NOTE: I compose this list with the following movies still to be watched: Short Term 12, Blue Jasmine, Rush, The Spectacular Now.
With that out of the way, here are my Top Ten movies from 2013 as well as a few films that fell into the Honorable Mention category.
Lone Survivor – The performances are excellent, it’s well-directed and the roll call at the end is just heart-breaking.
Gravity – The only film that not only lived up to my expectations and pre-release hype, but also felt like a true event movie. That’s not to take anything away from Hunger Games, The Hobbit or the Marvel movies. Each of those had their own memorable moments, but Gravity was just stunning.
The World’s End – I don’t know why, but I underestimated this movie. It just felt like Scott Pilgrim, but with beer and robots instead of ex-girlfriends and video game CGI. But it works and it works well. It’s a perfect close to the Cornetto trilogy.
12 Years a Slave – It’s brutal. It’s uncompromising. And it’s a must-see movie.
Philomena – Judi Dench can really do no wrong, but Steve Coogan clinches this movie for me. His character arc proves more enjoyable to watch than Dench’s, which is a testament to the film in itself.
Real – This film completely blindsided me and while I have only watched a handful of Kiyoshi Kurosawa movies, I’d say the guy is on a roll. From 2001’s Pulse thru now, he’s just knocked it out of the park movie after movie. While this film didn’t score highly with the few critics who bothered to watch it, I was absolutely mesmerized. The acting is great and I kept wondering where was this movie going and every time, it would surprise and entertain me.
Dallas Buyers Club – An acting clinic brought to you by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.
Mud – Another title to add to the McConaughey Renaissance. This was easily my favorite film from the pre-summer months of 2013.
The Wind Rises – A somber farewell to Master Hayao Miyazaki.
American Hustle – This film rests on the borderline of Top Ten and the honorable mention bucket. In fact, I’d say that I could probably take one of those films in the “Still to be Watched” category and swap it in this spot. That’s not to say Hustle isn’t a great movie. But coming off Silver Linings, it feels like there’s something missing. The performances are great and it’s another solid David O. Russell movie but I just wanted more.
Honorable Mention: World War Z, Warm Bodies, About Time, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Stoker, Captain Phillips, Her, Fruitvale Station, Furious 6, The Wolverine, Frozen