Wow, is it that time of the year again?
2013 seems to have just flown by. As usual, we have our hits and misses, some more surprising than others. Here is my list of films that have reached out to me more than the rest this year.
13. Side Effects
Is this a medical drama? A psychological thriller? A murder conspiracy? It’s all three rolled into one, and Steven Soderbergh nails it. Rooney Mara absolutely took the role and ran with it.
Neill Blomkamp was always going to face an uphill climb, trying to follow-up his amazing District 9. On its own, it’s a pretty solid film, but with District 9 floating at the back of your mind, Elysium can’t help but feel like it’s a bit of a stepdown. It’s a stronger allegory on the current human condition, but everything’s better with aliens.
11. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Everyone loves magic. Add in some rivalry between old time stage magicians and new age street and close-up Criss Angel type magicians, and you get magical laughs aplenty. Interestingly, Jim Carrey, funny in the 90s, plays new age street magician, and Steve Carell, current funnyman plays the old school Vegas stage show magician.
Plus, David Copperfield cameos, and acts as technical advisor to the magic tricks performed in the show. Definitely a much better film overall than the super disappointing “Now You See Me”.
10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games was so disappointing last year I was seriously debating if I should catch the adaptation to book 2. But boy am I glad I did. The pacing was much, much better, narrative stronger, and all round stakes were actually felt.
9. Star Trek Into Darkness
First off, I’m biased. Anything JJ. Abrams touches, is more than likely to end up on my best of lists. I know a lot of trekkies have been giving him crap about trying to hide the very obvious fact that Cumberbatch was Khan, and that he was simply rehashing previous storylines and twisting it for the sake of twisting it.
Still, I love the way he tells a story.
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
I maintain my belief that the Hobbit (a single novel) should have been kept to a single, maybe 3 hour runtime film. But, split into 3 films, we see the main characters simply roaming, walking, strolling and exploring area upon area in various locales on Middle Earth.
Still, it was breathtaking scenery and mindblowing effects. Especially in the Desolation of Smaug where we finally see in its full form, Smaug.
7. Iron Man 3
The man that started it all, is back to kick off phase II of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And deservedly so. There was always a fear that after The Avengers, bringing back standalone heroes could feel a little of a letdown, but it was entertaining, action packed and funny where it should be.
6. The Conjuring
So. Fucking. Scary.
5. Man of Steel
“Superman never kills”, “Superman should have brought the fight to a rural area to ensure the least amount of fatalities!”
Come on, you’re in the thick of battle, you’re outnumbered, you do the best you can. In any war, people will die. Be realistic.
The action was great, the effects were awesome, stakes were real. Awesome stuff.
4. This is the End
I had thought this would be a silly movie, and it was. But it really worked. The conceit of celebrities, as celebrities, facing an end of the world scenario, was tragically funny. Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson all ham it up as a version of themselves, as they take on the apocalypse and end it, one way or another.
5 horror shorts. Some good. Others better. All round good fun.
In space, no one can hear you scream. BUT it sure makes your bum look perky without all that gravitational pull! Sandra Bullock nails her fish out of water, or should I say engineer out of land role as a medical engineer on her first space mission, which, predictably goes horribly wrong.
Space is scary.
1. World War Z
I’m giving this film my top score, because it showed zero signs of a film plagued in production hell, including a final third re-write and re-shoot!
It was massive in scope, exciting, action packed, and yet intimate when it needed to be (thank god for the last act rewrite!). I think Brad Pitt did very well, considering the production troubles, to hang in there and come up with a really polished film in the end.
So, what were your favourite films of the year?