2013 * BEST FILMS

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Not every movie critic is the same, but ours is one of the best. City Island Images is proud to present our major motion picture picks for last year. We hope you take time to watch these films and enjoy them as much as our fabulous film critic did.

Inside Llewyn Davis -- A surreal journey set within the folk music scene of the 1960s Village. Arguably the year's best film, and one of the Coen Brothers' best, it will surely be remembered for its score and the fine actors who sing those songs many of you remember well.

The Great Beauty -- Somewhat of a La Dolce Vita of Berlusconi's Rome, Paolo Sorrentino's film is wild and contemplative, intimate and expansive. We witness the emptiness of countless socialites' lives through the eyes of a writer (Toni Servillo), who seems to have everything yet Rome circa 2013 causes seemingly all living there to remain unfulfilled.

Blue Jasmine -- Woody Allen's latest, with a stellar performance by Cate Blanchett as the wife of an swindling big-money husband who loses everything (but who is certainly not innocent in the process).

Nebraska -- Alexander Payne continues his examination of the middle-aged man, and in the case of Bruce Dern, the aging. Another road movie, as we saw in About Schimidt and Sideways, but the introduction of black and white to his palette gives Payne new room in which to work.

Byzantium -- The first ever radical feminist vampire film I've ever seen comes from acclaimed Irish director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game). A new look on an old myth, complete with a touching performance by rising star Saoirse Ronan.

Gravity -- A truly cinematic experience, one which moviegoers have not experienced in some time, Alfonso Cuaron's film makes anyone else's bad day feel like bliss. Sandra Bullock delivers a surprisingly solid performance in an apocalyptic story of a woman hurtling through space, desperate to get back to earth. This one definitely restores faith in the full admission price of a ticket at the cinema.

Room 237 -- One of the year's strangest films is a documentary about one of history's most memorable movies: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. With wry humor, it details the theories of some "extremists" (to put it lightly), all of which are complete obvious in the eyes of these men and women but, I venture to guess, not at all so for most of us.

The Hunt -- Keep a look out for Danish cinema, from the past and in the years to come. Thomas Vinterberg's latest, featuring international star Mads Mikkelsen, details what strikes me as a growing concern with hyper-masculinity and its resulting violence within Danish culture, encapsulated here in a small town's witch hunt for the protagonist, a wrongfully accused nursery school teacher.

By: Charles Shafaieh - shafaieh@gmail.com