Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013: The Best New Movies I Saw

Amidst congregating all these Best of 2013 lists--and if you happened to just stumble across this one, take a look at my past 4 posts--it's easy for me to forget that January was just as much a part of this year as is December.

And as I blathered on about in creating my Best Movies of 2012 list, without being anyone officious who gets to see every movie within the year of its official--I guess for Oscar purposes--release, I am stuck with tricky situations such as this. Two of my favorite movies of 2013--Zero Dark Thirty and Amour--were technically 2012 releases (as were perhaps some other foreign films I saw and liked this year).

But neither ZD30 nor Amour were released in Chicago until January 2013. Hence they didn't make my Best of 2012 list, but they also are far too good to ignore. (Interestingly, at least to me, the film I picked as Best of 2012--A Separation--was considered as a 2011 film by most list makers, but didn't open in Chicago until 2012; the same director's (Asghar Farhadi) new movie, The Past, is in a similar situation this year. Though it's had a limited U.S. release, it's yet to open in Chicago, and I don't know exactly when it will.)
So in titling this list the Best New Movies I Saw in 2013, I am essentially counting as eligible any film I watched over the past 12 months that I didn't have a reasonable chance to see previously. 
The 20 or so people who may care about this list should understand this conundrum, so I won't prattle on about rules and disclaimers. And if you don't feel like Zero Dark Thirty or Amour deserve to be included for chronological reasons, feel free to ignore them.

With that said, these are the Best New Movies I Saw in 2013:

(12) = Technically a 2012 release; (F) = Foreign Film; (D) = Documentary

1. Zero Dark Thirty (12)

2. 12 Years a Slave

3. Blancanieves (F)

4. Fruitvale Station

5. Gravity

6. Mud

7. The Hunt (F)

8. Amour (F, 12)

9. Dallas Buyers Club

10. Nebraska

11. Blue Jasmine

12. American Hustle

13. Philomena

14. The Gatekeepers (D, F)

15. War Witch (F)

16. The Place Beyond the Pines

17. Inside Llewyn Davis

18. Saving Mr. Banks

19. Prisoners

20. Her

Honorable Mention
Side Effects
The Wolf of Wall St.
Before Midnight
Sound City (D)
Star Trek: Into Darkness
At Any Price
Frances Ha
Fill the Void (F)
The World's End

Other Films Seen: The Spectacular Now, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, This is the End, The Bling Ring, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Springsteen & I, Escape From Tomorrow, A Good Day to Die Hard

Notable Films Not Seen: Rush, Captain Phillips, In a World..., Stories We Tell, 2 Guns, Blue is the Warmest Color (F), The Attack (F), 20 Feet From Stardom (D), Muscle Shoals (D), All is Lost, Spring Breakers, The Act of Killing (D), The Butler, The Past (F)

My Friend Dave's Top 13 of 2013
1) Blue Jasmine
2) Nebraska
3) American Hustle
4) Gravity
5) Neighboring Sounds
6) Zero Dark Thirty
7) The Silence
8) Fruitvale Station
9) Philomena
10) Before Midnight
11) Like Someone in Love
12) Amour
13) You're Next

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