Thursday, January 2, 2014

Best Films of 2013

While we didn't have masterworks from Audiard or Haneke or Tarr, it was still a pretty good year for film. I didn't have time to see everything I wanted (Jonze, Coens) but below are a few films that made an impact. Recommendations for documentaries can be found here and brief thoughts on cinema throughout 2014 can be found here.

1. 12 Years a Slave
A long hard look at a cinematically under-explored part of history featuring vividly rendered brutality as deeply disturbing as it is beautiful: sick minds seethe as broken souls are rendered subservient. Heroic filmmaking.

2. The Place Beyond the Pines
Incredible. A thoroughly intense American Epic. Everyone's performance's are first class but Emory Cohen and Ben Mendelsohn are especially outstanding. Bravo.

3. Moebius
Kim Ki-Duk's dialogue free Buddhist penectomy-heavy familial gender study is uniquely transgressive and totally unprecedented in the history of cinema. Full review here.

4. Escape From Tomorrow
The consequences of imagineering are explored in this psychedelic descent into modern magical archetypes and myth-making. Trippy, creepy, relevant and totally original.

5. Simon Killer
An American weirdo in Paris. An understated exploration of a modern sociopath and a well paced unraveling of mania. Brady Corbett turns in another very believable performance in this Joran Van der Sloot-esque tale of modern masculinity.

6. Our Children
Joachim Lafosse's devastating portrayal of a mother overwhelmed by parenting. A very tense, timely, superbly acted film.

7. Evil Dead
A surprisingly well made remake- the debut feature by Uruguay's Fede Alvarez. It's definitely the best horror picture in some time, especially the first half. The atmospherics and camera work were unusually excellent for the genre. This is about as scary and realistic as "demons" can get.

8. The Bling Ring
A condemning portrait of celebrity culture and the vain emptiness it spawns. I know people like this and can confirm they are actually this annoying. Sophia Coppola's best work yet.

9. Shadow Dancer
A very solid entry into the canon of great IRA dramas punctuated by a surprisingly heartless ending.

10. Black Mirror
Not a film but a TV series by UK genius Charlie Brooker. Each of the six hour long episodes are totally different from one another, tied together by themes of media and technology. The first episode, The National Anthem really blew my mind. Demented, intelligent and very funny stuff. The title of the series says it all- track it down. 

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