Five Best Films of 2013

*As of January 25, 2014. In no order. To be expanded upon.

  • gravgif GravityDirected by Alfonso Cuarón. Rated PG-13/UK: 12A. 91 minutes.

While the scientific community was twitching over the trivial, the cinema-going public was in awe of Alfonso Cuarón’s latest work. A simple enough story, humanity verses itself and nature, where Sandy Bullock represents humanity and satellite debris in space represents nature. But this minimalist film hold you firmly in its grasp for 90 minutes and only after allows you to take a moment to catch your breath. Director Cuarón, already established as a greatly visionary director with films like Children of Men, has produced a film that is years ahead of its time.

There is no doubt that over the years of recent cinema that the dark corner of American slavery and segregation has been explored frequently. But what sets Shame director Steve McQueen’s apart from those other films is the blunt and nakedness of the subject. 12 Years is a brutal, authentic, and unflinching account of Solomon Northup, A free man turned slave who fought back to regain his humanity. Many have focused on the brutal aspects of this film, but the real power of McQueen is his ability to showcase ugliness without the need of “shock value”.

  • wows2 Wolf of Wall Street– Directed by Martin Scorsese. Rated R/UK:18. 180 minutes.

A lot of people have complained that this film glorifies excess and immorality. Personally, I don’t. I think Scorsese was trying to point out the absurdity of Jordan Belfort’s debauchery. But regardless of what you think, there is no denying that the latest from the legendary director is three coke-fueled hours of hilarious/satirical fun. The story of a fast and loose Wall Street swindler is Scorsese’s best film since his gangster opus Goodfellas, which shares one or two similarities with Wolf. Could this be the year that DiCaprio takes home a Best Actor Oscar? I think so.

Not a film for the faint of heart, Winding-Refn’s gritty and blood-stained Only God Forgives split the cinephiles this year. Many liked it. Many found it too abstract. Either way you lean, the scope and beauty of Winding-Refn’s scope is dirty and beautiful. More Valhalla Rising than Drive in structure, this tale of deplorable characters on both sides of a murder doesn’t shy with making you comfortable.

  • prisgif1 Prisoners– Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Rated R/UK: 15. 153 minutes.

While not the best, Prisoners is in fact my favorite film this year. Not the best, but the most fun. Well, as much fun as child abduction can be. But over the last few years there has been something missing from the thriller genre- thrills. This film does, and so much more. The story is always churning and changing the perspective of who did what. It is also a showcase for the talents of Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, both sadly snubbed of Academy Award recognition. As was this film.

Up next, are The Five Worst Films of 2013…

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