As the critics awards and polls begin to establish consensus, what starts to stand out are the idiosyncratic choices of individual critics, and Time's Richard Corliss has a few whoppers on his Top 10 list. While only long-lead critics and junketeers have seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug so far, the negative reaction to its overstuffed predecessor has set expectations low, and even many fans of the Fast and the Furious franchise don't rank its sixth installment near the top. You'll be seeing Gravity, American Hustle, Her and 12 Years a Slave on many more lists before year's end, with The Act of Killing and The Great Beauty ranking high among those who've seen them, but it'll be interesting to see how many more times Frozen makes the cut. (View Mary Pols' worst-of list here.)
Richard Corliss' Best Movies of 2013
1. Gravity. "In depicting the fearful, beautiful reality of the space world above our world, Gravity reveals the glory of cinema’s future; it thrills on so many levels."
2. The Great Beauty. "Giving even the cynics a faith in the vibrancy of movies, The Great Beauty is the year's grandest, most exhilarating film that takes place on Earth."
3. American Hustle. "This portrait of the '70s revels in the decade’s gaudiness -- its disco dancing and casino dreams, its ugly coiffures and facial hair -- and in the eternal abrasion of sexy women and covetous men."
4. Her. "Spike Jonze... creates a splendid anachronism: a modern rom-com that is laugh-and-cry and warm all over, totally sweet and utterly serious."
5. The Grandmaster. "A fittingly elegiac climax for a world-class filmmaker who's always in the mood for lost love."
6. Furious 6. "This adrenaline-stoking series is addictive, for its chases, crashes, crushes -- and for its poetic limning of the closest camaraderie many men can ever know: with their cars."
7. Frozen. "The first animated feature in the Walt Disney studio's glorious history to offer two princess heroines, Frozen transforms Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Snow Queen' into a fable of modern, timeless sisterhood."
8. The Act of Killing. "Making the movies, which vault from film noir to bizarre musical, eventually gets under Anwar's skin and into his dreams.... For any viewer, the effect is no less haunting."
9. 12 Years a Slave. "The movie has the eerie impact of a museum exhibit; it is a diorama of atrocity."
10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. "Each complex encounter, especially a flume-ride escape of the dwarves, boasts a teeming ingenuity of action and character."