Jason Coleman's Top Ten Films
What’s most notable about 2013’s cop of films is the sheer amount of quality cinema running rampant. Yes, there is the typical powerhouse slew of flicks in the last two months that tend to dominate most lists, but even reaching further back there were some truly fine films. Narrowing down the selections this year was a hard task (one of my personal five-star favorites "The Baytown Outlaws" got bumped from the #10 spot at the last minute!), but for a cine-geek it’s always a pleasure to try. And while I bypassed flicks that are on most lists due to everything from too many distractions (Chitwetel Ejiofor’s haunting work in "12 Years A Slave" gets blindsided by way too many unneeded star cameos!) to not enough story power ("American Hustle" should learn the art of the con from David Mamet’s "House of Games!"), I think this year’s selections are some of the finest cinema that some may have missed. Kids playing war, examinations of love, unappreciated film folks getting their due, celebrity obsessions gone awry and much more – welcome to my “Best of 2013 – Top Ten Films”
1. "I Declare War" (Drafthouse Films)
I dare anyone to find a more original, unique and arresting flick this year than the "Goonies" meets "Platoon" inspired outing "I Declare War." Told through the imagination of ruckus children with a pinch of "Lord of the Flies" infused, this sometimes real, sometimes make believe story staging of capture the flag is both deadly serious and deadly fun. And even though the filmmakers pay dramatic homage to adult war films of the past (P.K. and Skinner are like a little Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger!) and even add a little Shakespeare-esk irony (Mackenzie Munro is like a mini Lady Macbeth!), the characters in the story thankfully never forget that they’re just kids. War strategies, prisoner torture and some pizza after – kids will be kids.