Critics' Corner: Top 10 Movies of the Year

I'll begin by saying that this was a great year for movies.

As I looked back on the movies I had seen in 2013, I found more movies that were candidates for my top 10 of the year then for my worst of the year. I also consider this a 'worthwhile' list, not a best and worst of, because I don't review for Oscar-worthy, I review for entertainment and quality.

I know that your time and my time are valuable and that is why I do what I do. Also, if I reviewed for Oscar-worthy, "Captain Phillips" would have made the cut, but I didn't consider that movie entertaining. Finally, there may be some movies that should be here, but I can only judge the movies that I've seen.

So, here is my list of the movies of 2013 that should not be missed.


#1. "Thor: The Dark World" - The most complete and worthwhile movie of the year is the one movie that saved the life of the superhero movie industry. While most of the superhero movies have terrible scripts and are stunningly boring, "Thor: The Dark World" did it all; it made you laugh, it made you cry, it held nothing back and it delivered a feeling to my gut that I hadn't experienced since seeing "Star Wars" for the first time. Awesome.

#2. "Gatsby" - Flawed only by some choices of music that were too 21st Century, "Gatsby" is beautiful, epic, well-performed, relentlessly entertaining and displayed the greatness of 3D cinema that is sometimes misused. Not this time.

#3. "Prisoners" - You know you go to see movies to feel something and for the most part you go to feel happy or joyous, but regardless of what emotion you seek, most movies fail to deliver any sort of feeling at all. "Prisoners" does not fail. "Prisoners" hits you square in the gut and has you on the edge of your seat; crying, angry and thinking, "What if that were me?"

#4. "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" - Oh, it's one of those 'wait till next year to see the rest' movies, but "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" delivers gut-wrenching suspense and action with complicated characters that builds upon its predecessor and makes you want to get to the end of 2014 as fast as possible.

#5. "Mama", "The Conjuring", "Insidious: Chapter 2" & "You're Next" - Okay, I cheated. I put four movies here, but 2013 can be marked as the return of intelligent Horror/Thriller genre. These movies proved that you don't have to pour on the blood and gore to get scares and they are scary. Well, "You're Next" had plenty of blood and gore, but it was still intelligent and fun.

#6. "Frozen" - Disney takes the most simplistic, predictable stories and fills them with cute characters who sing, dance, have big bright beautiful eyes and do funny innocent things over and over, disguising the vanilla story their telling, and it works. "Frozen" is classic Disney entertainment.

#7. "Now You See Me" - I've always been fascinated with magicians and I fully expected that "Now You See Me" would be unrealistic and silly, but I was thankfully wrong. Instead, "Now You See Me" was realistic, written well and only enhanced my interest in the profession.

#8. "Ender's Game" - It's not a blockbuster type movie but a book that inspired many films after its release was thought-provoking and poignant. Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford deliver great performances to put it over-the-top.

#9. "American Hustle" - A storyline that could have been painfully boring is lifted by Christian Bale and then by Bradley Cooper and then by Amy Adams and then by Jeremy Renner and finally by Jennifer Lawrence; lifting it straight to Oscar night.

#10. "Gravity" - "Gravity" is stunning because this movie hadn't been made sooner. We all want to go to outer space, we just don't want to stay there or die doing it. Well, here's your chance. Gifted with great cinematography and breathtaking outer space atmosphere, "Gravity" is exceptional and another 3D masterpiece.

Honorable mentions: "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug", "Mud", "Pacific Rim", "The Last Stand", "Warm Bodies", "Side Effects", "The Croods", "The Silence" and "The Kings of Summer"