Hello there, good folk of t’internet. Here I am again, rabbiting on about some pointless drivel that may or may not entertain you. Let’s see how it goes.,.,,
I have compiled a top ten list of films that I have seen in 2013, not necessarily released in 2013 because I don’t often clamour to see films until they have been out for a year or so. I like to be free from hype and take a step back unless it is a film that has really captured my imagination in the trailer then I will go and see it in the cinema. So if you read this please make sure you see some of these films because they really are stunning.
10. Robot & Frank
This film is short, sweet and makes you want to tell your grandparents that everything is going to be okay. It is about a old time burglar, who is struggling with the effects of dementia. His son sends a robot to help him out around the house but Frank soon discovers that he can use the robot to burgle again. Frank, played brilliantly by Frank Langella, is grumpy and frustrated at an advancing world around him but soon sees advantages of technology only to benefit himself. By the end of the film, you want the best for Frank, despite his selfishness, because he genuinely becomes friends with the robot because it listens to him, which no one else does. This may be a tear jerker for some, be prepared.
Disconnect kind of slipped under the radar last year and the first I heard about it was on IMDB’s recommendations list while looking at another film. I really like Jason Bateman in everything he does, he is a really good every man. So when I saw that he was in it, I took a chance on it. It is an excellent look at relationships through social media and how it impacts those relationships. The score, composed by Max Richter, is exquisite and is probably the best multi-narrative film since Babel. How on earth it didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, I don’t know.
8. The Way Way Back
This independent-ish film is just a good, funny, well acted story. It has all the hallmarks of several other coming of age films but this one has Sam Rockwell in it. He is fast becoming my favourite actor with roles in movies such as: Moon, Choke, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Lawn Dogs and Frost/Nixon under his belt. He is the true star of this movie, as the director clearly allows him to be as free as he wants to be and his personality shines through. It’s just a really well written and well acted film.
7. Django Unchained
What can I say about Django that hasn’t already been said? Nothing really. Christoph Waltz was stellar in his role and Leonardo Di Caprio played a villain superbly. For me, Tarantino is getting better and better with age in terms of direction. Inglorious Basterds is still probably my favourite Tarantino film.
6. Safety Not Guaranteed
In a similar vein to The Way Way Back, Safety Not Guaranteed tells a very small scale story brilliantly. A young journalist is investigating a guy who puts an ad out asking for someone to journey with him back in time. Darius, along with her boss, Jeff, played by Nick from New Girl, and her colleague Arnau visit Kenneth Callaway. Immediately, Darius and Kenneth strike up a strong bond as Kenneth reveals the real reason behind his want to time travel. This is so low-scale it is unreal but it doesn’t need a big budget or high scale production. The story does enough for itself. You find yourself wanting the time machine to actually exist and not be the concoction of some crazy loner. Every character goes on a journey and some go further than others but they are all rewarded at the end.
I had been meaning to watch this for a couple of years but never got round to it. Released before Kick-ass and Super, it does the ordinary super hero element better than both of those two by a long way. It is far more grounded than those two films and has a more sympathetic protagonist. Woody Harrelson plays the lead role sublimely and is subtle in his approach for once. The film has one of the saddest endings I have seen for a long time but in a way you kind of feel a weight has been lifted off someone’s shoulders who has had a difficult life. Strongly recommend watching this.
4. I Saw the Devil
News of an American remake of this cold and brutal South Korean film fills with a great deal of contempt. Mainly because it is so good already and speaks for itself without needing someone to shit all over it. It is stunning piece of work amidst the chaos of seeking revenge on a man that has bestowed much grief upon you. The film is fairly blunt with what is going to happen in the film, which makes it even more astonishing that it is such an astonishing watch. The cinematography heightens every scene to the point where you never want it to end. The best way to describe it would be beauty among brutality.
3. Only God Forgives
The follow up to Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive was always going to cause huge anticipation. Dividing critics and consumers alike, I believe that this is a much better film than Drive. The colours of the film create a heightened reality and it’s a reality that you can’t help but feel uneasy about. The film is uncompromising in it’s way of depicting violence but that is a part of the masochistic world it is a part of. I am in the process of writing about the film and the importance of hands in it. So be prepared for that very shortly.
2. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson is just a very clever film maker. The man rarely puts a foot wrong and released his best film last year. The story of two young lovers growing up on their escape from the mad world around them is engrossing. Some of the scenes are the best comedic scenes I have seen in a long time, especially the scenes between the two protagonists on the beach where they find out more about each other than before. The youth that pervades this film is exhilarating and is ably supported by Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Bill Murray who are all not entirely happy with their lives as older gentleman. They all try to guide young Sam on his journey to becoming a man but that makes them deal with their own faults. In the end they end up supporting Sam and Suzy’s relationship because it is fresh to their tired and ageing eyes. As ever the use of music in this film is exemplary and only goes to show that Wes Anderson is a master of his craft. Can’t wait for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
1. Upstream Colour
If anyone has seen Primer, then they will know of the uneasy world that Shane Carruth put to audiences. Some 9 years later, he released Upstream Colour. This is a higher budget but slightly more disturbing portrayal of science. There is a parasite that has three life cycles, which passes from humans to pigs and then finally onto orchids. The two main characters both unknowingly have had this parasite implanted in them and their lives begin to unravel. In reality, the parasite is the last thing you should focus on in this film. It is the way the people deal with their crumbling lives that is the focus. It is disorientating at times but it’s imperfections make it such a enthralling piece of cinema. Shane Carruth did practically everything on this film and is truly his vision which is so rare these days. It has an original stamp on it and one that will stay with me for a long time. In the film there is a random, but brief, shot of a CGI robot awaking from rubble. I later learnt that this was from a film that he has wanted to make for a long time but has never got full financing for. The film was to be called A Topiary and was about a group of kids who build a a giant animal-like robot. Hopefully after the magnificence of Upstream Colour, producers will take note and give him full funding because I believe it could be a sci-fi classic if made.
So there you have it. Hopefully I see many more amazing films next year including my own. Hope you enjoyed that nonsense.
In a bit