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  • Linc’s Top 25 Films of 2013 | #6-10

    By | December 27, 2013

    10) Frances Ha

    While Baumbach has frequently revealed a fascination with “undateable” female protagonists who seem to dance to their own beat, Frances Ha is unlike anything he’s ever done. First and foremost, there is not a bitter, sardonic or jaded moment in this film. We witness the gorgeously lensed (Sam Levy) black and white universe through Frances’ rose colored glasses. Surprisingly for a film that is so relentlessly positive, the tone of Frances Ha never gets annoying or old. During its 86-minute run time, Frances Ha flips the flaws of this world upside down, revealing the amazements and joys of life. They just don’t make movies like this one anymore. (Check out Don Simpson’s full review of Frances Ha.)

    9) Her

    As Her pontificates about the inherent disconnectivity of modern communication, it becomes apparent just how synthetic human emotions and feelings have become. Because of “advancements” in technology and communication, the definition of real relationships is constantly morphing, as is the significance of physical intimacy in those relationships. Most humans seem to need support, love, happiness, understanding and acceptance; but how much of that can be synthesized. Jonze posits that these new forms of interaction and connection may still be able to bring out emotional authenticity and allow humans to their true selves…or maybe not? (Check out Don Simpson’s full review of Her.)

    8) Computer Chess

    Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess is one of the oddest movies I’ve seen this year and also the film that’s done more to restore my pride in Austin’s independent cinema scene than any other in recent memory. And from way out on this limb I’ll also add that I think it’s the finest piece of Austin filmmaking since Richard Linklater stormed the cinematic kingdom with Slacker and followed up with the equally impressive Dazed and Confused. Not that there aren’t a lot of good films and performances steadily coming out of Austin but this is something special. (Check out my full review of Computer Chess.)

    Computer Chess carefully balances high-minded philosophy with comedy and pathos. All the while, Bujalski achieves an ultimate level of realism by enlisting a cast of computer savvy actors and non-actors who at least seem like they know what they’re rambling on about. The production design is the real show-stopper though; this is a masterfully stylized film that is saturated with authenticity. (Read Don Simpson’s full review of Computer Chess.)

    7) Sun Don’t Shine

    Kate Lyn Sheil’s performance as Crystal is nothing short of brilliant, capturing the essence of a character who is pure unhinged emotion. She does this in the deliverance of her dialogue but possibly even more so in her moments of silence, her facial expressions and body language strikingly conveying all of her wounded self-doubt and rage. Kentucker Audley holds his own next to Sheil, completely inhabiting Leo with his futile attempts to counter Crystal’s emotional reactionary nature with some kind of rational and coherent planning. (Check out my full review of Sun Don’t Shine.)

    Sun Don’t Shine is not technically a horror film, but it maintains the spine-tingling intensity of a horrible nightmare. Seimetz’s film is a brutally intense rollercoaster ride that takes its time in revealing the details of Crystal and Leo’s past. But the characters’ history does not really matter; neither does their future (if they do have a future it seems like it will be unavoidably bleak). Sun Don’t Shine exists in the here and now. (Read Don Simpson’s full review of Sun Don’t Shine.)

    6) All Is Lost

    But ultimately, what this film ably captures is the precariousness of life itself and the beauty of the struggle. And popping up randomly amidst the bleak despair and bone-crushing fatigue of the daunting struggle are moments of soul-lifting natural beauty, brief flashes of hope and ultimately the release of that last breath exhaled after exhausting every energy in fighting the good fight. (Check out my full review of All Is Lost.)


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