High-lights and Downers of 2013

Hello my beloved readers. Today I am bringing you a special post which will outline my favourite movies of 2013 as well as the movies which made me want to bash my face in with a sledgehammer in frustration. 2013 has, on the whole, been a very strong year for cinema and this post will reveal my top five films of the year as well as the five films I enjoyed least. Unfortunately, there are movies which in a perfect world would be included in the list but, because I live in England, I cannot include them because they will be released here next year (Her, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle etc). Those films will have to compete for a place on next year’s list. Also there are some film that are not featured on the list because I didn’t have a chance to see them or I flat out refused to….there is no way in hell I would pay to see Movie 43.

Without further ado, here are my selections. See you in the New Year peeps!

High-lights (in no particular order):

1) The Bling Ring

Why it’s on the high-lights list:

Because I fucking love Sofia Coppola and the film is a sleek and stylish sendup of the Facebook generation. Interestingly, the film feels more like a documentary and Coppola is careful not to force any kind message onto the audience. Instead, we watch as a bunch of messed up kids rob entitled celebrities and come to our own conclusions about their actions. Also, some great cinematography and shots of Los Angeles.

Favourite moment:

·         I think it’s the scene where they’re robbing Lindsay Lohan and there’s this slow motion shot where Katie Chang is spraying perfume in front of the mirror. It’s beautifully eerie and sinister.

2) Frances Ha

Why it’s on the high-lights list:

It’s a realistic and uplifting film that makes comedy out of the random fucked upness of everyday city life for young urban professionals. A great film for anybody who is not truly satisfied with the direction their life is taking. Greta Gerwig is charming and endearing as Frances Halladay and, through her foibles the audience, eventually begins to love and respect her.

Favourite moment:

·         Pissing over the edge of the subway platform.

3) Blackfish

Why it’s on the high-lights list:

Because it’s a heart-breaking documentary about captive killer whales and an industry which I never really thought much about. Although the documentary is not wholly balanced, the emotional impact of it alone ensures its place on the list.

Favourite moment:

·         Maybe not a “favourite” bit but it’s the scene I’ll remember forever: watching a full-grown killer whale being jacked off into a sandwich bag.

4) Gravity

Why it’s on the high-lights list:

Pure visual spectacle. I have seen it twice at the cinema and both times I was gripping the arm rests. Although the plot is on the thin side it doesn’t really matter; the film is such a technical wonder that grabs the audience and disorientates them. It’s films like this the remind you of the power of cinema…the film also restored my faith in 3D.

Favourite moment:

·         Clooney and Bullock look up/down at the Earth and its endless blues and greens, almost like a Monet painting.

5) The Grandmaster

Why it’s on the high-lights list:

Because it’s a sensitive and exquisitely executed martial arts opera. While not as intimate as In the Mood for Love, the film has a sophistication to it and it is undeniably Wong Kar Wai. The art direction is absolutely breath-taking and each movement made by Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi is pure poetry….poetry that can break your bones and give you a black eye.

Favourite moment:

·         Zhang Ziyi coming to a man’s aid on a train by throwing her fabulous fur coat over his wound so he won’t be captured and killed by the Japanese forces.

Downers (in no particular order):

1) Diana

Why it’s on the downers list:

Because it’s excruciatingly saccharine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Princess Diana was a nice lady but she wasn’t Jesus….and she didn’t look like Naomi Watts in a wig.

Worst moment:

·         Princess Diana walking in the hospital while commoners look on and in cockney accents cry: “C’or blimey, that’s Princess Di that is!”

2) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Why it’s on the downers list:

Because it’s one of the worst things I have ever seen…even worse than that video clip of a huge spider fighting a snake. For the full review, please click here.

Worst moment:

·         “I want your brain!”

3) Kick-Ass 2

Why it’s on the downers list:

Because, compared to the first film, it’s terrible. It lacks all the charm and quirkiness of the original movie and, although Christopher Mintz-Plasse has some great moments, it’s surprisingly unfunny. Making a joke about Arabs cutting off hands is just offensive. Maybe my opinion is warped because I had high expectations going into the theatre. The first film was so good!

Worst moment:

·         I can’t pick out a single moment but I remember being really bored throughout the movie.

4) Beautiful Creatures

Why it’s on the downers list:

Because it’s dripping in self-involved teenage angst and there will probably be sequels on the way. For the full review, please click here.

Worst moment:

·         Emmy Rossum’s “sexy” polio walk.

5) Pacific Rim

Why it’s on the downers list:

Controversial choice I know but I can’t help it; I was so disappointed with this film. I understand that this film is all about the action, which was impressive, but the rest of the film was diabolical. The dialogue was like nails down a chalkboard. There was very little character development and the acting was appalling. It’s not impossible to have a film be all about the action and still be good in other areas (Dredd proved that). Maybe my expectations were too high. Either way, they came crashing down fast within the first 15 minutes.

Worst moment:

“Terr me, when was the rast time you saw her haaaaarrlt.” Facepalm.



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8 responses to “High-lights and Downers of 2013

  1. >(Dredd proved that). <

    THAT may have been the biggest surprise of 2013 for me. I was amazed at how good it ended up being when I watched it last month.

  2. nasen75

    I have to admit that as much as I liked The Grandmaster, it is so far my least favorite Wong Kar-Wai film, and I think it’s because I felt it lacked the humanity of movies like In the Mood for Love or 2046.

    With Pacific Rim, I had the opposite experience: I went into the movie expecting to hate it, and came out pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t the case. I think it helped that I’m an anime otaku with a degree in mechanical engineering (ie so I can build those giant robots) that helped me enjoy it. :X

  3. Tom

    Nice list here buddy. That is indeed a saucy choice putting Pacific Rim on the Bad List, but hey man tha’ts why film criticism is purely personal and subjective. I agree about the bad dialogue and wooden actor but I ended up enjoying myself quite a bit. My list has just gone up on the blog so if you care to compare, go right ahead!!! Happy New Year, as well!

  4. Glad to find Frances Ha around the top. A sweet & pleasant surprise it turned out to be. Reviewed it today.

  5. Pingback: The Bling Ring (2013) | bakedmoviereviews

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