Top Ten of 2013

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Better late than never I say… Normally I don’t do lists of my favourite films of the year as the different release dates between the US and Europe can sometimes make it difficult to catch everything. However, this year I’ve been fortunate enough to keep up to speed and managed to see almost everything that received a major release or caught my eye with a few exceptions being “Captain Phillips” and “Blue Is The Warmest Colour“.

Everyone has a different process or opinion in constructing their films of the year but I normally go with those that are included in the years awards season. Some were released in the UK in 2014 but I still class them as 2013 movies. Anyway here they are…

10: Gravity

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In danger of not making my list at all as the story felt secondary to the visuals. However, there’s no denying how impressive the visuals are. Alfonso Cauron’s use of 3-D has set a whole new benchmark and that alone makes it a worthy inclusion.
(Full review here)

9: American Hustle

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The 70’s era is captured to precision in David O. Russell’s elaborate and thoroughly entertaining con movie. What stands out the most, though, is the outstanding performances from one of the years best ensembles.
(Full review here)

8: The Place Beyond The Pines

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Released very early in 2013 and all but forgotten about in the run up to awards season, Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to “Blue Valentine” is an ambitious family drama that spans a generation. Immersive and marvellously assembled.
(Full review here)

7: Fruitvale Station

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A real low-budget surprise based on the true events of Oscar Grant. Shot in an almost documentary style, this packs quite an emotional and devastating punch.
(Full review here)

6: 12 Years A Slave

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Steve McQueen follows up “Hunger” and “Shame” with this unrelenting depiction of slavery in 1800’s America. It’s raw and unflinching brutality make it a sobering experience and a lesson that should never be allowed to be forgotten.
(Full review here)

5: The Wolf of Wall Street

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Sex, Drugs and corruption seem to be the order of the day for real-life New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Quite possibly, the best collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio who both give it their all in a surprisingly hilarious outing.
(Full review here)

4: The Hunt

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A powerful human drama that is both infuriating yet understandable. Few films this year have been as intense as this and few actors as good Mads Mikkelsen. An outstanding piece of Danish cinema that’s deserving of a bigger audience.
(Full Review here)

3: Nebraska

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An absolute gem of a road movie that cements Alexander Payne’s reputation as one of the most consistent directors working today. It also gives a great showcase role to the under appreciated talents of Bruce Dern. Poignant and heartfelt with many hilarious scenes.
(Full review here)

2: Inside Llewyn Davis

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The Coen brothers have done it again. This may not be their most accessible film to date but their originality is still as sharp and alive as it’s always been. Shamefully overlooked for awards but still a near masterpiece.

1. Her

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A very simple yet very relevant science-fiction concept that cleverly exposes our reliance on technology. Essentially a love story but a deeply felt philosophical one and one that strongly resonates.
(Full review here)

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78 Responses to “Top Ten of 2013”

  1. Every one of these movies is very good. I would adjust the order some, probably, but none of them scream, “I don’t belong” to me.

    I guess that means it’s a great list. Well done!

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    • Haha! I had to read that comment a couple of times there. I get your meaning, though. Cheers Josh! πŸ™‚

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      • Sorry. Blame my awkward syntax. I mean to say all of these flicks belong in a Top Ten list. πŸ™‚

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      • No worries, man. I understand. So many good flicks this year that others that were superb didn’t even make the cut. Here’s hoping 2014 can be as successful.

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      • No kidding. This was a tremendous year for movies. So tremendous that Her won’t even be in my Top Ten. Last year it would have been my number 1, easily and by a wide margin.

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      • Her won’t make your top ten? I’m surprised at that man. I would be very interested in seeing that list. Have you compiled it yet?

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      • I have a Current Top Ten list up, but it’s just a list, without pictures or explanation. I’ll publish a Final List sometime this week (or weekend), before the Oscars.

        And Her is wonderful. That it won’t make my list is simply an observance of the year’s strength. Like I said Her would have been my Number 1 for 2012, if it had been released last year. It’s omission from my list is in no way a criticism of its quality.

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      • Understandable, man! I’ll wait till you post your final list before taking a peek. You have me wondering now! πŸ˜‰

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  2. As someone who has followed your blog for a while, I remember when everyone of these reviews hit (Except Llewyn Davis – Somehow I missed that one). I say that because I knew it was going to be close between Her and Nebraska. Both received five stars from you so I can guess what Llewyn Davis got as well. Some really cool movies on this list and several that I absolutely love. Gravity, Llewyn Davis, The Hunt, Nevraska, 12 Years – such strong movies. And then Fruitvale Station, a film that you led me to see again (thankfully). Love the list!

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    • And for following my blog for so long, I can’t thank you enough, man. You didn’t miss the Llewyn Davis post, though. I’ve not actually reviewed it yet. I put that off until I see it for a second time. Loved it and it’s definitely one of my favourites but there’s more to that than meets the eye and I wanted to explore it further before writing about it.

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      • Ahh ok. I’m with you. I desperately want to see Llewyn again. It’s one that made an impression on me but it wasn’t until later, after I had time to process it, that I begin to love it. Hungry for it to hit DVD.

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      • Absolutely! It had the same effect on me. I kept thinking about it days after seeing it and knew that it demanded another viewing. As always with the Coens, though, there are many layers to be explored.

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  3. I agree with many of your choices. I would have kicked out a couple and inserted Blue Jasmine somewhere and probably Mud. I can’t believe I still haven’t seen The Hunt. Eegads. Thanks for reminding me, Mark πŸ™‚

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    • Mud was in my list originally Cindy, but it got pushed out when I seen Nebraska. I do feel a little guilty that Mud didn’t make it but there has been so many good movies recently.

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  4. Excellent list. I adored Her. I can definitely see why it was your number 1.

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  5. Great list! I decided to stick to the release dates in my country and/or if I’ve seen them abroad, so quite many of these will be possibly on my top 10 next year (12 Years at least). I still need to see The Hunt, Inside Llewyn Davis and American Hustle but I’ll be catching them during this week. Nebraska was my favourite of the last year (though I did loved Her as well).

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    • Yeah, everyone seems to work their lists differently but they’re always fun to read either way. Glad to hear you liked Nebraska and Her. Those two really rises to the top for me. A prefer smaller more personal films and they certainly hit the spot. Thanks for dropping in! πŸ™‚

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  6. Worthy winner.

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  7. Agree with a lot of these! Still have to catch up on some of them tho.

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    • Cheers Ryan. A couple have eluded me like Captain Phillips and Blue Is The Warmest colour so I’m not sure if they’d have made the cut but there was lots of good stuff this year.

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  8. Nice list. I feel like with Gravity the story worked largely because of Sandra Bullock, who brings a lot to a character that we barely know. That made the money for me, though I can understand it not being further up the list. I wasn’t as thrilled by The Place Beyond the Pines, especially due to the final act, but it’s still a solid drama for sure.

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    • Cheers Dan. Yeah, Gravity didn’t really work for in terms of story but visually it was outstanding. I really enjoyed The Place Beyond The Pines but I do agree that the final third let it down a bit. Loved Cianfrance’s ambition though.

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  9. Great top 10, couple of movies which I did not like as much (Inside Llewyn Davis wasn’t my cup of tea), but if Her would have come out here last year it would probably be my number 1 ….

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  10. A wonderful list Mark. Her and Inside Llewyn Davis would definitely be near my top too. Captain Phillips was the most tense and exciting film I saw all year – I would definitely check that one out when you get chance. On a personal level I really connected with August Osage County – it’s exploration of female relationships was very powerful – and I also enjoyed Blue Jasmine. I was disappointed earlier in the year when I missed Place Beyond The Pines, so will have to take a look at it soon.

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  11. Awesome list Mark, we share some faves here. Glad to see Gravity still made your Top 10 but yay for HER!! It’s a very close second to Gravity for me, it was really quite an experience watching that. A true gem and modern classic I think.

    Nice to see The Hunt, Nebraska, & 12 Years a Slave on here too, those made mine as well.

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    • Yeah, Gravity did just make it Ruth. It pushed out Mud which I really wanted to include but it didn’t quite cut it. Her is thoroughly deserving of its top spot for me, though. It’s a sublime little film.

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  12. I’ve only seen two of these! I’ve lost my right to call myself a film fan!

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    • Haha! Don’t worry Mikey. That happened to me last year. I seen very few of the nominated film before the Oscars arrived. Remedied that this year though. Back in the game!!! πŸ˜‰

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  13. Excellent choices here Mark.

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  14. Nice list. Too many people have forgotten about the Place Beyond the Pines

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  15. A perfect post for this week, Mark.

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  16. Good list of movies you have here Mark. Although I did not care much for Inside Llewyn Davis I can understand why many loved it. The Place Beyond the Pines was sorely forgotten about. I need to rewatch that one

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  17. A great list Mark. I’ve not seen a couple of these but I can’t argue with any of your list. Gravity would also struggle to hold a spot on mine, Mud might make it not sure and Place Beyond the Pines has been forgotten about hasn’t it?

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    • Cheers Chris. Mud nearly made it but when I watched Nebraska a few days back, it got an automatic inclusion and pushed Mud out. The Place Beyond The Pines does seen like it’s been forgotten but I always remembered it. It was the first film to make my list and managed to hold its place for ages.

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  18. Superb list Mark! What a fantastic year 2013 was for cinema. πŸ˜€

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  19. Awesome to see Gravity, Wolf and The Hunt on your list, HER was such a beautiful movie and makes my top 10 as well. 2013 was really a wonderful year for movies.

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    • It turned out to be a great year Sati. I wasn’t impressed with how the year started but it just got stronger as it went on and finished with some wonderful films. Her eventually won over everything else for me. Such a little gem!

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  20. Very very solid list Mark. Would have put 12 Years a Slave above Her but it’s all subjective, eh? Just reminds you what a really solid year for movies 2013 was.

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  21. Nice picks here, Mark. Glad to see Inside Llewyn Davis place so high, too. You aren’t kidding about it being overlooked for awards season, it seems like such an obvious pick that I keep forgetting that it somehow got snubbed for best picture this year. Almost certainly woulda made my own list had I seen it in time. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Chris! Yeah, the snub for Llewyn Davis is a real shocker. I can’t quite understand why they would do that. Oscar Issacs could have been a contender for best actor too. Great movie!

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  22. I’ve only seen Gravity from this list, and honestly, only 2, maybe 3 others interest me at all. There are so many good movies and shows out there that I still need to watch, that I really don’t take the time to watch anything unless I’m really, really interested in it. I don’t want to sit and watch something I know I probably won’t like while missing time I could be using to watch something I know I’ll like.

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  23. Great list, Mark! Some of these will appear in my list as well.

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  24. Well then I should really get along to see Her then, eh. If I were compiling this list now, I’d definitely put some of these in, but I didn’t see Llewyn Davis last year so didn’t have it on my list. It’s a fine pick though.

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  25. Good list Mark πŸ˜€

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  26. Top list mate! Haven’t seen Nebraska or Fruitvale Station yet but the rest are all excellent. Her is definitely a worthy number one. I saw it the other week and loved it.

    I had Rush at the top of my list, was expecting to find it on yours too after your glowing review πŸ˜‰

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    • Haha! You’ll be seeing no Rush on any list here, Chris. Unless of course, I do a list of my personal Razzies. Then it might take that #1 spot. πŸ˜‰

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Her, though. Fantastic little movie.

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  27. Great list Mark, and personally delighted to see Inside Llewyn Davis so high (you’re right, shamefully overlooked by the Academy). A lot of my favourites are in there too, though i watched Her yesterday and it didn’t quite ring with me as much as it did others, like yourself. I’d recommend seeing Blue is the Warmest Colour if you get the chance!

    Adam.

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    • Thanks again, Adam. Yeah, I’m still a peeved at Llewyn Davis’ snub. Can’t quite get my head around why?! Sorry to hear Her didn’t quite resonate with you as it did me. I thought it was fantastic. Blue Is The Warmest Colour is definitely on my list to see. In fact, I’m surprised that more foreign cinema didn’t make this list.

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  28. I really should stop procrastinating on seeing both The Place Beyond The Pines and Fruitvale Station…heard nothing but good things about both.

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  29. So glad to see Her as No.1. One of the most original and unique films I’ve seen in a long, long time. Spike Jonze isa creative and fascinating filmmaker who has written and directed his most complete and poignant film yet. Great list overall, wasn’t that big on American Hustle though.

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  30. nice list Mark. I likes all of them, but American Hustle was the one on your list that I felt was “missing something” to make it top 10.

    nicely done!

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  31. Great to see Nebraska rated so highly. I’m a big Alexander Payne fan and would love for the film to get some of the big awards at the Oscars on Sunday. Although I know it won’t win Best Picture and is unlikely to get Best Actor for Dern, there’s a good chance it could take Best Screenplay – my fingers are crossed!

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    • A fantastic film Dan! Unfortunately it walked away empty handed but the completion was very strong. Despite it’s lack of awards, though, it’s still one of the best.

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  32. I still have to make my own list, but we agree on many of the films. her and Inside Llewyn Davis are my top two as well and 12 Years A Slave, Wolf of Wall Street, and Nebraska would be in my top 10. Looking back, I don’t feel that Gravity has a lot of staying power and I think it might be a bit overrated. Nice list.

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    • Thanks man! We do seem to agree quite a bit, I find, and once again we see Gravity the same way. I did rate it very highly but that rating was for the visual side of it. Like you say, though, will it even stand up on a smaller screen?

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  33. Love this list, man. I still need to see American Hustle and Inside Llewyn Davis, but the rest rank among my favorites as well. Really happy to see The Hunt included especially.

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    • Cheers Eric! The Hunt was a special film. I loved it but was very disappointed it didn’t get any love at the Oscars. I thought, at least, that it would get Best Foreign Language but even that wasn’t to be. 😦

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  34. Great picks man. Love that we shared so many in common. It’s also great to see Pines making the cut. So happy that one didn’t fade away.

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