This is extremely tough, there's already been so many good ones to come out in the first half of the year. There is no obvious #1 thus far either. In my opinion, there has not been a film yet that I would deem as being "A" quality, but there are a handful that just missed the mark. You'll see most of this list are films I either gave an A- or B+ to. As I've mentioned before, I give grades based on the quality of the individual film, but my lists are based on what I personally prefer. So I loved a film like "This is the End" which is one of the funniest of the year, but there are some films I graded a "B+" to where I still very much admire what the film was trying to do.
1. The Place Beyond The Pines
3. Upstream Color
4. Pacific Rim
5. Frances Ha
7. Before Midnight
8. This is the End
9. Side Effects
I have been touting Pines and No throughout the year. They've impressed me in numerous ways and right now they are etched pretty firmly at 1 and 2 but are very interchangeable. Upstream Color, which I need to watch again, has stuck with me ever since I first watched it. So while I gave films below it slightly higher grades, I just really admire the scope and just the insanity of it all. I also suspect that upon a second viewing, it would only solidify my positive feelings on the film.
4-6 are funny because those films couldn't be more different. Pacific Rim is simply the best theatrical experience I've had all year. It can't be top 3 because there are just too many other, non-action elements that are lacking. But, for just being a pure blast to watch, it's jumped to number 4.
Although, by the year's end, Frances Ha could easily usurp that spot simply because of how effortless the film comes across. It's light, it's 86 minutes, and it was also a joyful viewing experience for me albeit in different ways. That's why my top 5 are what they are. I just really enjoyed those films, for their craft, and for the fun time I had while watching those films.
Mud, for me, is solid at number 6. It's got great performances and a good heart, but I think I admire the film more than I love it. Same goes for Before Midnight, which just didn't hit me as much as it should've. Perhaps I'm too young. I love Before Sunrise and Sunset, I just didn't have the same enlightened feeling I had with Midnight. I still found much to admire about it though.
This is the End was hilarious, but like last year's 21 Jump Street, a purely hilarious film just doesn't hold as much weight among the other seven films. It was only meant to be a rocking good time, and it definitely was. That's why it's in the top 10.
Rounding out the list are Side Effects and Trance. Side Effects is prone to being forgotten because it was released so early in the year, but it is a delicious psychosexual drama. Trance, a film that I gave a B to, is on the list because I still love how ridiculously twisty the film is. I stand by my B grade though.
We'll see if the second half of the year gives us any solid A's (according to my grade book).