2012 is halfway done and although I’ve been out of the American commercial loop for almost two months (I’m flying back to NY today), I’m dead certain of the year’s best so far. Cannes favorites are included because I’ve seen ’em and I know what I know. Beyond the top category is a mashup of my April-June assessments plus January-March judgments. The usual admonishments, corrections and disputes are requested.

Best Films of 2012 So Far: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Miss Bala, Holy Motors (Cannes), Haywire, Bernie, On The Road (Cannes), No (Cannes), God Bless America, Killing Them Softly (Cannes), Amour (Cannes…continues to grow upon reflection but a grueling sit), The Three Stooges, The Sessions (formerly known as The Surrogate), Michael, Rampart, 21 Jump Street, The Grey, Rust and Bone (Cannes) (18)

April through June Toppers (commercially released): Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, God Bless America, Bernie, The Three Stooges (5)

Austere, Penetrating, Disciplined, Bressonian: Beyond The Hills (Cannes) (1)

Good Things (April-June): The Dictator, Moonrise Kingdom (2)

“Impressive” But Bothersome/Cumbersome, Don’t Wanna See it Again, Eff It: Prometheus (1)

Not Half Bad (January through June): Safety Not Guaranteed, The Hunt (Cannes), Take This Waltz, Neil Young Journeys, Polisse, Your Sister’s Sister, Under African Skies, We Have a Pope, Monsieur Lazhar, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Declaration of War, Coriolanus, Footnote, Friends With Kids, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Woman in Black, Damsels in Distress, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.

Stirring Production Design (April-June): Dark Shadows, Snow White and the Huntsman (2)

Enhanced, Undiminished: Titanic 3D (1)

Reportedly Awful (March-June): Rock of Ages, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2)

Passable with Great Musical Finale: Mirror Mirror (1)

Special Awfulness Distinction: The Paperboy (Cannes) (1)

Arousing/Primitive/Punishing: The Avengers, Hunger Games, The Raid: Redemption, Lawless (Cannes) Cabin in the Woods, Lockout (5)

Catastrophes (April-June): John Carter, Battleship (2)

Mostly Grotesque: Peace, Love and Misunderstanding (1)

Unseen As We Speak (a ridiculous amount given my absence from the American megaplex for the last two months): People Like Us, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Brave, Seeking A Friend For The End of the World, To Rome With Love, Men in Black 3, Five Year Enagegement, Piranha 3D, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Bel Ami, Paul Williams Still Alive, Lola Versus, Dark Horse, El Gringo, My Way, Life Happens, The Lady, etc., etc.

Entirely Decent Tony Scott Film With An Ending That Underwhelms: Safe House (1)

Mildly Gripping: Silent House (1)

Mildly Likable, Amusing: Wanderlust (1)

Best Docs: Undefeated, Bully, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Pray for Japan, The Island President (5)

Slow-going: Turn Me On, Dammit!, 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2)

Lesser Dardennes: The Kid With A Bike (1)

Unfulfilling, Irksome, Bad: Contraband, Red Tails, Man on a Ledge, One for the Money, Flowers of War (5)

Labored, Less-Than-Likable Family Relationship Dramas: Being Flynn, The Snowtown Murders, Boy, The Deep Blue Sea, W.E. (5)

Didn’t See (January-March): Chronicle, Act of Valor, The Forgiveness of Blood (3)

Avoided Like Plague: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Let the Bullets Fly, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, A Thousand Words (4)