Sunday, December 29

Best Films of 2013

2013 has been a great year for film, garnering more high rated reviews than in years past. Here are my favorite thirteen plus some additional films for your consideration. 

13. The World's End (Dir: Edgar Wright)
An entertaining and funny adult comedy with a science fiction twist, director Edgar Wright combines the crudeness of a group of old friends with character defining dramatic content. For a sendoff in a trilogy of films directed by Wright, the end proves best of all.

12. Blue Jasmine (Dir: Woody Allen)
Woody Allen has been making great films longer than most featured on this list. With this film Allen creates a character that is deeply sincere but also damaged and lost. Jasmine’s demise is darkly comedic with turns that are purely dramatic. The journey may be difficult to watch, but it’s the kind of disaster you can’t help but stare at.

11. Nebraska (Dir: Alexander Payne)
A thoroughly pleasing “trip-down-memory-lane” film driven by wonderfully crafted characters. Additionally the interesting story that Payne paints in the background, of a small town similar to those in the Midwest, depicts the struggle that still exists there.

10. Short Term 12 (Dir: Destin Cretton)
Looking into the lives of children harmed by mistreatment with unwavering attention, this film has the unique quality of being uplifting even when it’s upsetting. It develops into an emotional film that dodges the over sensationalized aspects of similar dramas for a focused and genuine outlook.

9. Stories We Tell (Dir: Sarah Polley)
Through a combination of old photographs, video inserts, and strikingly authentic interviews, Sarah Polley carefully unravels the complex story of her beloved mother. While the story formulates around her childhood it has an immediate influence on the current state of her life. The documentary examines how we observe the past and how it affects the personal present.

8. Frances Ha (Dir: Noah Baumbach)
Greta Gerwig gives a charming performance in a film that is candid in its indulgence of twentysomething sensibilities. The roaming narrative, shot in contrasted black and white, is an ingenious snapshot of Frances’s life, friendships, and interaction within a city that feels too small for her personality. 

7. Upstream Color (Dir: Shane Carruth)
Some films you need to watch twice, “Upstream Color” may be one you’ll need to watch more. Complex and undefined in its’ resolution, the mostly wordless film is structured on the idea of suggestion. It’s an engrossing and thought provoking work of independent film.

6. Inside Llewyn Davis (Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen)
A film about folk music, the need for success, and the regret that comes with ambition. The Coen Brother’s continue to fascinate with this compelling and comedic story that is only accommodated by the amusingly complex character of Llewyn Davis.

5. The Act of Killing (Dir: Joshua Oppenheimer)
An oddly compelling documentary about the genocide in South East Asia in the 1960’s allows an unconventional approach to displaying the horrific actions of the past. By placing a camera in the blood stained hands of the executioners and allowing them to recreate their evils in the vein of a Hollywood production, the insight is both startling and unpredicted.

4. Her (Dir: Spike Jonze)
An awkward though touching story of a man who falls in love with a computer named Samantha. Though the catch in this technology themed film is the representation of love and how it affects the lead character through every facet of his life. While the film offers commentary on the technologically shaped future and the implications on human behavior, the underlying motivation exists in the complexities of love and life.

3. Before Midnight (Dir: Richard Linklater)
Director Richard Linklater creates a delicate and somewhat damaged aspect to the relationship of his long journeyed couple. The lack of interaction from the narrative with concern towards the viewer’s perceived progression of the characters motivations keeps a backseat perspective through all the terrains of the couple’s three-film lifespan. The result is a captivating trip.

2. Gravity (Dir: Alfonso Cuarón)
Amidst the beautifully composed backgrounds and spectacular sequences, director Alfonso Cuarón constructs a story of survival and redemption. Cuarón devises to explore space in an artful way, with all its imperfections and impossibilities. There is a visual beauty in nearly every scene and the simplistic, though multifaceted, undertones of the narrative mark “Gravity” as an achievement in filmmaking.

1. 12 Years A Slave (Dir: Steve McQueen)
Steve McQueen unflinchingly portrays the atrocities of slavery amidst a narrative wherein happiness is an artificial emotion. It’s an affecting film that is thoughtfully photographed with purposeful framing and lingering scenery. The story is engrossing and the fantastic performances only further assist it. McQueen has made an important film that depicts slavery in a way other films haven’t, and all the more impressive by the film artistry utilized in creating this stunning and demanding work.

Other Good Films
A Hijacking
American Hustle 
A Band Called Death
The Butler
Computer Chess
Dallas Buyers Club
Drug War
Fruitvale Station
The Great Beauty
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Much Ado About Nothing
Museum Hours
Room 237
This Is The End
The Way Way Back
Wolf of Wall Street

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