Top 21 Films of 2013

My list comprises of any film that I've seen for the first time in 2013.  These are not necessarily the "best" of anything -- rather they were films that brought cinematic joy to me by inspiring and entertaining.  I've listed a #1 title for 2013 and one from any other year.
 

21. BLACKFISH (2013) - Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite | Written by Gabriela Cowperthwaite & Eli B. Despres

Heartbreaking and informative. As any doc, it could be telling only one side but footage and tragedies are shared that definitely leave you wondering what's really the best solution.

20. PAIN AND GAIN (2013) - Directed by Michael Bay | Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

Who would've thought Michael Bay could do something that didn't feel like an ADD + CG love fest? In an odd way it could be a companion film to WOLF OF WALL STREET in telling the downfall of broken characters and still entertaining the hell out of us.

19. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN': EVERYMAN'S JOURNEY (2012) - Directed by Ramona S. Diaz 

Love this tale of an artist/singer doing what he loves and the personal and creative struggles that go along with going for your dreams -- and then getting that a one-in-a-million shot. Very inspiring and uplifting.

18. THE WORLD'S END (2013) - Directed by Edgar Wright | Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

How can you not like a film where the main character has the same name as yours?  And it becomes an amazing punchline every time someone shouts it out? 

17. TO THE WONDER (2013) - Written & Directed by Terrence Malick

This is more of a film I see myself putting on in the background and playing. Poetic. Visually gorgeous. Meditative. Honestly though I don't think I'll ever just sit down and watch it with full undivided attention.  I know that sounds weird huh?

16. NEBRASKA (2013) - Directed by Alexander Payne | Written by Bob Nelson

Alexander Payne never disappoints with his very human and complicated lives in what seems like a "simple" setting. Bruce Dern will definitely be nominated for this one.

15. FRUITVALE STATION (2013) - Written & Directed by Ryan Coogler

Very assured first-time film for Ryan Coogler. Thoroughly enjoyed it and Michael B. Jordan's performance was magnetic.

14. STARLET (2012) - Directed by Sean Baker | Written by Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch

Man I enjoyed this tale of unexpected friendship.  Stella Maeve stole the film for me....I can't take my eyes off her whenever she's on screen. She's so raw and unhinged in her character.  Looking forward to seeing her in more films.

13. DRINKING BUDDIES (2013) - Written & Directed by Joe Swanberg

There was a moment near the end of the film about opposite sex friendships that just felt so truthful -- it's happened to everyone and I feel it's rarely been captured to screen so honestly.  That's when the film made it for me. This is the film that made me an Olivia Wilde fan.

12. THE INNOCENTS (1961) - Directed by Jack Clayton | Written by William Archibald & Truman Capote

Who would've thought a classic film that could be perceived as dated still is effective?  Gorgeous cinematography and an always stellar Deborah Kerr round out why this film endures.

11. 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013) - Directed by Steve McQueen | Written by John Ridley

I loved Chiwetel Ejiofor since DIRTY PRETTY THINGS.  He turns in a masterful performance.

10. CABARET (1972) - Directed by Bob Fosee | Written by Jay Presson Allen

Holy crap Joel Grey. ALL THAT JAZZ is one of my top 5 musicals of all time so I can't believe it took me this long to get to CABARET (my excuse is waiting for blu-ray). The cinematic aggressiveness of the film is staggering -- and did I mention Joel Grey??

9. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVID (2013) - Written & Directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

The Coen Brothers capture so many wonderful, raw moments that any artist can relate to.  Love their risk-taking on creating a character that isn't 100% loveable -- although he did "save the cat" in Act 1.  This one I know I'll have to watch again and will probably grow to love it more as time passes.  That seems to be the way it works for me with them...first time watch is usually neutral or not really in love with it.  Then it grabs me later on upon subsequent viewings. Weird.

8. BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013) - Directed by Richard Linklater | Written by Richard Linklater, Julia Delpy & Ethan Hawke

Quite possibly my favorite film trilogy. These films grow more and more complex as Jesse and Celine's relationship evolves. Probably ranks #3 in the trilogy for me, but perhaps because it's harder to watch as they tumble and fall -- as we finally realize they are just as human as we are.

7. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012) - Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosku

My high school experience was not as dramatic as this film -- having said that this film is the first in a long time to capture the feel of what is was like for me. The doubts, fears, crushes. Holy crap Ezra Miller! I need to work with this guy.

6. ABOUT TIME (2013) - Written & Directed by Richard Curtis

This one was pretty much ignored by audiences due to being mis-marketed. It's not really a rom-com more than a film about the love between a father and son.  It's pretty innovative and fantastical. It may have been panned by critics as well but to me it resonated and was very heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. That's hard to do.

5. RUST AND BONE (2012) - Directed by Jacques Audiard | Written by Jacques Audiard & Thomas Bidegain

The performances from Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts crushed me. A powerful film in a tale of broken people living broken lives. Utterly fascinating.

4. TIMECRIMES (2007) - Written & Directed by Nacho Vigalondo

This film blew my mind. I won't say anything more other than its a time travel film and a mind fuck.

3. THE WOLF OF WALL STREEET (2013) - Directed by Martin Scorsese | Written by Terence Winter

Amid all the controversy, this was the first 3-hour film where my bladder didn't feel it at all. It totally flies. Performances were mesmerizing.

2. SHORT TERM 12 (2013) - Written & Directed by Destin Cretton

Brie Larson is an acting goddess.  Her powerful and tender performance as "Grace" is inspiring. And no one has really mentioned Keith Stanfield's turn as "Marcus" -- this guy made me feel I was watching a doc -- his rap is simply heartbreaking.

1. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) - Written & Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Fresh dialogue even by today's standards. Solid, scathing performances. Biting, witty and wonderful.

1. HER (2013) - Written & Directed by Spike Jonze

Bravo Spike Jonze. Bravo. HER blew my mind and broke my heart. A testament to both Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson to have such chemistry when there is no shared on-screen time. Amy Adams once again solidifies herself as a chameleon performer who can pretty much do anything and isn't afraid to do it.

All the films I watched in 2013:

NSFW - 1/4 - private download
Siberia Monamour - 1/11 - Idyllwild Cinemafest
Vertical (Work-in-progress) - 1/12 - Idyllwild Cinemafest
The Dark Knight Rises - 1/15 - bluray
V/H/S - 1/16 - netflix streaming
Red Hook Summer - 1/17 - netflix streaming
October Baby - 1/17 - netflix streaming
The Switch - 1/18 - netflix streaming
Love's Labour's Lost - 1/18 - VOD
Saboteur - 1/19 - blu - rewatch
The Changeling - 1/25 -DVD
Poster Boy - 1/25 - DVD
Odd Brosky (Work-in-progress) - 1/26 - private showing
Pretty Rosebud - 1/26 - vimeo
Nic & Jerry Get Off - 1/16 - vimeo
Table For One (short) - 1/26 - vimeo
Punchy and Toothpick (short) - 1/26 - vimeo
Excision - 1/27 - bluray
Great Directors - 1/28 - netflix streaming
The Ring - 1/29 - rewatch - DVD
The Haunting - 1/30 - dvd
The Innocents - 1/30 - dvd
Barry Lyndon - 1/31 - bluray
Mad House 1/31 - netflix streaming
Ten Til Noon - 2/1 - DVD
Indie Game: The Movie - 2/4 - netflix streaming
Antichrist - 2/5 - netflix streaming
The Sound of My Voice - 2/8 - blu
Compliance - 2/8 - blu
The Soliloquy (short) - 2/9 - blu
Celeste and Jesse Forever - 2/9 - blu
The Back-up Plan - 2/9 - Cable tv
Lawless - 2/9 - blu
Jack and Diane - 2/10 - netflix streaming
All About Eve - 2/10 - blu
Slap Shot - 2/11 - netflix streaming
Extraterrestrial - 2/14 - dvd
Cabaret - 2/14 - blu
Timecrimes - 2/17 - netflix streaming
The Perks of Being A Wallflower - 2/18 - bluray
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - 2/20 - bluray
Side by Side - 2/23 - netflix streaming
Tomorrow, When the War Began - 2/26 - netflix streaming
Let's Scare Jessica To Death - 2/26 - dvd
The Master - 2/27 - blu-ray
Sinister - 2/27 - blu-ray
Flight - 2/28 - blu-ray
Shanghai Calling - 3/1 - iTunes rental
Nobody Walks - 3/4 - netflix streaming
[Rec]3 - 3/4 - netflix streaming
The Intouchables - 3/13 - blu ray
Too Tired To Die - 3/13 - dvd
Wreck It Ralph - 3/18 - blu-ray
For A Good Time Call - 3/19 - bluray
Rust and Bone - 3/21 - blu-ray
My Worst Nightmare - 3/21 - dvd
The First Time - 3/22 - dvd
Whose Life Is It Anyway - 3/25 - dvd - rewatch
City Baby - Vimeo - 4/7
The Shrine - 4/9 - netflix instant
The Haunting of Julia (aka Full Circle) - 4/9 - netflix instant
Scream 4 - 4/9 - Netflix Instant
Don't Look Now - 4/11 - DVD (rewatch)
In Another Country - 4/12 - netflix instant
Devil Seed - 4/13 - netflix instant
HItchcock - 4/15 - blu
Life of Pi - 4/15 - blu
Carlos and the Book (short) - 4/16 - youtube
The Story of Film: An Odyssey - 4/13 to 4/19 - netflix instant
Barely Legal - 4/20 - netflix instant
King of the Hill - 4/21 - netflix instant
Did You Kiss Anyone - 4/21 - dvd
Bachelorette - 4/22 - netflix instant
Dirty Girl - 4/22 - netflix instant
Noobz - 4/22 - netflix instant
House Hunting - 4/23 - netflix instant
End of Watch - 4/26 - blu-ray
Hold Your Breath - 4/29 - netflix instant
The Frozen - 4/29 - netflix instant
Bad Kids Go To Hell - 5/7 - dvd
The Paperboy - 5/7 - netflix instant
Little White Lies - 5/9 - blu-ray
Hit and Run - 5/13 - netflix streaming
Breaking Bad (Season 1-4) - netflix streaming 4/21 - 5/14
That Guy....Who Was in That Thing - 5/18 - netflix streaming
One Wall: Kings of Coney Island - 5/18 - Art of Brooklyn Film Festival
The Impossible - 5/19 - blu-ray
Strictly Background - 5/21 - netflix streaming
Black Widow - 5/21 - netflix streaming
Jack Reacher - 5/22 - blu-ray
Deal Travis In - 5/30 - NY Shorts Film Festival
Fun Size - 5/31 - blu-ray
Three Stars - 5/31 - netflix instant
The Bay - dvd - 6/2
Hatchet 2 - netflix instant - 6/4
Mama - blu-ray - 6/4
The Restauranteur - 6/5 - netflix instant
Behind the Candelabra - 6/18 - cable
The Conjuring - 7/20 - theater
Dark Skies - 7/23 - blu
Insidious - 7/24 - rewatch - blu
La Vie en Rose - 7/25 - dvd
Blue Jasmine - 7/27 - theater
The Frighteners - 7/28 - dvd - rewatch
Dressed To Kill - 7/29 - blu - rewatch
Passion - 8/2 - VOD
The Grey - 8/5 - blu - rewatch
Cat People (1942) - 8/10 - dvd
The Monster Squad - 8/17 - blu
The Others - 8/18 - blu- rewatch
Future Self (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
Deal Travis In (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
Gears (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
8:47 (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
End of the Beginning (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
Other O.S. (short) - 8/18 - Hollyshorts
Trance - 8/19 - VOD
21 and Over - 10/23 - Netflix Streaming
Days of Thunder - 10/24 - Netflix streaming
BMX Bandits - 10/24 - Netflix Streaming
An Awkward Sexual Adventure - 10/24 - netflix streaming
House at the End of the Street - 10/24 - netflix streaming
To The Wonder - 10/25 - netflix streaming
Stacy's Mom - 10/25 - netflix streaming
Iron Man 3 - 10/30 - blu
Now You See Me - 10/30 - blu
Beetlejuice - 10/31 - blu- rewatch
Before Midnight - 11/1 - blu
Bad Timing - 11/4 - rewatch - Netflix streaming
The Kings of Summer - 11/4 - blu
Populaire - 11/4 - netflix streaming
Side Effects - 11/5 - netflix streaming
Monte Carlo - 11/7 - rewatch - blu
Warm Bodies - 11/8 - blu
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! - 11/13 - rewatch - DVD
Waterloo (short) - 11/13 - vimeo
Behind Me (short) - 11/13 - vimeo
The Heat - 11/18 - blu
The Place Beyond The Pines - 11/18 - blu
Sharknado - 11/20 - netflix streaming
The Fabulous Thunderbirds - 11/23 - dvd
The Anniversary - 11/23 - Vimeo VOD
Julie and Jack - 11/23 - dvd
Spring Breakers - 11/23 - blu
The World's End - 11/23 - VOD
Twixt - 11/23 - netflix streaming
Only God Forgives - 11/24 - netflix streaming
Much Ado About Nothing - 11/26 - blu
Abduction - 11/26 - netflix streaming
Stoker - 11/27 - blu
The Uninvited - 11/27 - rewatch - blu
Somm - 11/27 - netflix instant
Planes Trains and Automobiles - 11/27 - rewatch - theater
Princess Protection Program - 11/28 - netflix instant
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan - 11/28 - netflix instant
The Brass Teapot - 11/28 - netflix instant
Starlet - 11/28 - netflix instant
The InnBetweeners - 11/28 - netflix instant
Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles - 11/29 - amazon prime
Don't Stop Believing: Everyman's Journey - 11/29 - netflix instant
The Crimson Kimono - 12/1 - dvd
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas - 12/1 - netflix instant
This Is The End - 12/2 - blu
Star Trek: Into Darkness - 12/2 - blu
About Time - 12/4 - dvd
Gravity - 12/4 - dvd
Short Term 12 - 12/4 - dvd
The Butler - 12/4 - dvd
The Bling Ring - 12/5 - dvd
Drinking Buddies - 12/5 - dvd
Fruitvale Station - 12/5/ - dvd
The Fast and the Furious - 12/7 - rewatch - blu
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - 12/7 - blu
Timeline - 12/8 - netflix instant
The Seven Year Itch - 12/9 - blu
How To Marry A Millionaire - 12/11 - blu
Splendor In The Grass - 12/13 - dvd
Blackfish - 12/16 - netflix streaming
Stuck In Love - 12/17 - dvd
Berberian Sound Machine - 12/17 - netflix instant
Inside Llewyn Davis - 12/18 - dvd
Saving Mr. Banks - 12/18 - dvd
Lone Survivor - 12/19 - dvd
12 Years A Slave - 12/20 - dvd
Nebraska - 12/21 - dvd
All Is Lost - 12/21 - dvd
August: Osage County - 12/21 - dvd
Barefoot In The Park - 12/21 - dvd
We're The Millers - 12/21 - blu
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane - 12/21 - blu
Pain and Gain - 12/21 - blu
The Wolf Of Wall Street - 12/22 - dvd
Prince Avalanche - 12/23 - netflix streaming
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - 12/23 - blu
2 Fast 2 Furious - 12/23 - blu - rewatch
American Hustle - 12/25 - theaters
Her - 12/25 - theaters
Frances Ha - 12/28 - netflix streaming
The Thin Man - 12/28 - dvd
Fast and Furious - 12/28 - blu - rewatch
The Way Way Back - 12/29 - blu
Multiplicity - 12/29 - dvd
The Trouble With The Curve - 12/30 - blu
Fast Five - 12/30 - blu - rewatch
Fast Six - 12/31 - blu