The 20 Best Films of 2013

12/18/2013 4:00 AM |

Photo via

****** 9 ******
Spike Jonze

All that work directing Charlie Kaufman screenplays and coming up with high-concept music videos has paid off. What could have been a rimshot comedy about a man falling in love with his iPhone is, instead, a complex and involving romance about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) and an operating system (Scarlett Johansson) developing a very real and imperfect relationship.
Jesse Hassenger

****** 8 ******
A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke

Whereas most films by the great Jia unfurl tales of everyday people cast adrift by the massive upheavals in China’s economy and social structure with a languor that almost masks their ferocity, this one burns like a comet. Maybe he just couldn’t be this direct until China’s microblogs started telling stories like the shocking ones he reimagines here, all of which were reported widely enough before he started filming to protect him from censorship. 
Elise Nakhnikian