LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- THV11 Film Critic Jonathan Nettles picks his top 11 movies of 2013.
August: Osage County - Meryl Streep is amazing as the pill-popping, truth-telling matriarch of the very dysfunctional Weston family. I connected with Osage County on a personal level because there's a certain degree of dysfunction in my family that this film or the play by Tracy Letts could have been based upon.
Gravity - This is the groundbreaker of 2013. I have never been on the edge of my seat like this in a movie theater. Director Alfonso Cuaron not only delivered a tight, tense film but he was also innovative in the way he brought it to the screen. Cuaron spent years working visual effect artists trying to perfect the look of this film and waiting for the technology to come along so this film would be possible. Sadly, if you did not see this in the theater, you missed half of the experience of this film.
American Hustle - Competing for my favorite film of the year (although I can't explain why) David O. Russell gives us a funny, yet serious look at a con gone wrong. Amy Adams and Christian Bale are con-artists that get in over their head. Bradley Cooper is an FBI agent who gets in over his head. Jennifer Lawrence seems to be the only one who knows what she's doing but has no clue what's going on. It's just a great movie.
Captain Phillips - Is there anything that Tom Hanks cannot pull off? This movie is intense from the moment the Somali pirates board the Mirsk Alabama. The surprise performance of the year comes from Barkhad Abdi as leader of the Somali pirates.
12 Years a Slave -Chewitel Ejiofor is captivating as Solomon Northup, a freeman who was kidnapped from his life in the north and sold into slavery for 12 years. Director Steve McQueen took a subject that has been studied in history and made it real and gave it a deeper emotional connection to a modern audience. Another great film with a great ensemble cast but Ejiofor has earned all the awards for this one.
The Way Way Back - A coming of age story about a 14-year old boy who is trying to figure out where he fits in between his recently-divorced Mom and her newfound love interest (who is a jerk). During a summer trip, he befriends the owner of a local water park who helps him discover that life isn't as serious as he thinks it is and help him find his confidence. This is the kind of movie you have to stick with as the characters don't really develop until the last half-hour but the journey is well worth it.
This is the End - Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson. Funniest, raunchiest, lewdest, most curse word saying-ist group of guys on the planet in 2013? Yes.
Rush - Ron Howard is the man. Thor was great as a race car driver but Daniel Bruhl was spectacular as F1 racer Niki Lauda. The technical look of this film and the racing sequences blew me away.
The Wolf of Wall Street - This is classis Scorcese and another great performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Bad people acting badly and getting into bad situations is rarely a good thing but it makes for a great movie. Jonah Hill stole the show as Leo's sidekick and business partner. Although it made my list, the first thing I tell people about this movie it that it is three hours long.
Nebraska - Bruce Dern is a legend (even as a crazed-neighbor in the Tom Hanks' comedy The Burbs) who delivers a stellar performance in this film that deals with aging parents, father-son relationships, family, and what we go through to make them happy.
Iron Man 3 - The first big superhero/comic movie release of the year delivered on so many levels. It exceeded the hype and left everyone wondering: Is this the end of Iron Man?