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Review

Top 10 films of 2013 display great filmmaking

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February 6, 2014

Now that Christmas break and J-Term are a thing of the past, it is time to unveil the ten best films of 2013.

Everyone has their own taste in movies, so this list may not appeal to all demographics because film, like many other things in life, are a matter of opinion. However, that is an aspect that makes them so fun to discuss.

2013, much like 2012, was a great year for the American cinema. Now… shall we begin?

10. Star Trek into Darkness – I was not a true admirer of the first reboot, but the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) as the villain, “Khan,” was ingenious. Older fans of the television series or the countless William Shatner films should certainly recognize the name “Khan.” The film is funny, exciting, entertaining and offers some of the year’s best special effects.

9. The Kings of Summer – Hands down the best “indie” film of 2013, and a true coming-of-age story that is relatable to most. Many of you probably know Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” and his hilarious performance as a recently-widowed father of two is worth the price of admission.

8. Dallas Buyers Club – Matthew McConaughey is an actor that continues to surprise me. The days of “Fool’s Gold” and “Failure to Launch” are so far in the rear-view mirror that I am beginning to forgive him for all those terrible roles he took over the past 10 years. Jared Leto (“Requiem for a Dream”) and McConaughey combine to make an unlikely comedic and heart-wrenching duo in “Dallas Buyers Club,” a true story about a man and his battle with AIDS.

7. American Hustle – What prevented this hilarious, wellwritten and terrifically-acted film from popping into the top five was the opening 30 minutes. But what starts out sappy, silly and slow becomes fun, swift and extremely funny. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, as usual, are on top of their game. An overweight and balding Christian Bale is another reason to seek out David O. Russell’s (“Silver Linings Playbook”) latest film about American greed.

6. Prisoners – Admittedly, bumping “Prisoners” to six hurts a little. Jake Gyllenhaal is a revelation as a twitchy, lonely cop looking for two missing girls. Hugh Jackman sheds his Wolverine fame and turns in a gut-wrenching performance as well.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Easily the best blockbuster of 2013. “Catching Fire” outdoes 2012’s tablesetter in all the right places. The performances are meaty; the set design, special effects and costumes are mind-numbingly good. In my opinion, “Catching Fire” is the best of the three books, and the film will likely go down as the best as well. “Mockingjay: Part 1” is due on Nov. 21.

4. 12 Years a Slave – I could easily make a best picture case for “12 Years a Slave;” all the elements are there. The direction, acting, screenplay, cinematography and score are all extraordinary. This is not a film for the faint of heart—it will tear at your soul. Onlookers in the theater were gasping for breath, while others were openly crying. Watching a dark part of our nation’s history is not a rewarding experience, but a necessary one.

3. Her – A couple awkward early scenes kept this futuristic Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”) film from taking home 2013’s best film. Joaquin Phoenix (“Walk the Line”) is nothing short of amazing; talking to an automated voice for the entire film proves his true talent. Falling in love with a “computer” sounds ridiculous on the surface, but Jonze gracefully pulls it off. The final scene of “Her” was the best motion picture experience of 2013.

2. Inside Llewyn Davis – I am a sucker for a good Coen brothers’ film. I am also a sucker for oddball musicals, such as “Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Once.” Oscar Issac (“Drive”) proves his acting worth as the title character, but what makes his performance all the more remarkable is his musical talent. Issac is a breath of fresh air and a revelation.

1. The Place Beyond the Pines – I fell in love with this film from the get go. What makes it unique is the story’s timeline and the multiple character perspectives. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle”) all share the spotlight in this epic tale of family and the consequences of our actions.

Jack Tuthill is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2014-2015 academic year.