OK, better late than never but in my defence it was a year full of fantastic films which posed some difficult decisions when compiling my annual run-down. As usual, I’ve based this on when I saw the films and not when they were released. Also, ranking order not necessarily determinate…it’s my list OK!
So, here goes:
Just mind-blowing. Watch it.
Flemish masterpiece of love and loss. This touched me deeply and left me reeling for several days, which doesn’t happen often with cinema, owing largely to the gargantuan pathos-laden performances and beautifully crisp soundtrack.
Love him or hate him, QT delivered a stonkingly slick and fun film here (despite almost ruining the entire picture with his beyond-awful-ego-maniacal cameo). Christopher Waltz simply can do no wrong and Jamie Foxx continues to impress as he embodied the eponymous super-sexy-cool hero with…well, super-sexy-cool.
Heralded as the next ‘game-changer’, it would be easy to miss what was so spectacular about Alfonso Cuaron’s latest monster. That’s his genius though. You won’t even notice the extent of what he’s created until you see some behind-the-scenes stuff or read into it a bit. Go watch it on the biggest screen in Britain (BFI IMAX) and you’ll get it. It’s just awesome cinema, as evidenced by the fact that it was half way through the film before I realised my body was basically imploding with tension!
Paolo Sorrentino masterfully directs the peerless Toni Servillo in his sweepingly beautiful metaphysical meander through the sordid nightlife and ancient charms of Rome. Leave the popcorn in the foyer for this one, just sit back and enjoy some modern masters at work.
The third instalment in Richard Linklater’s ‘romantic’ Before series. With his leading couple, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, they combine to paint a movingly realistic portrait of love and the life that goes with it. OK, I’m going to ‘fess up, this one got to me OK?!
7. The Hunt
Lovely little Danish/Swedish number. Mads Mikkelsen is the main man here, although the supporting cast are excellent, as he plays the lonely single father teacher who becomes embroiled in a paedophile scandal which upturns his life and challenges the relationships with his closest friends, the entire community and even his son. It’s excellent.
Uber heart-throb Ryan Gosling delivers another smoulderingly restrained and sex-fuelled performance as motorbike stunt driver turned bank-robber in this intelligently constructed and poignant drama. A good turn from Bradley Cooper strengthens his position as a legit actor and not just overrated eye-candy. It would be nice to see the Gos do something against type though…
I felt this was somewhat over-hyped but I liked it none the less as it was reminiscent of one of my favourite films, The Straight Story. Although, I must add, the reminiscence ends at the pacing and subject matter (an old dude making his way across America for one final adventure) as Lynch’s direction and overall flavour is vastly superior to what is found here. Bruce Dern does captivate though and it’s a lovely tale.
10. End of Watch
This one surprised me and I’m surprised to be including it here but it’s my list and I liked it plenty. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena hit a winning combo and it’s their intensely believable and enjoyable relationship that drives this movie. Yes, you can get annoyed by the shaky camera and apparent inconsistencies that go hand-in-hand with the home video / found-footage style but just go with it and enjoy the honest performances and you might just find it does something.
So that was 2013. I’m already chomping at the bit for what 2014 has to offer, so here’s to another year of imbibing that beautiful movie magic!