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The Films of 2013: Ranked and Reviewed

The Films of 2013: Ranked and Reviewed header

Page 3: Best Movies of the Year

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Worst Movies of 2013 | Middle of the Pack (#150-76) | Top 75 Movies of 2013

Jackie Robinson rounds third base and heads home in the 2013 biopic "42."

75. Epic - While it doesn't live up to its title or elevate Blue Sky to the level of rival animation studios, this adventure is more enjoyable and less generic than expected. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

74. A Hijacking - This Danish drama tells a tense, frustrating story in a compelling fashion.

73. Trance - Cooling off director Danny Boyle's hot streak, this hypnotic crime mystery still manages to keep you guessing and engaged.

72. Dirty Wars - A frightening investigation into U.S. covert strikes in the Middle East.

71. In a World... - Lake Bell makes a confident writing and directing debut with this enjoyable comedy set in the world of voiceovers. Full Blu-ray Review

70. 42 - Like most inspirational sports dramas, this one's good, just not quite great. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

69. Stories We Tell - A compellingly-presented investigation into an old family mystery is slightly weakened by faux home movies and loses its way when turning the focus on itself at the end.

68. What Maisie Knew - Artful child's eye view of divorce. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

67. Short Term 12 - This drama set at a boarding school for troubled teenagers is engrossing, though it doesn't quite live up to its rave reviews.

66. The Counselor - Unconventional thriller mostly works in spite of challenging presentation. Full Blu-ray Review

In "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) makes a fist as he walks out from prison with Winnie (Naomie Harris) by his side after serving 26 years of a life sentence.

65. The Family - A contrived yet fairly fun action comedy, with nice roles for three Hollywood vets.

64. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - A competently made, nice looking biopic of an interesting, influential life. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

63. 2 Guns - Enjoyable action comedy succeeds on strong plotting and leads' winning chemistry.

62. Cutie and the Boxer - Intimate, candid portrait of two artists' long, compelling marriage. Full Blu-ray Review

61. Out of the Furnace - Flawed but good hard-boiled drama.

In "This Is the End", six actor friends (James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, and Danny McBride) try to survive the apocalypse holed up in Franco's new house.

60. August: Osage County - Less arresting than expected for a Christmas Day opening of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, but there's some solid acting led by Meryl Streep. Full Blu-ray Review

59. Enough Said - This appealing, performance-driven romantic comedy marks a big improvement for writer-director Nicole Holofcener.

58. This Is the End - Gets more out of its meta apocalypse concept than expected, though it runs out of steam. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

57. The Heat - Easy yet effective buddy comedy.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) tries saving the world from a partially secured Wales WHO facility in the climax of "World War Z."

56. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Overlong and overdone but often entertaining. Full Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Review

55. Linsanity - Appealing, thorough, and well-made, though not remarkably timely. Full DVD Review

54. To the Wonder - Very Terrence Malicky and that is sure to turn some viewers off, but his beautiful style makes a convincing case for non-traditional storytelling.

53. World War Z - Unconventional and better than the disastrous reshoot reports indicated, but not quite great. Full Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Review

52. The Iceman - Michael Shannon adds a real life contract killer/family man to his intriguing rogues gallery. Full Blu-ray Review

In "Lone Survivor", four Navy SEALs (Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, and Emile Hirsch) run into trouble on a mission in Afghanistan.

51. Lone Survivor - Gripping, authentic portrayal of a gut-wrenching true Navy SEALs experience. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

50. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - A pretty and entertaining improvement over its predecessor. Full Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Review

49. Blackfish - An eye-opening exposť about SeaWorld's questionable killer whale practices.

48. The Wind Rises - Hayao Miyazaki's swan song is uncharacteristically devoid of fantasy and whimsy, engaging instead with mostly scintillating human drama.

Mike Wazowski and the Oozma Kappa team are outmatched in the Scare Games.

47. Thor: The Dark World - Marvel Studios' golden age shows no sign of ending, with even a seemingly unnecessary sequel entertaining thoroughly. Full Blu-ray Review

46. Wadjda - First film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia is not just significant, but also sweet and poignant. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

45. 56 Up - This enjoyable latest installment adds further perspective to Michael Apted's rewarding, long-running septennial series documenting the lives and aging of average Brits.

44. Dallas Buyers Club - Matthew McConaughey gives a frightfully powerful performance in this sharp AIDS drama. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

43. Monsters University - One of Pixar's weakest efforts, but consistently entertaining and a delight technically. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

Pooling their unique magician skill sets into one criminally popular act are Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco).

42. Frozen - More calculated and familiar than it should be,
Disney Animation's latest nonetheless pleases with its music and formula. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

41. About Time - Full of holes and massively indebited to Groundhog Day, but still a good...uh... time.

40. The Hangover Part III - I'm still not sure why everyone trashed this, a distinct improvement over Part II's tired retread and a dark yet entertaining end to this series. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

39. Now You See Me - The cinematic equivalent of a magic show, this illusionist/heist caper is an enjoyable bit of escapism. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

38. Oz the Great and Powerful - Clever eye candy is better judged against Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland than MGM's classic musical. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

37. Side Effects - Steven Soderbergh gives this twisty psychological thriller his usual blend of style and substance.

36. In the House - Unrelated to the 1990s LL Cool J sitcom of the same name, this French drama is inventive and gripping.

A struggling folk singer (Oscar Isaac) rides the New York City subway with a couple's tabby cat in the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis."

35. Inside Llewyn Davis - The Coens' strange wit and cinematic know-how take this aimless, uneven folk musician tale far. Full DVD Review

34. The Spectacular Now - Effortlessly engaging enough to make you wonder why so few high school movies are this good.

33. The Way, Way Back - Sam Rockwell is terrific in this winning summer indie. Full Blu-ray Review

32. From Up on Poppy Hill - Miyazaki's son seems ready to take over the family business, at least when dabbling in human drama. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

31. The Past - A sharply-crafted, intimate, and complex drama from the maker of A Separation. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) introduces Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to her five daughters in "The Conjuring."

The Best of the Best

30. Star Trek Into Darkness - A well-made summer tentpole, at least to non-Trekkies. Full Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Review

29. Labor Day - An atmospheric, suspenseful and well-made drama that seems to enhance the source text. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

28. Blue Jasmine - Approaching 80, Woody Allen remains a proficient, productive storyteller who draws superb work from actors. Full DVD Review

27. Oblivion - For an off-season Tom Cruise vehicle, this is a surprisingly strong piece of science fiction.
Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

26. The Conjuring - Director James Wan seems to have gotten frightening, feel-good horror cinema down to an art. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

25. 12 Years a Slave - Well-made but dry and not nearly as powerful as it's intended to be.

24. Kon-Tiki - Technically a 2012 film and Oscar-nominated as such, this didn't open here until 2013 and I'd be remiss not to include it, especially in its original Norwegian edit. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

23. The Hunt - Potent, well-acted Danish drama about the power of accusation.

22. Fruitvale Station - An arresting, understated day in the life docudrama.Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

21. Drew: The Man Behind the Poster - A thorough and fascinating celebration of an unsung movie icon.

In "The Great Beauty", Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) has a spectacular view of the Coliseum from the patio outside his home.

20. The Great Beauty - A striking, beautiful, and thoughtful Italian drama. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

19. The Wolf of Wall Street - Endless debauchery is tough to endure and doesn't muster sympathy, but strong acting and Scorsese's considerable craft distinguish it. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

18. Prisoners - A gripping, atmospheric mystery that doesn't pull punches. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

17. Philomena - A moving and remarkable story, told well. Full Blu-ray Review

16. Captain Phillips - Paul Greengrass' docudrama instincts grant this true cargo ship hijacking tale plenty of intrigue, suspense, and power. Full DVD Review

Five old friends (Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, and Simon Pegg) recreating a pub crawl in their hometown encounter something strange in "The World's End."

15. Iron Man 3 - The clearest embodiment of the popular Marvel Studios brand, this franchise reaches new heights in this supremely entertaining sequel. Full Blu-ray Review

14. The World's End - This apocalyptic comedy loses something when it shifts to genre thrills and doesn't look back. Still, an enjoyable ride that wraps up Wright, Pegg and Frost's dynamic Cornetto Trilogy. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

13. Elysium - While no District 9, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up thoughtful sci-fi film is similarly riveting at least until its overly actiony conclusion. Full Movie Review

12. Gravity - A dynamite technical showcase that resonates on the basis of its performances and lean storytelling. Full Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Review

11. Saving Mr. Banks - Disney's first attempt at Oscar bait proves to be sensibly made and easy to love. Full Blu-ray Review

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the enigmatic millionaire next door, gets caught in the rain on the afternoon he is to see Daisy for the first time in years.

10. Frances Ha - Noah Baumbach's latest dramedy is also his sharpest, a feel-good look at modern living through the filter of the French New Wave. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

9. The Great Gatsby - Though Baz Luhrmann doesn't introduce any new moves, his opulent 3D adaptation of the classic novel proves to be more suitable and dramatically satisfying than you'd expect. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

8. Warm Bodies - Another zomromcom triumph. Full Blu-ray Review

7. The Place Beyond the Pines - Three short films in one, each less than the previous, but the rich whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

With his mustache, bright shirt, and high-waisted pants, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a stylish man of the future in "Her."

6. Her - Spike Jonze's extremely creative love story
explores the nature of human relationships. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - As good as its predecessor, this surprisingly substantial sequel quickly returns us to its compelling setting to advance, not repeat its story. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

4. Before Midnight - This unorthodox franchise of novennial conversational European romances continues and continues to excel on the abundant love and care of its three wise, talented creators. Full Blu-ray Review

Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) prepare to make a big transaction in "American Hustle."

3. Mud - Delicious storytelling and atmosphere. All is forgiven, Matthew McConaughey.

2. Nebraska - Alexander Payne's black & white father-son road trip dramedy is highly amusing and soulful. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

1. American Hustle - David O. Russell's hot streak continues, as he and his spectacular cast bring this funny 1970s crime story to with the perfect blend of style and substance. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

Jurassic Park 3D - While I'm not assigning this a number, my love for this film, even with barely noticeable 3D effects, is unrivaled by any other 2013 release. 3D Reissue Movie Review

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Posted December 31, 2013. Updated August 18, 2014.

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