02 March 2014
  My Top 10 of 2013
One year. 10 films. Here we go.

10. Spring Breakers... Starring a bevy of Disney Channel starlets and made by a director known for his signature sexualization of teenagers, on its surface, Spring Breakers looks like nothing more than an attractive MTV-inspired bauble. But what Harmony Korine actually managed to accomplish here in his best movie to date is a sardonically clever allegory of youth, celebrity, wealth and the modern ritual of spring break itself. Plus James Franco is the best he has ever been.

9. Broken Circle Breakdown... Devastating. This Belgian best foreign film nominee stayed with my days after I viewed it. The tragedies that these characters face seem so real, I almost dread watching it a second time. The terrific bluegrass score alone, however, is sure to reel me back.

8. Philomena... I have always been underwhelmed by Stephen Frears' films, from The Grifters to The Queen. This wasn't the case with Philomena. Watching Philomena Lee's journey to find her long lost son, I think I experienced practically every emotion imaginable--in just a two hour span. That's a good movie.

7. Captain Phillips... There are moments in Captain Phillips that I wasn't crazy about (most notably the brief, but perhaps too obvious interchange at the beginning between the captain and his wife) but the movie's realism makes it impossible to look away from the screen. One of Tom Hanks' best performances ever.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street... I think this is Martin Scorsese's best film since Casino. A pretty seamless production of monumental scale that pretty much shows why Scorsese is one of the best filmmakers working today.

5. The Spectacular Now... Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are not only part of the newest generation of great actors, they may in fact be leading the charge. The scene is The Spectacular Now where the pair hang at a bar with Teller's father is one of my favorite moments in film of 2013. I can't wait to see what these two do next.

4. Gravity... Alfonso Cuaron without a doubt broke new ground with me, if not with film itself in bringing Gravity to the screen. This is the first movie driven by computer effects that I have ever enjoyed. He successfully created a scene in space, making you forget that these actors never actually left a sound stage.

3. Catching Fire... The rare sequel that surpasses the original. The screenplay for Catching Fire focuses on all the right elements of the book, discards the elements that deserve to be discarded and leaves you desperate for the next installment. The most entertaining movie of 2013.

2. American Hustle... My number one and two picks are essentially a tie. It is almost impossible to decide which is my favorite between these two very different films. David O Russell continues his streak with American Hustle. The best ensemble of the year. One of the best screenplays of the year. You could watch it again and again.

1. Before Midnight... Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy absolutely must be standard viewing for anybody who loves movies. These films provide such brilliant insight into the evolution of a relationship that it is difficult to remember that Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke aren't married in real life. I pray that we get another update on the state of this couple in another decade's time
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