The best movies you may not have seen – These alternative film gems from 2013 are worth tracking down

"Frances Ha" IFC Films photo
“Frances Ha”
IFC Films photo

End-of-Year Lists in Film get a bit redundant after the 10th or so. The consensus is formed — and rightly so: “Gravity” was awe-inspiring amazing. Woody Allen finally made a good film again with “Blue Jasmine.” “Before Midnight” completed the excellent trilogy. “12 Years a Slave” is probably going to win everything, deservedly so. “Dallas Buyers Club” will also pick up awards for its two strong leads. And then there are the ones that have just opened (“Inside Llewlyn Davis”) or are about to open (“American Hustle”), but most of us aren’t film-festival hoppers who saw these in Toronto or Cannes.

So here’s a list of the unsung, the little seen, the ones that passed us by, the streaming-only, and the ones you need to seek out, in no particular order … plus a few guilty pleasures. (Caveat: not everything has a copyright stamp of 2013 on it, but this year is when they became available)

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Time to Shine

Sandra Bullock may finally be having her time in the sun. After the critical and popular success of “Speed” and “While You Were Sleeping” in 1994 and 1995, the actress has never been off our marquees, from thrillers and romantic comedies. But the big awards have eluded her, until now.

11 Amazing Days, 10 Starry Nights.

This year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival almost throws down a gauntlet with that slogan: we’ve got so many must-see events, we dare you to get to them all! And we know. We’ve seen those people in line, heck sometimes we’ve been them, too: the hardened determination, the 1,000-yard stare of the film addict. More stories, more inspiration, more celluloid, more tributes, more buzz, more, more, more!

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