My 11 favourite films of 2013

31 Dec

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It’s that time of year again, looking back with a nostalgic twinkle in the eye as you remember all the great (and occasionally rubbish) films you have watched over the past 12 months. Why 11? Why not? These Top 10 lists all need turning up to 11…

Anyway, down to business. Here are my Top 11 favourite films that were released in UK cinemas in 2013, this is THE definitive list of the best films of the year by the way, so enjoy:

Gravity

A mighty and ambitious project that deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as 2001: A Space Odyssey; the 3D looked great and the symbolism superb, best film of the year and perhaps the century too (big call, I know).

The Act of Killing

A harrowing and insightful documentary featuring former Indonesian death squad leaders re-enacting their killings and mass murders; the banality of evil gets a fresh upheaval in this remarkable, heavy and ultimately necessary film.

Before Midnight

The cute couple get a trilogy. This is the third film featuring the delightful relationship of Jesse and Celine as they walk&talk around scenic European locations; funny, casually profound and with a great script to boot, who says sequels supposedly decline in quality?

Zero Dark Thirty

Bigelow’s brilliance shows again as she returns to the troubled Middle East, this time higher up the chain of command and no bomb disposal teams around. Chastain delivers a knockout performance as she tries to track down Osama bin Laden by any means necessary.

Captain Phillips

Veteran Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi duel on the high-seas in Greengrass’s taut thriller. His trademark camerawork is perfectly suited for this film; all about Somali pirates but also dealing with so much more; a real masterclass in suspense.

The Impossible

An emotional sucker-punch? It certainly is. Too soon? Perhaps. Another certainty are the strong performances from Watts & co. and the devastating visuals of the tsunami and its destruction. A hard-to-watch human tragedy, but brilliantly done.

Stoker

Hitchcockian splendour is what Park delivers in his first English-language film based on Shadow of a Doubt. Deliciously dark and beautifully shot, this Hitchcock homage will cause wry smiles aplenty and a new take on growing up in rural America.

Lincoln

One of the most famous Presidents is bought back to life thanks to Day-Lewis’s invigorating performance and Spielberg’s patient and unintrusive directing. Speeches are made, fists are waved and slaves are freed in this epic of historical proportions.

Blue Jasmine

Blanchett carries Allen’s latest film with gusto and she delivers a perfect and weighty performance as a New York socialite spiralling into denial and madness whilst living with her sister in San Francisco. Even when Allen doesn’t hit the peak, he is still miles ahead.

Nebraska

A bleak road-trip movie shot in serene black and white. Featuring Woody as an ageing alcoholic (played by the brilliant Dern) trying to claim a $1m prize which is a couple of states away. Payne gives us another heart warmer with his trademarks of poignancy and humour in equal doses.

This is the End

This is the funniest comedy of 2013, in a year when many comedies were surprisingly lacking in the humour department (Hangover III, The Heat…etc). It has its flaws but an interesting plot and gags by the cameo-load allow a film with Rihanna in it to bookend my yearly Top 11.

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