There has been an embarrassingly high number of films that I have loved in 2013. It has been a great year. There was at least one film a week that I could strongly recommend (and very often more than one). Though the blockbuster season delivered very few gems (Pacific Rim and Oblivion were the surprises), it has been an outstanding year for indie films and documentaries.I have come to find that I like more films than the average critic, and wonder if that is a flaw. It is certainly more rewarding to love a film and discuss why, than hate a film and rip into it, though. This year, having to work a lot more, I have been a bit more selective with the films I check out. I might have missed a few gems along the way, but I am confident I missed a lot of duds too.At the beginning of every year I scour the expected releases and see which of my favourite directors are bringing out new films. This year Spike Jonze, the Coen Bros, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne and Steve McQueen have directed new films, but due to the release dates in Australia, none of their films were considered for this list. But we were privileged to new films from Alfonso Cuaron, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Richard Linklater, Kathryn Bigelow and Denis Villeneuve amongst many others. As usual, they delivered.

Compiling a running list throughout the year, the final number of films with a 4 Stars+ rating exceeded 60 (from a list of close to 200), so when I was asked to cull that list to just 10 films - taking into account a few rules, 2013 Australian cinema releases, plus any festival screenings - it became a very difficult task.

I won't mention the ones that missed out, because there are too many, but I will give a couple of early 2014 recommendations. Her (Jan 16), 12 Years A Slave (Jan 30), Blue is the Warmest Color (Feb 13), Nebraska (Feb 20) and The Past (Feb 20) all come highly recommended.


1. Gravity


2. Zero Dark Thirty


3. Silver Linings Playbook


4. Cloud Atlas


5. Dirty Wars


6. Captain Phillips


7. Before Midnight


8. Nebraska


9. The Place Beyond the Pines


10. Short Term 12


Andrew Buckle - follow Andy on Twitter here: @buckle22

Andy Buckle is a passionate Sydney-based film enthusiast and reviewer who has built a respected online voice at his personal blog, The Film Emporium. Andy will contribute reviews, features and be our resident film festival, and awards expert.