2013 was a fantastic year for film.
I went to the cinema many times throughout the year and there were films that made me laugh, made me an emotional wreck and films that had me on the edge of my seat.
Here are my top 10 films of 2013.
10) IRON MAN 3
The third solo outing for Tony Stark was a great way to open Marvel’s Phase Two. This was a return to form for the Iron Man films after the misfire that was Iron Man 2. Directed by Shane Black, Iron Man 3 delivers on the laughs and the action big time. There were cries of outrage from some with the whole Mandarin twist but I thought it was a breath of fresh air and a brave play from Marvel that ultimately paid off.
9) THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Derek Cianfrance’s ambitious follow-up to Blue Valentine is a tale of fatherhood and the consequence of actions. The Place Beyond the Pines is beautifully shot and packs a real emotional punch. Featuring some great performances, particularly from Bradley Cooper, The Place Beyond the Pines is a character driven film that should open many eyes to the talent of Cianfrance.
Daniel Day-Lewis IS Abraham Lincoln. One of the greatest actors of all time as one of the most iconic American Presidents being directed by one of the greatest directors ever is a sheer pleasure to watch. Lincoln tells the story of the struggle President Lincoln had while trying to abolish slavery towards the end of the Civil War. A lot was taken away from the rest of the film when first released due to the performance of Day-Lewis. While he is fantastic in the lead role, Lincoln is an all-round masterfully constructed biopic from Steven Spielberg.
Documentaries, in my opinion, have to leave a lasting impression on you to really have an impact. All I can say is that if Blackfish does not do that to you then there is something very wrong indeed. It is a haunting insight into the captivity of killer whales to provide entertainment at Sea World. Blackfish features interviews with former Sea World trainers that will unveil the disturbing lengths Sea World went to to cover up the killer whale attacks and footage of incidents that will chill you to the bone.
6) STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Remember when Star Trek was cool? Me neither.
J.J. Abrams continues to breath new life into the franchise with this thrilling blockbuster. Star Trek Into Darkness is bigger and bolder than its predecessor, doubling the amount of action while keeping the narrative very much in mind. It also gave us the first glimpse of the dark side to Benedict Cumberbatch, who had us all screaming KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!
This adrenaline fueled tale of the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda is one that puts you right inside the car yourself. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl bring the characters to life with great presence in this compelling drama that is as much about the drivers as it is about the racing. All of this set to a pulsating soundtrack from Hans Zimmer and a masterclass in sound editing by Frank Kruse make Rush a real treat.
4) THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug shares a couple of things in common with Star Trek Into Darkness. One thing is that it really turns up the volume of action in comparison to its predecessor. The other is that it features another villainous turn from Benedict Cumberbatch, this time as the dragon Smaug, in all his mo-cap glory.
The Desolation of Smaug is a huge amount of fun that makes going to the cinema an absolute pleasure. Peter Jackson is right in his element when in Middle Earth.
3) DJANGO UNCHAINED
One of the more controversial films of 2013, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino at his finest. Tarantino has a knack for getting the best out of his cast and here it is no different. They are all in top form, with special mention going to Leonardo DiCaprio. As always with a Tarantino film, it is the dialogue that is so special. I am so glad to see Quentin Tarantino making films like Django Unchained when six years ago he was making Death Proof.
2) CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Paul Greengrass tackles the real-life story of Captain Richard Phillips and his crew who had their ship hijacked by Somali pirates. The end result is magnificent. Tom Hanks plays Phillips and will leave you in more of an emotional state than he is in by the end of the film. Barkhad Abdi is amazing as the leader of the Somali hijackers and Greengrass just cranks up the tension to an almost unbearable level in a finale that will keep you guessing until the very end.
There is no doubt about it. Gravity is not just a trip to the cinema. It is an experience.
Visionary director Alfonso Cuaron brings his idea to the big screen and it is just breathtaking. From the moment it begins your eyes are just fixed to the screen. The special effects are astounding and the use of sound is phenomenal. Sandra Bullock gives a lifetime best performance as Dr. Ryan Stone and Steven Price delivers a majestic soundtrack. From a technical aspect, Gravity is perfect.
So if you missed it at the cinema, you better hope it gets a re-release.
I would just like to mention two films that I have given special awards:
Guilty Pleasure of the Year: WHITE HOUSE DOWN
This was just one of those films where you could forget everything and let the action do the talking. A true popcorn movie.
Surprise of the Year – THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
I am not really a big Ben Stiller fan and didn’t really think too much of this when I saw the first trailer, but I was pleasantly surprised at the whole film. I called the ending about halfway through but it was handled with care and you couldn’t resist but leave the cinema with a smile on your face.