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Lincoln

You've seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let's take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" didn't exactly have the deck stacked in its favor when it came to box office success. The running time clocks in at nearly two and a half hours. It does away with the traditional biopic formula and only focuses on a small portion of the sixteenth president's life, the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment. Plus, we all know how that turned out.

But looking at Spielberg's loving portrait of one of our great national heroes ignores so much of what makes "Lincoln" a fascinating and enthralling movie from start to finish.

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Affleck

You've seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let's take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

What the hell happened to Ben Affleck? The guy goes from being a punch line to being the director Warner Bros. supposedly wanted for their big "Justice League" effort.

You want to know how he did it? He made his movies.

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Django Unchained

You've seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let's take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

The absence of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" from our list of the best movies of 2012 should, unfortunately, be chalked up to not enough of our writers getting a chance to see it ahead of its December 25 release date. Be that as it may, Tarantino's spin on the classic western does deserve some recognition because those of us that did see it couldn't stop raving about it.

When the world first heard that Tarantino was cooking up another historical remix to follow up the triumphant "Inglourious Basterds," there seemed to be universal approval. "A freed slave enlists the help of a skilled German bounty hunter to reclaim his captive wife." It all sounded so perfect, especially when considering that Tarantino would finally get a chance to take a semi-straight forward crack at the western, a genre he's paid homage to dozens of times before.

The casting process boded well for "Django Unchained," with Tarantino bringing on a mix of former collaborators and A-list talent to maximize the potency of his slavery era tale. Jamie Foxx, a man desperately in need of an opportunity to show off his underappreciated acting skills, would go up against Leonardo DiCaprio, who lobbied for Hans Landa in "Basterds" and has clearly yearned for a chance to go bad.

The finished product was everything we could have hoped for, but in some ways, not entirely what we expected. Tarantino, in some respects, toned down his directorial kinetic energy to make a deliberately slower film that hued closer to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" in its rhythms than to the buzz of his previous works. As he's made a habit of doing, he also pulled career-best performances out of his leads and tickled the audience with his always-on ear for dialogue.

With "Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino delivered on the promise of his premise and offered up a western worthy of the wait and his ever-more-impressive filmography.

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Raid

You've seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let's take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

Here's a fun game to play: tell your friends that you want to watch a movie. When they ask what you have in mind, tell them it's an Indonesian movie, a film that only got a small release in the States. They'll likely scoff at your suggestion, but when you insist, they'll probably give in. Then watch as the next 100 minutes unfold and your friends' faces melt in awe of the incomparable action flick, "The Raid: Redemption."

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Archers

You read all about it on basically every news site and pop culture blog: 2012 was the year of the cinematic archer. Every big movie had a character stringing up a bow and arrow and taking down enemies from afar.

But who was the greatest movie archer of year? Is it one of the heavy-hitters like Hawkeye and Katniss? Or does your taste favor the Pixar variety?

It's time to voice your opinion in the poll below!

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Magic Mike

You've seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let's take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

It's certainly not rare for a trailer or a television ad to misrepresent a movie for the sake of marketing. Last year, "Drive" became a generic "Fast and Furious" knock-off, and this year, "John Carter" turned into "Random Jumping Man." But perhaps the most deceptive marketing campaign of all goes to "Magic Mike" aka "That Stripper Movie," which in all honesty is one of the best movies of the year.

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Django

Wouldn't you know? "Django Unchained" hits theaters on December 25. Considering that fortuitous timing, we thought it wise to suggest some Quentin Tarantino-themed gifts for your holiday season.

This is the "Django Unchained"-Quentin Tarantino gift guide.

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Prometheus

By Hannah Soo Park

With intricate storylines and mind-boggling twists, this year's biggest blockbusters didn't fail to pull out all the attention-grabbing stops. But the winding plotlines and extravagant outcomes also came at the cost of leaving major questions unanswered for audiences, even before the end credits began to roll.

From the obvious to the more complex thought-provokers, these plot holes and unresolved issues made it difficult to leave theaters without demanding the answers we truly needed.

(Major spoilers ahead, obviously!)

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Argo ZDT

Every year at the movies, it seems like there are shared elements that pop up in some of the biggest films. Whether its a recurring theme, plot point, or prop, every film year has its trends.

Since this year was no exception, we've broken down the biggest movie trends of 2012.

Spies Are Cool Again
There were rumblings of this trend last year when Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" performed well in the art house theaters and earned Gary Oldman his long-deserved first Oscar nomination, but this year the return of the spy movie came to fruition, just not in the way we were expecting. "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," two of the year's best films, focused on intelligence work in two distinct ways. Spies are back, and they're total badasses.

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Batman Avengers

The Golden Globes nominations are in, and conspicuously absent from the list of nominees is the Caped Crusader. But just because Batman isn't getting awards-season love, doesn't make the following statement any less true: 2012 was the year of the comic book movie.

Sure, sure — for years now, it feels like every year is the year of the comic book movie. But 2012 brought forth two of the most show-stopping entries in the genre's entire existence — "Marvel's The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises," two films that dominated commercially (they're the top two box-office performers of the year; "Avengers" is the third highest-grossing movie of all time), and creatively assembled oh-so mightily for critics and casual moviegoers alike.

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