2013: My year in film

A list seen this year in Australia, Austin, New York and San Francisco, hence some 2012 releases making it in.

Warning: I rate films too highly. Take it as a relative measure. I begrudgingly preface this post every year with the same message, in various word lengths.

In alphabetical order…

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Quite simply, everything works. A character-driven, brooding, complex, Malick-esque romance.

All Is Lost
A near-wordless marvel! Robert Redford’s physical, nuanced performance commands admiration. The score and sea, worthy allies.

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story
An unbelievable true story that grew off the screen into a once-in-a-lifetime, shared experience at SXSW, with the man himself being there.

Before Midnight
The perfect ending to the perfect trilogy on love.

Blancanieves
The lighting, the symmetry, the composition. Just, wow. One of the most beautiful looking films I’ve had the pleasure of watching.

For Those in Peril
There’s no way a debut has any right to be this good in nearly every respect. Haunting, assured filmmaking, with an ending that’s hugely┬árewarding, yet ambiguous. I do remember screaming “FUCK YEAH!” I had the same reaction to ‘Take Shelter’.

Gravity
If cinema is about the moving image, this embodies it to its fullest. Like nothing I’ve seen. Cuaron and Lubezki are gods.

Her
Thank you, Spike Jonze, for an utterly brilliant, exploratory look at our future, and the collision of humanity and technology. Joaquin Phoenix confirms yet again that he’s one of the best actors going around. Scarlett Johannson’s voice acting, a joy.

Inside Llewyn Davis
My favourite character and performance of 2013. Oscar Isaac is a revelation. I felt hopeless and sad.

Saving Mr. Banks
Very, very special. No expectations going in, floored on every count. Hit me harder than anything this year.

Upstream Color
Incredibly thought provoking, visceral and hypnotic. Carruth’s writing, score and direction are all stunning. The sound design melds right in too. The film that stuck with me most.

What Maisie Knew
Emotionally turbulent in the best possible way. Onata Aprile gives a most captivating performance.

Zero Dark Thirty
A remarkable, gripping achievement in storytelling. A rollercoaster through Jessica Chastain’s head and a quietly devastating ending.


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12 Years a Slave

Blue is the Warmest Color

Captain Phillips

Closed Curtain

Cloud Atlas

Django Unchained

Europa Report

Evil Dead

Flight

Fruitvale Station

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Much Ado About Nothing

Nebraska

Only God Forgives

Pacific Rim

Prisoners

Rust and Bone

Short Term 12

Side Effects

The Act of Killing

The Grandmaster

The Hunt

The Past

The Punk Singer

The Spectacular Now

The Wolf of Wall Street

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Blackfish

Blue Caprice

Cutie and the Boxer

Dallas Buyers Club

Drinking Buddies

Everyday

Frances Ha

Girl Rising

Graceland

In the House

Man of Steel

Mud

ParaNorman

Pieta

Room 237

Rush

Silver Linings Playbook

Simon Killer

Star Trek Into Darkness

Stoker

Stories We Tell

Sun Don’t Shine

The Great Beauty

The Impossible

The Painting

The World’s End

This is the End

Trance

White Reindeer

Wreck-it Ralph

You’re Next

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American Hustle

Big Ass Spider!

Borgman

Ender’s Game

Frozen

Gimme The Loot

Haywire

Hitchcock

Kelly + Victor

Love Is All You Need

Oblivion

Philomena

Sleepwalk With Me

Spring Breakers

Swim Little Fish Swim

The Counselor

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Place Beyond the Pines

The Way Way Back

The Wolverine

To the Wonder

World War Z

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Behind the Candelabra

Betrayal

Blue Jasmine

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

In a World…

Kill Your Darlings

Oldboy

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Pretty One

Thor: The Dark World

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Don Jon

Elysium

Monsters University

Mood Indigo

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Escape From Tomorrow

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Fast & Furious 6

Frankenstein’s Army

Iron Man 3

And some of my previous end of year lists.

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