Another year has passed. Another year of superheroes, high octane action, side splitting comedy, and gripping drama. And you know what? It’s been rather fantastic. You’ve seen the films I loathed, now it’s the time for the ones I loved, and believe me, there were plenty!
There are quite a few films from 2013 I haven’t yet had a chance to see, stuff like Only God Forgives, This is the End, Rush, Filth etc. But I look forward to them. Now, sadly it’s only a top ten, so there are many films that had to be cut.
Now You See Me – A fantastically clever and never boring thriller following a group of magicians who use their abilities to rob banks
Man of Steel – A triumphant comeback for the world’s most famous superhero, with great performances from Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe
We’re the Millers – A hilarious and touching experience, and one of this year’s must see comedies
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Admittedly, you have to be a fan of Steve Coogan’s egotistical radio host to enjoy this, but I think it might be the turning point for those who don’t
Gangster Squad – Because it was awesome. ‘Nuff said.
I’ve paid my respects, now, let’s get on with the big ones!
Come on, we all knew there was going to be a comic book movie. Whilst Man of Steel was great and The Wolverine an action packed romp, it has to be Thor. Starring Chris Hemsworth as the hammer wielding Avenger, he is reunited with lover Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as both Earth and Asgard are threatened by Malektih the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston), and Thor requires the help of his evil half brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
As well being full of action, the film is actually hilarious as well, mostly due to Stellan Skarsgaard as Erik Selvig, who has gone a bit loopy since the battle of New York. Thor: The Dark World is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and certainly washed out the bad taste left by Iron Man 3.
I reviewed this film back in August. When my Blu-Ray arrives in the post, I certainly hope that it’s still as brilliant as it was then. In the year 2154, the poor stay on Earth whilst the rich live a life of luxury up on Elysium, a space station built by the rich, for the rich. Max (Matt Damon), after a radiation accident leaves him 6 days to live, joins a group of citizens in their attempt to break into Elysium, following the execution of citizens ordered by Elysian Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster). With an attached endoskeleton to enhance his strengths and abilities, Max begins his mission, but it’s not long before Kruger (Sharlto Copley), a psychopathic agent, is on his trail.
As I mentioned in my review, I am not a huge fan of Sci-Fi, so for me to enjoy this was really a nice surprise, with excellent action, awesome tech, and great performances, most notably from Copley who totally kills it in this movie.
Let’s wind the clocks back to, say, February 2013. I’m seeing the trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines for the first time, and all that’s running through my head is “this is going to be the best movie ever”. The cast were fantastic; Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in one movie? Forget the ladies, I’m up for this! Then the plot sounded fantastic; a carnival stuntman who finds out he has a baby starts robbing bank to provide for him, but has a policeman on his tail? Sounds amazing! And the score, oh, that haunting score. I waited six long months for the masterpiece I was anticipating, and the day came. And you know what?
It wasn’t a masterpiece. But it was damn good. The Place Beyond the Pines is a film in three parts, none of which I can describe without spoiling the other. It is an excellent film, with Gosling and Cooper on top form, as well as Ben Menhdleson and Eva Mendes. The direction and cinematography is flawless, and that score, which plays at certain points during the movie, is just beautiful. Check it out guys
Probably the most controversial and unexpected on my list, Baz Luhrmann’s take on the legendary novel stars Leonardo Dicaprio as the title character, with Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire in tow. I have reviewed this film before as well (twice, in fact). The first time in cinema, it was just ok, nothing special. The second time, by which point I had read the book, I was a lot kinder and deemed it a very decent film, but hadn’t yet rewatched it. Having seen it for a second time now, it’s downright fantastic.
Yes, the soundtrack still sucks and it drags a little bit, but the cast are immaculate, from Joel Edgerton’s snooty, stubborn Tom Buchanan to Tobey Maguire’s humble, timid and friendly Nick Carraway. And, of course, Leo’s charming turn as Gatsby.
Who would've thought that a film featuring Russell Crowe singing would be any good? Joking aside, Les Miserables is a beautiful film. The story follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a criminal who breaks his parole and spends his life on the run from Inspector Javert (Crowe). After meeting Fantine (Anne Hathaway), a young woman who has turned to prostitution to support her daughter Cosette who is looked after by two money grabbing innkeepers (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter), Jean vows to look after her daughter, and redeem himself once again. Nine years later, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) is all grown up, and falling in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a schoolboy fighting in the French revolution.
Make sure you know this before watching it: They don’t stop singing. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s something worth knowing so that you’re not sat there thinking “Is this song ever going to end?” Nevertheless, Les Mis is an amazingly crafted film, with beautiful (And Oscar winning) performances from Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, and to a lesser extent, Russell Crowe. It’s a big watch but it’s certainly worth it.
There had to be an animated film on this list somewhere. Despite how great Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University were, Wreck-it Ralph takes the cake here. In fact, for a while after seeing it, it was my number one. Wreck-it Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain in popular arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr. but whilst Felix (Jack McBrayer) gets all the praise, Ralph receives no recognition. So he tries to find a game where he can be the winner. Starting off with Hero’s Duty, a game in which soldiers lead by the wonderful Jane Lynch must defeat hordes of evil aliens, he ends up in Sugar Rush, a kart racing game where he meets little Vannelope (Sarah Silverman) and helps her build a car to compete in the race.
This was so much better than I was expecting. Hilarious jokes, great voice acting, extremely touching and carries the best message of all – There’s nothing with being yourself. It’s like Ralph says “I’m bad, and that’s good, and I’ll never be good, and that’s not bad. Cause there’s no one I would rather be, than me”
From go kart racing to devastating plane crashes, it’s Denzel Washington in Flight. Captain William “Whip” Whitaker, an airline pilot struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. After saving passengers from a horrific plane crash, he is deemed a hero. However, it’s not long before traces of alcohol are found in his blood, and it is revealed he was under the influence during the crash. Moving on from the incident, Whip tries to move on from alcohol and seeks solace from a fellow addict Nicole (Kelly Reilly), but how long can he stay off the booze, especially with his court case coming up?
So at the beginning of the movie, we see the plane crash. Not only is it an amazing scene, but absolutely nerve shredding. It’s better on the big screen, but honestly, this crash has to be seen to be believed. So intense, and the film remains consistently brilliant from then on. Denzel hands in a fantastic performance as usual (and earned his first Oscar nomination in 12 years) but John Goodman steals the show every time he turns up Whips best friend and drug dealer Harling Mays. Gripping drama at its finest.
Moving away from drama, but sticking with the alcohol, it’s The World’s End. Gary King (Simon Pegg), an addict with a tendency to be a dick, reminisces about his school days, in which he and his best friends Andy (Nick Frost), Ollie (Martin Freeman), Stephen (Paddy Considine) and Peter (Eddie Marsan, took on the Golden Mile, a pub crawl of 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven, starting with The First Post and concluding with The World’s End. 20 years later, Gary gets his friends back together, despite the fact they haven’t seen each other in years and none of them particularly like him. It starts off fine, however, they soon start to realise that things aren’t normal in Newton Haven.
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz was comedic masterpieces in their own right, but The World’s End tops it for me. Absolutely hilarious, and a little bit touching too. Not to mention the amazingly choreographed fight scenes as well, they were incredible! Top it all off with a show stopping performance from Simon Pegg, and you have possibly the best comedy of 2013.
I’m not sure if many of you have heard of this one. Mark Kermode, my inspiration and the man who lead me to this film, said on his blog that he turned up to the screening but neither he nor the other critics there knew what they were watching. Upon watching it, they were pleasantly surprised to find that The Kings of Summer was magnificent film, so on Kermode’s advice, I gave it a go.
Two boys, sick of their parents controlling their lives, run away from home and build a house in the woods, surviving by themselves along with another person, who is rather strange, as their parents stress and worry over their disappearance. This is an amazing coming of age tale, with hints of Stand by Me shining through. The young cast of the film all do exceptionally well with their roles and in all culminates one big masterpiece, best watched in the summer though.
And now we have reached the number one spot. So, what have I named my favourite film of 2013? I had a few ideas. Mud was excellent, Stoker was amazing, and even The World’s End slid in at one point. But, going by the fact that it has yet to appear on this list, you’ve probably already guessed it. My number one of 2013 is....
Of course it was. Nearly everyone’s top ten lists has Gravity in it somewhere, and a lot of them in the number one slot. Sandra Bullock, despite my usual strong dislike for her, pulled off an amazing performance, with Clooney not doing so bad himself. Alfonso Cuaron’s direction is fantastic and the film is beautifully shot. The sound is magnificent, and the atmosphere feels so real, not to mention the tension is unbearable. Suffice to say, Gravity is out of this world (Pun completely and utterly intended). If you didn’t catch it in cinema, then I feel sorry for you, cause I don’t think it will be the same on DVD/Blu-Ray. Nevertheless, Gravity is an achievement in every sense of the word, and my number one pick of 2013.
Well, that’s it folks. Do you agree with my list, or did I leave your favourites out? Let us know your top ten in the comments below, and have a happy new year!