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Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Chris Scott

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Chris’s Top 10 Films of 2013

2013 saw those of us at Critically Sane relegate film to the back burner here in favor of next-gen console talk, and considering how big two new system launches are, it is hard to argue with that logic.Yet, I still personally got out and saw a lot of films. I didn’t see everything, missing out on potential great films like “The Place Beyond the Pines”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “her”, but out of what I did see, these are the ten that I found to be my favorites in 2013.

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10. You’re Next

2013 wasn’t a banner year for horror but there were a few that were really, really good. While The Conjuring was a film that was perfectly put together, at the end of the day it was a pretty standard ghost/possession story. You’re Next was different. On the surface it seemed like a pretty standard home invasion film but the twist and ultimate outcome of the events made it more enjoyable and memorable for me.

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9. Spring Breakers

Horror might have had something of a down year but The Franco brothers sure didn’t, both of whom snagged a slot on this list. Older brother James gave one of the most captivating performances of the year with his turn as a drug kingpin in Daytona Beach. His weird twisted relationship with the four girls on Spring Break is something special. Spring Breakers, like You’re Next, ended up surprising me with where the film ultimately ended up but it is Franco that really pulls everything together.

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8. Pacific Rim

Giant robots fighting Godzilla-like monsters for the fate of humanity. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t need any further explanation.

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7. Fast & Furious 6

Fast Five was the Fast and Furious franchise moving in a wonderfully entertaining new direction. Fast & Furious 6 took that new direction and built on it with heaping amounts of absurdity. The team that started out as small time street racers with a knack for pulling off daring heists has turned into international superheroes and I love it.

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6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I liked The Hunger Games well enough but it’s sequel is where I really started to care about the characters and the world they live in. The political maneuvering, some subtle, some not so much, adds that much needed extra layer of depth to the world. Add in the fact that this Hunger Games feels 100 times more visceral than its predecessor and Catching Fire ends up being far more engaging. Oh and it has Jennifer Lawrence, so it’s kind of an immediate win in my book.

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5. Frozen

Tangled returned Disney animation to its classic roots; Frozen builds on that in nearly every way. The music is great, the visuals are beautiful, and the characters are super charming. Watching this film brought a smile to my face from the word go and in a year where nearly everything was super serious, Frozen succeeds in bringing viewers to a happy place.

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4. Now You See Me

I’ve always been drawn to magic and the magicians that perform the tricks. Films about the subject matter though have often been poorly developed or played off as a joke. Sure there is the rare gem, like Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige”, but those films are few and far between. Now You See Me is one of those films. What makes Now You See Me work, is that, at its core, it is a heist movie. The magic is the set-up for the real trick and while the end reveal is less than satisfying, like nearly all heist movies, it is the journey to the payoff that is the fun part.

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3. Trance

There are few directors working today that thrive on their visual style more than Danny Boyle. With each of his films, the visual approach is always unique and fitting to the film experience being laid out to viewers. With Trance, Boyle tells a pretty simple heist gone wrong tale while effectively putting viewers into a surreal experience that begins to blend reality with the subconscious to the point that one can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. Because of this, what seems like a standard heist film quickly becomes a thrilling twist on the genre and one of the most exciting films of the year.

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2. Gravity

Space is a wonderful yet horrific place and no film has ever captured that reality better than Gravity. Alfonso Cuarón’s film is a 90 minute roller coaster ride that is as fun and beautiful as it is dark and terrifying. Maybe the science isn’t exactly precise and maybe there is a rather contrived scene where our protagonist gets the motivation needed to not give up, but I don’t care because the film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. As a piece of entertainment I found it to be near perfect.

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1. American Hustle

I just said I found Gravity to be near perfect, so that must mean that American Hustle is perfect right? Not exactly. There are flaws in David O. Russell’s latest directorial effort but the style he invokes with his cinematography and charm of his top tier cast (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence) make the film so utterly enjoyable that it is easy to overlook its issues. Russell was already a top tier director, but with American Hustle, he firmly solidifies his place on my list as a must watch for anything he does going forward (especially if he continues to cast Jennifer Lawrence in his films).

Those are mine, what are yours?

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  • Wolf

    Only saw Frozen from this list. Thought Tangled was better. Frozen was a super tight movie, where it almost needed another half hour, AND the movie still had fluff in it. I could have done without the snowman. Also wasn’t happy with the late twist, thought it was unnecessary. Just my two cents.

    • Chris Scott

      I’d agree that Tangled was a better film and if I remember correctly it ended up pretty high on my list the year it came out as well. I really liked the songs in Frozen though and quite enjoyed the Snowman and the twist at the end (albeit quite predictable).

  • Wolf

    No interest in Thor 2?

    • Chris Scott

      I saw Thor: The Dark World. I felt it was better than the first film but even then I wasn’t overly impressed with it. For me it was the third place comic book movie behind Man of Steel and Iron Man 3.

      • Wolf

        Haven’t seen either Man of Steel, or IM3. I hated IM2, so wrote off 3. Will have to catch it at some point. I liked Thor 1, thought there was a ‘spark to the visual quality. Story was ok, but the visuals really pulled me in. Thor 2 had a stronger story, but lost some of the visual quality.

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