I think I've come up with my personal top five for 2012:
1 - Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World - Balances sentimentality with humour flawlessly. Carell and Knightley have great chemistry together and make the meandering plot work to their advantage. The ending is especially fantastic.
2 - Moonrise Kingdom - A nice return to form for Wes Anderson, with the usual idiosyncratic humour and brilliant visuals. The central relationship is perfectly orchestrated, and the fairy-tale quality that accompanies everything helps make it a memorable experience.
3 - Jeff Who Lives At Home - Another win for the Duplass brothers. Their style remains unhindered despite a larger budget, and it flows casually and likeably enough that even when it boarders on the improbable it's just as enjoyable as it's quieter, more human scenes. Jason Segel's performance is pitch-perfect, and helps punctuate the film with laughs when appropriate.
4 - The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - A winning adaptation of the novel, competently directed by its author. Despite being very typical of the genre, it sets itself apart by being so flawlessly executed. Props go to Emma Watson for actually acting, for once.
5 - Safety Not Guaranteed - A fun premise that works thanks to its brilliant leads and a charming script. While not ambitious, it succeeds at mixing genres and doesn't sidestep any of the issues it raises. Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass really make the film. Fans of lo-fi comedy will lap it up.
The other movies I saw were: The Cabin In The Woods, The Five-Year Engagement, The Avengers, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, ParaNorman, Dredd, Wrath Of The Titans,Skyfall and The Hobbit. I'd say The Avengers was probably the event-movie of the year. I liked The Hobbit but I feel it would probably hold up better on DVD than in theatres.
Films I still need to see: Sinister, Ted, Frankenweenie, Take This Waltz, Looper, This Is 40 and Celeste and Jesse Forever.