Another year flew by, which means that it is that time to reflect on the year that was. 2013 may proved to be a lot of things, but one of them is certainly being a year that showcased an array of diverse films. There was a lot to watch and love at the cinemas this year, and although I couldn't watch all of the movies that came out, here is my top ten films of 2013.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street- The Wolf of Wall Street is bold, blunt, shrewd, smart, rigorously paced, and is ferociously in your face. It holds nothing back and pushes the envelope in nearly every scene as it dares to show an existence that is shallowly excessive and only addicted to superficial needs. The movie’s unapologetic tone and pace allows the audience to take a in-depth look at the psyche of a man whose only goal in life was to get rich, and the only solutions were obviously more money, more drugs, and more sex. Scorsese’s brilliant exposure to a life of excess also sublimely asks the question: is this really what has become of the American dream? The Wolf of Wall Street will haunt you and make you realize that redemption and severe consequences are only found in other films and is actually not always found within our own society.
2. 12 Years A Slave- There is not much I can say about 12 Years A Slave that would do the film any justice. This film is too perfect for words, too heartbreaking to describe, and all the while the movie potently provides a rewarding experience that has to be viewed. The word ‘masterpiece’ gets thrown around way too often, and I will admit that I use that word much too frequently. However, if there is ever a time to assign a film that title it is now. 12 Years A Slave is truly a masterpiece in terms of its scope, spirit, and significance. Director, Steve McQueen, has crafted a film that is in its purest and rawest form. It effectively resonates with us all, and it speaks volumes of how powerful film can be as a medium.
3. Gravity- Gravity is the movie experience of 2013. It is visually captivating, stunning, and mesmerizing. It’s technically flawless, and is very much a masterpiece in its own league. The wonderful performances and touching story takes you on a wild, emotional journey that will have you gasping for air. This space expedition is a nonstop exploration of courage, bravery, and brilliance that grabs you and thrusts you onto a roller coaster that ultimately takes you from intense, fearful moments to moments that are life-affirming. Gravity is a spectacle that must be seen because this is film at its finest.
4. Short Term 12- One of the most poetic and lyrical movies of 2013, Short Term 12 is an excellent film that speaks to the human spirit. It is sometimes funny, decisively warm, profoundly heartbreaking, and always genuine. It is a rare film that touches your heart, and sweeps you into feeling a variety of emotions. The story is grounded and concise, and Brie Larson gives the most honest and true to heart performance of the year.
5. Her- With one of the most beautiful stories displayed on screen all year, writer and director Spike Jonze has crafted and created a personal, cathartic experience that not only speaks for the now, but also shows the promise of tomorrow. Set in the near distant future, Her shows off the many different possibilities of the advancement in technology, which makes you wonder what the future may hold for us. My only hope is that they still make movies like this in the future.
6. Prisoners- Prisoners is undoubtedly the best thriller of 2013, and one of the most bone chilling movie experiences in recent memory. Directer, Denis Villeneuve, wonderfully creates an atmosphere that is cold, dark, intense, and urgent. The story brilliantly showcases moral ambiguity and the human battle of logic versus emotion. Also with extraordinary performances from the whole cast, especially from Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners remains compelling, thought-provoking, and leaves you thinking and talking about this film days after you see it.
7. American Hustle- Once again writer and director, David O. Russell, has tapped into material that is right up his wheelhouse. He is able to find the perfect balance of drama and humor with his camera, which brilliantly sways between intensity and tranquility. With an excellent cast that is firing on all cylinders, Russell’s ability to create fictionalize scenarios that not only do the characters justice, but also enhances the atmosphere allows the film to become exciting and always entertaining. This aspect has defined David O. Russell’s career resurgence, and most certainly is what makes American Hustle worth the hustle.
8. Don Jon- Don Jon is a wonderful film that offers up a special message behind the edgy, racy subject matter. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does it all in this movie and shows off his many talents; while maintaining his artistic integrity. Don Jon easily gets what this generation feels and thinks. The material is relatable and contains universal truth. It represents the Millennial Generation because its not afraid to say whats on its mind. It is a movie that you can easily get lost in, and most importantly lose yourself in.
9. The Place Beyond the Pines- Writer and Director Derek Cianfrance, who spent a part of his career making documentaries, has always had the penchant for telling honest stories that deals with characters that are strikingly relatable. With his boldest and most ambitious film, The Place Beyond the Pines, Cianfrance is able to capture stunning visuals and apply it to a story that beautifully displays father and son relationships, and living a life that is full of choices and consequences. With superb performances from Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, this film stays with you after you leave the theater.
10. Star Trek Into Darkness- Star Trek Into Darkness has everything a sci-fi film should have. It is a layered movie that shows uniqueness and freshness; while still paying homage to its predecessors. The movie frequently and consistently gets it right without missing a beat, and shows that Abrams can create a film that is filled with diverse characters, an elaborate plot, agile action, and even timely comedy that will leave you in a trance. Star Trek Into Darkness is the quintessential sci-fi film.