This top 10 list could reflect others more common picks, citing "Gravity", "Inside Llewyn Davis" or "The Wolf of Wall Street" as the best of the year. Instead, I will highlight smaller films.
Ones that may not be as well known as those commercial hits but, are as well made. So, with no further adieu here is my list of 2013's top ten Indies for the last six months.
1. "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"- A crackling Noir, dry and barren as the Texas badlands where it is set. Cinematographer extraordinaire David Lowery ("St. Nick"), whose impressive camerawork enhanced "Upstream Color", delivers a gritty and gratifying film with Casey Affleck as a common thief, Rooney Mara as his common law wife and Ben Foster ("The Messenger") as a sheriff and the third wheel in their bizarre tryst. Available now on DVD.
2. "A Touch of Sin"- An arty Actioner from China, though as far removed as any of fellow countryman John Woo's shoot-em ups of the 1990s. Instead, Capitalism over Communism is examined in 4 vignettes where brutal violence is always the answer to any problem. Breathtaking filmmaking combined with a thorny theme makes it this year's best Action film.
3. "Bastards"- A sexy French Mystery from Auteur Claire Denis ("White Material"), made all the more ambigious with little exposition and a hazy soundtrack from The Tindersticks. Loosely based on a real-life Paris sex-ring scandal the film stars Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni. Now available through iTunes and VOD.
4. "Blood Brother"- Read a full review or watch the trailer to my pick for this year's best Documentary. Airs on PBS on January 14th.
5. "Blue is the Warmest Color"- A provocative three hour French Drama about Adele, a luminescent Adele Exarchopoulos, who can’t figure out why she isn’t attracted to boys meets a rebellious girl with blue hair named Emma. She ignites a desire in Adele that she never knew she possessed. Rated NC-17 for extended explicit scenes of friends becoming more than just friends. Available next month on DVD and Blu Ray from the Criterion collection.
6. "The Hunt"- Thomas Vinterberg, a filmmaker who helped in creating the Danish Dogme 95 movement with Lars von Trier, returns with his best work since that project's most lauded film, 1998's "The Celebration". A modern day witch hunt against a respected teacher, Mads Mikkelson (NBC's "Hannibal"), when he is accused of child abuse with one of his young students. Mikkelson provides a performance that mixes anger, hurt and loss in such a captivating way. Available now on DVD and Blu Ray.
7. "Museum Hours"- A mesmerizing tale of two strangers adrift in Vienna's grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum. Anna, a tourist lost in a strange land and Johann, a museum guard who gives her directions for more than just amid the gallery. This old age Romance paints a picture of how art can bring anyone together. Available now on DVD.
8. "The Spectacular Now"- An adroit portrait of teenage angst. Subtle and sly, this adult story concerns a charmer (Miles Teller) drawn to the good girl (Shailene Woodley) in high school. Director James Ponsoldt captures the passion of youth, along with this year's best supporting cast that includes Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Available 1/14 on DVD.
9. "You're Next"- An effective mix of gory F/X and pitch black humor adds up to this year's best Horror flick. This one reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion terror when a gang of masked murderers strike a rich family reunion. The hapless victims seem trapped until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all. Available now through iTunes and VOD.
10. "The Wall"- Read a full review or watch the trailer to my pick for this year's best Sci Fi/Drama. Available now on DVD or Blu Ray.
Honorable Mention: "Broken Circle Breakdown", "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", "Prisoners"