Welcome to the mxdwn Movies celebration of All That Mattered in Movies in the year 2013. It was a year full of big news, bigger releases, and lots of good movies. So we’re going to celebrate the year that was by looking back at some of our favorite films, plus do a little looking ahead to the year to come.
Collectively, our staff passed the century mark on movies we saw which released in 2013. Yet there were still some that either we didn’t see or not enough of us saw to factor into much of our Best of 2013 discussion. The movies on this list looked pretty darn good, and we wish more of us would have had a chance to see them this year whether they ended up on our top 10 list or not. Hey, there’s always 2014.
August: Osage County
We did have a chance to review the film, and while it’s unlikely it would have ended up playing into our top 10 discussion, whenever this many quality actors get together, it’s a hard act to ignore. August: Osage County is just beginning its theatrical run, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to catch it.
The ever-prolific Woody Allen has seen plenty of praise for his latest relationship drama. There hasn’t been much awards consideration outside of Cate Blanchett’s performance, but that hasn’t slowed the wave of positive sentiment from the Wood-man’s fans.
This movie was undoubtedly bumped in profile by the tragedy of James Gandolfini’s death, but while no one would have wished for the cause, the effect might have been appropriate. By all accounts, this is a very good, very honest, very funny account of a middle aged love story. Fortunately for us, it’ll be hitting DVD, Blu-Ray, and VOD in just a couple weeks.
Ryan Coogler’s race-relations drama follows the final day in the life of Oscar Grant, a black man killed by the San Francisco police on New Year’s Eve 2008. The film premiered at Sundance, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. The film went on to play at Cannes before seeing a limited theatrical release this past summer.
Sort of like August: Osage County, this was a film we reviewed, but slipped in so close to the end of year that we simply weren’t able to build a critical mass of opinion before it came time to talk Best of 2013. And like August: Osage County, it probably wouldn’t have made our Best of 2013 list anyways, but we would have liked to give it its due consideration.
Of all the films on this list, this seems like the one which has crept up on people the most. Alexander Payne’s drama lacks big name stars, headlined by Bruce Dern and Will Forte, who is generally more at home in comedies. It was well received at its Cannes premier, but overshadowed by flashier pics like Inside Llewyn Davis and Blue Is the Warmest Color; it outstripped both in the recently announced nominations for the Golden Globes.
People have come down on both sides of Stephen Frears’s true story portrait of a woman searching for the son she was forced to give up years before, but the response has generally been very positive. Judi Dench in particular, who has been in the public eye primarily as M in the James Bond films in recent years, is seeing accolades for her portrayal of the titular Philomena.