her head after years of leaving one like it behind
27. After being asked if Django should be taken into the house, the way Don Johnson replies "no!" to Christoph Waltz "Django Unchained"
28. The droning music of "The Turin Horse". I'm still not a Bela Tarr convert, but the music made his final film all the more haunting and disturbing
29. In Sam Mendes' "Skyfall", a gunfight at the top of a glass building that ranks as the best Bond set piece in years
30. A boy suddenly falling from a tree and then the impending silence. "The Kid With a Bike"
31. When asked "where to", the complete look of utter cluelessness and relief on Mya's face in "Zero Dark Thirty"
32. A volleyball game in the Vatican courtyard. "We Have a Pope"
33. The tracking shot, partly underwater as a man swims for his life and then a giraffe swims the opposite direction in "Life of Pi"
34. Making small talk with a neighboring hotel resident and the sense of normalcy, for a fleeting moment, for "Barbara" (Nina Hoss)
35. The close up on Philip Seymour Hoffman's face as a bike disappears into the desert and he screms "Freddie!" "The Master"