It was a great year to ignore the megabudget mediocrity of Disney’s declining Pixar and dominant Marvel box office dynasties. It was a perfect year to reject the bland predictability of the sequels and remakes and reboots and re-imaginings of all the tired, worn out action brands. It was an excellent year to embrace the kinds of films that sometimes make cinema seem like something that still might possibly have an artistic soul. Gravity Perhaps the finest 3D fiction film ever made, Gravity is also the best original sci fi movie of 2013, which admittedly isn’t saying all that much. More importantly, Gravity is a tight, simple visual story told nearly to perfection. It is the hyperactive but immensely charismatic younger brother of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Enough Said The best movie to-date in the subgenre of romantic comedies for grownups, and I hope Holofcener keeps on directing small feature films -- Enough Said is even better than Friends with Money. The Spectacular Now James Ponsoldt’s follow-up to the underrated and little-seen Smashed, and Shailene Woodley’s follow-up to The Descendants, Spectacular Now is one of those resolutely likeable and intelligent coming of age stories like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I wish more young people would devote their high school box office dollars to this kind of film. Before Midnight That long-time married spouses actually talk to each other may be a somewhat fantastical conceit, but it makes Before Midnight a perfect film for middle aged married couples to go see together as a remarkably serviceable substitute for feeling connected. Room 237 If you stare at something long enough, do you learn more about it, or does it become unrecognizable? If what you think is wrong, isn’t it good news when the thing you’re most wrong about is only a movie? Star Wars fans know this drill intimately, and Room 237 was seemingly tailor-made for us. It is a breathtaking meditation on the grace and beauty of harmless wrong-headedness. Honorable mentions: Frances Ha Greta Gerwig is almost always fun to watch on screen, even though her movies are almost always not very good. This one comes closer to being kind of good than any Gerwig flick save Greenberg. The narrative, to the extent there is one, offers a somewhat entertaining reminder that success and poverty are relative, and that being average and middle class in Manhattan’s island fortress of the hyper-achieving super rich feels from that vantage point almost exactly like being an utter failure and destitute. The Way Way Back What is it about Sam Rockwell? He elevates everything he’s in, even Iron Man 2. Same with Toni Collette, whose mere presence nearly saved the Fright Night remake. Way Way Back isn’t all that unique or insightful in its take on divorce, infidelity, youthful alienation and role models, but it reminded me a bit of Adventureland, and made me happy to reminisce about oddball coworkers at my earliest jobs.