Stick a fork in 2013 and I, we're done. A surprisingly solid year. My top 20 with rambling..
First, the pool of films I saw this year:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
12 Years a Slave
A Good Day to Die Hard
All Is Lost
Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d'Adèle)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Hangover Part III
Inside Llewyn Davis
Iron Man III
Lee Daniels' The Butler
Man of Steel
Now You See Me
Pain & Gain
Saving Mr. Banks
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Bling Ring
The Dallas Buyers Club
The Great Gatsby
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Kings of Summer
The Past (Le passé)
The Spectacular Now
The To Do List
The Way, Way Back
The Wolf of Wall Street
This is the End
Thor: The Dark World
We're the Millers
World War Z
20. Fruitvale Station
- MBJ is one of my favorite rising stars and he really shines in this flick. Looking forward to seeing more of him in the future.
- A tad of a deviation from his usually more somber films, Alexander Payne's story about a father and son was very good. I couldn't help but think of my own experiences with my dad while watching it.
18. The Kings of Summer
- A relatively simple concept, but well executed. Every kid has dreamt of moving out of their home and living with their friends, and this was a really clever look at that idea.
17. Captain Phillips
- Though Tom Hanks' character was the central focus, it was really Barkhad Abdi's Muse who was the true captive. Great example of a well written balance between the protagonist and antagonist.
16. American Hustle
- I'm not a huge fan of David O'Russell, but this ensemble piece is really fun. Solid performances all the way around and just downright funny.
- So much to love about this movie. Great performances by Matthew McConnaughey and Tye Sherridan. Tight story with really engaging characters.
- Though the story is light (pun intended), the overall excellence in the production of this film cannot be ignored. And any movie that can make Mark Kermode (of the BBC) recommend a 3D viewing has to be doing something right.
13. Blue Jasmine
- Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins are enough of a reason to watch this film.
12. The Great Gatsby
- I'm not a Baz Luhrmann fan by any stretch of the imagination, but this film was surprisingly good. A very enjoyable adaptation of the Fitzgerald novel.
11. The Past (Le passe)
- If you liked the Iranian film, A Separation
, you'll enjoy this one. I expected more from Bérénice Bejo, but the two male leads really held their own.
- There were definitely better films this year, but it's rare that I really enjoy a great mystery. Very good performances all the way around. Great cinematography and kept me at the edge of my seat.
9. The Spectacular Now
- Heartbreaking and thoughtful, Miles Teller deserves a lot of kudos. Though predictable, the script was very well done.
8. The Way, Way Back
- There's really no justification for this being so high, other than the fact that Sam Rockwell is one of my favorite actors and he really shined in this one. A great balance of drama and comedy. My favorite of the "coming-of-age" films this year.
7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- I don't care if this was based on a "young adult" novel, this is one of the better sci-fi films to be released this year. Dare I say, The Empire Strikes Back
of the trilogy.
6. The Wolf of Wall Street
- If anyone had forgotten how great of an actor Leo is and how superior Scorsese is as a director, this is a friendly reminder.
- So disappointed Ron Howard wasn't recognized more for this movie. My favorite films of all time always include a great adversarial relationship and there's none better than Lauda and Hunt. Daniel Brühl was great and Hemsworth was solid.
4. 12 Years a Slave
- With much respect to Chiwetel and Lupita, the true star is director, Steve McQueen. So gut wrenching and beautifully shot.
3. The Dallas Buyers Club
- The McConnaisance continues and this time with an Oscar worthy performance by Jared Leto. A really fascinating story about the early stages of pharmaceuticals and H.I.V.
- Any other year and this would have been tops. I couldn't help but marvel at the creativity of the script. One of the reasons I absolutely adore the science fiction genre. I can't give enough praise to Scarlett Johansson's work as Samantha.
1. Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d'Adèle)
- One of the best films I've seen in years. Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos were absolutely fearless. Direction by Abdellatif was so organic and just incredible. So much love, joy, pain and heartbreak in one film. Only one more month before it's released by Criterion.