Filed in: Lists
We're at the halfway point of 2013, so what better time to do a half-top-ten list of the best films of the year so far?
Of course, the best films of the first six months may all or may not at all appear on a year-end list, but it's always fun to take stock. Studios hold back their perceived heavy hitters for late in the year to stay fresh in the minds of awards voters, but there are typically some genre gems and blockbusters to spark discussion. While I don't think 2013 has been a particularly extraordinary year for film so far, there are definitely a handful of films that deserve attention.
Continue after the jump for my (completely subject to change in the future) top five films of 2013 so far >>>
5. The Place Beyond the Pines
Here more almost out of admiration for writer/director Derek Cianfrance's attempt to turn the three-act structure into virtually three interconnected films. It's an audacious work of cinema that could've gone very wrong, yet it never feels too pretentious. Upon reflection I can appreciate its unique structure and carrying through of themes even more.
4. Side Effects
I really, really hope Steven Soderbergh rethinks this whole retirement thing. His "Side Effects" came and went with little fanfare earlier this year, but I found it to be an engrossing thriller. Soderbergh's deliberate style and pacing greatly elevated what could've been standard fare, and the performances from the four central characters keep us invested and believing.
(no full review for this one)
3. Before Midnight
Round 3 of us eavesdropping on Jesse and Celine for a bit of fascinating conversation. This time some of the words cut deep. It's an interesting twist on the first two "Before..." films - what if the downtime and conversation that brought you together is now a means to drive you apart?
Chan-wook Park's "Stoker" - his first English-language film - takes a tale of secrets and isolation and crafts an atmospheric and haunting portrait of a family in turmoil. The way he shot the film has an effortless discomfort about it that sticks with you.
1. Spring Breakers
Harmony Korine's cotton-candy tinged fever dream of debaucherous intentions and ultra-violence is impossible to ignore - however you feel about what you see. A hypnotic film that celebrates surface level contrivances while displaying a razor-sharp wit and nearly every type of inspired provocation imaginable.