It is usually difficult to rank movies especially if you have 20 or 30 good ones. What I usually do is sum every five movies into one rank except for the top five where they are ranked exactly as they are numbered. For example, movies 6-10 are ranked the same for me, the same goes for 11-15 and so on. The way I rank movies is based mainly on how I felt after end credits, nothing less nothing more. Well, maybe a little more, looking at your usual stuff from the story, acting, directing, etc…

Anyway, here is my top 30 movies of 2013…

30. Man Of Steel

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Following the footsteps of THE DARK KNIGHT, taking the approach of a dramatic and dark comic hero worked well for superman and finally we have a working formula that could span for 2-3 more sequels (Hoping that it won’t be ruined by Ben Affleck as Batman)…

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29. Side Effects

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This mystery-crime-thriller kind of went under the radar for most people even though it is directed by Soderbergh and has an excellent with Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Cathrine Zeta-Jones, and Jude Law. The isn’t completely unique, but it does keep you intrigued as you try to figure what’s really going on as the story unfolds.

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28. The Purge

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You probably won’t find this on any top 10-20 movies list, but for me as I said it’s all about what you got out of the movie. A horror-thriller movie that offers a completely new and interesting twist on your typical “group hunted by a killer in a confined place”. It was entertaining. Doesn’t deserve to be ranked high by any means, but a ranking of 26-30 is good enough.

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27. World War Z

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I might be one of the few people who fell in love with this movie. I hate zombie films and I am not a zombies fan, but this worked perfectly for me. I might have read too much into it than what it really was, but I thought it was deep and the story was meaningful. (minor spoiler: If it wasn’t for the stupid pepsi scene that killed my mood during the climax of that scene, I would have rated it higher)

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26. Carrie

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I’m usually for the classic 70’s and 80’s horror films and hate their remakes. This is not the case in this remake of the 1976 horror movie based on the novel by Stephen King. This story needs good CGI to showcase the power of Carrie. I would even say that this is much better than the original.

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25. The East

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In the previous two years, the young and talented actress/writer Brit Marling had the number one spot on my list with ANOTHER EARTH and THE SOUND OF MY VOICE. Unfortunately that’s not the case this year even though I was rooting for her. The movie was good but it just felt a step away shy from being great. The movie needed more mystique  similar to her previous films.

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24. Wadjda

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The first critically acclaimed Saudi film. This film had two things that made it great, it was simple yet bold. My only criticism is that it got messy halfway through by trying to stuff most of the Saudi culture problems into the movie even when it had nothing to do with the story. If it wasn’t for that I would have rated it higher.

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23. American Hustle

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I don’t think American Hustle brought anything new to the genre. The story is almost predictable with nothing but your classic twist in these types of movies. It was still entertaining and the cast delivered solid performances.

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22. Captain Phillips

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Based on a true story with great performance by Tom Hanks (as usual!!!) and superb performance by Barkhad Abdi in his supporting role. The story is pretty much known to everyone and the film just fills in the blanks.

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21. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The second part of the Hobbit trilogy was as good as the first one if not better. When this trilogy started I was afraid that it would be hugely overshadowed by the more epic story “Lord of the Rings” but Peter Jackson so far managed to make this trilogy shine on its own.

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20. About Time

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It is becoming a thing for Rachel McAdams to be the girl of the romantic movies but this little gem of a movie had more going on than what you think. You might think when you hear love, romance, and time travel that this has been done before but rest assured it is not the same. A smart, sentimental and touching film.

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19. Saving Mr. Banks

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Regardless of the nominations and good reviews, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movies as I am not aware of the story behind Walk Disney trying to acquire the rights for Mary Poppins. Turned out the story is very dramatic and deeper than you might expect, in case you’re wondering. Emma Thompson delivers a great performance as P.L. Travers.

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18. Prisoners

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Canadian director Denis Velleneuve is known for his dark heart crunching movies (Incendies, Polytechnique) and here he keeps the ball rolling with this raw dark drama. Great story, great cast, and great director. What more can you ask for?

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17. Nebraska

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Alexander Payne has given us many great films that follows a miserable or boring life of a character and nothing changes here. That being said, the story is fresh and has decent amount of humor in it. My only problem is that it is in B&W. I am not a believer of modern movies being shot in B&W. I just don’t get it. I would have loved this movie the same if it was in colors, no more and no less.

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16. Fruitvale Station

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I won’t spoil the movie in case you haven’t heard the story when it was all over the news several years ago. The movie is based on a true story and follows a day in the life of Oscar Grant. It’s a heartbreaking story that got a good film adaptation.

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15. The Wolf of Wall Street

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Scorsese’s portrayal of wall street couple of decades ago is a masterpiece. Funny and gritty performance by the cast in this biopic of Jordan Belfort. Only reason it is not ranked higher for me, it simply I liked the others more. But I can’t find anything bad to say about it.

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14. The Place Beyond the Pines

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In their second collaboration after BLUE VALENTINE, director Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling along with Eva Mendez and Bradley Cooper deliver a dramatic story in a unique story telling way. The movie starts by focusing on the Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver in circuses and carnivals who is struggling to win back his girlfriend and his son. You might think that you know where the story is heading but the beauty of this film is that it takes you in different directions than what you expected.

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13. Blue Jasmine

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I keep saying it year after year and I don’t care what other might think. I prefer the post-2000 Woody Allen much more than the old classic Allen. I find his old movies a little boring and rigid. His recent work (especially in the last several years) is becoming more dynamic with a much better sense of humor. Blue Jasmine might similar to Many of Allen’s movies in approach but it is unique in its delivery. Oh, and Cate Blanchtett gave the best female peformance of year for me.

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12. Before Midnight

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What a superb and realistic ending to this amazing 20-years love story trilogy. I am just happy that I got to see the trilogy in its real time by watching every film when it came out. I think if you watch the trilogy together or even within a year it would lose some of its beauty. This was not just a movie trilogy, it was an experience. Once of the best love stories delivered to us by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

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11. Philomena

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Many people have not seen Philomena even after it was nominated. Based on a very sad, strange, and unbelievable true store about a old lady searching for her son, with the help of a political journalist, after she was forced to give him away 20 years ago. This movie will strike your emotional strings with its touching message.

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10. Rush

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Based on the true rivalry between Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, Ron Howard gives this unbelievable story a well deserved adaptation to the big screen. This isn’t your typical “based on a true story” movie where some facts are changed a bit so that the movie becomes more interesting. The film tells the facts exactly as they are to the extent that you feel like you are watching a documentary. RUSH was even better than the actual documentary that was produced by BBC. Direction was superb, and acting was amazing.

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9. The Hunt

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One of the most frustrating movies of the year. I don’t mean the movie itself but the story. The movie shows you the effects of being judged by society, even when based on an innocent lie. Even though the story is fictional, but the lessons learned could be applied to many different situations. Mads Mikkelsen gives a solid performance as the lonely middle-aged teacher whom you cannot but connect with and root for during the film.

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8. Blackfish

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The only documentary that I really liked this year. Very powerful and moving documentary about the effect of keeping killer whales and dolphins in captivity in places like Sea World and other similar parks. After watching this you will never believe the lies that these animals are being taken care off of that they are happy where they are. What makes this documentary unique is the fact it might very well change your mind and convince of not visiting any zoo, park, aquarium where animals are kept in captivity.

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7. 12 Years A Slave

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Based on a true story, this gut wrenching film shows us one of the darkest periods of the United States. Not talking about slavery in general, but the actual story that happened to Solomon Northup would break most of us, but here you see how hope could give someone strength beyond imagination.

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6. Her

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Sentimental, moving, touching, beautiful, humorous, and sad. That’s how I would describe this unusual love story. Even though the movie reminded me a little of S1M0NE this was more moving, especially with the incredible performance by Joaquin Phoenix which I could not fathom how he did not get nominated for in the Oscars.

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5. Europa Report

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EUROPA REPORT tells the story of a group of scientist astronauts on a privately funded space ship in search of any signs of life on Jupiter’s moon Europa. The movie is told through the recordings of the monitoring cameras on board the space ship. The movie isn’t clear about what to expect which makes it a very thrilling ride till the very end. The film is a science-fiction thriller with more emphasis on the science. It has a mesmerizing style that keeps you calm yet nervous from feeling that something bad will happen. The CGI is great and the direction is amazing. If you like smart sci-fi films like MOON then you will definitely love this. This is the type of movie that you won’t get the full satisfaction until you finish watching the whole thing. One of the best sci-fi movies in recent years and one of this year’s best.

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4. Inside Llewyn Davis

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It is difficult to pinpoint why this movie is ranked so high on my list and many other lists. For me, it was mostly about how I was feeling while watching the movie and after it ended. It was pure joy and I was mesmerized on the main character and following him on this part of his life that is shown in the movie. The Coen brothers became famous for a certain style that they follow in most of their movies. That has changed a little in their last two films and I think has changed completely in Inside Llewyn Davis. What is good about this film is that it is raw. The protagonist isn’t the easy kind to read. You might love him and feel sorry for him and you might  hate him and root against him. In both cases you will be intrigued to watch his daily life. The music in the movie is pure gold even for those who are not into folk music.

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3. Dallas Buyers Club

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Based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who was diagnosed with AIDS in mid 80s and his journey for recovery and to find a cure. This film has the best performance by a lead and a supporting male actors not only this year but of all times. Jared Leto, whom I consider a very underrated actor, gives an incredible transformation as a cross-dresser while the way Matthew McConaughey  changed his look and lost weight for this role is mind blowing.

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2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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So far I have not seen this on any top list of 2013. This is the kind of movie where I got the feeling before watching it that it will easily crack my top 3 movies of 2013. This is not an actual remake of the 1947 movie but actually a unique film that is based on the premise of the novel. Ben Stiller’s acting just blends perfectly with this movie. I might get some flame here but I actually this of this an “epic” story similar to that of Forrest Gump, Big Fish, Mr. Nobody, The Curious  Case of Binjamin Button, and others. I think most people went into this film with a certain pre-judgment expecting a silly comedy from Ben Stiller. This was very close of being my top movie of the year.

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1. Gravity

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The big film of the year. A mesmerizing real-time story about an astronaut stranded in space. The premise isn’t completely new, it is similar to movies like Castaway, Life of Pi, etc… but done in the most difficult environment. The cinematography is the best I have seen in years and worth watching in 3D. Sandra Bullock give her best performance, and Clooney adds just enough to elevate this movie to the next level. Definitely the best cinematography and best direction in a movie in the past several years.

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