I have had to re-work my usual ‘best of’ list because it would appear that I’ve only been to the cinema ten times this year. Ten! I am shocked and appalled but, hey, you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Out of the list of new UK cinema releases in 2013, this is my solid top eight (in order of release, rather than order of favourites).
Great cast (The Gos and Emma Stone are two of my favourite actors working today and they have great chemistry. Love the Dirty Dancing scene in Crazy Stupid Love) and even though Ryan Gosling’s voice grates a tad, I thought it was a great crime drama.
Danny Boyle is one of my favourite directors and James McAvoy is a hugely under-rated actor. He has such versatility and can literally do and play anything – bad guy, romantic hero, comedy goon. Love him! This film definitely warrants a second viewing as, like with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s fun to pick up on things earlier having already seen the film. Hello, bluray!
Iron Man 3
Speaking of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 was made all the more awesome by having writer-director Shane Black on board. I’d love to see him and RDJ do another film together. And I love how a chick kinda saves the day at the end. Girl power!
Star Trek Into Darkness
I didn’t think I would like the Star Trek films. I had virtually no knowledge of the material before JJ Abrams came on board and he seemed to create this universe which made it instantly accessible for total newcomers to the franchise. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with Star Wars as I’m not much of a fan of that either. The dude can do no wrong.
The Great Gatsby
I made a point of reading the book beforehand and I’m glad it’s a faithful adaptation. Few things upset me more than when people take something so loved and well-known and make it almost unrecognisable (I’m still pissed about My Sister’s Keeper). But Baz Luhrmann did F. Scott Fitzgerald proud. And I loved the modern soundtrack too. It reminded me of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in that sense – I still don’t know why people hate on that film so much. And the costumes! I want Carey Mulligan’s entire wardrobe. A couple of dress sizes bigger, of course.
Possibly my favourite film of the year. I went in expecting just a nice, simple Richard Curtis rom-com and came out having gone through the entire spectrum of emotions. I haven’t cried like that in the cinema since Marley and Me! But in a good way.
Thor: The Dark World
I much preferred this to the first film. I’ve seen a lot of comic book movies and I can’t stand it when it feels almost entirely dark and miserable. That might sound a bit odd considering I love the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, but Man of Steel felt dark in a completely different way (and hasn’t made my list). I need some humour and a bit of light-heartedness to stay completely entertained and the Hemsworth/Hiddleston duo sealed the deal for me. Plus I can never fault the fabulous Kat Dennings.
The Secret World of Walter Mitty
Ah, my last cinematic outing of the year. I hadn’t heard much about this film until my boyfriend showed me the trailer about a week before we saw it. I was immediately swept away by the fantastical sequences and gorgeous cinematography and that increased ten-fold when it came to seeing it in full on the big screen. Highly recommended and possibly my second favourite of the year.
My top ten is rounded out by Drinking Buddies and Before Midnight, films which to this day I still can’t figure out if I like. I’ve discussed the ending of Drinking Buddies a couple of times with my boyfriend and I still don’t think I like the ending. It feels like the characters settled for what feels comfortable rather than risking something more passionate. What did you think? As for Before Midnight, I think I’ll feel differently towards it in ten years time, after I have gotten married and popped out a couple of kids. I was heart-broken to see what had happened to two of my favourite film characters and their relationship. The franchise has always been brilliantly written and true to life, so maybe I need some more life experience before I judge it.
Although I’m still watching less films than I used to (I’m seriously worried that I’m going to lose my film geek status), I have managed to catch up on some of the 2012 releases that I missed in theatres. Here is a brief run down of my top five, plus five that deserve a mention (for all the wrong reasons!):
Wes Anderson is another of my favourite directors and is definitely one of the most stylish. There are so few auteurs working today – everyone seems to be chasing their next pay cheque rather than making films they want to be remembered for. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!
2 Days in New York
Julie Delpy is such an under-rated writer and comedienne and Chris Rock doesn’t get enough credit for the good stuff he does. If you haven’t already, check it out, and its predecessor 2 Days in Paris.
I’ve hated on Channing Tatum for years – I thought he was all braun and no brains. But ya know what? He weasled his way in with last year’s 21 Jump Street and he might have melted my heart a wee bit with The Vow. But Rachel McAdams can make anyone look good, right?
This was much funnier than people gave it credit for! And it had a heart as well. I’m a sucker for anything with a cute kid.
The Five Year Engagement
Jason Segel? And Emily Blunt? Together?! Ahhhh, perfection. The script was somewhat lacking for me but their comedic talents and chemistry saved it.
As for the non-favourites that need a mention, five films were released in 2012 that I should have loved but didn’t. Like Crazy was bloody ridiculous. They should have cut their losses a lot earlier. It wasn’t romantic – it was whiny and annoying. Take This Waltz should have been one of my favourites of the year (one of my favourite writer-directors combined with one of my favourite actresses) but I hated the way she treated her husband and just wanted to punch her in the face most of the way through it. Ruby Sparks was a great take on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl but it crossed some weird boundaries towards the end. Your Sister’s Sister, again, with the fabulous Emily Blunt (she’s the only reason why I want to see Edge of Tomorrow) but such a dodgy storyline with the poking holes in condoms thiang. And Tiny Furniture! The Voice of a Generation? Really?! I was so disappointed with it and do not want people seeing my generation that way.
And now for the list of 2013 releases that I didn’t make it to but plan to catch in 2014 – let me know what I should be prioritising but keep it spoiler free!
Zero Dark Thirty
Song For Marion
Oz The Great and Powerful
Robot and Frank
Welcome to the Punch
The Place Beyond the Pines
I’m So Excited
Much Ado About Nothing**
Stories We Tell
This is the End
Now You See Me
The Bling Ring
A Field in England
The World’s End
Only God Forgives**
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
In A World…
Girl Most Likely
Sunshine on Leith
Saving Mr Banks
And finally, some 2014 films I’m looking forward to…
* films I actually saw in the cinema
** own on DVD and plan to watch very soon!
What are you most looking forward to next year? The comic book flicks? Oscar-bait? Indie alternatives? Hit me up in the comments below.