Cocaine and hookers, my friend! Who knew the life of a stockbroker could be so filthy? Scorsese’s best movie since Casino is all about capitalism gone wild, about white-collar crime and parties that never end. You get the feeling it must have been one of the rowdiest film shoots of all time and thankfully, it’s equally fun to watch for us.
2 – SPRING BREAKERS (Harmony Korine)
Until Scorsese showed up at the last minute, this was the film that defined 2013 for me. Interestingly, both films are about a version of the American Dream fuelled by sex and drugs, and both films have been wrongly criticized for celebrating the lifestyle of their protagonists when it’s quite clear to me that they’re denouncing it. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t wildly entertaining to watch!
3 – BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Richard Linklater)
At this point, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have got to be one of the most iconic screen couples of all time. We fell in love along with them in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and now that they’re trying to make it last in this third film, we love them even more, flaws and all.
4 – GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón)
All films are best experienced on the big screen, but it’s never more true than with a movie like this, an almost purely visual experience that entirely justifies the use of IMAX 3D. It really makes you feel like you’re out there in space, as one damn thing goes wrong after another.
5 – LA VIE D’ADÈLE – CHAPITRES 1 & 2 (Abdellatif Kechiche)
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are my couple of the year and beyond, but that’s partly because they’ve won me over throughout a whole trilogy. Which makes it impressive that with only a single film (a long one, granted), Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux give the Before duo a run for their money, making us feel almost as many emotions.
6 – PRISONERS (Denis Villeneuve)
In his first foray into Hollywood filmmaking, Québécois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve knocks it out of the park with a taut, troubling thriller that has deservedly been compared to the work of David Fincher. Among other things, it features one of Hugh Jackman’s best peformances ever.
7 – DON JON (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actors and he’s awesome in this film, which we could have seen coming. More surprising is the fact that he also reveals to be a truly talented writer-director, delivering a rich character study with a bright, inventive visual style, dynamic editing and great use of voice-over narration and music.
8 – THE SPECTACULAR NOW (James Ponsoldt)
We got another memorable screen couple this year played by Shailene Woodley and the incredibly charismatic Miles Teller, who reminds of a young John Cusack in a film that has been compared to Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything, which happens to be one of my very favorite movies.
9 – AMERICAN HUSTLE (David O. Russell)
Christian Bale. Amy Adams. Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Lawrence. Jeremy Renner. They’re all part of the reason why this picture is so satisfying. But you also have to give props to David O. Russell, who made the best Scorsese movie of the year – beside the actual Scorsese movie, of course!
10 – FRANCES HA (Noah Baumbach)
Two words: Greta Gerwig. Seriously. This whole B&W slice-of-life is a joy to watch, but it really comes down to how much I love Greta Gerwig in it. She’s the reason I picked this film for the #10 spot. Greta Gerwig!