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Dan Mecca’s Top 10 Films of 2013

Written by on January 1, 2014 

Closing out our year-end coverage is individual top ten lists from a variety of The Film Stage contributors, leading up to a cumulative best-of rundown. Make sure to follow all of our coverage here and see managing editor Dan Mecca’s favorite films of the year below.

Looking back at 2013, it’s clear the film industry is at a crossroads. Big films have never been bigger, and small films have never been smaller. Mid-range studio films, like the woefully-misunderstood The Counselor, are fading fast and so is the rich ambition those modest budgets allow for. What we have below are mostly independently-financed films that have made the most out of their limited means, mining creativity in a world of conglomeration. Let no one tell these guys that limitation is not the mother of creativity. Unless you’re Baz Luhrmann, who doesn’t know what limit means.

Honorable Mentions:

10. The Counselor (Ridley Scott)

One of the most entertaining movies of the year, Ridley Scott’s collaboration with writer Cormac McCarthy marks a brave, creative and ambitious Hollywood film featuring some of the strangest turns from some of the most well-known faces in the game. McCarthy’s script is as cold and cynical as they come. It’s also one of the funniest movies of the year, the kind of comedy that’ll loop in hell.

9. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley)

Sarah Polley’s self-effacing documentary is fascinating in its personal touches. Exploring the trials and tribulations of her mother and father, Polley shines a light on all of the small moments in the life of a family, and the importance each one plays over time.

8. The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai)

Wong Kar-wai’s masterpiece should be seen by all, no matter the cut. The essential chronicle of martial-arts master Ip Man, The Grandmaster features the most impressive action sequences of the year as well as some juicy melodrama courtesy of a scene-stealing turn from the stunning Zhang Ziyi.

7. To The Wonder (Terrence Malick)

Romance and regret in its purest form, Terrence Malick’s much-maligned 2013 release features next to no dialogue and some of the most heavy-handed voice-over you’re ever likely to hear. It’s also one of the most beautifully-shot films of the year and offers a very honest, sometimes brutal, look at the nature of love and faith.

6. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)

Oscar Issac will never receive enough credit for his lead performance here, not to mention the slew of arresting supporting performances. Inside Llewyn Davis is the perfect ode to the struggling artist, made by two artists at the top of their game.

See Dan Mecca’s top five >>

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