Before we carry on with the year-end canonization, let’s turn to Sam Adams, who’s asked the Criticwire network, “What are you most looking forward to, culturally speaking, in 2014?” Turns out, around three dozen critics have their reasons for anticipating, among many more titles, Jean-Luc Godard‘s Adieu au langage, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, Jaume Collet-Serra’s “Liam Neeson versus a plane thriller” Non-Stop, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Alex Ross Perry‘s Listen Up Philip, Joe Swanberg‘s Happy Christmas, plus a few that’ve already seen festival play, such as James Gray’s The Immigrant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Aleksei German’s Hard to Be a God, and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive.
BACK TO 2013
First, Jonathan Rosenbaum explains why 12 Years a Slave, The Act of Killing, Bastards, A Touch of Sin, Before Midnight, and Frances Ha will not be appearing on his top ten of 2013.
Variety‘s three chief film critics have each written good chunky paragraphs for every single one of their top tens—and Justin Chang and Scott Foundas even do a little 2013-in-sum warming up before they start listing. Chang’s #1: Before Midnight. “Sometimes a movie you don’t think you want turns out to be the one you need the most.” Foundas’s: Her. “The perfect movie of this moment—and the next.” Peter Debruge‘s is Inside Llewyn Davis, “among [the Coens’] most profound pictures.”
With the weekend come and gone, the Guardian‘s picked up its countdown again. “The three Before films, spaced with nine years between them, are so brilliantly constructed, so seamlessly blended with the actual aging of their actor/screenwriters that they had started to assume the role of real-life touchstones, rather than works of art,” writes Catherine Shoard of #6: “Before Midnight transcends cinema. It feels like a commitment. It feels like it’s for life.” And Henry Barnes writes up #5, Django Unchained.
The critics at Time Out London have voted Paolo Sorrentino‘s The Great Beauty to the top of their list. Here you can see the individual ballots from Dave Calhoun, Tom Huddleston, and Cath Clarke.
Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is Tom Shone‘s #1 film of the year; his top performance: Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips.
At Thompson on Hollywood, you’ll find top tens from Anne Thompson (#1: Gravity), Beth Hanna (Before Midnight), Ryan Lattanzio (a tie: Inside Llewyn Davis and Blue Is the Warmest Color), Bill Desowitz (Gravity), Matt Brennan (12 Years a Slave), John Anderson (A Touch of Sin), Matt Mueller (12 Years a Slave), and Tom Brueggemann (Gravity).
Jake Coyle presents the AP’s top ten. #1: 12 Years a Slave.
Editor Tim Lucas and contributors to Video Watchdog revisit “38 main selections, followed by an additional 35 notable restorations” comprising a list of “what were, in our view, the most outstanding home video experiences on disc since December 2012.”
From the Dissolve: “As a growing number of people make streaming video their default choice for watching movies, the world of physical media is becoming increasingly dominated by items targeting connoisseurs and collectors. That’s fine, especially if future Blu-ray and DVD packages trend in the direction of 2013’s best releases, which combined terrific remastering with voluminous bonus material, all without pausing to buffer the stream.” Sam Adams, Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Matt Singer, and Scott Tobias spotlight their selections.
Michael Smith writes up his top (minus one; he’ll explain).
For Indiewire, Sean Axmaker lists his “Top 10 Films Released On Streaming Platforms In 2013.”
Via Criticwire‘s Sam Adams, Tom Carson explains to American Prospect readers why Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is his “favorite American movie of the year…. Will you believe me when I go on to tell you it’s the funniest, brainiest movie about our national character—which, this being America, means our national fantasy life, otherwise known as the pursuit of happiness—I’ve seen in I don’t know how long?” For more on Spring Breakers, listen to Steven Shaviro.
At the AV Club, Sam Adams, Mike D’Angelo, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.A. Dowd, Nick Schager, and Scott MacDonald highlight the best scenes of the year.
Joe Swanberg and Cinema Culture founder Amir George are among the Chicago Reader‘s people of 2013.
At the Dissolve, Mike D’Angelo, Nathan Rabin, and Scott Tobias discuss the “biggest cinematic disappointments” of the year. Similarly, Sara Maria Vizcarrondo here in Keyframe.
“Across movie after movie this year there have been expressions of anxiety and uncertainty as to where we are heading and what comes next. The future is now, as the saying goes, but that doesn’t mean we all have to feel good about it.” Mark Olsen maps a trend in the Los Angeles Times: “The intertwining rumble of technological, economic and industrial change is bearing down on everyone across the social spectrum.”
Diego Lerer lists the top 30 films that weren’t commercially distributed in Argentina. #1: Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me.
At HitFix, Gravity tops both Gregory Ellwood‘s and Kristopher Tapley‘s list.
At Slant, R. Kurt Osenlund shames the designers behind the worst movie posters of 2013. And for Flavorwire, Alison Nastasi posts the year’s best trailers.
Programmers for the Alamo Drafthouse have drafted the Alamo 100, a not-so-micro microsite for their clickable list of “100 Essential Favorite Movies”—of all time.
Craig Keller‘s 1938.
Speaking of not-2013, by the way, Michael Koresky‘s column at Sundance Now, “Here & Now & Then,” revisiting a particular year in the history of cinema each week, is not, of course, a list, but now’s as good a time as any to recommend it. Heartily.
Steve McQueen was held over at the Art Institute of Chicago just long enough to qualify for Holland Cotter‘s list: “One of the year’s strongest museum solo shows, although it made it just by a squeak, closing in early January at the Art Institute of Chicago before heading to Europe. (That it didn’t stop in New York seems nuts.) A retrospective for a brilliant British artist at midcareer (and the director of 12 Years a Slave), the work is visually rich and politically goading. And if you ever wondered how films could be turned into objects for gallery display, here’s your answer.” Also looking back on the year in art are Roberta Smith (also in the New York Times) and Peter Schjeldahl (New Yorker).
Largehearted Boy is tracking best books lists, but I do want to note that the New Republic has posted annotated top fives from art critic Jed Perl and book critic Adam Kirsch.
“Taking part in a Wall Street Journal survey of the year’s best books, Pixar and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull shared his two favorite titles of 2013,” notes Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew. And they are Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal and Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design.
Via Dan Wagstaff: Nicholas Blechman, art director at New York Times Book Review, selects his best book covers of the year.
At Slate, Carl Wilson has called the Music Club to order; he, Chris Molanphy, Geeta Dayal, and the great Ann Powers will be talking about the year’s highs and lows all week. And Consequence of Sound‘s “Annual Report 2013” includes its lists of the best albums and songs.
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