Watch This: David’s Top 10 Films of 2013

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It’s been an amazing year for films, possibly the best one since I started writing/talking about film seriously back in 2007. Devindra and I had a spirited discussion of our top 10 films of the year, but for those who prefer a shorter, 9-minute long version of that podcast episode, you can find a video version of my top 10 films of 2013 after the jump.

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Dave’s Top 5 Film Scores of 2013

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I think one sign of a film score’s success is how well it stands apart from its film. While the relationship should always be symbiotic, I’m always on the lookout for film scores I can add to my listening rotation. This year, there were a bunch of tracks that moved me deeply and/or received a ton of play either on my computer or through my headphones. The art of film music remains alive, well, and encouragingly diverse.

After the jump, check out my top 5 film scores of 2013, as well as a few great Honorable Mentions that barely missed the cut. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.
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Note: This review originally ran during the Sundance Film Festival in January. It is based on a cut of the film that is slightly different than what opened limited last weekend and expands this week. 

The best way to revitalize a well-worn story concept is often to approach it openly and honestly, but from an unusual angle. That’s what writer/director David Lowery does with the ages-old conflict between an outlaw, a lawman, and the woman between them, in the exceptional modern western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Rooney Mara are the people crossed at a crucial point in time. You’ve heard the story before, or at least seen the setup: one guy pulls a criminal job, and is caught in a fight with sheriff’s deputies as a result. His girlfriend is stalwart and sticks with him, even when the consequences of his criminal actions hit hard. But life is complicated, and plans go right to hell.

Deliberately paced and more interested in aftermath than big action scenes, a shorthand caption for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints could be “Cormac McCarthy by way of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.” Each role is acted with calm precision, and directed with a measured hand. Lowery never falls to the temptation of overplaying a scene. It is one of the best films I’ve seen at Sundance 2013, and a must for fans of the slow burn or directors Andrew Dominik and John Hillcoat. Read More »

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David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was among the best debuts at Sundance this past January, and it quickly found a release deal with IFC. (My glowing review is here.) The first trailer is here, opening with a slow, hazy expression of love which is soon overshadowed by the dark current that runs through the film. Casey Affleck shines as an outlaw who can’t quite face the idea that his family may be lost, while Rooney Mara excels as the woman caught at the tipping point between a very different past and future.

A gently percussive score and rhythmic cutting push the trailer forward, and the shade of Cormac McCarthy that inhabits the story becomes a bit more apparent as this edit hits a minor crescendo. It’s a great trailer for an excellent film. Read More »

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David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was one of the best films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. IFC will bring it to theaters in August, and the film is screening in Cannes this weekend. Along with that screening we’ve got a new teaser poster for the film, painted by the director’s brother.

The poster, by Benjamin Lowery, shows the film’s central couple, Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). They live together as outlaws, but Bob takes the blame for one of Ruth’s actions during a shootout with cops and goes to prison. Four years later, Bob escapes and makes his way back to Ruth and their daughter.

Ben Foster and Keith Carradine also star, but for right now we’ll keep the focus on Bob and Ruth, with Ruth rightly taking prominence on the poster. See the image after the break. Read More »

Even though the Sundance Film Festival is over, the movie deals continue. Over the last few days of the event, several films acquired distribution assuring you’ll have a shot at seeing them soon. Many of the bigger films, including Fruitvale, Don Jon’s Addiction, The Way Way Back, and The Spectacular Now, were picked up early in the festival. You can get info about each at those links above.

Below, we’ll tell you who is handling films like Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, the horror anthology S-VHS, Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and a few others. Read More »

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