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Top 10 Movie Antiheroes

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With the passing of each week, the more I enjoy concocting these top 10s, and this week’s entry is no different. As you may have guessed from the title or header image, this top 10 will feature, in my opinion, the best antiheroes in cinema history. As always, if you feel I’ve overlooked a contestant or listed one that shouldn’t have been considered, leave all comments and questions below. I’m always looking to improve the segment and love interacting with fellow film lovers.

Every now and then there comes along a protagonist who might go off the deep end. You know, beat someone half-to-death, take pleasure in humanities destruction, or have the occasional soul erased from the face of the earth. Now, however they chose to go about there business is irrelevant. We, as cinephiles love these colourful characters for their more shady characteristics and the nonchalant way they handle things that would send normal people into spiralling depression.

Let’s do it!

Honourable Mentions: 

Severus Snape (Harry Potter series, Alan Rickman), Oh-dae Su (Oldboy, Min-sik Choi), Marv (Sin City, Mickey Rourke), Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara), Patrick Bateman (American Psycho, Christian Bale), Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day Lews), Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee, I Saw the Devil).

10: Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson)

Jules is someone who really radiates anti-heroism. Almost like a gun-slinger with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

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9: Charles Bronson (Bronson, Tom Hardy)

Talk about taking pleasure in abhorrent behaviour. All Bronson wanted was to fight for the sake of fighting and to become Britain’s most violent prisoner.

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8: The Driver (Drive, Ryan Gosling)

Torn between his only skill-set and doing right by his friends. The Driver may lull you in with his heartwarming nature, but make no mistake, he is ruthless and unforgiving.

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7: Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Brad Pitt)

Driven by a desire to disrupt the world and destroy his opinion of oppression. Tyler may be trying to help out his bud, but he accomplishes it in true antihero fashion.

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6: Alex (A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell)

Alex simply wants to see others suffer, whether it be through violence, mental degradation, or dominance.

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5: Leon (Leon: The Professional, Jean Reno)

An assassin with a heart of gold.

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4: Tony Montana (Scarface, Al Pacino)

Willing to do whatever is necessary to become his own interpretation of king. Tony Montana is as cold-blooded as they come.

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3: Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro)

One can’t help but feel for Travis, attempting to free the unfortunate girl sucked into prostitution. However, his sociopathic mentality, obsessions with firearms, and desire to murder is too repulsive to overlook.

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2: Henry Hill (Goodfellas, Ray Liotta)

From the beginning, we are led to believe that Hill and his fellow thugs are normal, everyday hard-working guys. However, the truth is much more sinister and ferocious.

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1: Michael Corleone (The Godfather, Al Pacino)

Although we’ve been given a veritable gaze into the Corleone family and begin to care for them. There is no denying that this mafia family will do whatever it takes to remain atop, especially Michael.

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Okay all, that’ll do it for this week’s edition of the top 10, hope you all enjoyed it. Have a great weekend!

Top 10 Male Actors Who’ve Never Won An Oscar

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As far as being acknowledged for a piece of work goes, an Oscar nomination is easily one of the most difficult to earn. That being said, year after year, there are front runners. The same, familiar faces we, as cinephiles, have come to expect great things from. And every year, as sure as the seasons change, one of these remarkable actors is fortunate enough to capture the gold statue. The talented men below, are not one of these lucky individuals. For whatever reason, the 10 men listed below can’t seem to close the deal. Granted, it isn’t for a lack of effort or quality, neither is it due to some misguided bias. It just so happens that every performance they’ve given that has eventually earned them this elusive recognition, has been trumped by another individual. Now, we may not unanimously agree on the winner yearly, but one thing we can all agree on, is the men listed below, should have some Oscar gold on their shelves.

The way I concluded on how to compile this top 10 is simple. Each actor mentioned in the top 10 has a performance I feel should have earned them an Oscar win. A lot of the men listed have been nominated, some more than once. Nonetheless, have yet to take home the hardware. As for the “still time” and “honourable mentions,” they might not have been nominated previously, but I still feel will win an Oscar in my lifetime.

Still Time:

Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Cillian Murphy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon.

Honourable Mentions:

Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Ian McKellan, Joaquin Phoenix, Patrick Stewart.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into it!

10: Ed Harris – The Truman Show

A four-time Oscar nominee, Ed Harris just can’t seem to get the respect he deserves or be able to catch a break.

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9: Edward Norton – American History X

“Fight Club,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “American History X,” Edward Norton has no shortage of great performances under his belt. Now, if he could just get that elusive win, we could all cross him off of our lists.

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8: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

His best chance to win the golden statue may have already passed with the release of “Lost in Translation.” But who knows, maybe he can surprise us once more and finally grab a victory.

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7: Tom Cruise – Jerry McGuire

All Cruise craziness aside, he has stared in numerous films that should have garnered him at least one Oscar win, if not more.

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6: Sam Rockwell – Moon

Many of you may not agree with this choice. Nonetheless, I feel Sam Rockwell has given the performance of our lifetime in “Moon” and should have been at least recognized for it, in my opinion, he should have been given the Oscar hands down.

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5: Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction

Really? How did Jackson not win an Oscar for his performance in “Pulp Fiction?”

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4: Liam Neeson – Schindler’s List

Another no-brainer. Liam Neeson is an outstanding actor, yet has not earned an Oscar.

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3: Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

One of the most illustrious actors on this list, Mr. Oldman has only been nominated once. While it should have been more, his performance in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” should have gotten him the win.

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2: Brad Pitt – 12 Monkeys

Now we are getting into ridiculousness. Take your pick, Pitt should have multiple Oscar wins, but has yet to receive his first, utterly insane.

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1: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Arguably one of the best actors to ever grace the big screen. Leonardo DiCaprio has yet to win an Oscar. WIth a plethora of performances that should have gotten him at least one win. We, as cinephiles can only hope he will be recognized for his work sometime in the near future.

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Alright, that’ll do it for this week’s top 10, I sincerely hope you all enjoyed it. As always, if you feel I overlooked an actor or listed one that should have excluded from this list, please leave all comments and questions below. Everyone have an outstanding weekend!

Only God Forgives (2013)

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Violent, vulgar, and morally deplorable. Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” is a potent, virus-like blend of the director’s brilliant, ever-expanding repertoire and showcases Refn at his most abstract and unrestrained. Featuring another intentionally heartless, complex, and remorseless performance from Ryan Gosling. “Only God Forgives” might not be as structurally sound or hauntingly visceral as the duo’s previous collaboration,  but it is undoubtedly another art-house spectacle from the rapidly ascending team. Although visually beautiful, “Only God Forgives” remains simultaneously disturbing and littered with symbolism. Clocking in just short of ninety-minutes, its compact and offers a lot of content to absorb, yet isn’t easy to chew or digest. Its vivid, surreal, and ferocious, which makes “Only God Forgives” a delight for Refn veterans and will most likely deprive occasional cinephiles of any remaining cinematic innocence or consciousness.

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Julian (Gosling) is an american living in Bangkok. He runs a boxing club, which is a front for his family’s massive drug smuggling operation. His older brother Billy heads out for a night of self-destruction and is eventually murdered. Soon, Crystal (Thomas), Julian’s mother, arrives and arranges for her son’s murderer to be killed. When the family finds out that Lieutenant Chang (Pansringarm) is also embedded in the killing, Julian is urged to to take his life, but it is not that simple.

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It’s a veritable sucker-punch to structural cinema, character labels, and appropriated guidelines. “Only God Forgives” is sure to frustrate and enrage many with its sparse, unsuited dialogue, frequent sequences of prolonged eye-contact, and neon-lit brutality. Nonetheless, the film is an undeniable visual feast and its dynamic, allegoric storyline is beautiful, imagistic, and emblematic. Undoubtedly, some will claim “Only God Forgives” to be nothing more than an exercise in violence, frightening imagery, and shock. Granted, the substance may not be as prominent and hypnotic as Refn’s hyper-style. However, if you dig under “Only God Forgives” sensationalized, hallucinant surface, you’ll surely find the devil in the details. It may not be the answer you’re looking for, seeing as the material is just as touchy and delicate as Refn’s breathtaking, foreboding visuals, but it is the answer regardless.

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“Only God Forgives” is an expressionistic piece of humanity fighting physically, vitally for their soul and mind against hallowed, unquestionable, fearfully revered beings. Whether you chose to brand it temptation, good against evil, man against god, etc…There is a battle of morality and mortality raging inside every single one of us and Refn has conveyed this message with his typically subtle, violent, suave flare. Some may confuse this for pretentiousness, infer that the film lacks grounding, or insist they cannot relate to the film’s characters. Plainly put, you’re not meant to connect with the exterior qualities of “Only God Forgives.” Refn masked the message intentionally with sexual dysfunction, fury, and stoic characters, essentially the opposite of everything we live and die for. Anything worthwhile isn’t easy to obtain.

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Amidst all the chaos, symbolism, and violence. “Only God Forgives” portrays an unnerving, obscure, and powerful family drama. While dealing with one another and their own, personal identity crises, true intentions and characteristics are revealed. The viewer is subjected to this unflinching gaze at self-destruction, madness, and honesty, which rivals even the most stomach-churning gore and bone-shattering violence Refn can concoct. Additionally, each individual is dissected through their actions and must suffer the consequences. This is quite possibly the most important facet of “Only God Forgives:” action, reaction, and consequence.

Without question, what drives an experimental, artistic film such as “Only God Forgives” is the cast’s performances, it is essentially cinema’s marrow. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristen Scott Thomas, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, and Vithaya Pansringarm. Refn has found himself vibrant, strong, and flourishing facets to comprise this heartless mechanism that keeps “Only God Forgives” chugging along.

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Yayaying Rhatha Phongam really caught me off guard, she is outstanding throughout the film and looks really good doing so. However, in comparison to her co-stars, she just can’t measure up. You’d think that portraying distant, emotionally void, and bereaved would defeat precisely what cinema stands for, yet, it’s quite the opposite. Apparently, Ryan Gosling could care less what some viewers thought of his faceless, malicious, in my opinion brilliant performance in Refn’s previous flick “Drive” and decided to do it all again…and I am so thankful he did. While it may not top his performance in “Drive,” it’s a completely different form of inhumanity and proves Gosling has got the chops. What can I say about Vithaya Pansringarm? His character’s passion, uniqueness, and intimidation may have stemmed from Refn’s screenplay, but Pansringarm brought it to immaculate life. While I can’t say I’m a big fan of Kristen Scott Thomas, I can say that you will full-heartedly hate her in “Only God Forgives,” which I am assuming is what they were aiming for.

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Although it might not be clear-cut, family-friendly, or easy to watch, “Only God Forgives” is why I love cinema. If you can stomach its bloody violence and understand its message, Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” is well worth the arduous journey.

Only God Forgives: 8.5 out of 10.

Blue Valentine (2010)

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An unflinching look into a faltering marriage as it evolved from a chance encounter. Blue Valentine doesn’t shy away from the tribulations and although at times it may be difficult to watch, there is no arguing with the authenticity on display here. Featuring a pair of unprecedented performances of unbearable depth and astounding accuracy from its two leads. Blue Valentine is a veritable gaze into the consequences of young love and other uncontrollable emotions. Directed and written by breakthrough visionary Derek Cianfrance. This uncompromising, atypical fairytale is both heartbreaking and enlightening. Blue Valentine is as potent and persuasive as they come and should be viewed with caution. Consider your current emotional state, Blue Valentine should not be taken lightly or inconsiderately trifled with.

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Dean (Gosling) is a high school dropout currently working for a New York City moving company. Cindy (Williams) is a pre-med student living at home with her parents and grandmother. Upon meeting by change, both fall in love with one another immediately. Cindy soon discovers she is pregnant and there is a distinct possibility it is from a previously relationship. Regardless, Cindy and Dean rush into marriage. Fast forwarding roughly five years, we now see the evolution of their relationship, their struggles, and the growth of their daughter. Dean currently works as a painter while Cindy is a nurse. As their lives continue to progress, the more they distance from one another and begin to crumble under their youthful, reckless decisions.

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Despite a staggering amount of sadness and sacrifice. At times, Blue Valentine is equally as pleasant and rewarding. Trying not to weigh the viewer down with a significant amount of melancholy that is relentlessly constant, as well as boasting a pair of portrayals that are strong enough to bring its viewers to tears. Blue Valentine never loses direction and always keeps its heart beating for all the right reasons. While most films would falter under the restriction of having only two characters carry the story throughout, Blue Valentine always keeps its content fresh and progressive. Cianfrance provides a grounded, realistic entry into a genre that seems to continuously, albeit unsuccessfully shoot for sky and easily lose sight of what really matters, thankfully Blue Valentine is not the norm.

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Cianfrance’s direction is near impossible to critique. When you’re able to snag a harrowing tale of utter sadness and regret, let alone a few moments through a lens, you’ve hit your stride. Cianfrance pulls double duty in Blue Valentine as he also scribes the screenplay. The main reason why Blue Valentine succeeds is its faultless attention to detail. This is directly related to Cianfrance’s outstanding script and heart-bursting direction.

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However powerful and poignant Cianfrance’s script and direction may be, Blue Valentine would be lost without its two leads. Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as inwardly star-crossed lovers on the verge of catastrophe, Blue Valentine makes the most of its stars remarkable chemistry. Not only undergoing significant changes to their personalities and characteristics. Gosling and Williams outward appearances are shifted to accommodate their roles exhausting demands. While it may not always be pretty to look at. Gosling and Williams construct a formidable, more importantly believable relationship that isn’t your typical “happily ever after.” Gosling beautiful acts the growing frustration in reaction to Williams indifference of their relationship. In summary, It is exceedingly difficult to review their performances separate from one another because they are so connected.

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Never hiding the foundations weaknesses and cracks or the fading sparks. Blue Valentine is a realistic romance that will render your insides torn and eyes far from dry.

Blue Valentine: 8 out of 10.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

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Deceptively intricate and performed infallibly. Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines is morally sound and inevitably cyclic. Encompassing a complex set of circumstances marred by incalculable chaos. The Place Beyond the Pines is irrefutable evidence that history is inescapable. Now, whether or not we chose to look upon this unavoidable repetition as beneficial, dooming, or simply as fate itself, is entirely subjected to the nature and nurture  of our upbringing to the very present moment we have watched this film. Cianfrance has laid out multiple paths that we are allowed to tread along. The decision however, lies within our beliefs, karmic standpoint, and stance on true freedom. Featuring an all star cast that includes, Ryan Gosling, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Greenwood, Bradley Cooper, Rose Bryne, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan, and Eva Mendes. Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines is a highly philosophical, towering achievement in understanding the makings of a generation fuelled by loss, regret, and deprivation.

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Luke (Gosling) is a talented and mischievous motorcycle stuntman who travels with a carnival, currently stopped in Schenectady, New York. Luke is trying to reconnect with his past lover named Romina (Mendes). Romina secretly gave birth to Luke’s son and neglected to tell him as he was travelling with the carnival for the past year. In order to provide for his new baby and Romina, Luke quits the carnival and commits a series of bank robberies with his friend Robin (Mendelsohn). As Luke continues to raise the stakes, the more heat he is under. After a robbery, Luke is confronted with a chase to escape the clutches of a persistent police officer named Avery Cross (Cooper). Avery is confronted with his own tribulations as he soon realizes his police force is ripe with corruption and his marriage to Jennifer (Byrne) is faltering. Fifteen years down the road, Luke and Avery’s paths continue to cross.

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It is excessively challenging to navigate a film with several, individual story lines. When stitching together a film as complex as Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, you run the risk of overbearing the audience. The multiple motivations, principles, and circumstantial elements the viewer needs to consider while deciphering impressions could very well prove too disproportionate. However, with The Place Beyond the Pines, this is not the case. Cianfrance’s ability to extract only what is essential from his cast and divide the disarray into manageable portions is a harrowing achievement. For a film that is packed with calamity and discord, there is never a feeling of disorganization. You’ll never have the urge to scramble. You’ll create a complete, unhampered opinion of the characters.

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A rather unexpected fault I originally found with this film is the indifference I felt towards Bradley Cooper’s character. Then, after some time had passed, I came to the conclusion that it was and is the way I am supposed to feel towards him. It was alarming at first because of the compassion and sympathy I was able to emit for Ryan Gosling’s character. When looked at comparatively, Gosling and Cooper play relatively the same role, the only difference is they’re at opposite ends of the moral chain. Both have made grave errors in their time, do whatever is necessary to keep themselves alive, and relentlessly provide for their families. Now, some will undoubtedly share similar opinions to my own and some will relate to Cooper more earnestly then Gosling. The point is that their isn’t an issue with who’ve you found favour in.

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In a similar fashion, the viewer will be polarized by Gosling’s son and Cooper’s. I generally felt a deep hatred for Cooper’s son for not respecting the opportunities and benefits he has in front of him. Conversely, Gosling’s son was very loyal and charged with an ambitious, thirsty energy. So I full heartedly despised Cooper’s son for his idiotic behaviour and not relishing what he has available to him. I’m supposed to be summarizing the casts performances, gotten a bit sidetracked. I suppose I am reviewing subconsciously and that this personal dissection is probably the best way to influence your opinion regarding this film.

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In comparison to Gosling, Cooper did not measure up. For his segment, Cooper had arguably been set up for disappointment. Following up a masterful performance is never easy. However, having one of your top actors be slightly over performed by another is a great problem to have. Ben Mendelsohn has slowly creeped his way to becoming one of my favourite actors currently active. His performances in The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly, and now The Place Beyond the Pines are staggering. It seems with each outing he becomes more confident and orbited. Another actor who has had a terrific rise is Dane DeHaan. After contributing to the misunderstood Lawless and surprising Chronicle, DeHaan certainly left his mark in The Place Beyond the Pines. Rose Byrne continues to prove why she is one of the hottest actresses in cinema today. A heartbreaking performance alongside a disgruntled Cooper is no easy feat. In their limited time, Bruce Greenwood and Ray Liotta wielded their experience in spectacular fashion. It’s remarkable how Liotta can just stare at you and its almost enough to make you wet yourself in fear. In a film littered with outstanding performances, Eva Mendes is passable. Now, it isn’t as recognizable because the viewer is focused in on everything thats going on. But, this was a supreme opportunity for her to prove herself alongside these acting heavyweights and she didn’t fully grasp the chance.

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Besides an impeccable effort in controlling the vast and multifaceted stories in The Place Beyond the Pines. Cianfrance infuses an enthralling atmosphere to a suggestive and emotionally dark film. With an invested and talented cast, an unprecedented script, and a director brave enough to undertake it. The Place Beyond the Pines is a rare blend of bravery, sacrifice, and judgement.

The Place Beyond the Pines: 9 out of 10.

Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted

To make the directive of this list clear. The films contained are what myself and cinema2033 believe to be the best hopes for cinema in 2013. Again, these are our preferential films, not that of the general viewing public. We are simply predicting what we think will be our favourite or preferred films of the year. We will be creating a separate list with what we believe to be the most anticipated films of 2013. That list will be our perceived notions from discussing and judging the amount of publicity, budget, and overall excitement of the general public. Without further delay, Enjoy another chapter of our top 10 series.

Let’s begin this list with the honourable mentions. Stoker, A Single Shot, The Look of Love, American Hustle, Don Jon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Fifth Estate, Out of the Furnace, Kill Your Darlings, and Before Midnight. We would also like to insert Terrence Malick’s 2013 film, even though its cast, story, and release date are kind of up in the air at the moment.

10: Inside Llewyn Davis. Directed and written by the Coen brothers and starring Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, and John Goodman. Inside Llewyn Davis is sure to be another Coen brother smash.

9: Mud. Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols, the mind behind Shotgun Stories and the hauntingly epic Take Shelter. Mud stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Shannon.

8: Trance. The new film from the brilliant Danny Boyle. Trance is a mind-bending thrill ride featuring outstanding performances from James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel.

7: The Counselor. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s incredible novel and helmed by none other than Ridley Scott. With its outstanding cast that features Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Javier Bardem. The Counselor is ripe with genius and ready for viewing.

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6: The Place Beyond the Pines. Directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, and Ben Mendelsohn. The Place Beyond the Pines is an intricate gem.

5: The Way, Way Back. What seems to be an endearing coming of age romantic comedy. The Way, Way Back looks to have another outstanding performance from Sam Rockwell and an unusual role for Steve Carrell.

4: Nymphomaniac. Directed by the creative and controversial Lars von Trier. Nymphomaniac appears to be a fresh take on sexual addiction with Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Stellan Skarsgard leading the way.

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3: The Wolf of Wall Street. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, need I say more?

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2: Only God Forgives. The Duo of Gosling and Refn appear to be stealing the spotlight from Scorsese and DiCaprio, and rightfully so. This follow up to their 2011 hit Drive is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013.

1: Twelve Years a Slave. Steve McQueen, director of Hunger and Shame, teams up once again with Michael Fassbender for this mid-1800 slavery epic. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and Scoot McNairy. Twelve Years a Slave has all the key facets to take top spot as our best film of 2013 predicted.

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If you think we overlooked a film or made a grave error on our list, please comment below. Also, if you have recommendations for future top 10’s, don’t hesitate to let us know.