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The Best Films of 2013

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

2013 was a pretty fantastic year for cinema — as long as you look past onset of blockbuster/superhero fatigue, often ridiculous Australian release schedules for smaller films (aka Stupid Australian Release Schedules), and a strange fascination with the apocalypse arriving a year too late. But I kid; for every annoyance, the medium produces many things to be excited about. I’m keeping this positive!

Let’s get down to it:

Missing the cut: The Wolverine, The Way Way Back, Side Effects, The Kings of Summer

I havn’t seen these (mainly due to Stupid Australian Release Schedules) but I’d probably dig them: The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Short Term 12

Cloud Atlas was released in Australia in 2013 (Stupid Australian Release Schedules), but for the sake of this list it will be treated as a 2012 film.

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10. Captain Phillips

The second-most intense film of the year (number one is below), which is made more so due to the fact that the incredible events depicted in Captain Phillips actually happened (sans the Hollywood artistic license). Tom Hanks knocks this role out of the water with an incredibly strong showing, and his performance in the final scenes left me in shocked silence for a while. Director Paul Greengrass knocked this one up a notch, even with his visceral, shaky-shaky handheld style (which I’m generally not a fan of).

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9. You’re Next

The best horror movie of 2013 (that was meant to be released in 2011, stupid Hollywood suits). You’re Next really gives the increasingly stale horror genre a big shot-in-the-arm, and I can only hope that the floodgates are now open for creative and visionary scare-mongers to move horror into bigger, better, and more successful places. The best horror film in years.

Check out the full review!

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8. Rush

Rush, Ron Howard‘s biographical film about two feuding Formula 1 drivers in the 1970’s was a surprisingly involving and exciting film; the air of excitement is only amplified by the fact that it was based on real events (plus the obvious artistic license showing up, once again). Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl handle the roles like future leading-men, and the drama surrounding the feud between the pair was a blast to watch. Howard also creates a real buzz delivering the racing scenes with a tremendous energy. Only the movies can make car racing this thrilling!

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7. Drinking Buddies

A low-key and little seen comedy from mumble-core director Joe Swanberg, Drinking Buddies was just a simple and entertaining film that many will discover this year on DVD and VOD. The amazing chemistry by the lead actors — who were shot extremely loose and natural — invloves you in their seemingly simple day-to-day struggles. Highly recommended.

Check out the full review!

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6. American Hustle

David O. Russell is clearly an actors director, seemingly letting his actors play with their characters in off-the-wall and, in this case, zany and extreme ways at the expense of a cohesive narrative. The plot of American Hustle actual becomes a convoluted mess under the weight of the actors hamming it up, but when the involved talent are good enough to pull it off, the narrative can take a second place to the sheer madness unfolding before your eyes. It may be Goodfellas lite, but it’s still an awesome film.

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5. Pacific Rim

As I suffer more and more from Blockbuster Fatigue, Guillermo del Toro — as always — is my shining beacon of hope. Pacific Rim is a sheer joy to watch and retains an intangible element that sets it clear from the underwhelming big-budget pack of this year. Could it be that a large-scale action movie with heart and positive moral messages is a far more enjoyable experience compared to the excessively pessimistic and dreary titles of the same genre? YOU DON’T SAY!

Check out the full review!

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4. This Is The End

There is no way that the self-absorbed premise of famous people playing themselves during a global apocalypse should be successful, but I’d be lying if I said that this movie didn’t make me laugh more than anything else this year. At its core a comedy movie needs to make you laugh first and worry about everything else second: This is The End is indeed funny first, with just enough character study to pass the time between jokes. Clearly the improvisational chemistry clicked during shooting and that is all shown with the laughs on-screen. A win for everyone involved!

Check out the full review!

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3. The Spectacular Now

There were a ton of terrific coming-of-age dramas out this year (a genre soft-spot of mine); so why The Spectacular Now over The Kings of Summer or The Way Way Back? It’s the naturalistic dialogue; it’s the great lead performances by Myles Teller and Shaylene Woodley; it’s the realistic and understated depiction of teenage alcoholism as well as the depiction of family and romantic relationships; and it’s the fact that they all hit on an emotional level. This was a film that lingered.

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2. Gravity

Gravity is easily one of the most gorgeous films I can recall ever seeing on the big screen. Alfonso Cauron directs a visual masterpiece that if missed at the cinema, you have done your viewing pleasure a disservice. Small screens — even by today’s massive home theatre standards — simply can’t do this film justice. By far the most gripping and nail-biting film of the year: remarkable given the minimalist approach and content. A sci-fi (sci-fact?) classic.

Check out the full review!

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1. The World’s End

The number one spot belongs to the film that I simply got the most enjoyment out of all year; on initial and every subsequent viewing. In typical Edgar Wright fashion, each viewing of The World’s End reveals more layered subtle nuances, which is in the director’s trademark style. Fast-paced humour, terrific characters and a unique kinetic style prove that Wright is actually one of the premier action director’s currently working (and a great candidate for Marvel’s Ant-Man). Probably still the weakest of the Corneto Trilogy — but still number one for the year — which only proves the high quality of the previous films, and not the quality of this one. 2013 was a good year.

Let me know your favourite films of the year in the comments below, or even on Facebook and the social bird.

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1 Comment

  1. eleesa23

     /  January 14, 2014

    Although I haven’t seen many of these movies, I think Catching Fire deserves a spot. Amazing film.

    Like

    Reply

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