Here are my favorite films of 2013:
1 Gravity Monster cinematic achievement. Sandra Bullock delivers an emotionally rich performance. Director Alfonso Cuaron should be a lock to win the Oscar. My favorite film of the year by a wide margin.
2 Her Easily the most imaginative film of the year. Spike Jonze’s examination of a detached Los Angeles in the not-too-distant future really hits the mark. Joaquin Phoenix is locked in and Scarlett Johansson’s voice gives Her plenty of sizzle.
3 Blue Jasmine Cate Blanchett carried over the Blanche Dubois magic she surely brought to the stage in her Australia run of A Streetcar Named Desire. Phenomenal performance, should win her her second Oscar.
4 The Great Gatsby I sure wish this film was getting the attention for DiCaprio that the God awful Wolf of Wall Street is. He’s excellent in this very stylized, Baz Luhrmann over-the-top version of possibly the best American novel ever written. The look, the clothes, the sets, the music, the Tobey Maguire narration…all so good. Loved it.
5 The Butler I loved every second of this film. Director Lee Daniels struck just the right tone, getting pitch perfect performances from Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.
6 Lone Survivor Amazing film. Worth seeing for the stunts alone, but all four of the actors showed up big for the challenge. Director Peter Berg has a firm grip on action storytelling. God bless America.
7 Captain Phillips Tom Hanks just gets better and better. The film is too long, the suspense elements a bid redundant, but its a compelling story very well told. Any other year, Hanks would be a front-runner for an Oscar. But not this year.
8 Rush Really surprised by how much I liked this one. Ron Howard handled the material beautifully, and Daniel Bruhl blew me away as Austrian Formula One driver, Niki Lauda. Can’t wait to watch it again.
9 The Dallas Buyer’s Club Not a great film, but a truly great performance from Matthew McConaughey. He might just win the Oscar. Jared Leto is a cinch.
10 12 Years A Slave I really wanted to love this picture, but left only admiring it. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o are great, the rest of the cast I would have reconsidered during development. I predict this wins Best Picture – and if McConaughey does not win, it will go to Ejiofor.
11 Inside Llewyn Davis Yet another Coen brothers inside joke; but it captures a hypnotic 1960s Greenwich Village mood with some memorable music and a solid – if maybe only one note – performance from Oscar Isaac.
12 Philomena A very touching film about a very sad subject. Judi Dench makes it worthwhile, as always. She’s as good as there is. Like Dallas Buyer’s Club, however, it doesn’t offer much of a climax.