It’s been a pretty good year cinema wise with franchises returning and new properties springing up all over the place. Here’s a rundown of my favourite films from the year that was 2013.
10. The Wolverine
After his disastrous first solo outing, Wolverine finally gets a movie worthy of his character. Intriguing, slow paced and ponderous is not usually what you’d expect from a comic book movie but that’s exactly what you get here, in a mostly standalone vehicle that’s refreshingly unafraid to bring things down to a personal level. At least until the big dumb finale.
Best bit: The brawl at the funeral.
9. This Is The End
Seth Rogen, James Franco et al playing themselves as the apocalypse happens outside? What could have been overly self indulgent is actually a riotously funny end of the world romp, with the actors gamely sending themselves (or their public personas at least) up with gleeful abandon.
Best bit: The unexpected appearance of a Whitney Houston song.
8. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Everyone’s favourite DJ, Alan Partridge gets his own ruddy feature film. Resisting the temptation to take Alan and put him in a grander setting turns out to be the films masterstroke, with the storm in a teacup setting suiting Alan’s inherent naffness perfectly. One of the funniest films you’ll see this year.
Best bit: Jason Statham, Jason Bourne, Jason…Argonaut.
7. The World’s End
A much more thoughtful affair than either Shaun or Fuzz and my opinion of this has changed quite a lot since the original review as a second viewing has unearthed its hidden charms with an unbelievably layered and detailed script. A film as much about growing old as it is about alien invaders, I’d urge anyone who didn’t like it to give it another chance.
Best bit: The first fight with the blanks in the Gents.
6. Iron Man 3
In a Post-Avengers movie world, how can you go back to making these single hero outings? Well, Marvel have proved they can, and very successfully too with perhaps the best Iron Man film yet. Character growth, genuine surprises with some of the best action and laughs of the year, there’s a reason why Marvel are dominating your multiplexes.
Best bit: The barrel of monkeys sequence.
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Although essentially a retread of the first film, Catching Fire cuts deeper and hits harder with themes present here that are more often associated with an Oscar baiting drama. Anchored by a wonderful performance from its lead, this is a franchise that doesn’t pull any punches and is all the better for it.
Best bit: A harrowing execution scene. Twilight, this is not.
Dark, horrible, not-right-in-the-head, surreal, disgusting, twisted and utterly brilliant. James McAvoy gives easily his best performance as the amoral Bruce Robertson, circling the drain of life and loving (almost) every minute of it while trying to secure a promotion. If you can stomach it, it’s the most rewarding film of the year.
Best bit: The animated credits.
3. Captain Phillips
The second tensest film of the year, with Tom Hanks on Oscar winning form as the titular Phillips; a regular man stretched to breaking point when his freighter is boarded by Somali pirates. Director Greengrass takes an even handed approach and doesn’t paint in shades of black and white.
Best bit: The second attempt the pirates make at boarding the freighter.
The tensest film of the year, with Sandra Bullock on Oscar winning form in a film that’s not so much about the story but rather the experience. And what an experience. White knuckle doesn’t even begin to cover it. A triumph on every level (direction, sound design, special effects), it practically rewrites the landscape of film, and will be a touchstone for years to come.
Best bit: the opening unbroken 15 minute long shot. Masterful.
1. Good Vibrations
A local tale of Terri Hooley and his record-store-cum-music-label Good Vibrations and the impact he/it had on the NI punk scene during The Troubles. It’s an absolute joy, and while it have a slightly rose tinted view of what went on its still a film that’ll make you fall in love with music all over again.
Best bit: John Peel playing Teenage Kicks twice. You’ll not be able to stop smiling.
And now…the worst.
5. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – You’d never expect a film with a title like that to be boring. But it is. Deathly so.
4. Pain and Gain – Insultingly stupid, sexist garbage.
3. Riddick – Like Predator but without the self awareness.
2. The Hangover Part 3 – The least funny comedy I’ve ever seen.
1. A Good Day to Die Hard – Just awful on every imaginable level.
Review by Jonathan Cardwell.
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