2013 : Movies of the Year List

The guidelines:

  • Any movie viewed in the year 2013 that I haven’t seen before qualifies for the list.
  • I balance artistic merit with a swinging good time.
  • In order of importance I rank artistic brilliance, “re-view-ability” and only then “a swinging good time”.
  • I do twelve top movies. Consider it cinema calendrics.
  • I never agree with my rankings three months down the road, but this list is at least a first impression ranking.

1. To the Wonder (2013, Terrence Malick)

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To the Wonder is not the visceral punch that Tree of Life was, but it shows that Malick is still at the top of his game. Click here for my review.

2. Gravity (2013, Alfonso Cuaron)

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Gravity is perhaps the most perfectly constructed action film of all time. It is the climax of the genre. Click here for my thought on it.

3. Prince Avalanche (2013, David Gordon Green)

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I once said “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice and shame on Paul Rudd for making more movies.” I can happily separate this film from Rudd’s typical fair. My review is here.

4. Eternity and a Day (2003, Theo Angelopoulos)

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Theo Angelopoulos, whose The Weeping Meadow is among my favorites of all time, is a master. Every image is haunting, mythical, rich and worth as many eyes as the world has got.

5. Francis Ha (2013, Noah Baumbach)

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Woody Allen once said “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Francis, I am pleased to add, laughs with him.

6. Los Cronoscrimenes (2007, Nacho Vigalondo)

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Timetravel movies are tricky particularly in making us care since Time is a key aspect to drama: exactly what the genre tinkers with, but Los Cronoscrimenes shifts the focus to freedom and morality. It’s a sticky and sinister film.

7. [TIE] The Bling Ring (2013, Sofia Coppola),

and The Virgin Suicides (1999, Sofia Coppola)

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As a fan of Eugenides (who wrote the novel on which the movie is based) and as one who is mesmerized by whatever Coppola films, The Virgin Suicides has been on my must watch list forever. It is a testament to Coppola’s skill that I don’t hate her movies despite using protagonists that I wouldn’t care about at all.I don’t know why The Bling Ring is sticking with me. It doesn’t matter how shallow Coppola’s characters are or how far they descend into stupidity, she does magic before your very eyes.

8. Much Ado About Nothing (2012, Joss Whedon)

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Whedon is always good for some fun, but his take on the Shakespeare comedy was surprisingly thoughtful. Nearly every shift from the source text was fruitful and enlightening. Some of the staging was off, as was some of the goofing, but overall a pleasing remake.

9. After Earth (2013, M. Night Shyamalan)

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It’s cool to bag on M.N. Shyamalan now, but I found After Earth to be a tightly wound flick. With so many big action flicks clueless about the use of a flashback (Pacific Rim, Man of Steel) it was nice to see one tied nicely to the macrostory.

10. Attenberg (2010, Athina Rachel Tsangari)

written and directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari

I have a thing for Greek filmmakers. The awkward, funny, bizarre, heartfelt and soulcrushing Attenberg by Tsangari (producer of the grotesque, terrifying, hilarious, sad Dogtooth)

11. World War Z

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A competent popcorn flick.

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