Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best and Worst Films of 2013

It has been a good year for film. Despite some major flops, there have also been some huge blockbuster hits like Iron Man 3, World War Z, The Wolverine and Thor: The Dark World. Independent films have also done well this year and the quality of these small budget films has improved a lot in recent years. It's great to see more of them being supported by the general film-viewing community.
 
Here is my list of the 10 best films of 2013:
 
1) Prisoners
This was my only
five-star film of the year. The thought of a child
being kidnapped is every parent's worst nightmare and Prisoners explores that devastation thoroughly while blurring the line between good and evil. The cast, led by the fierce and fearless Hugh Jackman, is fantastic. Another masterpiece from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve.
 
2) The Great Gatsby
I loved almost everything about The Great Gatsby. It almost got five
stars and perhaps after I watch it a few more times I might improve my rating. The novel that the film is based on is one of my favourites and director Baz Luhrmann does it justice. He is the master of extravagance and the film is so wonderfully over the top and theatrical. The cast is also strong, especially Leonardo DiCaprio.
 
 
 
 
3) Zero Dark Thirty
I often have issues with films that are too long, because they are
usually self-indulgent. But Zero Dark Thirty is worth every second of its 157-minute running time. The pace is fast and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is a fascinating true story, certainly dramatised for a film, but thrilling nonetheless.
 
4) Django Unchained
Writer/director Quentin Tarantino has probably made his best film yet
with Django Unchained. The spaghetti western comedy rewrites the history of slavery in the United States with plenty of blood, romance, revenge, action and foul language. It is a lot of fun.
 
 
 
 
5) Mud
This is a beautiful and sad coming of age mystery with some gorgeous
cinematography. The central theme is love and how each character's notion of love drives them to act violently, deceptively, passionately and hopefully. It also juxtaposes the promise of youth with the harsh realities of life.
 
6) The Railway Man
This film is based on an inspiring true story of forgiveness. It tugs
at the heart strings and depicts harrowing scenes of war, but there is also a message of hope. Colin Firth is magnificent as the older Eric Lomax, while Jeremy Irvine is equally powerful as the younger version of the character. Consider yourself warned – you might cry.
 
 
 
 
7) Gravity
Wow, what a film and what a performance form Sandra Bullock who almost
carries the entire film on her own. Gravity is visually stunning with amazing cinematography and special effects, including flying debris. The film is only about 90 minutes long, but it is an intense experience. I have never felt so good about feeling claustrophobic.
 
8) The Reluctant Fundamentalist
I was still thinking about The Reluctant Fundamentalist for several
hours after I watched it. The film is interesting in the way it depicts how an innocent person can become hardened and disillusioned with society after being exposed to stereotypes and xenophobia. The Reluctant Fundamentalist makes the Western post-terrorism world reflect on how we treat people who are different.
 
 
 
 
9) The Imposter
This film is a confronting true story, but like any documentary, you
must also look at it objectively. Even if it is only half-way accurate, it is still an amazing story that will remain with you for a long time. Throughout the entire film I kept asking myself: "How could this have happened?" You will likely feel a gamut of emotions watching The Imposter.
 
10) Life of Pi
Released on New Year's Day in Australia, Life of Pi makes it on the
2013 list. Based on a novel, the film tells an inspiring story of a young man who befriends a tiger while they are stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Another visually spectacular film from director Ang Lee.
 
 
 
 
 
Honourable mentions:

The Paperboy – Such a brave and daring film to make. It is disturbing and confronting, but so very interesting. Amazing performances from a cast including Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack.

The Butler – An interesting way of looking at how African Americans
were treated under the rule of eight presidents in the US, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war.
 
Blackfish – Another solid documentary that is heartbreaking to watch, but it left a lot of unanswered questions about the treatment of Orcas at Sea World.
 
Kon-Tiki – Based on an amazing true story about explorer Thor Heyerdal's journey across the Pacific Ocean on a balsawood raft in 1947. This film was intriguing and has some great cinematography.
 
This Is The End – Certainly the most ridiculous comedy of the year, but
it is so much fun. Great cameos.
 
 
 
 
 

Here is my list of the 10 worst films of 2013:
 
1) A Haunted House
I barely laughed out loud during the entire film. That is not what you
want from a comedy. A disappointing endeavour from Marlon Wayans.
 
2) Goddess
A complete failure and an embarrassment to Australian cinema. I would
like to forget this film was ever made.
 
3) Broken City
What was Russell Crowe thinking when he signed on for this film? Broken
City is too long, boring, predictable, has awful dialogue and the characters are unlikeable.
 
4) Diana
A woeful soap opera that lacks any credibility as it chronicles
Princess Diana's love life. I felt like I was flicking through the pages of a sensationalised tabloid.
 
5) Runner Runner
This is supposed to be a thriller about the seedy world of online
gambling, but there were no thrills and the entire film was boring and predictable.
 
 
 
 
6) Adoration
The thought of a woman falling in love with a young man she practically
helped raise is so wrong, it is too hard to get passed to enjoy anything else about the film.
 
7) Jobs
It should not come as a surprise that Ashton Kutcher cannot act.
Unfortunately, his performance as the late Steve Jobs is not the worst aspect of the film. The story focuses mostly on Jobs' early years but it was so slow-paced and unsatisfying.
 
8) Oblivion
This film is so bad I forgot the convoluted plot the day after watching
it. The only good thing I can say about it is that its special effects were stunning. Oblivion tried to do too much.
 
9) The Counsellor
This film is dialogue heavy and the overall plot makes little sense at
all. The best aspect of The Counsellor was the creative and violent way in which characters die throughout the film.
 
10) Lincoln
I still do not understand why this boring, long film is so beloved. I
was not even impressed with Daniel Day Lewis' Oscar-winning performance.

 
 

Which films were on your best and worst list for 2013?
 
 

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