A Lars List

The Best Films of 2013

lars logoAlas, I have seen enough of last year’s films (still have not seen Nebraska) to compile a worthy list.

Here are my favorite films of 2013:

gravity

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.

Lone survivor6   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.

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