Saturday, 14 December 2013

Be Careful! Your Hand! Top 10 Films of 2013

What's the best thing about Christmas? Mince pies are AWESOME but what I look forward to most in December is the end of year lists that you can find on every critic's site. My turn bitches!

Some people say 2013 was a poor year for cinema but I think that's an absurd thing to say. Sure there were some disappointing blockbusters out this summer, but with the sheer volume of movies created every month, it's impossible to ever claim one year is worse than another.

Before I count down my top 10 films of the year, it's worth noting that unfortunately, I missed some of the biggies. I'm still kicking myself every day for not seeing The World's End, Pacific Rim or Blue Is The Warmest Colour as I'm sure they would have had a fighting chance of making it into my top 10. Also, a couple of my choices may have been released in other territories the year before but I'm going with UK cinematic releases from 2013.

Finally, anyone who actually cares about this list may be surprised that Gravity hasn't been included and there's one simple reason for that; I didn't think it was good enough. I know that flies in the face of almost every other film critic out there but despite some impressive moments, Gravity left me feeling more disappointed than anything else. Don't hate and read on for my top 10 picks. 

10. Rush

This choice was completely left field for me. Sure I was excited to see Chris Hemsworth in a non Thunder God role but I couldn't think of anything more boring than a film based around Formula 1 racing. How wrong I was. Ron Howard's biography is both fascinating and thrilling in equal measure but the real surprise was Daniel Bruhl who stole the film playing real life driver Nikki Lauda, rival to Hemsworth's James Hunt.

Best Moment: When F1 appears on TV, I cringe and change the channel but the final face off in Rush is one of the most exciting sporting moments I've ever seen in the cinema.

9. In The House

French film maker Francois Ozon can be hit or miss but Dans La Maison is one of the highlights of his career to date. The story starts off deceptively simple; a high school teacher is surprised when one of his quieter students hands in an essay about what happened last weekend. Sounds dull but the script quickly twists and turns into something completely unexpected. Almost as good as Potiche. 

Best Moment: My favourite moments from In The House are when the school teacher shares each new essay with his wife, poring over the details of the boy's obsession with his neighbours like someone watching their favourite soap.

8. Blue Jasmine

For every clunker, Woody Allen delivers another classic drama that establishes him as one of the most prolific and legendary directors working today. Blue Jasmine features two incredible central performances from Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins but the real star is the script, which veers tightly between comedy and drama in a way that no one else can match in cinema today.

Best Moment: Blue Jasmine opens with our lead talking through recent intimate events of her life on a plane with a fellow passenger and it's not until the end of the scene that we realise Jasmine doesn't even know the old woman she's poured her heart out to. 

7. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2

Some people might question why the hell I've included a kids film on this list, especially one that isn't Pixar or Disney and to those people, I say you're obviously not a fan of food puns because if you were, you'd realise that CWACOM2 is the funniest film you'll see this year. I always felt the first movie was underrated so I was ecstatic to see Flint and co return for another wacky installment from what's fast becoming one of my favourite children's franchises. Check it out. This movie made me laugh more than anything else this year.   

Best Moment: There were so many great food related jokes that made me wet myself in the cinema but the funniest scene has to be when the tiny strawberry translates Flint's inspirational speech for all of the 'foodimals' and yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.

6. Behind The Candelabra

It's disheartening that this powerful and sometimes hilarious drama from Steven Soderbergh could not secure a cinematic release in this day and age but Behind The Candelabra is a must see, detailing Liberace's secret life in a bold and honest way. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon were both robbed of the opportunity to gain Best Actor nominations at the Oscars due to the way Behind The Candelabra was released but don't let that stop you seeing this brave and challenging film.

Best Moment: There are so many great moments to choose from, many including Rob Lowe as an image-obsessed plastic surgeon but for me, the scene that stands out most is when we first see Michael Douglas on stage performing as Liberace. His acting moves beyond impersonation here and it's easily a highlight in Douglas's already legendary career. 

5. Insidious 2

The first Insidious was very divisive and most people would argue that the sequel is inferior but James Wan can do no wrong in my eyes. Insidious 2 may not have the shock factor of the first movie but I was genuinely scared for the majority of this sequel and I thought it was genius how the scriptwriters linked this story to the original, like it had always been planned.

Best Moment: The corpses covered in sheets were uber creepy but there's a bedroom scene which involves that old paper cup string game that freaked me out the most. Get a mobile kids phone kids, they're way safer!

4. The Paperboy

Lee Daniels is one of my favourite directors working at the moment and after Precious, I couldn't wait to see what he would come up with next. The Paperboy is certainly not for everyone but if you're willing to enter it's dark, seedy world, you'll see one of the most innovate American films of the year. And Zac Efron dancing in the rain in his pants. And Nicole Kidman urinating on his jellyfish sting. Not your regular thriller then. 

Best Moment: Nicole Kidman has always been one of my favourite actresses so it was gratifying to see her in a role we're not used to seeing her tackle. Never was this more obvious than in a scene where Kidman's character visits her criminal lover in jail and starts masturbating in front of everyone else in the room...loudly.

3. Frozen

If you're a fan of Disney, and I'm talking good Disney, then go out and watch Frozen immediately. Classic and relevant, funny and touching, Frozen is the best thing to have come out of the Disney Studios in a long long time. Forget Pixar. Disney is back on top. And there's a singing snowman.

Best Moment: The best thing about Disney's greatest films are of course the songs and when I left the cinema, I couldn't get Idina Menzel's show stopping Let It Go out of my head. Amazing. 

2. Man of Steel

After numerous failed attempts, Zack Snyder has managed to succeed in making a modern Superman film that is exciting and relevant but also stays true to the icons comic book heritage. General Zod was a surprisingly great villain, providing the perfect  counterpoint to Henry Cavill's interpretation of the character, which ranks up there among the best to date. Sure not everyone liked the ending but I felt it was a bold step to take. How often are we genuinely shocked by the end of a superhero film? I do worry about the future of the franchise though. Fingers crossed Affleck...

Best Moment: I think it's tough to relate to Superman at times as he seems almost too perfect, but when General Zod threatens Ma Kent, Clark's outrage strikes a chord that everyone can empathise with. 

1. The Conjuring

When horror is done badly, it's really bad, but when someone gets it right, there's nothing better. James Wan has already appeared once on this list for Insidious 2 but it's The Conjuring, his best film to date, that has made the number one spot. Sticking with the idea that some things are best left to the imagination, Wan has crafted an old fashioned ghost story that kept me constantly on edge from beginning to end. Just the opening alone disturbed me for weeks. It's a shame that this film won't top many other end of year lists as it is superbly directed and just goes to show that well made horror is an art form in itself. 

Best Moment: Childhood fears of darkness are played on perfectly in the scene where one of the little girls sees someone in the corner of her bedroom. What you imagine is far worse than anything that Wan could have shown.

Whether you agree or disagree, I'd love to hear your views. Let me know in the comment box below but just remember; these are obviously very personal choices so please be respectful of my opinion. And remember I'm always right. With that in mind, remember also to come back in a few days to find out what my top 10 favourite albums of the year are too.  


  1. Awesome to see The Conjuring so high up, it's still in my top 5 of the year. Such a fantastic horror movie, done in real old school way.

    1. Definitely, I think critics really underrated it!