Sunday, January 12 2014, 03:31 PM MST
Top 10 Movies of the Year
(KUTV) My Favorite Films of 2013
1. 12 Years a Slave
I walked out of 12 Years a Slave with the sense that everything that Quentin Tarantino was trying to say about slavery in America with Django Unchained had finally been said in a more coherent and less pop culture sort of way. Gone was the tongue-in-cheek artifice and in its place was a painful, albeit it often beautiful, film. John Ridley's script, Chiwetel Ejiofor's lead performance, Steve McQueen's direction, Sean Bobbitt's cinematography, Hans Zimmer's score on through the supporting cast (famous or otherwise) add up to a near-perfect cinema experience.
Alfonso Cauron is the sort of director that Ill follow anywhere. Throughout his career he has consistently produced magical films ranging from the gorgeous children's film A Little Princess to the critically acclaimed sci-fi Children of Men (not to mention his mainstream delight Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). Gravity, a powerful psychological horror film dressed in the guise of science fiction, is no exception. Since winning an Academy Award Sandra Bullock has reinvented herself as a formidable actress and her performance here is her best. Combine that with cutting edge special effects, gorgeous visuals and a masterful use of 3D and youve got a fantastic reason to turn off the television and go out to a theater.
3. Before Midnight
In 1995 director Richard Linklater teamed with actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke on a little film called Before Sunrise. The film was about two strangers that meet on a train. Never expecting to see each other again the duo spends a magical evening together. Before Midnight picks up the tale 18 years (and one additional film, Before Sunset) later. Its a frank, intelligent, beautifully written and performed film about the difficulties of keeping love alive when the power of romance is fading.
Director/writer Spike Jonze returns with a strangely appropriate film about a lonely man, brilliantly played by Joaquin Phoenix, who falls in love with his phone and computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Comes to theaters locally on January 10th.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers return with a tribute to the fledgling Greenwich Village folk scene circa 1961 starring Oscar Isaac as an arrogant and haunted musician in search of appreciation. Isaac is fantastic, as is the supporting cast that includes the likes of Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and Coen regular John Goodman. Don't overlook Bruno Delbonnel's (Amelie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) wonderful cinematography or T-Bone Burnett's fantastic soundtrack.
6. Blue is the Warmest Color
Too much attention has been given to the explicit sex scenes and not enough to Adele Exarchopoulos' fantastic performance or the coming-of-age journey her character goes on as she falls for an older and more experienced woman. A little more restraint from Abdellatif Kechiche (The Secret of the Grain) and a slightly tighter edit might have made Blue is the Warmest Color a unquestionable masterpiece, as it stands its still a deeply moving cinematic experience.
7. Blue Jasmine
Woody Allen's latest films tells the story of Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a fallen socialite forced to move in with her blue collar sister (Sally Hawkins) and the friction that is created by the gap between their lifestyles. Its a wonderful dark comedy that showcases the talents of Blanchett and Hawkins.
8. The Grandmaster
Wong Kar-wais take on the legend of Ip Man (Tony Leung) is unlike any other as the fight sequences (choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping) are surrounded by themes of longing and unrequited love. Cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd paints a gorgeous picture, as is customary with all of Wong's films. Its as beautiful visually as it is emotionally evocative. Not exactly what you'd expect from a martial arts film.
9. Dallas Buyers Club
Set in 1985 at the height of the AIDS crisis Dallas Buyers Club looks at the rise of clubs where those suffering from AIDS could buy memberships to have access to experimental medication otherwise unapproved and unavailable to them. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto turn in Oscar worthy performances while screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack provide a solid foundation.
10. Captain Phillips
Director Paul Greengrass shaky-camera approach proves to be the perfect fit for this hijacking drama about an US cargo ship hijacked by a group of Somali pirates. Sure, Tom Hanks turns in a fine performance as Captain Richard Phillips, but it is Barkhad Abdi's performance as one of the Somali pirates that makes the film captivating.
Other films in the conversation:
20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
All Is Lost
From Up on Poppy Hill
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Kill Your Darlings
Out of the Furnace
The Wind Rises
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Worlds End
By: Ryan M. Painter
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)