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Added by the giraffe on 21 Jul 2013 03:15
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Best movies of 2013

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People who added this item 659 Average listal rating (385 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9

The story of Jesse and Céline could have ended nine years ago, with a song, a dance, and the enticing threat of a missed flight. Certainly, there would be worse ways to leave these loquacious lovers—who met on a train in 1995’s Before Sunrise and then found each other again in 2004’s Before Sunset—than frozen forever in the blissful moment. Instead, and quite daringly, director Richard Linklater and his stars/collaborators, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have looked beyond that perfect ellipsis of an ending, to a rockier future than the characters could have imagined. Before Midnight, the smartest and prickliest of the trilogy, reveals the full scope of its creators’ ambitions: It’s clear now, if it weren’t before, that Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy have been painting a grand mosaic—not simply an episodic love story, but the decade-by-decade life of a relationship. Pitting Jesse and Céline against not just each other but also the hurdles of middle age, parenthood, and long-term companionship, Midnight loses much of the sweet, simple charm of its walk-and-talk predecessors. But it also deepens those films in retrospect, making them a part of something bigger and more meaningful. For all the vitriol exchanged between them—see: the year’s best scene—Jesse and Céline are still very much in love, their passion complicated but not extinguished with age. What could be more profoundly romantic than that?
--from The A.V. Club's Best Films of 2013
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People who added this item 1774 Average listal rating (1198 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Gravity (2013)

At first I was disappointed (when I went to see this) that the only available option was 3D, but once the film started I quickly got over that & by the end I couldn't imagine not seeing it this way.

Gravity is one of those films that's an experience, a spectacle, and thus it demands that it be seen on a big screen. Your TV at home won't be able to reproduce the experience, so if for any reason you're thinking about waiting don't. It's probably even better in IMAX, and if time & opportunity presents itself I'll try to catch it that way too before it leaves theatres. If I can't do that I may even go see it again in 3D. It's that good. It's not quite my favorite film of 2013, but it's easily among the best films the year has offered.
--from my October 2013 Horrorfest list

See also: Review by PvtCaboose91
Review by SJMJ91
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People who added this item 1444 Average listal rating (948 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Her (2013)

In a near future not so different from our plugged-in present, a sad-sack writer falls for his operating system, cooing sweet nothings into the speaker of his smart phone. What might have been an easy joke, or maybe a cynical lecture about gadget addiction, becomes something more intimate, perhaps even personal—a melancholy comic fable about coming together, growing apart, and coping with loneliness in an era when you’re never really alone. Spike Jonze, the soulful eccentric who made Being John Malkovich and Where The Wild Things Are, treats the romance between man and machine with a disarming sincerity. Part of that is the immaculate casting: Joaquin Phoenix, softening his volatile energy, seems to secrete heartache from his pores. And he’s perfectly matched by Scarlett Johansson, creating a fully fleshed character—the most neurotically alive A.I. since A.I.—with nothing but her disembodied voice. Set in a shimmering, utopian facsimile of Los Angeles, Her presents a cosmetically, technologically plausible tomorrow. But, as with the greatest science fiction, its real beauty lies in what it says about today—about trying to live, and find happiness, in the here and now.
--from The A.V. Club's Best Films of 2013
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People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4
U.S. release date - Jan. 25, 2013

Attention to all filmmakers who think that all movies about "big ideas" and parallel universes have to be obtuse and boring, and can't be freakishly entertaining and have a fantastic sense of humor: see this movie, yo. John Dies at the End is a triumph because it does everything right- it penetrates the dark depths into which our minds and our dreams can take us... but it does so with a constantly solid dose of humor... and yet the comedy never takes over too much to the point of making the suspense vanish or of getting us to stop caring about the fate of the characters. The fact that Chase Williamson and Paul Giamatti are among the few people who obviously consider it important to act your ass off even in a movie in which most audience members "don't care about the acting" is just an added bonus and yet another reason to see this. What a purely awesome film.
--from lotr23's May-June 2013 Movie Journal list
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People who added this item 1140 Average listal rating (781 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Conjuring (2013)

There is a great deal of similarities between what the modern action movie is to what horror movies mostly used to be and nowadays still are - They both play out as spectacles to behold, and most of all, to be thrilled by. The Conjuring is, in that sense, the perfect film. I only give it four stars, but that is purely because I know that I will never be able to enjoy this movie properly again and the people who only watch it at home are missing out severely unless they have a kick-ass home theater. Which I do not.

But really, you see this in the cinema. You get a crowd not filled with obnoxious people talking and you shit your pants for two hours, then you leave. And for that, it's perfect. James Wan achieves what he strove for in Insidious - making an absolute blockbuster of a horror film. The meticulous way everything in it is set up is astonishing to the mind.

The story is simple - a family moves into a family home, encounter paranormal activity, and get a couple of demonologists to help them out. But it's the way Wan shoots all those scary scenes that makes this stand so far apart from all other haunted house -movies of it's kind. The house is a treasure trove. When a little girl reveals that by looking into this tiny mirror on a music box you can see a ghost standing behind you after the music finishes playing, Wan shows no ghost there when the mother looks into it. It's what happens for the entire film afterwards that's shocking - You suddenly notice that there's a mirror in practically every shot. So what do you do? You keep an eye out. Just in case. There be ghosts in this bitch yall.

Then comes another similar revelation, and another. You have to try to keep tabs on so many things on-screen at once it becomes exhilarating, intoxicating even. When shit goes down you forget to breathe because through this attention and dedication you've put into just watching the damn movie you've become, in the process, deeply immersed with every. Single. Thing.

And it is through this immersion that Wan mentally abuses you for the latter half of this movie. There literally is a stretch during the film where I noticed afterwards I must have breathed only enough not to pass out. It works better than any action spectacle in recent years. It makes you care and it makes you tense in every single way when what you care about becomes threathened. Another important balancer in this is that Wan uses no cheap shots. No. He gives you time to prepare for each scare. They're not jump scares. They're kill scares. In the sense that the anticipation for them will kill you.

I could further discuss the structure of The Conjuring, but I think you get the point. The craftsmanship is so remarkable within it that you never know what will happen but you know something will happen and when it happens you're sitting there with your nose up to a canvas with no means to escape. Sure, it isn't a scary movie, but is that really important with a movie like this? It's supposed to be a big, boombastic spectacle. And that it is.
--from VierasTalo's Film Journal 2013
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People who added this item 738 Average listal rating (510 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead is a supremely brutal picture, gleefully R-rated, and it's no surprise that the MPAA slapped it with an NC-17 at first. Skin burns under boiling water, blood is vomited up, people are set on fire, and limbs are torn off. The climax, meanwhile, literally paints the whole world red. It feels more gleeful and fun than "torture porn" films like Saw and Hostel, too, making it easier to digest. Best of all, Alvarez and his team were determined to use in-camera effects, with only minimal CGI being employed for minor touch-ups. It's an outstanding creative decision which will definitely be appreciated by those who detest CGI-laden horror pictures, and the technical achievements here are phenomenal. Apparently 70,000 gallons of fake blood was used during filming, which sounds like an accurate figure. Everything from the cinematography, the editing, and especially the sound design is top-notch here, making great use of the modest $17 million budget.
--from PvtCaboose91's review
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People who added this item 770 Average listal rating (466 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Stoker (2013)

Stoker may be over-edited and it may prefer to compel your interest through visual storytelling rather than through a cohesive/straightforward narrative, but that's easily forgiven when you're dealing with something as engrossing and deliciously macabre as this. Yes, I like macabre when it's done well, and this is a perfect example of macabre done well. Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska are absolutely on top of their game. I do think Matthew Goode is miscast- he's given good villainous performances elsewhere (see The Lookout), but he has the same look on his face throughout the entirety of Stoker, and it's not a look that inspires the kind of eeriness that his character is obviously meant to inspire. As a result of that, the disturbing effect that is obviously intended in several of the film's key scenes was only accomplished partially for me, because Goode didn't quite cut it for me, but the other two leads most definitely did. In the depressing wasteland that have been these few months at the theaters, it's "refreshing" (even if this isn't at all what you'd call a refreshing movie) to find something as gripping and visually appealing as this. (And hey, when I was at dinner after I got out of the movie, I remembered to say "No, thank you" after I was offered something... so, there's a thought for all those who think movies like this only inspire sick thoughts and malevolence in those who see it.)
--from lotr23's March-April 2013 Movie Journal
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People who added this item 644 Average listal rating (387 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
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People who added this item 883 Average listal rating (611 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7

The World’s End is chock full of the kind of energetic filmmaking—whip-pans, visual rhymes, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references—that viewers have come to expect from director Edgar Wright. Like the previous two installments in Wright’s cult Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun Of The Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), it’s an extended genre homage in the shape of an action-comedy, with a friendship between series leads Simon Pegg (also the co-writer of all three films) and Nick Frost at its center. What sets the film apart from the others, however, is its emotional depth. In the finest performance of his career, Pegg stars as Gary King, a perennial fuck-up eager to relive his early-’90s glory days. King talks four friends from his school days (Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan) into joining him on a trip to their hometown to complete a 12-stop (or is that 12-step?) pub crawl, only to discover that the community has been taken over by alien robots. Impressively, the genre switcheroo doesn’t negate the realistic, character-based comedy of the film’s early stretch. The body-snatcher premise makes for an effective, multi-faceted metaphor—for living in the past, for the loss of a certain small-town way of life, and for how once-familiar places can seem strange to a returning adult—which is deepened by Pegg and Frost’s performances. Despite all the in-jokes and special effects, The World’s End is, first and foremost, a film about addiction—a fantasy about dealing with reality.
--fromThe A.V. Club's Best Films of 2013
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People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Wrong (2012)
U.S. release date - Feb. 1, 2013

Wrong showed the lighter side of existential dread. The film’s increasingly befuddled protagonist tried to find his lost dog in an absurd world where duplicitous gardeners were struggling to learn how to draw, it was constantly raining inside an office, and dogshit had its own story to tell. If done poorly, this would be the stuff of nightmares — or worse yet, pretentious student films — but luckily, writer/director Quentin Dupieux handled everything with a comic bent that highlighted his assured filmmaking and firm grasp of tone. William Fichtner delivered one of the best performances of the year as Master Cheng, the enigmatic guru who loves animals, invasive telepathy, and maintaining an exquisitely groomed rattail. There was a sense of menace and creeping doom lingering under every scene, giving Wrong an enthralling, dangerous feeling that anything could have happened — and it would all still work. Wrong will live eternally in the poorly lit gloom of the insomniac’s room, a new cult rising for an utterly unique film with profound moments gleaned from a funhouse-mirror reflection of our lives.
--from TinyMixTapes' 30 Favorite Films of 2013
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People who added this item 772 Average listal rating (507 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3

I'm as surprised as anyone that this film has a home up here. Typically I can't stand Ben Stiller, so a film he directed & starred in shouldn't even rank. And yet here it is, largely because it's a film I connected with but also because it's so consistently entertaining & goes to some unexpected and fun places along the way. You can pretty well assume where it'll wind up (which keeps it from being Great in my book), but its ending is earned well enough. It'll likely even find a home on my DVD shelves so I can revisit it again over the years. Though I'd prefer to take a short trip around the world. ;)
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People who added this item 431 Average listal rating (299 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Frances Ha (2012)
U.S. release date - May 17, 2013

Another small black and white movie. But this one trades pastoral landscapes, small-town dealings, and old people angling for a leg up for a Brooklyn backdrop, urban socio-economic warfare, and youthful yearning. Much of Frances Ha's allure rests with the Greta Gerwig's immensely appealing performance, but the film as a whole provides her anchoring presence with an incredibly sharp and observant sense of time and place. This is not one of those "Look at ME!" indie-flicks. This is one of those "goes out and gets it totally fucking right" indie-flicks. And jeezus gawd, could we use more of those.
--from My 2013 Favorites - Xanadon't
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People who added this item 431 Average listal rating (289 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6

Chapter 2 hits the ground running as it rolls off the end of its predecessor and barrels forward to its conclusion. Wan again proves to be a master of winding you up until your nerves are frayed & you're yelling at the characters to not do things they're clearly going to do anyway. It helps that the majority of the cast & crew from the first film have returned here, thus ensuring that the same level of quality carries over from Insidious. That said, I did feel like the opening sequence was a little clunky, and there were a couple moments after that that didn't work as well as they could have. I'm not sure whether that's due to Wan pulling double duty working on this installment and The Conjuring together (with an obvious preference for the latter) or something else. But as well as the film's final third plays out I'm totally willing to let most of those flaws slide as they don't truly ruin the film at all. Let's also acknowledge that it's a pleasure to see what Wan can do with a sequel rather than letting someone else take over another series from him. Let's just hope that if/when Chapter 3 comes along he's up to take it all on again.
--from My July 2014 list
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People who added this item 1199 Average listal rating (789 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 1268 Average listal rating (868 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Pacific Rim (2013)

I am a liberal arts hack with an appetite I keep cloistered deep in my movie shelf. But no matter how much I banter about Kieslowski or Bergman, no matter how I argue the value of L’Avventura over La Dolce Vita, no matter how strict a diet of documentaries and fringe cinema I consume, an addict-twinge itch asks me: “Why are there no giant fucking robots?” At the pith of my being, I’m still a thirteen year-old Toonami fanboy making models of Gundam Wing robots (yes, it was that bad). Pacific Rim did something flooring: sated my desire to see giant robots live-action fuck shit up. Blockbuster narrative tropes? Don’t care. Static characters? Whatever, Stringer Bell was in the movie. I had no investment whatsoever in any scene featuring an actual human being. The only complaints I had about Pacific Rim were the possibility for more giant robots and the fact Los Angeles wasn’t destroyed. This year, Quentin Dupieux rendered a new vision of French Surrealism. Kim Ki-Duk tore open humanity’s capacity for malice and compassion. Guillermo del Toro had a giant robot cut a monster in two with a sword in the fucking stratosphere. It’s a hard toss for me.
--from TinyMixTapes' 30 Favorite Films of 2013
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People who added this item 1421 Average listal rating (898 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1


Review by PvtCaboose91


*Feel free to complain about the placement of this one, but for me it's a film that I'm very unlikely to revisit, or if I do it won't be more than once or twice in the future. The rest of the films placed above it have far more re-watch value for me.
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Runners-up

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Unwatched contenders

This isn't an all-inclusive group of films, just the ones I'd honestly wanted to watch but haven't yet got around to.

For this year I decided to include some of the 8/10 films among my top picks for the year, since not a single film released in 2013 managed to score a 10/10 for me and only a few earned 9/10. Should that change drastically I may alter this list, but it seems unlikely.

Top films listed in the order I like them, though repeat viewings could potentially rearrange said order. And of course the order could be further altered once I watch the "Unwatched contenders".

Runners-up and Unwatched contenders listed alphabetically.

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Comments

Posted: 3 years, 10 months ago at Jan 24 17:03
Decided to set my 2012 & 2013 lists free today since this city is having an ice day. A few of the films listed above I just watched this month (January 2014), and my thoughts on them will eventually emerge. Be patient. ;)
Posted: 3 years, 10 months ago at Jan 24 18:28
I'm totally not voting for this just because I'm on it!

Good choices.
Posted: 3 years, 10 months ago at Jan 24 19:16
Of your unwatched, I would definitely recommend The Evil Dead; it's one of the better remake/homages that I've seen.
Posted: 3 years, 10 months ago at Jan 24 20:46
Did NOT expect Before Midnight to be #1!! Our lists have more common than I thought, and I'm glad you loved Her and Frances Ha. Oh, and I read the note in Stoker and didn't realize till halfway through that it was mine. I didn't remember that I had written so much about it, haha.
Posted: 3 years, 9 months ago at Feb 1 13:54
awesome! Still so many movies here I haven't seen. Hopefully I'll get around to it sooner rather than later. Glad to see Gravity at #2. It was an incredible cinematic experience.
Posted: 3 years, 8 months ago at Mar 19 10:08
I was about to vote for this list, but I've already done so ;)
Posted: 3 years, 7 months ago at Mar 31 0:35
Oh God, Ironman 3 a runner up? pfff... Sadly Gravity and American Hustle were some of the most overated.

The Conjuring, Pacific Rim, 12 years a slave, Her and Walter Mitty were some of my favorites too. I highly recommend The Spectacular Now!
Posted: 3 years, 7 months ago at Mar 31 12:56
I really like your picks for this list. Pacific Rim is one that I wasn't sure about before I saw it, but I really ending up liking it a lot, enough to buy it on DVD.

The Conjuring is one that I plan on watching soon.
Posted: 3 years, 7 months ago at Apr 1 6:00
You should include La gran belleza.
Posted: 3 years, 7 months ago at Apr 1 6:08
@bdi_listal - Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into it.

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