Top Ten Movies of 2013

Alrighty, I know this list is a little late to the party. If I don’t post this now and keep waiting for the other films, this list is never going to happen – as is it is late as hell! I must say there are a few titles that I didn’t get to and still want to, but from what I saw last year, these were the favourites!

10. The Great Gatsby


This was a film that I was really looking forward to, reading the book in advance, researching and then getting there to it. I had a lot of fun with this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio was again just in his element with his role of Jay Gatsby, and worked wonders. Carey Mulligan was a joy to watch, though slightly underused. The biggest problem that I had with this film was the soundtrack (actually, I hated it), though I did like everything else Baz Luhrmann brought to the table.

9. We Are What We Are

Another slow burner on the list, but wow, I was impressed with this. I had no idea what was coming, though some fellow bloggers I highly respect were raving, so what the hell? I checked it out and I was so impressed. Bill Sage just stole that entire show for me, but Ambyr Childers was excellent to watch, too. The whole family was done right, and I loved the way the film and plot progressed. It was nice, slow and deliberate, revealing bits and pieces as it went along and it was backed by stunning camera work. This is one that I would highly recommend, it was well worth it!

8. The Place Beyond The Pines

This was just such a beautiful piece of film. The acting was great and I loved the progression and layout of the story, basically three chapters. After Gosling was gone, I was a little confused, wondering how the hell the story was going to progress from there, but the ball was not dropped. In actual fact, Derek Cianfrance ran with it. This was a stunningly woven drama that kept itself interesting and entertaining from the get go, and kept me with it until the end. I truly enjoyed it, and was surprised by it, too. The Place Beyond The Pines had a fantastic cast that brought stunning renderings of their characters to the screen. Gosling, with his desperation to fix his life and be there for his child, Cooper for playing the good cop caught up in bad things, losing himself, and DeHaan delivered a great performance as Gosling’s son. What a great film!

7. The Conjuring

the conjuring movie poster

I was not really expecting much going into this. Not because I have no faith in James Wan, but because Insidious sucked and this movie was so hyped up I was sure it was going to be another colossal let down. However, that was not the case. The Conjuring just snuck up on me, demanding my attention, building the perfect horror atmosphere and giving me goosebumps at times. It was the first horror to actually get me on that list in years, and I would like to commend Wan for that. While the film brought nothing new to the table, its style and implementation was just perfect, and it was definitely one of the movies that I enjoyed the most this year.

6. Out of the Furnace

out of the furnace poster

This movie… just loved it. I know some people griped and others praised it, but I really enjoyed it. There was some freaking amazing acting going on here, and Christian Bale once again stepped in and stole the show. The cast was talented, it had the right Affleck in it (just to remind you Tom), and the pacing was awesome. It was deliberate, slow and it looked great. Everything had such a depressing and washed out look going for it but it worked for this. I know some people will probably be expecting a fast paced action revenge, but this was a slow burner and packed a bigger punch at the end of it. I highly recommend looking into this one if you have not done so already!

5. Prisoners

prisoners poster

This movie was powerful and gripping and intensely dramatic. I was superbly impressed with the portrayal that Hugh Jackman delivered for his character, but I would also like to draw special mention to Jake Gyllenhaal, who really was just too entertaining to watch. The premise of Prisoners is heavy, and not once does it slow down or hold back on anything. It is dark, gritty and brutal, giving you a whole new look at the things people will do when they are afraid and pushed into a corner, as well as how utterly disgusting human beings can be.

4. The Way Way Back

I read so many rave reviews about this flick and had no idea what I was getting myself into, and didn’t think it would be that great. Not really a coming of age film fan, I had low expectations. Instead I got a cracking smart film with hilarious dialogue, heartfelt moments and simply superb acting. I thought it was one of the most lovely films I had seen in a long time and I felt really good at the end of it. It is an incredibly entertaining journey to undertake with Duncan, and to watch him grow, but truly well worth it. Sam Rockwell was just genius in this.

3. The Hunt

the hunt poster

I am a huge fan of Mads Mikkelsen, I really am. He is a bloody brilliant actor and can do so many things. Then there was The Hunt, that was so highly recommended everywhere. A foreign film? In Danish? Subtitled? A drama? I was on this. I was riveted for the duration of the film, my mind did not wander once. It touches on some good societal issues, and just had a brilliant cast carry the story. Lovely camera work, raw performances and strong directing, this film was truly well executed. Mads Mikkelsen was just amazing to watch on screen, and he did not disappoint in this one either. It is a pity that many people will not watch this movie seeing as it is not in English and they refuse to read subtitles because they really will be missing a beautiful piece of cinema.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I was so excited for this. I loved the books, I enjoyed the first movie, and was really eager to see this one. I was astounded by how well made and executed this movie was. It was so loyal to the novel, the actors were finely chosen for the roles they were required to play, Jennifer Lawrence gave a solid performance, the effects were great and I loved the pacing. Philip Seymour Hoffman was excellent as Plutarch, Woody Harrelson just owned the Haymitch thing again, what was not to love? There were some terrific action sequences, the pacing was right and it was laid out so well! I was just blown away with the film that was pulled together for this, and walked out of the theatre feeling exhilarated. This is how you bring a book to the screen!

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street Poster

This should really not come as a shock to anyone… This movie just blew me out the water and I cannot gush enough about it. I loved it. Filled with stellar performances, hilarious humour that was just wrong in so many instances and directed fantastically, The Wolf of Wall Street left my expectations behind and surpassed them to a whole new level. There was nothing that didn’t work for me here, and I was blown away. Scorsese is evidently not slowing down in his life, and DiCaprio, as always, never ceases to impress. This movie is truly worth the watch and just absolutely amazing.

64 thoughts on “Top Ten Movies of 2013

  1. Gnarly list Zoe! I am a big fan of the five or so of these I have seen. Except for The Wolf of Wall Street which got a like rather than a love from me. But awesome to see The Way Way Back, Hunger Games, The Conjuring and Gatsby get on here.


      1. Yeah I have the same issue. My lists just reflect theatrical release dates in Aus. So it is most likely that something that was on a lot of best of 2013 lists will end up on my 2014 one.


      2. True, I went with the release dates according to the US, but I really think that I will stick to it being in 2014 for this years, as it releases, much better. I enjoyed your best and worst lists!


      3. Yeah I think you are better off doing just South African release dates. I do it as part of embracing the fact I am an Aussie critic, and different to a lot of other people writing out there. Just like you are.


  2. Interesting list Zoe. I just compiled my own yesterday. We definitely have three that we agree on. Great to see The Place Beyond The Pines and The Hunt feature and it goes without saying that The Wolf of Wall Street should be there.


    1. Thanks Keith! Sorry this is so long, WordPress has been touch and go with notifications recently! Teehee, shall I hazard a guess at The Wolf of Wall Street?


  3. Well done, Zoe. I haven’t published mine yet either (waiting to see a handful more movies – We Are What We Are being one of them). My list might well include Wolf and The Hunt, as well. Catching Fire and The Conjuring will just miss the cut for me.

    On your list, the only movie I think considerably below average is Gatsby.

    Good list.


    1. Thanks Josh! Hope you get to seeing all your movies soon, would love to see your list!

      I really enjoyed Gatsby (except that disastrous soundtrack), though I know it was very hit and miss with a lot of people!


      1. Hahahahaha! Well played. I liked how theatrical it all was, I LOVED DiCaprio and had a lot of fun with the film. Except that soundtrack… 😛


      2. Ah, can’t open the link on this PC, it won’t load, I will do so at home!

        The Way Way Back is just a total blast, and I haven’t gotten to Rush yet, to be honest.


  4. Great choice for number one Zoe. I loved The Wolf of Wall Street too. DiCaprio is incredible in the film and Scorsese’s direction is, typically, spot on. I love that you’ve included The Way Way Back.

    I need to check out The Hunt. Thanks for the recommendation.


    1. Hi Dan! Thanks a lot for stopping by! The Wolf of Wall Street was just a fantastic piece of cinema I had an absolute ball with, and I am glad you did, too. When DiCaprio and Scorsese come together it is always a beautiful thing. The Way Way Back took me totally by surprise but was worth it!

      Oh, you really should, it is a brilliant film, but very heavy!


    1. OMG!!!!!!! I can’t BELIEVE it?! Just kidding. Wait a minute… what did you see outside of Prisoners and We Are What We Are (and The Conjuring)… wait, you did see a few!! Well done… you’ve been watching them all through my window, right?


    1. Oh my, looks like you watched the original of it, the 2011 one? I see you write of a Mexican backdrop and a father dying in a mall? This one is a remake I believe, and as far as I can tell from everyone who has seen both, is a brilliant adaption of a film that had potential and fell flat. Jim Mickle did an excellent job of recreating the story, and this one is worth checking out. I would love to know what you feel about this one in comparison to that one, should you ever look into it!


      1. Interesting! Thinking back the original certainly had potential … maybe the remake is much better? I’ll check it out!! Thanks for the heads-up!


      2. I haven’t heard much good in terms of the original, only that it had the potential that the remake realised! The 2013 one I found to be particularly good! Looking forward to your thoughts!


    1. Oh dear goodness that movie was terrible! The Place Beyond The Pines is well worth the watch and definitely very good… everything Only God Forgives was not!


  5. A mighty stellar list here Zoe!! I think I love it. Particularly #1 and #2, and thanks for the shout-out!! 🙂

    I have no idea who this Ben Affleck guy is, but supposedly he’s doing a superhero movie sometime soon. . .something that got delayed by another year? Hmm. . I’ll look into that and get back to you. 😉

    Great to see The Way, Way Back on the list. I fell in love with that one too.


    1. Thank you so kindly Tom! Ah, both fantastic films! Anytime, anytime!

      Oh dear grief, I don’t even want to think about it… meh! LOL! Let me know…

      I really didn’t expect to enjoy it that much, but it was just fantastic and funny and heartfelt and it just worked on so many levels.


  6. It’s not a bad list I disagree with a couple of entries, I liked “The Place Beyond The Pines” for its originality and that movie is a very slow burn the one sheet is fantastic. I was sort of disappointed in “The Way Way Back” “The Conjuring” surprised me horror is usually not my bag. “The Hunt” very well might win the Best Foreign Film Oscar. I loved “The Wolf Of Wall Street” even though you are really overwhelmed at the end of the ride. I actually can’t think of a 10 best list so yours is a good start.


    1. Thank you! Yeah, everyone had greatly varying lists, some entries I could agree with, others not. I love how everyone can take something different out of a movie, making everything so diverse. Yeah The Wolf Of Wall Street was a crazy journey. I had no expectations with The Way Way Back and We Are What We Are, and both turned out well for me.

      Thanks for reading!


  7. Great list! It’s nice to know I have some gems still to watch like The Conjuring and Way Way Back.

    I’ve tried to do the best of the year list according to US release dates but I dropped it. I would have to wait forever. For example American Hustle is going to be out here in March…

    It’s sad that people in English regions don’t watch that much subtitled films, there are so many great ones among them.


    1. Thank you! Both films are worth looking into if you haven’t already, both very good!

      Where are you situated? I just did the 2013 movies we got. There are so many that are only coming out by us now and in the coming months, which is ridiculous!

      There really are some gems there that are criminally overlooked due to something as small as subtitles! This one was a fantastic one, subtitles and all!


      1. Finland. The situation is getting better but especially with the smaller films it tends to take months to get them here. Like e.g. Nebraska didn’t have release date in here until about a month ago. And it will be released Friday. I saw it at the festival. And American Hustle is having advance screenings because so many people have complained about that to the distribution company that it would be nice to see it before the Oscars. Thankfully they delivered and I’ll be able to see it this Thursday.


      2. Ah, I want to go to Finland one day, I really do. What a beautiful country. Wow, sounds like we are in the same boat in respect of waiting for movies to arrive, it is such a pain in the foot I swear. I hope that you enjoy American Hustle, would be interested to see what your opinion of it is, and if you believe it was worth the hype surrounding it!


  8. Great list! Agree with your number one but I’m counting that as a 2014 by UK release date. ; ) My favorite on here is The Way Way Back. Excellent film! Loved Sam Rockwell so much in that…


    1. I know it is a 2014 by ours, too. Changing the way I pick this year, as in the date perimeters. Ah, that movie really was excellent, and Rockwell just stole the show!


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