Time for me to get super nerdy for my first true love, film. I love film, movies, cinema, whatever you call it, I just love it so much that I get excited to talk about it so much and discuss it, and of course making it. 2013 was an interesting year for film but man there are some memorable ones. These are the 10 that truly stand out for me. My personal favorites.
10. The World’s End
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright; Directed by Edgar Wright
The end of an era here. The Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy has ended and gone out with a bang! 2004 is when ZomRomCom (zombie romantic comedy) Shaun of the Dead came out and was much loved and earned some cult status. 2007 had the brilliantly put together and edited action comedy Hot Fuzz was released and was loved instantly. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost are an amazing team together from Spaced onto their final film in the cinematic trilogy, The World’s End.
Wright’s distinctive style is in full swing here with his sharp and fast wit and jokes in high-flying dialogue with little references spread throughout the lines and visually too. Also in full swing as usual is the dynamic of Pegg and Frost but it’s shaken up now with Pegg taking on the immature, man-child like, should know better character Frost took on in Shaun and Fuzz while Frost takes on the mature, smarter, more in control role Pegg played.
This time we get a movie based around science fiction, more so something along the lines of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and movies based around aliens replacing us humans. I couldn’t help but love this movie, yes I’m a fan of the previously two done films and will proudly say that. It also helps the movie itself is good. Once again there is an amazing cast dynamic here not just with Pegg and Frost, but also Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, and David Bradley.
9. Stories We Tell
Written and Directed by Sarah Polley
I haven’t had a documentary in any top 10 films list over the past few years. I love documentaries, its just few have captured me in ways that make me wanna sing their praises, were about a subject I was genuinely interested in, or were just damn good. Well I’m glad to have yet another documentary in my top 10, and very proud to have it be, Stories We Tell.
Canadian filmmaker and actor Sarah Polley is best known for her lead role in the Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004. The film here explores the relationship between Polley’s parents, Michael (who provides the narration) and Diane and how she came to learn she was the product of an extramarital affair. The film explored family ties, love, the meaning of commitment to one person. The film is really about life. How things can easily disrupt it and but yet its just about how life goes on with sudden disruptions like finding out you were born out of an affair. I felt several emotions watching this film and was hooked the whole time. Please seek this one out!
Written by Peter Morgan; Directed by Ron Howard
I give zero shits about professional racing, yet I love this film a lot. To be fair, racing movies are quite good, when done right that is. That said, Rush to me, is the be racing movie ever made. One of Ron Howard’s best, the film is truly exciting with its acting, drama, and the brilliantly shot and put together racing scenes. Credit goes to Howard, a known gearhead which I think helps the movie out greatly, and the production team, mostly the editing, effects, and cinematography team for making the two stand out pieces of the film, the German and Japanese Grand Prix races in the soaking rain. The way the rain plays in so well, the drops hitting the helmets, the splashes from the tires. Goddamn its just wonderful to watch.
I gone on about that enough, now to the real draw, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as James Hunt ad Niki Lauda respectively, during the 1976 Formula One racing season and their pursuits to be World Champion. Hemesworth exemplifies Hunt’s playboy, devil may care, risk taking lifestyle perfectly and is just damn good here in the film, but I think the real star is Brühl as Lauda, the more thinking, calculated, and risk taking through assessment. He really brings his A game and I think is criminally overlooked this award season. He deserves much more notice for his role as he’s able to stand toe-to-toe with Thor himself. The supporting cast is excellent as well but its the leads and brilliant direction and wonderful screenplay that helps make Rush such an exciting film to watch.
7. The Conjuring
Written by Chad and Carley Hayes; Directed by James Wan
Man I love me a good horror film and well hey here’s one the best in a while. James Wan takes on the story of paranormal investigators, Ed and Loraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they investigate the newly bought house of the Perron family who may or may not have some weird house guests with them in that magical time of 1971.
James Wan has crafted together one the most suspenseful, the scariest, and most haunting horror films of sometime. I really loved this film and for a while, it was my favorite film of 2013. It was great filmmaking, I loved the details quality of direction, camerawork, and cinematography. Man what a well put together film. The scares are genuine and feel terrifying. Performances are so good as well with Wilson, Farmiga, and Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor. The movie is creepy in all the right enjoyable ways.
6. Short Term 12
Written and Directed by Destin Cretton
This movie will at first start off good then it will break you and your soul yet by the end of the film, you’re put back together fully and feel good and hopeful about life and what’s to come down the road. Much like the previously mentioned on this list, Stories We Tell, Short Term 12 is a movie about life itself, ups and downs, sidetracks, and loving other people.
Brie Larson is at her best here. She’s mostly done some really good supporting roles and guest appearances on some shows but she’s the lead here and she’s outstanding. She’s grossly over looked like Brühl in Rush. I love her performance here. The film is depressingly hopeful. Its a film that does help represent life itself well. One the best films in a while period. Please seek it out now that its out on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge; Directed by Danny Boyle
I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only few people that put this on their top 10, much less top five, but hey, this is my list of my personal favorite films of 2013 so up here it goes. I love heist films, I love psychological thrillers, I love trippy, weird movies, I love Danny Boyle. So how was a trippy, weird, psychological thriller heist film directed by Danny Boyle not gonna make my top five favorite films of the year?
This film just has so much I love and its one of Boyle’s best to me. I can’t say too much about this though as it is a film I feel like does need to be seen because a lot of the enjoyment of the film come from watching it without seeing or hearing a whole lot about it. What I can say is the film looks great with amazing direction and cinematography, has a stellar cast led by James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel.
4. Before Midnight
Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke; Directed by Richard Linklater
The Before trilogy is one the fews film series where I love every movie its done. Coming out about every nine years, they are jut wonderful movies done by people that really do care about telling a good story. Its two people talking a lot, and its some the most compelling things I ever seen. Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy have treated each other and these films with some respect, just making everything come naturally plot wise. I really just love this film and the series as a whole. Its just good filmmaking that’s and outstanding achievement for everyone involved.
Written and directed by Spike Jonze
Her is an absolutely amazing film. This film feels just real about life. The film can truly show and make you feel all over again what it is to live life, be human, and well that crazy little thing called love. The issue of commitment is a huge one here and it handled greatly. Its one the most powerful films about romance in quite sometime and it cuts deep but it so very enjoyable. Spike Jonze’s films always seem to always hit some certain emotion. Again that obvious one being love and commitment here. Its shot beautifully and there is a certain aesthetic here that makes this film stand out. The sci-fi elements work here and make the film still feel like it could happen just as easily as now.
Joaquin Phoenix gives what is maybe the best performance of his career since Walk the Line and he plays the role of a man hurt by love so well. He just plays everything he does here in such an amazing way. Amy Adams is really good here and gives one her finest performances this year, American Hustle to me really showed off her talents a little more, Rooney Mara is wonderful, and Olivia Wilde is really good for her scene in the film.
The real stand out is Scarlett Johasson. She has only a voice performance here yet I would say its one the best performances of 2013. She is just amazing. She conveys all the feelings, emotions, energy, and heartbreak of being a person in love just as well as she does when doing that in a live action role. She plays off Joaquin Phoenix so well. They have absolutely amazing chemistry together and its one the best relationships on film I have ever seen.
2. 12 Years a Slave
Written by John Ridley; Directed by Steve McQueen
12 Years a Slave is a very important film in its explicit depiction of slavery and one tale of a man’s life. Steve McQueen does help tells an incredible story that was written by John Ridley based on the true stories of Solomon Northup. I liken this to Schindler’s List, a great film about a hard subject matter I don’t think I can bring myself to watch again. The film will stay with you right after its over. I can’t stop thinking about it.
The acting is what really anchors the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor deserves all the awards. His performance is moving, great, powerful, and deeplky moving. He’s always been a great actor but now I think this will help him get great notice that is due. He is the star and he excels at it. Other standouts are Michael Fassbender who is just straight asshole but is a raw role that he commanded the screen when he was on. Same for Sarah Paulson who plays his equally as horrible wife. The one person to also look for is newcomer Lupita Nyong’o who owns her screen time greatly.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Written by Terence Winter; Directed by Martin Scorsese
My favorite film of 2013 would come from only Scorsese himself. This is an incredible damn film. Not saying I went in predetermined it was. He’s one my absolute influences and well I could go on about how amazing he is but we all have, so lets talk about why Wolf of Wall Street is amazing.
Its one the best satires since Thank You For Smoking, its the funnest and darkest black comedies in sometime. The film has a message to say about the excess of wealth in higher society. It does not in anyway glorify or make people come over to this way of like. The film does not praise or hero worship Jordan Belfort’s actions as by the end, its done him in and they show how badly he’s fucked up. The film would be done in a completely different way if it were to make him the “good” guy here which he clearly isn’t. For anyone thinking that way needs to look past what’s on the surface and see that this is a satire. Its there to show us what is wrong with all this.
That said, Leonardo DiCaprio is one the finest physical comedians ever. I never thought I’d say that but the scene with quaaludes, my god its amazing. He’s also very funny and on top his game acting wise, as is Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie, Jean Dujardin, and an amazing three scene performance by Matthew McConaughey. Everyone is on top acting wise.
The film has amazing comedy as well as one the most well done scenes of danger and peril in a terrible situation I seen in a while. Its incredibly well done.
Music cues are great (I particularly love the use of Moving Out by Billy Joel and a cover of Mrs. Robinson by the Lemonheads), direction is fantastic, and man its just a damn great film.