Frederick Wiseman’s four-hour documentary provided a fascinating look at the triumphs, troubles and contradictions at the heart of America’s best public university -- and featured the most gripping climax seen in any film this year.
Photo: Zipporah Films
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini as middle-aged divorcees who tiptoe into a relationship, Nicole Holofcener's sharp, richly insightful latest was the best romantic comedy of the year.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
In his graceful, glowing black-and-white comedy, Noah Baumbach observed the passive-aggressive social behaviours and private yearnings of Brooklyn hipsters with an infectious fondness.
Photo: IFC Films
Woody Allen's haunting and timely film succeeded in eliciting a complex mix of responses to Cate Blanchett's financially ruined, mentally unravelling anti-heroine: disgust, schadenfreude, amusement, affection and, finally, compassion.
Photo: Mars Distribution
Jia Zhangke's scorching four-segment examination of violence and corruption in current-day China played with various genres, conjuring images of terror and sensuality that seared themselves into your memory.
Photo: Ad Vitam
In this under-seen stunner, 24-year-old Québecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan used his excitingly baroque style to convey the volcanic inner states of a male cross-dresser and his long-suffering girlfriend.
Photo: Breaking Glass Pictures
Abstract, elliptical and unabashed in its lyricism, Terrence Malick's latest was also a bracingly lucid examination of the lonely space that opens up between a free-spirited European and her stoic Oklahoman husband.
Photo: Magnolia Pictures
Steve McQueen's previous two films (“Hunger” and “Shame”) were sterile and self-involved. But this one had a soul-shaking power, the painterly beauty of its images pulling us into the nightmarish horror of a slave’s life.
Photo: Mars Distribution
The Coen brothers' best yet, about a struggling singer (the wonderful Oscar Isaac) in 1960s New York, blended their trademark irony with layers of warmth, mystery and regret, echoed in the glorious folk tunes.
Photo: Alison Rosa ©2012 Long Strange Trip LLC
Abdellatif Kechiche’s deep, devastating exploration of first love, heartbreak, and socioeconomic differences in today’s France was by far the best film of 2013 -- and, powered by its peerless leading ladies, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, the most emotionally immersive movie-going experience in years.
Photo: Wild Bunch