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Indiewire's Top 10 Stories of 2013: 'Blackfish' and Madonna Enrage (For Very Different Reasons), 'Nymphomaniac' Shocks & More

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire December 31, 2013 at 11:10AM

2013 was Indiewire's biggest year yet, so we thought we'd share with our readers the top ten stories that contributed to our banner performance. The results might surprise you.

"Blackfish," Madonna and "Nymphomaniac"

2013 was Indiewire's biggest year yet, so we thought we'd share with our readers the top ten stories that contributed to our banner performance. The results might surprise you. Click on story titles to access the full articles.

1. Review: 'Blackfish' Ensures You'll Never Go to SeaWorld Again

Nobody from SeaWorld agreed to an interview for "Blackfish," Gabriela Cowperthwaite's searing take on the theme park's mistreatment of killer whales and the dozens of deaths that have resulted from it. Instead, the majority of its subjects are ex-SeaWorld trainers frustrated by the negligence they witnessed up close and willing to speak out. Nevertheless, based on the evidence on display in "Blackfish," Cowperthwaite's case against SeaWorld would change little with an opposing point of view. The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. "Blackfish" is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system.

2. Madonna Banned From Alamo Drafthouse After Texting During '12 Years a Slave' NYFF Premiere

Always the one to court controversy and attention wherever she goes, Madonna could not help but express herself during the New York Film Festival premiere of "12 Years A Slave." Fresh off releasing her short film "secretprojectrevolution" and spearheading a global initiative to protect freedom of expression, she was spotted at the screening of Steve McQueen's slavery drama exhibiting less-than-stellar movie-going etiquette.

3. It's Here! Watch the First Full Trailer for Lars von Trier's Hotly Anticipated 'Nymphomaniac'

After months of teasing us via a slew of posters, stills and enticing clips, the marketing team behind Lars von Trier's hotly anticipated sexual epic "Nymphomaniac" have released the full trailer for the opus. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and more star.

4. Queue It Up: 19 of 2012's Best Films Now Available on Netflix

With so many new movies flooding the theaters every week, it's understandable that a few noteworthy releases might have slipped under your radar within the past year. Thanks to the magic of online streaming, getting caught up on some of the best films of 2012 is just a click away. Below we have compiled a list of movies that made the cut of last year's Indiewire Year-End Critic's Poll List that are currently streaming on Netflix. So whether you have never heard of them before or want to watch them again, you can now have immediate access to  some of the most acclaimed recent films. No longer will you have to confusedly search through the broad and confusing array of categories and titles on Netflix, as you can rest assured in your viewing knowing that these come Criticwire-approved.

5. Watch: Shia LaBeouf in a Very NSFW Clip From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

The clip comes from the film's fifth chapter, titled "The Little Organ School."

Fox Searchlight "12 Years a Slave."

6. The 50 Indie Films We Want to See in 2013

From the work of Steve McQueen, Lars Von Trier and Sofia Coppola to the inspirations of Julian Assange, Linda Lovelace and David Sedaris (not to mention double doses of on-screen magic from Tilda Swinton and Ryan Gosling), here are the 50 films from 2013 that Indiewire's staff was most excited to see.

7. Gender Inequality in Film: In Infographic Form

Following the record-breaking opening of the female-led (although not female-directed) "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the New York Film Academy decided to take a closer look at women in film and what, if any advancements women are making in film both onscreen and behind-the-scenes-- and create an infographic based on their findings.

8. Queue It Up: 24 Oscar Nominated Documentaries Now Streaming on Netflix

We recently highlighted the 11 Best Picture Oscar Winners now streaming on Netflix, but we decided that documentaries deserved a list of their own.

9. SeaWorld Unleashes 8 Assertions About 'Blackfish' and Filmmakers Respond

Here are SeaWorld's eight assertions and the filmmakers' response to them. Though the situation is clearly complicated, the filmmakers rightly point out that the film often does portray some of the perspectives addressed in SeaWorld's assertions.

10. Critic's Pick: The Top 10 Films of 2013 According to Indiewire's Film Critic

The following titles made the cut not only because they're each outstanding achievements on many levels, but also because of their collective balance. As a whole, they paint a vivid picture of the movies in all their transformative capabilities: Whether dealing with major historical issues or intimate ones, blurring the boundaries between truth and fiction, assuming traditional narrative structures or demolishing them, conveying sadness or humor or some combination of both, they're never less than thoughtful, engaging works of art.

This article is related to: Lists, List, Madonna, Blackfish, Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac: Volume I, Features, Trailers