1. The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) --- A sumptuous exploration of modern society told with both subtlety and lavish style, and featuring the best male performance of 2013 by Toni Servillo. A stunning masterpiece.
2. Blue is the Warmest Color --- A 3-hour love epic that lives and breathes its characters. It is quite possible the best coming-of-age movie ever made.
3. 12 Years a Slave --- A lyrical cinematic achievement about the resilience of the human spirit against all odds. This is an important film made by a filmmaker with a very clear point-of-view.
4. Hunger Games: Catching Fire --- Joins the rare list of sequels that eclipsed their predecessors. This is a true blue Hollywood blockbuster on every level. It’s smart, sassy, and simply awesome.
5. Gravity --- I saw this three times in theaters. A stunning cinematic experience told with bold brevity.
6. The Hunt --- A harrowing experience told with unpretentious honesty.
7. Prince Avalanche --- an unexpected treat like grows with every viewing. Poetic and loose in its narrative approach.
8. Blue Jasmine – Cate Blanchett delivers a career-best performance that deserves the Oscar. It is also one of Woody’s very best films. A melancholic comedy of the best kind.
9. The Last Stand --- Yes, Arnold is back. This is the BEST time I’ve had a theater this year. I cheered and laughed through the whole thing. Don’t judge.
10. Inside Llewyn Davis --- I’m a hit-or-miss fan of the Coen, but this is one of their very best. A fascinating, depressing character study.
ALMOST MADE THE LIST: Philomena, Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, The Last Stand, Short Term 12, Nebraska, Wolf of Wall Street, Pacific Rim, The Place Beyond the Pines, The East
PLEASANT SURPRISES: Ender’s Game, Don Jon, You’re Next, World War Z, Riddick, August: Osage County
NOT GREAT, BUT STILL GOOD: Her, American Hustle, Prisoners, Frances Ha, The World’s End, The Conjuring, Dallas Buyers Club
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS: All is Lost, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Out of the Furnace, Elysium, The Great Gatsby, Saving Mr. Banks.
WORST OF THE YEAR: Man of Steel, Paranoia, Jack the Giant Slayer, Gangster Squad, The Lone Ranger, Now You See Me, Only God Forgives, The Counselor, A Good Day to Die Hard
Written By Andrew Kightlinger