THE BEST FILMS OF 2013

Twenty-thirteen is being widely trumpeted as perhaps the greatest twelve months of movies since 1939, the year in which we saw the release of Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, and a number of other classics.

Frankly, I'm not willing to go that far. (I actually think that 2012 might have been stronger.) But I will admit that I had very little trouble putting together a full complement of films for my obligatory year-end list this year. One glance at the awards and nominations lists so far makes it clear that the overall quality of films in 2013 was far above average. The pack is usually composed of one or two great films, a few good films, and some over-hyped dreck, but this year is different. I didn't adore every movie that's getting attention this awards season, but there were so many decent films that not even the Golden Globes managed to nominate anything too embarrassing. 

However, while there were a lot of movies I liked in 2013, there were not that many that blew me away: it was a year in which I was frequently impressed, but seldom entranced. For one thing—as I'm hardly the first to have noticed—in the U.S. this was largely the year of "critiques of American materialism." (The Great Gatsby, Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, Pain & Gain, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street, to name just a few). Though some of those movies were entertaining, I didn't feel like any of them had much new or insightful to say about this very tired subject.

It was also a mediocre year for genre films and blockbusters, with one of the most disappointing summer seasons in a very long time. (This is especially true if, like me, you didn't happen to think Pacific Rim's screenplay was worth several hundred million dollars, or thought J.J. Abrams should have invested a few dollars in an original screenplay.)

Overall—with a few notable exceptions—2013 was a year of high-quality, smaller stories: even the three best action movies (numbers 18, 12, and 6 below), and the three best sci-fi movies (15, 14 & 3) were intimate, personal stories about people, not plots. In the end, 2013 was—for me, at least—a year short on spectacle and long on great characters (and great acting). It's hard to complain about that.

On a personal note, it was also a year in which I fell far behind on my reviewing. (The Unaffiliated Critic's New Year's Resolution for 2014: at least one movie review a week.) That being the case, I'm expanding my year-end list from my customary 15 to 20, in order to make room for all the excellent films I never got around to recommending with a full review.

So, without further ado, here are my top 20 film experiences of 2013.

20. MUD
Matthew McConaughey in MUD

Part gritty crime-drama, part coming-of-age story, Mud is a strange, earthy fable about a young boy named Ellis (an excellent Tye Sheridan) living on the banks of the Mississippi River, who develops an uneasy friendship with an unstable fugitive named Mud (Matthew McConaughey, continuing his evolutionary transformation from pretty-boy leading man to fascinating character actor). While the marriage of his parents (Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson) is falling apart, while their entire way of life on the river is coming to an end, and while he himself tries to navigate the waters of young love, Ellis becomes obsessed with helping Mud avoid the hordes of cops and robbers looking for him and reconnect with the love of his life (Reese Witherspoon). There is a slow, meandering feel to the proceedings, but writer/director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) creates a strong sense of place, and makes that place fascinating with rich characters, sly humor, haunting lyricism, and sudden violence. The overall effect is one of original vision, authentic immersion in an interesting world, and real emotional stakes.

19. PRINCE AVALANCHE

PRINCE AVALANCHE

A welcome return to form for writer-director David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls), Prince Avalanche is an absurdist buddy comedy about two bickering men tasked with painting highway lines through the wildfire-ravaged back woods of Texas in the late 1980s. Often seeming like the last two men in a burnt-out world, Alvin (Paul Rudd) is a tightly-wound blowhard who fancies himself an intellectual transcendentalist, while Lance (Emile Hirsch), the little brother of Alvin's girlfriend, is an affable, dopey slacker. Slow and spare, Prince Avalanche plays out at times like a redneck version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead—which would be amusing enough—but Green deftly avoids condescension and finds real pathos and humanity in these two lonely men, proving (as Barton Fink once said) that "the hopes and dreams of the common man are as noble as any king." With starkly beautiful shots and a smart screenplay about not very smart people, Prince Avalanche is an oddball gem.

18. GRAVITY
GRAVITY

I took issue with Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim for using (admittedly state-of-the-art) special effects to pass a B-movie screenplay off as an A-list blockbuster. I could take precisely the same issue with Gravity, but—in a year short on spectacle—Alfonso Cuaron provided the most thrilling sensory experience of 2013. The story of two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) stranded in space after an accident destroys their shuttle, Gravity's screenplay was deliberately simple, and its character-development frustratingly so. Personally, I could have done without the story at all—in fact the film might have been improved—and simply luxuriated in the jaw-dropping special effects, the absolutely gorgeous cinematography, and the most inventive, artful use of stereoscopy to date. Gravity is a thrilling action film, but the real excitement comes from the immersive, game-changing cinematic experience it provides. Read my full review of Gravity here.

17. BEYOND THE HILLS
BEYOND THE HILLS

Speaking of immersive experiences, Beyond the Hills, writer-director Cristian Mungiu's long-awaited follow-up to 2007's 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, is a slow and terrifying journey into a pocket of the 16th century that just happens to exist in the 21st. Voichita and Alina (Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, both stunning here) grew up together in a Romanian orphanage, becoming best friends, surrogate sisters, and—it is strongly suggested—lovers. But the two women have taken radically different paths in life: now in their late teens, Alina is a modern woman living an unhappy life in the city, and Voichita is content to live a simple and devout existence in an Orthodox convent. Alina wants to take Voichita back to the world, but, when that proves impossible, her need to be close to her friend leads the ferociously modern Alina to try to join the convent herself, with tragic consequences. With tremendous performances and beautiful camera work by Mungio and cinematographer Oleg Mutu, Beyond the Hills is a haunting story about the conflict between past and present, between faith and logic, between passion and repression.

16. LEVIATHAN
LEVIATHAN

A film for neither the faint of heart nor the short of attention-span, Leviathan—from directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel—is an abstract horror film, a mesmerizing tone poem, and the most inventive and fascinating experiment of the year. A sensory study of the blood-and-salt sprayed clash between man, beast, and sea aboard a fishing vessel, Leviathan has no narrative, only occasional music, and almost no decipherable dialogue. What it has instead are images and sounds recorded in ways that no images or sounds have ever been before, with methods that often seem confusing, frequently seem impossible, and are never less than viscerally powerful. Technically a "documentary," Leviathan is really more of an experience, an art piece that makes real-life moments aboard this ship surreal, horrifying, and profoundly evocative. Make no mistake, Leviathan is an endurance test, but those willing to surrender to its unique rhythms and challenging aesthetics will find it a beautiful, terrible, unsettling experience. (I confess I missed Leviathan in theaters—which I regret—and that it took me two tries to get through it on DVD. When I did, however, I found myself wondering if I hadn't watched one of the most revolutionary bits of film-making since Battleship Potemkin.)

15. THE WORLD'S END
Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Eddie Marsan in THE WORLD'S END

Salvaging a summer of disappointing "summer blockbusters," Edgar Wright's The World's End turns out to be a worthy successor to the director's previous successes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The three films—loosely grouped under the tongue-in-cheek title "The Cornetto Trilogy"—share no characters or plot points in common, but all three examine friendships between men and the challenges of adulthood. The darkest entry in the series, The World's End stars Simon Pegg (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Wright) as Gary King, a middle-aged fuck-up who cons his former mates (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan) into reuniting in their hometown to complete a legendary pub crawl they attempted as teen-agers. This sad alcoholic quest to recapture youthful glory is hindered, however, by the discovery that the residents of the town have been all but replaced by Stepford-like alien doppelgangers. The joy of watching five drunken friends battle blue-blooded aliens while moving from pub to pub would be enough to make The World's End a wildly fun romp, but Wright and Pegg layer some real emotional resonance beneath the beer-soaked chaos, making the soulless aliens a perfect metaphor for the fears of what it means to grow up and conform to society's expectations. At once a celebration and a critique of male immaturity, The World's End is one of the most enjoyable movies of the year, and a welcome reminder that a silly genre adventure can actually be about something.

14. UPSTREAM COLOR
UPSTREAM COLOR

Upstream Color, the second film from writer-director Shane Carruth (Primer), is a film that defies easy synopsis, and even total understanding. The story of two damaged people (Amy Seimetz—tremendous here—and Carruth himself) drawn together around the life-cycle (from plant to insect to animal host) of a parasitic organism with brain-washing properties, Upstream Color is an unapologetic puzzle of a film—but this is one of the things to admire about it. Carruth assumes his film's audience is composed of adults, and trusts us to interpret both the movie's plot and its oblique symbolism without any hand-holding. Parts of the film feel like a dreamlike collaboration between David Cronenberg, David Lynch, and Terrence Malick, but the vision is wholly Carruth's own, and as confident and uncompromising a film as I've seen in a long time. Not every viewer will have the patience for it—or the willingness to go back for the considerable rewards of repeat viewings—but even on a confused first-viewing Upstream Color is one of the most (visually and aurally) beautiful and evocative films of the year.

13. LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE
LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE

In his second film outside his native Iran—after 2010's internationally acclaimed Certified Copy—Abbas Kiarostami delivers another masterpiece about love and illusion. Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is a beautiful young college student—and, we soon learn, call-girl—living in Japan. We hear Akiko before we see her: in a crowded bar, the camera focuses on another young woman, while off-screen we overhear Akiko arguing with—and lying to—an obviously suspicious boyfriend about where she is. What happens off-screen will remain vitally important throughout Like Someone in Love, as will the theme of lying; though this is a less deliberately confusing film than Certified Copy, Kiarostami casts a beautiful, ambiguous spell around misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and missed-connections. Takanashi is good as the young woman living two different lives, and Tadashi Okuno is brilliant as the elderly professor who becomes involved in both of them. But the real star here is Kiarostami himself, an exquisitely controlled and subtle master working at the very height of his powers.

12. ALL IS LOST
ALL IS LOST

The sophomore feature from director J. C. Chandor (Margin Call), All is Lost is a bare-knuckle, white-knuckle survival tale, a one-man tour de force, and a masterpiece of visual storytelling. Robert Redford plays the unnamed hero, a yachtsman on a solitary cruise in the Indian Ocean. When he awakens one morning to discover that a bit of industrial flotsam—a misplaced cargo container—has punched a hole in the side of his sailboat, the man begins calmly patching the hole and bailing out the water—but this turns out to be just the beginning of a slowly escalating nightmare. Redford gives one of the best performances of his career, relying on his impressive physicality and his weathered, fascinating face to create a character who is believably capable, recognizably flawed, and surprisingly complex. Few directors would have the restraint to tell this almost wordless story of survival, or the skill to execute it so flawlessly; fewer 77-year-old actors could pull it off this triumphantly. All is Lost is a unique adventure tale that is remarkably gripping, emotionally rich, and stunningly mature in every sense.

11. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Few foreign films have arrived on American shores with as much baggage as Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle, Chapitres 1 et 2). The film won the Palm d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and has been heaped with praise by critics around the world. However, the overwhelmingly positive critical reception for Blue has become all but obscured in the controversies that have surrounded it, most of them focusing on the film's explicit (and, admittedly, problematic) sex scenes. And it's a shame, because these scenes are actually—by far—the least interesting thing about the movie. Blue is a coming-of-age tale, a tender and intimate exploration of first love, and, yes, a story of sexual awakening. However, as its French title ("Life of Adéle, Chapters 1 and 2") proclaims, it is primarily a character study, an exploration of one woman's awkward transition from youth to young adulthood, and from innocence, optimism, and idealism to something more complex, conflicted, and bittersweet. The Cannes judges, in an unprecedented move, gave their highest prize to not only the film but also to the director and the two lead actresses—and deservedly so. Léa Seydoux is excellent in the smaller and less difficult role, but it's Adèle Exarchopoulos—and the way Kenchiche captures even the tiniest nuances of her incredible performance—who breathtakingly transcends the film's many weaknesses and elevates Blue is the Warmest Color into a rich, indelible triumph.

10. THE ACT OF KILLING
The Act of Killing

Documentaries about atrocities are usually told from the points of view of the victims, but director Joshua Oppenheimer had the brilliant idea to let the perpetrators tell their own stories in his disturbing, fascinating film The Act of Killing. Following a military overthrow of Indonesia's government in 1965, death squads rounded up and murdered over a million alleged Communists, ethnic Chinese, and other political undesirables. History is written by the victors, and today the leaders of those death squads—men like Anwar Congo and his friends—are treated as national heroes, and as the founding fathers of a politically powerful right-wing paramilitary organization. They are also, not insignificantly, lifelong movie fans—they proudly call themselves "gangsters"—and it is in this perfect synchronicity of filmed-fiction and filmed-reality that The Act of Killing finds its provocative genius. Oppenheimer lets Anwar and his fellow murderers not only brag about their sessions of torture and murder, but also recreate those crimes in the styles of their favorites movie genres—noir, westerns, even musicals. Using cinema to recreate the terrifying crimes of men who were themselves created by cinema, Oppenheimer gives us a privileged and horrifying look into the minds of human monsters, and makes a stunningly powerful documentary about the transformative powers—for good and evil—of movies.

 9. FRUITVALE STATION
FRUITVALE STATION

The most impressive directorial debut of the year was undoubtedly Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station, a devastating dramatization of the last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant. The film begins at the moment when Grant entered the American consciousness: with the actual cellphone footage of the unarmed, handcuffed Grant being wrestled to the platform and shot in the back by Bay Area Rapid Transit cops in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2009. From those infuriating, sensationalistic images, Coogler goes back to show us the last day of the man behind the news story, brought to life in a fantastically balanced performance by Michael B. Jordan. Coogler and Jordan neither canonize nor judge Grant, but present him as a rich and complicated young man, flawed and admirable and struggling in ways that are authentically human. Fruitvale Station wisely eschews overt politicization of the tragic and unforgivable injustice it's building towards, choosing instead to simply present both the textured joys and struggles of this young man's life, and the inescapable realities of the world and dangers that he and young men like him face every day. In doing so, the film becomes more powerful, more heartbreaking, and more politically important than any simple screed or hagiography could ever be.

 8. THE PAST
THE PAST

Every time I watch one of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's films—and I haven't seen nearly enough of them—the work of even the best mainstream American auteurs working today starts to seem pale and phony in comparison. His 2011 film A Separation—winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film—was a formally brilliant, emotionally complex masterpiece; Farhadi's latest entry is not quite that good, but in the authenticity of its characters and the precise mastery of its mise en scéne, The Past proves that the director may have no fair comparison but himself. Marie (a luminous Bérénice Bejo in a prickly, powerhouse performance) is preparing to marry her lover Samir (Tahar Rahim), but they have a few complications to deal with: first, they each have children (Pauline Burlet and Elyes Agui, both excellent) who are not thrilled about the prospect; second, Samir's wife is still clinging to life in a hospital after a suicide attempt; third, Marie herself is still married to Ahmad (a fantastic Ali Mosaffa), whom she has summoned from his native Tehran to sign divorce papers. Ahmad moves into this mess, and finds himself trying to fix the new life of the woman he once loved. It's a plot that could easily skew into either farce or melodrama, but it never quite does either; instead, Farhadi reveals each of these five fully developed characters in turn, and builds both a fascinating mystery and a mature exploration of love, family, and forgiveness. Sharply observed, aesthetically precise, and emotionally rich, The Past explores questions in ways that are resonant and revelatory, even as it provides no falsely easy answers.

 7. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

If we're judging films by the sheer, exuberant joy they provide, Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing was probably my best film experience of 2013. A low-budget, black-and-white retelling of Shakespeare's comedy, filmed on the fly at the director's own home, Much Ado has an understandably brisk energy and small scale, but Whedon and his cast understand this story perfectly and turn those potential disadvantages into wondrous, giddy strengths. Deftly avoiding the portentousness and pretension that mar so many Shakespeare adaptations, Whedon films Much Ado like exactly what it is: a witty comedy about people who gather at a big house for a party, drink too much, and make some questionable romantic and sexual decisions. In doing so, he reminds us that Shakespeare can be very funny, and very sexy, and at times very silly. The cast is full of standouts, most notably the two leads: Alexis Denisoff is funny and startlingly touching as sworn bachelor Benedick, and Amy Acker—as his adversary and inamorata, Beatrice—is a revelation. Carefully layering the self-aware amusement beneath Beatrice's sadness, and the hurt and fear beneath her quick-witted jibes, Acker absolutely owns one of Shakespeare's greatest roles with a charming, delicate, dazzling performance that deserves recognition among the very best of the year. Read my full review of Much Ado About Nothing here.

 6. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
930353 - Captain Phillips

Director Paul Greengrass's Captain Phillips is a film I was not particular excited to see, and not remotely in the mood to watch the night I finally dragged myself to see it. Whatever reservations I had, however, disappeared about 10 minutes into this tense, harrowing, true-life thriller about an American cargo ship (commanded by Tom Hanks, in what may be a career-best performance) taken hostage by Somali pirates (led by newcomer Barkhad Abdi, who matches Hanks blow-for-blow in the acting department). There are all kinds of important political and socio-economic issues swirling around this story—and Greengrass, screenwriter Billy Ray, and the excellent cast are aware of all of them—but Captain Phillips mostly avoids pontification and lecturing. Instead, Greengrass tells a gritty, realistic hostage story that is absolutely engrossing and nerve-wracking, and—as he did in United 93—recreates a major international incident in ways that make it feel both completely authentic and deeply personal.

 5. STORIES WE TELL
Harry Gulkin and Sarah Polley in STORIES WE TELL

There are two enigmatic, largely silent women at the center of director Sarah Polley's extraordinary documentary Stories We Tell: the first, and the stated subject of the film, is Polley's late mother Diane, an actress who died of cancer when Sarah was only 11. Through Super-8 home movies and the reminiscences of her family members—and especially her father, the British-born actor Michael Polley—Sarah begins to build a picture of her vivacious, sometimes mysterious mother around the hole Diane left in the lives of those who loved her. But the other woman at the center of Stories We Tell—and in many ways its real subject—is Sarah Polley herself, whose film becomes a strange, funny, painfully intimate quest to reveal the truth about her family and uncover the mysteries of her own identity. If the film were simply what it appears to be—a personal project to honestly chronicle this quest and the revelations it yielded—Stories We Tell would be a fascinating and bravely intimate documentary. But as the tale unfolds—and as we realize that much of the apparently archival footage we're seeing is actually reconstructions of events done with actors playing her family members—we realize that Polley has undertaken something more ambitious, more audacious, and more artistically complex than we first suspected. Polley has already proven herself to be a gifted director with 2006's Away from Her and 2011's Take This Waltz, but Stories We Tell proves that she is a major talent to watch. That Polley chose to tell this personal story at all makes this an interesting and emotionally complicated film, but the way she does so makes Stories We Tell a smart, stunningly mature, fascinatingly layered work of art.

 4. BEFORE MIDNIGHTEthan Hawke and Julie Delpy in BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Richard Linklater's Before trilogy—a collaboration with stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy—is one of those rare projects that grows progressively more interesting and meaningful the longer it goes on. The first film, Before Sunrise (1995), was an innocent romantic delight about the idealized magic of young people falling in love. Like many viewers, I thought it ended on the perfect note of ambiguity and promise—and therefore should never be revisited—but Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke chose to answer the wonderfully open-ended questions the first film raised by revisiting the characters in 2004's Before Sunset. A film as much about regret as romance, Before Sunrise was a surprisingly mature look at growing up, and it worked so well in part because it made us see the earlier story in much the same way as its characters now viewed it: as something both wistfully charming and hopelessly naive. Now, this path continues with Before Midnight, which catches up with the couple in their 40s. Despite the now 18-year relationship between these two characters, Midnight is the first film in the series to deal with them as an actual couple, and the result is a messy, bittersweet look at two people trying hard to remain in love through the difficulties of parenting, mid-life crises, and the inevitable emotional drift of a long-term relationship. The rare movie that's about staying together, not getting together, Before Midnight is about the hard work that comes after the "happily ever after" of most movie romances. Each individual film in the series is perhaps harder to watch—and less comfortingly enjoyable—than the last, but Linklater and his stars are producing a unique, long-form love story that asks us to think about the ways our very definition of love changes for us as we go through life.

 3. HER
HER

A daring, delicate fable for the modern age, writer-director Spike Jonze's Her does what only the best science-fiction—and the best films in any genre—can do: it makes us see ourselves, our times, and the oldest human conditions in new and startling ways. The story of a lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer's artificially-intelligent operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), Her had what sounded like a precarious, potentially ridiculous high-wire act of a concept. (I actually saw people boo the trailer.) However, everything about Her—from the pitch-perfect performances, to the gorgeous cinematography, to the emotional beats of the story—is so perfectly balanced and deftly executed that it feels more genuine and grounded than almost any movie I've seen this year. The miracle of Her is how quickly and convincingly it becomes not a story about a man falling in love with a machine, but about the universal experience of falling in love. Smart, wise, inventive, and emotionally rich, Her is one of the most believably touching romances of the 21st century so far. Read my full review of Her here.

 2. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
wk-davis1220

Inside Llewyn Davis shares many of Joel and Ethan Coens' familiar stamps—a lackadaisical, meandering structure; an army of oddball but endearingly human characters; a darkly funny script—but it also has a patience, depth, and maturity that demonstrates unmistakably that these American masters are only getting better. Reliably anchored to a complex, conflicted, brilliantly internal performance by Oscar Isaac as the titular folksinger, Inside Llewyn Davis proves that the Coens don't need to rely on byzantine plotting and over-the-top shenanigans to tell a deeply moving, incredibly insightful story. Gorgeously painted in melancholy tones—and always in the Coens' unique and inimitable style—Inside Llewyn Davis is a gentle but deeply rewarding exploration of the place where artistic temperament, the limitations of talent, and the inevitable flaws of human nature meet. It's also a more or less perfect film. Read my full review of Inside Llewyn Davis here.

 1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE12 YEARS A SLAVE

My choice for the best movie of 2013 will come as no surprise to my regular readers, since I tipped my hand pretty unequivocally in my full review of the beautiful, essential film 12 Years a Slave. "To say this is the best movie of the year—by a country mile—is to damn it with faint praise," I wrote, "because it is a much more important work than that, a vital corrective to 100 years of cinematic lies." The true story of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free-born man tricked and sold into slavery, 12 Years a Slave feels like a revolutionary movie only because we are unaccustomed to seeing the historical truths we all understand presented on-screen without adornment and gloss. Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o, and Michael Fassbender all give unforgettable, Oscar-worthy performances, but the real triumph here is the powerful combination of courage and restraint shown by director Steve McQueen, screenwriter John Ridley, and the entire cast. Remarkably free of the sorts of pontification, prevarication, phony inspiration, and distracting directorial flourishes that weaken nearly every previous attempt, 12 Years a Slave casts shame on a century of filmmakers—from D.W. Griffith to Quentin Tarantino—who have failed so spectacularly to honestly grapple with this era of our history. The way it does this is very simple, and incredibly powerful, and sadly rare: by assembling a great team of artists, and committing wholly to making an authentic, uncompromising movie. Read my full review of 12 Years a Slave here.

HONORABLE MENTIONS IN ARBITRARY CATEGORIES

Best Animated Movie: Frozen

Best Movie About People I Hate Doing Things I Don't Want to Watch a Movie About: The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Movie That Has Grown On Me Since I First Saw It: Drinking Buddies

The Searching for Sugar Man Award for Best Long-Lost Musician Documentary: A Band Called Death

Best High-Adrenaline Guilty Pleasure (Female Hero Category): You're Next

Best High-Adrenaline Guilty Pleasure (Male Hero Category): Rush

Best Three-Hanky Film (Female Hero Category): Philomena

Best Three-Hanky Film (Male Hero Category): About Time

Best Summer Movie More People Should Have Seen: The Kings of Summer

Best Indy Movie I'm Not Sure I Understood but Think I Really Liked Anyway: Computer Chess

Movies I Liked (but Not As Much As Other People Did): American Hustle; Dallas Buyers Club; Hannah Arendt; Saving Mr. Banks

Movies I Kind of Hated (and Don't Understand Why They're So Acclaimed): Frances Ha; Nebraska

Movies I'm Sorry I Didn't See in Time to Consider for this List: At Berkeley; August: Osage County; Bastards; The Counselor; The Grandmaster; In a World; Short Term 12; The Wind Rises

Movie You Loved That I Omitted, or Movie I Loved That You Thought Sucked Balls: The comments section is now open.

 

 Read All My 2013 Reviews Here

Read My Best of 2012 List Here

Read My Best of 2011 List Here

The Unaffiliated Critic

Michael G. McDunnah is a freelance writer, a recovering lit major, a pop-culture junkie, and an unaffiliated critic. He lives in Chicago.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 Shares
Share10
Tweet
+1
Share
Pin
Email