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Empire's Review Of The year 2013 CLICK FOR MORE REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2013 FEATURES ›
The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Have you seen the best movies released this year?

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Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingstone, Lili Taylor, Hayley McFarland, Joey King
Best for... things that went bump in the night – and often the day too.

A monster box office hit, The Conjuring came from nowhere to scare $316m out of moviegoers around the world. It rolled the true-life Amityville murders – for pity’s sake, don’t ever move somewhere that has ‘Amity’ in the name – into a scarefest that blew icy breath down our necks and went “BOO!” all at the same time. The rich period detail, creepy doll prelude and Lili Taylor going all Linda Blair were highlights, but James ‘Saw’ Wan offered an Edgar Allen Poe-y sense of the macabre and the story rattled along at a whip. Unsurprisingly, there’s a sequel coming. The unlikely sounding The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (what next? The Tottenham Hale Terrors?) is also based on a true story and will be with us in the next year or two.


Director: John Krokidas
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall
Best for... showing the Beat poets before they got the Beat going.

The act of violence that drives this drama about the early lives of some of the most influential writers of the 20th century – Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg – is revealed in the opening moments, but the film keeps its real surprises close to the chest. It's only gradually that it becomes clear that this is a lot messier and more complicated than the usual coming-of-age 'Becoming Allen Ginsberg' sort of story, even before we get into questions of murder. Newcomer director Krokidas shows a gift for subtlety and nuance here that marks him as one to watch, and Daniel Radcliffe shows once again that he's more than just The Boy Who Lived.


Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg
Best for... saying hey nonny nonny to The Avengers.

Just after shooting The Avengers, Joss Whedon took two weeks out of the edit suite and made this monochrome take on Shakespeare's comedy of manipulated love. With a team of friends and regulars and a shoot in his back garden, he produced a breezy, easy-going version of the play with none of the self-consciousness that can plague some adaptations. For those under the impression that Shakespeare is only for snoots and stuffed shirts, this brings the Bard home to the pit audience he always kept engaged.


Director: Jake Schreier
Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler
Best for... rekindling lost mojos with the help of a robot.

It's been a good year for older stars, with great roles for the likes of Bruce Dern and Judi Dench. Likely to be overlooked – wrongly – is this performance by Frank Langella, as a retired cat burglar stirred back to life by a robot carer who proves amenable to engaging in some light larceny to keep his elderly charge active. The film's too pacy, funny and science fiction tinged to get the awards praise it might otherwise deserve, but Langella's rarely been better and the whole is a beautifully judged look at ageing and last hurrahs.


Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Peter Capaldi
Best for... making Brad Pitt-lemonade from troubled-shoot lemons.

The advance word was poisonous. The trailers betrayed virtually no connection to the source material (something the film bore out). And then… it turned out to be a cracking adventure film, with Brad Pitt trekking all over the world, staying just ahead of the oncoming zombie horde, to find a way to save humanity from this latest apocalypse. Great effects and a constant sense of both tension and surprise served to keep knuckles gnawed and bums barely on seats throughout a relatively lean running time (proportionate to the scale of the story, at least). While we'd like to see more of the book in the sequel, this one definitely gets chalked up as a success grabbed from the zombie-jaws of box-office disaster.

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Your Comments

21 RE: Vampire rasicm, Zombie favouritism
Also, to those complaining about release dates, I'm pretty sure they're going by the British schedule, to find more details, visit More

Posted by odddaze on Monday December 2, 2013, 00:43

22 RE: Vampire rasicm, Zombie favouritism
Sad to see no love for Spring Breakers or Kings of Summer. Sad to see love for Man of Steel, Warm Bodies, Now You See Me and The Bling Ring. More

Posted by odddaze on Monday December 2, 2013, 00:42

23 RE: The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Silver Linings Playbook was released in 2012. More

Posted by Tiggerspal on Sunday December 1, 2013, 20:05

24 RE: The 50 Best Films Of 2013
They seem to have forgotten Silver Linings Playbook. Best film of the year! More

Posted by Beetlejuice! on Sunday December 1, 2013, 19:30

25 RE: Seriously????
L: Hector26 Iron Man 3 at no.7 after the laughably pointless 'twist'? t's Empire's list, they can put it wherever they want. More

Posted by Whistler on Sunday December 1, 2013, 18:54

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