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The 13 Best Movies of 2013

7. The Kings of Summer

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Cast: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, NIck Offerman, Erin Moriarty

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My favorite comedy of the year by a wide margin perfectly captures the uncertainty and animosity of teenagers. Oh, and it’s also hilarious through and through. Moises Arias, previously known only as Rico from Hannah Montana, steals every scene as the creepy but endearing Biaggio. Nick Offerman also proves why he’s a national treasure, playing a single dad who tries his best but can’t do anything but frustrate his children. – Kip Mooney

This indie gem came out of nowhere this summer and completely knocked me off my feet. Hilarious and yet endearing, its exploration of the modern transition to manhood in adolescence was a breath of fresh air in a summer filled with superheroes and aliens.  – Kristal Bailey

In this age of technology, and with all of the available amenities to kids, did you ever think you’d see this generations version of Stand By Me, set in present-day? I certainly didn’t, and Kings of Summer was a surprise for sure. It’s full of great heart, and has one particular standout performance from Moises Arias who plays Biaggio, and is one of my favorite characters of the year. It isn’t just the kids that excel either, the writing is stellar and Nick Offerman steals every scene he is in so much so that it almost isn’t fair to the kids that have to act opposite him.  – JC De Leon

Read our review.

 

6. Inside Llewyn Davis

Director(s): Ethan & Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman

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“If I had wings, like Noah’s dove, I’d fly the river to the one I love. Fare thee well, my honey, fare thee well.”
As great as the Coens are, I almost always need a second viewing of their films to even figure out if I like the movie at all. A Serious Man, for example, I hated on my first viewing, now it’s one of my favorites of theirs. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of their few films that I truly loved on first viewing. Since seeing this film, I can’t get the songs out of my head, and Oscar Isaac will hopefully become a household name as a result of this film. This movie might not have been written for him, but he is the only one who could have pulled this movie off.  – JC De Leon

The Coen Brothers return with Inside Llewyn Davis, their first original screenplay in four years (True Grit was an adaptation). A blackly comic character study in the form of a folk musician in early ’60s NYC, Inside Llewyn Davis is also a study in failure, in opportunities missed, roads not taken, choices not made, lost cats (and found cats),, and the perpetual conflict between artistic integrity and commercial viability. It’s also another key entry in the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre of less-than-lovable, put-upon – sometimes by cruel, capricious gods named Joel and Ethan – losers and also-rans. And as always where the Coen Brothers are concerned, practically every member of the cast, including Oscar Issac, an actor who’s toiled for far too long in supporting roles, gives a master class in the art of performance. – Mel Valentin

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5. This is the End

Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Channing Tatum, Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari

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Every once in a while, there comes a movie that you know is right up your alley. A movie that you know without question you will love every second of. These movies are rare. It’s even rarer that this movie lives up to these lofty expectations. This is the End was one of these movies, and it blew my ridiculously high expectations out of the water. The second time I watched this, I caught a ton of jokes I missed the first time through because I was laughing so far. I have a feeling the third time through will have the same result. From Michael Cera, to Jonah Hill, to Danny McBride and others, This is the End was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time, and claims the top spot on my Top 10 movies of 2013. – Kevin Taylor

 

4. The World’s End

Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan

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Nobody provides a return on the investment of a single movie ticket quite like Edgar Wright, the madcap auteur behind the accidental “Cornetto trilogy” of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the ostensibly final installment, The World’s End.  It’s a movie lover’s movie, overflowing with storytelling grist – themes, jokes, allusions, wordplay – and told in a typically ingenious fashion that tabs Wright (supported by frequent collaborators like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) as the most important popular filmmaker of his generation.  A raucously funny tale about a group of friends re-creating a high school pub crawl, The World’s End also packs a serious, sober message about the dangers of nostalgia without ever losing its sense of humor.  This isn’t just a great film.  It’s frickin’ magic. – Eric Ambler

Beer, beer, beer and the end of the world, it was a perfect ending to The Cornetto Trilogy. It was so over the top and crazy, which is why it was so perfect in my opinion. It also had really nice cinematography. It featured, the best bathroom fight scene to date and some awesome alien robots.  – Karin Abcarians

Smart, hilarious, insightful, and detailed to the point of endless re-watchability, every Edgar Wright film is a gift to movie fans and The World’s End is no exception. – Brian Rudloff

Read our review.

 

3. Gravity

Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

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I was lucky enough to watch an early cut of Gravity on a tiny computer monitor over a year before it was released.  The movie was entirely in pre-viz, without any finished special effects; yet I couldn’t help but clutch the edge of my seat, my heart pounding.  I’ve never had a movie in such an early stages of production effect me this way. Once I was finally able to see Gravity in 3D on the big screen the tension was only more pronounced.  With the possible exception of 2001: A Space Odyssey, space has never felt so vast, frightening, and limitless.  I looked down at my arm several times in the theater to see all of my hairs sticking straight up.  However this isn’t just a movie that wants to razzle-dazzle you with visceral special effects (we have more than enough of those these days); it’s a survivalist story that paradoxically fills one with both hope and futility, making us ponder our place in the universe. – Daniel Johnson

A visually beautiful and incredibly nerve wrecking film, filled with tense moments. The moment all goes wrong for them and the crashing and mayhem happens, we are taken on the most tense ride. Watching Sandra Bullock’s and George Clooney’s characters attempt to survive this horrifically intense situation is tough to watch at moments and that’s what makes you root them on. Sandra delivers quite a beautiful and heart breaking performance, taking us on this lonely ride through space and attempting to get back to Earth. You root her character on throughout the entire film. – Karin Abcarians

Gravity is an impressive and technically brilliant film; a game changer. The effects, cinematography and spectacle all breathtaking, the reason that it’s not higher up the list is because it was completely lacking in plot, characterization or excitement. I can’t help but feel that the casting of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney really hurt the film. Had this film feature two unknowns, our concern and feeling for them would have been boosted. The fact that these are two of the most recognizable actors in the world rids the film of any realism or tension that it may have had. In the end, while Gravity was a thoroughly enjoyable cinematic experience it was completely shallow and all style over substance. – Luke Burnett

Read our review.

 

2. Before Midnight

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

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Before Sunset is one of the few movies to have an absolutely perfect ending. But Before Midnight is an even better capper (or continuation — check back in 2022) to the story. Even though it’s frequently hilarious, the third check-in with Jesse and Celine hurts a lot. That’s because the dialogue is never cutesy. The pain and love is intertwined throughout. Your reading of the ending depends on what you think wins out. – Kip Mooney

In 2004 when Before Sunset was released it seemed ridiculous that a sequel could even be made of 1995’s honest and touching romantic drama Before Sunrise. It seemed like all involved were attempting to bottle lightning twice and that it would undoubtedly fail. It didn’t. Before Sunset improved on the original, building the story and fleshing out the characters and the relationships in a realistic and involving way. Surely then, this years Before Midnight couldn’t possibly live up to the films that preceded it? It does. Midnight is actually probably the best of the three, brutally sincere, candid, relatable and engaging. A stunning film that will make you laugh, cry and reflect on the nature of love, family and relationships.  – Luke Burnett

Where Before Sunrise observes the inherent hopefulness of young love and Before Sunset examines the inevitable disappointment and regret of adulthood, Before Midnight just as masterfully reveals the intricacies of making a long-term relationship work, and the impasse most couples face when the very things that made them fall in love in the first place begin to drive them apart. Linklater, Hawke and Delpy have such a deep understanding of the characters that the dialogue in Before Midnight sings even more beautifully than its predecessors, and, as usual, the film leaves us desperately wondering what’s next for Celine and Jesse, and hopeful that the trio will be at it again nine years down the road. – Nick DeLorenzo

Read our review.

 

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The Author

Kristal Bailey

Kristal Bailey

With a soft spot for movies that fall into the “So Bad They’re Good” category, Kristal Bailey regularly watches B-movies, 80s comedies, and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s. She also refuses to grow up if that means she has to hide her love for Disney and Pixar films.

In her free time, she enjoys reading graphic novels or books that are soon to be turned into movies, watching hours and hours of television, and spending way too much time on Twitter.