Best Shots of the Year (2010-2013)

Best Shots of 2013

10. Before Midnight

The beautiful Greek sunset, backed by the couple's words "Going, going, gone" beautifully foreshadows their coming conflict, and possible end to a beautiful relationship.
The beautiful Greek sunset, backed by the couple’s words “Going, going, gone” beautifully foreshadows their coming conflict, and possible end to a beautiful relationship.

9. The Great Gatsby

Aside from looking stunning with its usage of shadows, the shot demonstrates Gatsby's ability do dream, to always reach for a better life.
Aside from looking stunning with its usage of shadows, the shot demonstrates Gatsby’s ability do dream, to always reach for a better life.

8. Rush

I don't have much to say about this one, other than: can you get anything more wonderfully ominous looking?
I don’t have much to say about this one, other than: can you get anything more wonderfully ominous looking?

7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

All I could think of when I saw this shot was 'ants pouring out of a nest.' That's essentially what the people in Walter's corporate world do. This shot makes monotony aesthetically pleasing...that's impressive
All I could think of when I saw this shot was ‘ants pouring out of a nest.’ That’s essentially what the people in Walter’s corporate world do. This shot makes monotony aesthetically pleasing…that’s impressive

6. Prisoners

I'm a sucker for silhouettes, and anything that evokes film noir. This does both. How could I not love it.
I’m a sucker for silhouettes, and anything that evokes film noir. This does both. How could I not love it.

5. Inside Llewyn Davis

One of many stunning shots in the film. Just demonstrates its distinctive visual style. Washed out colors, and dark shadows. Oppresiveness...this is the world of Inside Llewyn Davis
One of many stunning shots in the film. Just demonstrates its distinctive visual style. Washed out colors, and dark shadows. Oppresiveness…this is the world of Inside Llewyn Davis

4. Gravity

The whole film is a rebirth metaphor. What shot better symbolizes the fact than this one of Bullock in utero.
The whole film is a rebirth metaphor. What shot better symbolizes the fact than this one of Bullock in utero.

3. Only God Forgives

The whole film uses colors (especially red) stunningly. This one just one of many examples. More importantly though, it focuses on Gosling's hands, a symbol for his guilt throughout.
The whole film uses colors (especially red) stunningly. This one just one of many examples. More importantly though, it focuses on Gosling’s hands, a symbol for his guilt throughout.

2. Trance

In all honestly, I don't need a deep analysis here. That shot is obscenely stunning.
In all honestly, I don’t need a deep analysis here. That shot is just obscenely stunning.

1. 12 Years a Slave

The shot that encompasses the entire film's treatment of slavery. It stays there. It forces you to look. This unbroken shot of Solomon hanging, fighting for his very life that lasts for minutes, but feels like hours, hit me in a way no other shot did this year.
The shot that encompasses the entire film’s treatment of slavery. It stays there. It forces you to look. This unbroken shot of Solomon hanging, fighting for his very life that lasts for minutes, but feels like hours, hit me in a way no other shot did this year.

Best Shots of 2012:

15. Samsara

What is it? What does it Mean? Who Knows! That just looks so freakin cool!
What is it? What does it Mean? Who Knows! That just looks so freakin cool!

14. Django Unchained

Blood on Cotton: This is the world of Django- Revenge for the abuses of slavery.
Blood on Cotton: This is the world of Django- Revenge for the abuses of slavery.

13. Skyfall

The entire Shanghai sequence was stunningly shot. This was one the two best images from it.
The entire Shanghai sequence was stunningly shot. This was one the two best images from it.

12. The Impossible

Not only is this shot lit wonderfully, it acts as the transition from a warmly lit christmas, to the ominous ocean which seems oddly alive and spooky as it prepares a devastating tsunami.
Not only is this shot lit wonderfully, it acts as the transition from a warmly lit christmas, to the ominous ocean which seems oddly alive and spooky as it prepares a devastating tsunami.

11. Samsara

Believe it or not, that image is not a cartoon. Although the light makes everything look positively unreal, it is just photography at its best.
Believe it or not, that image is not a cartoon. Although the light makes everything look positively unreal, it is just photography at its best.

10. Zero Dark Thirty

This image just says so much about Chastain's internal conflict in regards to her morals/duty to her country.
This image just says so much about Chastain’s internal conflict in regards to her morals/duty to her country.

9. The Master

This shot is oddly poetic, and seems to show Phoenix's character's alienation from the world. Everyone else goes about a normal life below him while he lies alone.
This shot is oddly poetic, and seems to show Phoenix’s character’s alienation from the world. Everyone else goes about a normal life below him while he lies alone.

8. Django Unchained

As the film is a homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of old, this shot of the two heroes riding into the sunset is just too perfect. Plus I'm a sucker for sunsets, period.
As the film is a homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of old, this shot of the two heroes riding into the sunset is just too perfect. Plus I’m a sucker for sunsets, period.

7. The Dark Knight Rises

The Simplicity of black silhouettes against that wonderfully blue night sky here is mesmerizing.
The Simplicity of black silhouettes against that wonderfully blue night sky here is mesmerizing.

6. The Dark Knight Rises

The way Bruce Wayne is reflected in the dish is gorgeous. Reminds me of the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait
The way Bruce Wayne is reflected in the dish is gorgeous. Reminds me of the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait

5. The Master

The Master has plenty of stunning shots, but this one caught my attention in particular. It shows Phoenix's character reaching out for something, anything blindly, in hopes of finding satisfaction (that's the point of the movie if you didn't see it...) Plus, it just looks rather poetic.
The Master has plenty of stunning shots, but this one caught my attention in particular. It shows Phoenix’s character reaching out for something, anything blindly, in hopes of finding satisfaction (that’s the point of the movie if you didn’t see it…) Plus, it just looks rather poetic.

4. The Dark Knight Rises

Really any scene in this movie set in snow looked gorgeous, but the perfect illumination of the figures in this shot sold me in particular.
Really any scene in this movie set in snow looked gorgeous, but the perfect illumination of the figures in this shot sold me in particular.

3. Skyfall

Silva is a menacing Dark Shadow leaving burning destruction everywhere he goes. Plus, it just looks really cool.
Silva is a menacing Dark Shadow leaving burning destruction everywhere he goes. Plus, it just looks really cool.

2. Skyfall

The Falling silhouette against neon just looks too awesome to ignore.
The Falling silhouette against neon just looks too awesome to ignore.

1. Life of Pi

Does this shot even need explanation? Just look that that...
Does this shot even need explanation? Just look that that…

Best Shots of 2011:

14. Water For Elephants

As you have no doubt realized, I'm a sucker for sunsets...
As you have no doubt realized, I’m a sucker for sunsets…

13. Moneyball

Wally Pfister did an excellent job making the world of baseball aesthetically pleasing. This shot above all just seems so thoughtful and gorgeous that it is impossible to ignore.
Wally Pfister did an excellent job making the world of baseball aesthetically pleasing. This shot above all just seems so thoughtful and gorgeous that it is impossible to ignore.

12. Drive

The lighting here reveals Gosling's quiet driver as the deadly 'scorpion' that he truly is
The lighting here reveals Gosling’s quiet driver as the deadly ‘scorpion’ that he truly is.

11. War Horse

Mind blowing sunset. 'Nuff said, really. Although apparently it's also a homage to Kurosawa.
Mind blowing sunset. ‘Nuff said, really. Although apparently it’s also a homage to Kurosawa.

10. Tree of Life

Jessica Chastain's mother figure is meant to symbolize grace (hence the fact that she has a halo here.) Also, Lubezki caught the sun at the perfect time, which is just beyond gorgeous.
Jessica Chastain’s mother figure is meant to symbolize grace (hence the fact that she has a halo here.) Also, Lubezki caught the sun at the perfect time, which is just beyond gorgeous.

9. Drive

The lighting changes mid-shot in this scene, where Gosling makes a choice to act. Everything becomes darker, but also romantic. It literally looks like a painting here.
The lighting changes mid-shot in this scene, where Gosling makes a choice to act. Everything becomes darker, but also romantic. It literally looks like a painting here.

8. The Ides of March

This shot sums up the theme of the film. The shadowy figures who really control politics behind the scenes and do it all under the protection of the American flag (it's in the name of what's best for the country)
This shot sums up the theme of the film. The shadowy figures who really control politics behind the scenes and do it all under the protection of the American flag (it’s in the name of what’s best for the country).

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Easily the best shot in the film. It is a film with subtle cinematography and quiet, cool tones, but here, after the climatic chase, the bright fire stands out among the otherwise cool night, much as Lisbeth stands out from a quiet, seemingly unthreatening person to a freaking brutal killer.
Easily the best shot in the film. It is a film with subtle cinematography and quiet, cool tones, but here, after the climatic chase, the bright fire stands out among the otherwise cool night, much as Lisbeth stands out from a quiet, seemingly unthreatening person to a freaking brutal killer.

6. War Horse

Again, there is no deep meaning I find here. The shot just captures a sunset so perfectly that I cannot ignore it.
Again, there is no deep meaning I find here. The shot just captures a sunset so perfectly that I cannot ignore it.

5. Hugo

Richardson knows how to frame, backlight his shots beautifully. The way he uses a projector in a film about film to do so is perfect. More than anything, this stands as one of many good shots in a film that never had any one standout, but a ton of extremely aesthetically pleasing ones.
Richardson knows how to frame, backlight his shots beautifully. The way he uses a projector in a film about film to do so is perfect. More than anything, this stands as one of many good shots in a film that never had any one standout, but a ton of extremely aesthetically pleasing ones.

4. The Tree of Life

This whole movie is like a set of Kodak nature shots, and yet this moody, interior shot, that shows the feeling of insignificance that the main character deals with throughout the film is my favorite.
This whole movie is like a set of Kodak nature shots, and yet this moody, interior shot, that shows the feeling of insignificance that the main character deals with throughout the film is my favorite.

3. War Horse

None of these War Horse ones carry any special meaning. The colors are just so perfect in every shot that it's irresistible.
Just going to let the beauty of this shot and its colors speak for me.

2. War Horse

Kaminski framed the shot in the reflection in the horse's eye. Not only does it look amazing, it also shows how the film is really from the horse's perspective. An interesting technique and it works.
Kaminski framed the shot in the reflection in the horse’s eye. Not only does it look amazing, it also shows how the film is really from the horse’s perspective. An interesting technique and it works.

1. Melancholia

The contrast of colors is incredible and depicts the difference between the two sisters that defines the film. That, and it's one of the most shots I've ever seen on film.
The contrast of colors is incredible and depicts the difference between the two sisters that defines the film. That, and it’s one of the most shots I’ve ever seen on film.

 

Best Shots of 2010:

10. The Crazies

I can't quite say why I love this shot, but all I can say is that it stood out to me a year after I had seen the film, and left me with a palpable sense of dread
I can’t quite say why I love this shot, but all I can say is that it stood out to me a year after I had seen the film, and left me with a palpable sense of dread

 

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

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8. True Grit

Just one of Deakins' many wonderful moonlight and sunset shots in the film
Just one of Deakins’ many wonderful moonlight and sunset shots in the film

7. Scott Pilgrim vs The World

The way the snow and shadows fall make the film look almost like a graphic novel...which is fitting given the subject matter
The way the snow and shadows fall make the film look almost like a graphic novel…which is fitting given the subject matter.

6. The King’s Speech

A lone stunning shot in a very aesthetically alienating film. The lonely silhouettes of the two shows their alienation from the world. Plus, it looks great
A lone stunning shot in a very aesthetically alienating film. The lonely silhouettes of the two shows their alienation from the world. Plus, it looks great

5. Black Swan

The shot highlight's Portman's innocence (the exaggerated white surrounded by darkness)
The shot highlight’s Portman’s innocence (the exaggerated white surrounded by darkness).

4. True Grit

A perfect Western 'riding into the sunset' shot
A perfect Western ‘riding into the sunset’ shot. 

3. Rabbit Hole

The blues and shadows take depression in loneliness and make them beautiful
The blues and shadows take depression in loneliness and make them beautiful

 

2. 127 Hours

127 Hours revels in the beauty of nature. Nowhere is that more evident than this perfect sunrise shot.
127 Hours revels in the beauty of nature. Nowhere is that more evident than this perfect sunrise shot.

1. Toy Story 3

Take a look at this one for a minute. Only Pixar could take a kid's movie about toys in a daycare center and make it look like a Prison...everything is positioned perfectly, with the boxes of toys looking like cells, the toys on top of the shelves looking like barbed wire, and the playground in the back looking like a guard tower.
Take a look at this one for a minute. Only Pixar could take a kid’s movie about toys in a daycare center and make it look like a Prison…everything is positioned perfectly, with the boxes of toys looking like cells, the toys on top of the shelves looking like barbed wire, and the playground in the back looking like a guard tower.
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