3. Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy: Love, Faith, and Hope (Austria/France/Germany) Hands down, the best political-art-porn trilogy of the decade. I can't choose which one is my favorite.
2. Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, Philippines) Diaz's four-hour masterpiece about a group of existentialist 20-somethings encapsulates why I fell in love with cinema in the first place.
1. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski, US) I will say it, and I will say it loudly: The Lone Ranger is the most subversive Hollywood film since Starship Troopers (1997). This uncompromising, revisionist Western is surprisingly ruthless with its all-American violence, and is highlighted by offbeat slapstick performances (by both Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer) and action scenes that audiences will get to uncover for decades to come. I've watched it four times, and it's only gotten better with each viewing.
Jesse Hawthorne Ficks writes film festival reviews for the SF Bay Guardian, curates Midnites for Maniacs at the Castro and Roxie, and is the Film History Coordinator at Academy of Art University.
YEAR IN FILM: SAM STANDER'S TOP 13
1. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, US/France)
2. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, US)
3. John Dies at the End (Don Coscarelli, US)
4. Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, US)
5. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, Canada)
6. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, US)
7. The Punk Singer (Sini Anderson, US)
8. The World's End (Edgar Wright, UK)
9. [tie] Evil Dead (Fede Alvarez, US) and You're Next (Adam Wingard, US)
10. [tie] The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola, US/UK/France/Germany/Japan) and Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, US)
11. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway/UK)
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