There were a number of films within the first half of the year that I did not get a chance to see and, more than likely, would have replaced a handful of films that made it onto my Mid-Year Top 10. They either did not play around my area or I just didn’t get a chance to see them yet. Films like Mud, Museum Hours, Frances Ha, The Kings of Summer, Beyond the Hills, Leviathan, Post Tenebras Lux, or Like Someone in Love, to name a few. Most of those, when seen, will replace at least the first three on my Top 10, maybe more. I have a feeling this list will be drastically different come the end of the year.
*Note: I’m only counting films that were released so far this year in theaters.
#10 – BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO directed by Peter Strickland
Berberian Sound Studio is exactly how I like my horror films to be – atmospheric with an unhurried pace that slowly ascends into delirious terror. Toby Jones gives the exact performance needed for all of this to happen.
#9 – WAR WITCH directed by Kim Nguyen
Featuring strong performances from Rachel Mwanza and Serge Kanyinda, War Witch is a beautifully realized coming-of-age/young-love story set against the harsh backdrop of brutality and war.
#8 – MAN OF STEEL directed by Zach Snyder
This film made me enjoy Superman, which I didn’t think could happen. I hate Superman – plain and simple. Man Of Steel is a great entertainment summer blockbuster (for me anyway). That ‘terraforming’ sequence was great.
#7 – SUN DON’T SHINE directed by Amy Seimetz
Seimetz shows that, not only is she a capable actress, but she also happens to be a capable filmmaker as well with her debut of Sun Don’t Shine, an ominous road-trip film that slowly reveals its darkness through a great performance from Kate Lyn Sheil.
#6 – SIGHTSEERS directed by Ben Wheatley
Wheatley brings his nonchalant ultra-violence to the comedy genre with the help of Steve Oram and Alice Lowe (co-writer and star). Just a ginger-bearded man and an angry woman killing people on holiday.
#5 – GIMME THE LOOT directed by Adam Leon
Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson showcase great chemistry in this NYC-set indie revolving around graffiti, as they try to bomb the NY Mets Home Run Apple.
#4 – SIDE EFFECTS directed by Steven Soderbergh
Rooney Mara gives an unbelievable performance in one of the most artistically shot thrillers I’ve seen in some time; no scene is superficial, everything has a purpose. Soderbergh is one of the few directors who can do any genre.
#3 – THIS IS THE END directed by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
One of the funniest comedies I’d seen in a while that also, oddly enough, went into some surprising territory. Franco and McBride arguing (at length) over masturbating etiquette while in someone else’s home is one of the greatest scenes in comedy history.
#2 – UPSTREAM COLOR directed by Shane Carruth
I’ve waited 8 years for a Shane Carruth sophomore-effort, and it finally arrived with a beautifully shot and expertly crafted tale of pain and love nestled into a box of ambiguity along with a fantastic performance from Amy Seimetz.
#1 – SPRING BREAKERS directed by Harmony Korine
My only 10 out of 10 so far this year (I have a feeling Upstream Color will move into that category in due time). Any film containing a Marcel Dzama homage set to Britney Spears with a gold-grilled, cornrowed James Franco playing piano is obviously going to end up at number one.