The 5 best and worst movies of 2013, so far

The year is officially halfway over, meaning it’s a perfect time to look at the 5 best and worst movies of 2013, so far.  Most of the major Academy Award films usually don’t come out until the second half of the year but every now and again a Best Picture nominee shows up earlier.  Last year’s BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, 2011’s THE TREE OF LIFE and 2010’s WINTER’S BONE all had well-deserved, surprising nominations.  It helps that the last few years have usually had about ten nominees rather than the old standard five, so these smaller films that come out earlier get more of a fighting chance.  Of course 1991’s SILENCE OF THE LAMBS came out in February and went on to win Best Picture.  Be sure to click the titles to find our full reviews of the films.

The 5 Best Movies, so far

5 Best and Worst Movies of 2013

5. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – This is my summer blockbuster pick.  While not as good as the original J.J. Abrams STAR TREK, his follow up was still a non-stop thrill ride.  What I think was most impressive is the character development and chemistry between Chris Pine’s Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock.  The film is flawed (especially the frustrating ribbon tied ending) but it’s still the most consistent enjoyable time from beginning to end.

4. SIDE EFFECTS – Steven Soderbergh has long been one of my favorite directors starting with films like TRAFFIC, THE LIMEY, OUT OF SIGHT and OCEAN’S ELEVEN.  While not always great, he consistently makes interesting films.  SIDE EFFECTS is a high-quality thriller about the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs due mostly to Soderbergh’s amazing direction.  The camera angles and color pallet combined with some truly great performances from Rooney Mara and Jude Law help create a suspenseful and twisted story in a dark and unexpected way.

3. BEFORE MIDNIGHT – The third film in what is now called the “Before Trilogy” isn’t the best.  I give that credit to the second, 2004’s BEFORE SUNSET, which even made my Top Ten Movies of the Decade (click the link to read the list).  The films are essentially about capturing the life of two lovers during one day.  Each film was made nine years later, so BEFORE MIDNIGHT picks up eighteen years after the couple first met in 1995’s BEFORE SUNRISE.  Director Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply wrote the screenplay together that is rich in character and human observation.  Due to the amazing script and brilliant performances, I care about these very real people more than anything I’ve seen on screen.

Billy Crystal, John Goodman in Monsters University

2. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – Hooray for Pixar!  Not since 2010’s TOY STORY 3 has the studio been back on top.  I know three years doesn’t seem like a long time but from a studio that consistently makes the year’s top ten list, it is an eternity.  Mike and Sully are back in the prequel to one my favorite Pixar films, MONSTERS INC.   The little green eyeball and big blue fuzzball are in their college years competing in the annual Scare Games.  While this time the two might be enemies, but MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is still able to capture humor, heart and creativity all over again.

Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode in Stoker

1. STOKER – An incredibly dark film due completely to the masterful direction by Chan-wook Park, STOKER is an exciting, exploratory trip through tense emotions and newfound senses. The performance by Mia Wasikowska is beyond brilliant as India Stoker who is just as peculiar as her unstable mother and mysterious uncle.  I can’t recommend this film enough for those who love inventive filmmaking.  Every detail on screen helps mold this unsettling coming of age story.

Go to Page 2 to see our 5 Worst Movies of 2013, so far

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