by Ken B.
This better list contains the same disclaimer as the previous: this is my list, and my list only. I do not attempt to create charades of factual statements by ranking films on a numbered sheet.
Here is the start of the top 10 list of movies I reviewed in 2013 (not necessarily 2013 movies, for I’ve only seen eleven in theaters, and only one made the final 10 here), which is really more of a top 15 list, since I will include (but not elaborate on) five honorable mentions.
10. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Zeitlin, 2012)
A powerfully acted and written drama, the largely DIY filmmaking process behind this one is about one of the brightest and most passionate cases that you could create.
9. THE DARK KNIGHT (Nolan, 2008)
What a terrifically made film! Christopher Nolan, a name you’ll hear a couple more times on this list (I am a horrible fanboy), has crafted three movies that not only transcend the bounds of the “comic book genre”, but can be viewed as solid action dramas in their own right. The Dark Knight features an absolutely marvelous performance from the late Heath Ledger.
8. HOOP DREAMS (James, 1994)
Many viewers (and many critics) sometimes have an aversion to documentaries, seeing them as boring or unfantastical. Hoop Dreams contains far more exciting tension and involving events than many fictional films, also a prime example of good editing, taking hundreds of hours of footage and whittling it down to an immersive 171 minute experience.
7. FORREST GUMP (Zemeckis, 1994)
Everybody knows and loves Forrest Gump. It’s a crowd pleaser. Some would argue that it’s a fault of the picture, but I think it’s one of its best assets. It’s hard not to be swept away in its grand and epic existence, stretching over decades, wars, and continents.
6. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (Webb, 2009)
Most movies that can be billed as “romantic comedies” send a majority of men (and a good number of women) to a state of near insanity due to a number of recurring clichés and eye-rolling lines. (500) Days of Summer can be considered a deity within the otherwise trashed genre – it’s a how-to when making this certain type of film; the leads have great chemistry, it’s told in a fresh, unconventional way, there are good legitimate jokes, and it does not restrict itself to genre boundaries or one way of storytelling.
5. THE HOURS (Daldry, 2002)
Some films leave you rolling in the aisles, some films leave you refreshed and recharged, some films leave you with a need to sleep with the lights on, but there are a select few movies that leave you floored and emotionally drained; however, you’re glad you saw it. The Hours is such a picture. Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman give excellent performances of varying screentime in this wonderfully interwoven story around one novel (Mrs Dalloway).
4. INCEPTION (Nolan, 2010)
Dreams. We all have them, we all wonder what they mean (the answer is still largely unknown). This great and inventive movie is ample evidence that there is a rare breed known as the intelligent blockbuster. Combine that with some absolutely amazing visual effects and you have a solid entry to my top 10 list.
3. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Nolan, 2012)
Pardon me for including Mr. Nolan once again. It is an unpopular opinion, but I see The Dark Knight Rises as the best entry in the most recent Batman trilogy, superior to both its predecessors due to a great and operatic scope, filled with a sense of completion and achievement.
2. GRAVITY (Cuarón, 2013)
Ninety minutes pass instantly in this terrifying, compelling, and unforgettable thriller. Sandra Bullock gives an amazing performance as Dr. Ryan Stone, an astronaut on a first mission that leaves her without a ship in the dangerous wide nothingness of space. Chalk this one up as another smart big budget adventure.
1. METROPOLIS RESTORED (Lang, 1927, 2010)
Considered by many to be the first true feature length sci-fi film, it still proves dazzling 86 years later. With a clear-but-unintrusive message and great visuals which leave an enormous legacy, Metropolis, now with 148 of its 153 original minutes available, is a movie that is not to be missed. The recent Blu-ray by Kino Lorber does this classic great justice.
And before we close the book completely on 2013, I’ll bore you with some stats collected from Microsoft Excel:
- I reviewed 85 movies in 2013. The first review was written on January 8 and the last review on December 27.
- 64% (55) of the reviews written this year were positive (3 stars and above). 25% (21) were mixed (2 and 2½ stars) and 11% (9) were negative (1½ stars and below).
- My least active month was January, where I wrote five reviews. My most active months were March and July, with nine reviews written in both.
- I gave out three four-star reviews.
- I gave out no zero-star reviews.
- I reviewed fourteen movies this year that were released in 2013. Two were available on and viewed on DVD when I got around to them.
And there it is. The best 10 movies I reviewed in 2013.