Laura Boyes20 Feet From Stardom
Good Ol' Freda
Much Ado About Nothing
Star Trek Into Darkness
and...I could be holding the last place open for Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle or The Wolf of Wall Street, but I wouldn't be true to myself if I wasn't holding it for … Dhoom 3
David FellerathThe Act of Killing
All Is Lost
Craig D. Lindsey12 Years a Slave
20 Feet From Stardom
The Act of Killing
All Is Lost
The Great Beauty
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wind Rises
The Wolf of Wall Street
Neil Morris12 Years a Slave—It’s everything that Quentin Tarantino claimed Django Unchained to be. Extraordinary cinema.
American Hustle—David O. Russell does Scorsese 1.0
The Wolf of Wall Street—Martin Scorsese does Scorsese 2.0
All Is Lost—Robert Redford’s sailboat is damaged by a floating shipping container full of sneakers. No, this isn’t a documentary.
Only God Forgives—Nicolas Winding Refn apes Kubrick, including the old ultra-violence, plus Kristin Scott Thomas as a lewd potty mouth? Sign me up.
Her—Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls for the female voice of his computerized personal assistant. I like to imagine this as an unofficial sequel to The Master.
Captain Phillips / A Hijacking—This ain’t Pirates of the Caribbean.
Gravity—Director Alfonso Cuarón does 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sandra Bullock does Ripley. And George Clooney does Ocean’s Apollo 13.
The Spectacular Now—Kyle Chandler has appeared in four of my Top 10 films between this year and last. Maybe I oughta start remembering his name.
Fruitvale Station—A first-time feature filmmaker and a cast with lots of extras shed light on horrible police brutality. Isn’t that what YouTube is for?
10(a). The Unknown Known—Call it The Fog of Rumsfeld. Also call it utterly engrossing.
Isaac WeeksGravity—Perhaps the most beautifully shot film of the year. Love her or hate her, this features Bullock’s best work to date. Includes Clooney at his charming best.
American Hustle—The most critical divisive film of the year. While it gives off an American Beauty vibe (where I may be embarrassed at its high placement in 10 years), watching this film was the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.
12 Years a Slave—As great as you’ve heard. Take out Brad Pitt’s ham-fisted performance and it had a real shot at number one.
Spring Breakers—I should hate everything about this movie: its Disney channel stars, the “IT’S ART!” director, Franco off of his leash. Somehow everything gelled into the best film of the first half of 2013.
Nebraska—It’s fitting that this should come behind Spring Breakers on my list, as they are perhaps the hardest “sell” to casual moviegoers on here. Filmed in black and white, featuring characters that are a little too close to caricatures for comfort, if not for Alexander Payne’s winning formula of filmmaking this would be just another film festival favorite to wither on the vine come awards time.
The Way Way Back—What The Perks of Being a Wallflower was for many critics last year, that is what The Way Way Back was for me this year: a “real” feeling coming-of-age film with a great cast putting in some of the strongest performances of their careers.
Enough Said—What more can be said for this film? Despite some pretty large flaws in the story, I left the theater hoping for more starring vehicles for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and mourning what could have been for the late James Gandolfini.
Saving Mr. Banks—Purely a whitewashing of the Walt Disney legend, with the only flaw in the man being shown is his love for cigarettes. While it is one of the most misogynistic films of 2013, with every female being shown as either a harpy or a happy servant, literally every actor in the movie knocks their parts out of the park, with Colin Farrell giving the best performance of his career.
Rush—The first real award-bait release of 2013, the studio’s strategy of releasing the film in October failed, as many critics and guilds have basically forgotten it at this point. Ron Howard directs his best film in years.
About Time—A film that I appreciate even more as time goes by. Pushed as a wacky time-traveling love story, it actually features one of the strongest portrayals of the love between a father and his son.