So, it’s the time again for reviews of the year. Granted Buzzfeed most definitely has the monopoly on adorable puppies and twerking dogs but this year you shall also be greeted by my film review of 2013. Oh joy of joys for all you readers. When given the task I became completely flummoxed, the same way I do during pub quizzes when I know I know the answer, so I thought I’d try something a little different. Below is a list of my favourite films of the year (standard), my disappointments of the year (a ha a little bit different), the films I’m disappointed in myself for not having gone to seen and what to look out for end of December/beginning of 2014. Now this is not the ultimate, Empire approved, make everyone happy list so please don’t hate me if I’ve trashed your favourite or didn’t even watch the film that made your year….despite my nerdiness I have conceded that I am not a film Yoda and the ones I didn’t watch….I graduated and got a job in the last six months, sue me!
BEST (in no particular order)
Gravity- Oh Sandra, you wonderful woman. The acting was amazing, the music aggravated me but the visual effects blew my mind. Not a film to watch a second time but for sheer visual intensity, I don’t think anything can beat this film in 2013.
Mud- For years I have had a respect and love for Matthew McConaughey that was judged by all, Mud had such an epic performance from him that all those who judged before are now just loving him as I have for so long. The two young boys performance was indicative of the film, unsentimental yet moving.
Black Rock- a random little film written by Mark Duplass (who starred in Your Sister’s Sister that everyone should definitely check out) and directed by Katie Aselton who stars alongside Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell. It’s a good little thriller that stood out just for having damn good performances, keeping me on edge and for having practical solutions to problems.
In a world- Lake Bell’s second entry on the list was a comedy that she wrote, directed and starred in about a voice over artist that tries to fill her father’s shoes when she auditions for a new “in a world…” spot. It’s got great humour and says a lot about women trying to fit in to a previously man’s world. Also a great Geena Davis cameo at the end.
Bachelorette- A little bit of a controversial choice but I haven’t stopped watching this film since it came out in August. A film with Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher about how the people who know you best can sometimes be your worst enemies. It has the complexities of friendships, many hilarious moments and isn’t afraid to let its main characters be absolute b**** faces.
The Conjuring- Most horror movies are rubbish, it’s just fact. However this one by James Wan had subtlety right up until the end. The fact that a film that doesn’t have anything jumping out at you for at least an hour had me not sleeping for well over a week gives it a place on the list.
Prisoners- Fantastic performances for all involved and a good twist that I didn’t see coming. This one was a simple choice as it was just quality all round.
Stoker-This might be one of the creepiest films I have ever seen. It tells the story of a girl whose father has just passed away. Living with her cold, cruel mother, suddenly her long lost uncle comes out of the woodwork and people start disappearing. It’s a wonderful homage to Shadow of a doubt but adds an extra level through the young girl’s growing interest in how these people have disappeared. I haven’t explained it as good as the trailer will but this is a beautiful film. The sets and costumes lend it an air of old country house and the script reads like a wonderful 3 hand play. A must see.
The Heat- I’m sure this film has it’s issues however to me this is just fricking HILARIOUS. At a time when all me and my mother needed to do was laugh, this film provided that for two straight hours. It’s a wonderful double act and the two actresses just riff off each other with joy. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Philomena- This is in the top five. What sounds like a sentimental melodramatic British drama actually is a wonderfully written character piece with excellent performances. I was impressed with Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s script which finds the humour in a sad situation, but it always seems natural. In it’s discussion of religion among other subjects it is extremely nuanced and kept me thinking for days afterwards.
Blackfish- a documentary that certainly has it’s flaws (the chronology can sometimes be off) however it’s a shocking piece that deserves to be seen. I should dislike it as it put me off my happy place (aquariums) but the captivity of creatures like orcas needs to stop and I hope that like The Invisible War provokes change.
The Impossible- This is overly sentimental yes, but the performances, especially from Tom Holland are fantastic and so for that reason it goes on the list. Tom Holland is one to watch.
West of Memphis- another documentary that got made last year but released in 2013 this is the story of three men wrongly accused of killing young boys in Arkansas in the 1990’s. They were tried and convicted mainly on the basis that they were different and since then people such as Peter Jackson and Johnny Depp have been fighting hard to free them. Amy Berg makes a damn good documentary and this film is informative, passionate without constantly preaching and makes you extremely angry at the failure of the justice system in cases such as this.
Side Effects- This is put on the list not for being the best film ever but more for being a good thrilling film with good actors and good twists that kept me guessing.
Enough Said- this might be the sweetest film I’ve seen all year. Watching this made me a hopeless romantic all over again. James Gandolfini is such a gentle giant and watching him and Julia Louis-Dreyfus work out the ins and outs of relationships that happen once you’ve been through marriage and divorce, was a lovely experience and one that I’d gladly repeat. It’s also got crackling humour and the chemistry between the two leads is palpable. It’s sad we lost Gandolfini too soon.
Les Miserables- I’m sorry, I know so many people loved this. I thought I would love it. I love most of the songs and yet the film. I was bored. I was bored by Hugh Jackman. Therefore it goes on the list.
The Great Gatsby- Once again I’m sorry. However I felt like Baz Luhrman was just given free rein and although the book is about decadence, in no way did the film need to be that out there, most of all it did not need to be in 3D. The music was great, Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic but Carey Mulligan was miscast. However it’s not as bad as….
Drinking Buddies- this film sounded soooo good. Nick from New Girl, Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick (who I’m convinced that if we met we’d be best friends). Improvising a film about complex relationships. This should have been fantastic and yet made me want to sleep or just stop watching this awkward awkward film.
Only God Forgives- why was this film made? Drive was fantastic but like The Great Gatsby it seems like the director was given just enough rope to hang himself with. Even Kristin Scott Thomas couldn’t have saved this one.
Man of Steel- This film just took itself too seriously for a film about a man who dresses up in tights and a cape and can turn back time. Although for unintentional comedy it is the best film of the year. Henry Cavill looks the part, Michael Shannon is a great foe and Amy Adams was a damn good Lois Lane but the film was overlong and thought it was an epic rather than just enjoying the fact that it is a comic book film.
THE FILMS THAT I AM DISAPPOINTED IN MYSELF FOR NOT SEEING….
Short Term 12
Ain’t them bodies Saints
LETS TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK FORWARD TO 2014….
12 Years a Slave
Life of Crime- no trailer as yet but it got good reviews at Toronto Film Festival and it’ll be nice to see Jennifer Aniston do something other than bad romantic comedies.
The F Word- no trailer either but sounds like a cute, slightly mumble core romantic film with Daniel Radcliffe about being placed in the friendzone.
The Railway Man
A Case of You
Horns-the only clip that’s been released.
Very Good Girls- no trailer but it’s a coming of age story with two up and coming stars; Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning.
We Are What We Are
The Dallas Buyer’s Club
Wolf of Wall Street
August: Osage County
Inside Llewyn Davis
And special mention to the worst named film of the year….drum roll please…..THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2. Erm, did the priest do it wrong, cancel, turn up on the wrong date?