The 13 Best Films of 2013

The 13 Best Films of 2013

Like any year, many of these films will stand the test of time, but others will surely fade.  Lists like these are vital to document the importance of cinema for the designated year and highlight the great works we had the pleasure to experience on the big screen.

American Hustle
Assembling what is probably the best ensemble cast this year, David O. Russell once again delivers a film of power performances channeled through his very bizarre, and  yet very real, characters.  And you have to love that hair.

Drinking Buddies
There has been a lot of talk about director Joe Swanberg’s approach to filmmaking (not scripting dialogue, using non-actors, shooting one or two takes only, ect.) but, it’s his unique way of analyzing relationships through the lens that makes his work so damn intriguing. Visit his previous work and certainly watch out for what comes next.

Frances Ha
Noah Baumbach and the indie princess, Greta Gerwig, teamed up for this charming comedy set in a black-and-white New York City.  Think Girls meets Manhattan.

This year’s most gripping film, Gravity was quite the risk for Hollywood. But with Alfonso Cuarón at the helm and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki behind the camera, the filmmaking team managed to capture a heart-pounding original story set in space. One not to be missed on the big screen.

A story about a guy falling in love with his new operating system.  With this bizarrely romantic premise, Spike Jonze elegantly explores the depth of love, its boundaries, and  its infinite possibilities.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Okay, so I really liked the first film; it wasn’t my turn to choose which movie to go see, but in the end it stuck with me. Catching Fire exceeded it in every way, effecting me emotionally more than most films on this list. And the end. The end!

I was a little late to the game on Jeff Nichols, but after seeing Take Shelter and Shotgun Stories, it’s easy to say he is one of the best writer/directors working today. Mud is no exception. Diving into what it was like to be kid again – adventure, rebellion, innocence – we believe these characters at every turn and remember their real-life counterparts along the way.

Pacific Rim
Giant monsters from another dimension + equally huge manmade fighting machines + Guillermo del Toro = just plain awesome! The most fun I had at the movies this year.

Certainly the least fun I had at the movies this year.  I say this not because it is bad – its damn good – but rather because it creeped me out, made me jump, and put a knot in my stomach through most of its running time.  Great story.  Great performances.  Perfect cinematography.

Side Effects
For his last theatrical release, director Steven Soderbergh delivered a knock-out psychological thriller that calls back to the dramas Hollywood used to make. Highly underrated.

Spring Breakers
Part music video.  Part dark comedy.  All weird.  Another truly visceral experience from Harmony Korine that left my theater audience absolutely polarized.

Star Trek Into Darkness
Yeah, it was Khan, and I‘m so glad it was.  This second sequel on my list (and second film set in space) expanded on the friendships of these extremely likeable characters and delivered another action-packed cinematic experience that provided gasps, laughs, and tears.

12 Years a Slave
Only the third feature from director Steve McQueen, yet he has put his powerful stamp on cinema. With some of this years best performances (my favorite being Michael Fassbender) McQueen made the quintessential film about slavery in America, using one man’s incredible true life story.

Okay 2014, you’re up!


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