Top 10 Films of 2013
As part of our new weekly Top Ten lists, it’s time to reflect upon the films of 2013 and rank them according to our personal preference (and not just how much money they raked in). Unlike other lists across the web, our lists do not rank according to only critical praise. We consider more poignant factors such as enjoyability. Before we examine the list for Top 10 films of 2013, let’s take a look at some dishonourable mentions – films that were bad/disappointing and put a dampener on the exceptional standard of films in 2013.
Man of Steel – A disappointing, mindless CGI extravaganza that rivals the Transformers series. It isn’t Superman and it isn’t good.
Iron Man 3 – The worst in the series, with an aggravating plot twist that cheapens the film to a comedy. Very little Iron Man, very little praise.
Thor: The Dark World – This concludes the dire superhero movies of 2013, with a silly regurgitated plot which encompasses the most generic villain ever. Nothing stands out about this film – it’s very mediocre.
Gravity – Don’t hate me. Gravity wrongfully won awards for film making, it succeeds in one aspect of film-making – effects – nothing else. It’s a boring gimmick and shouldn’t be considered a “film”, moreover it’s like a 3D Space programme one would find in the Museum.
10. 12 Years a Slave
Despite the over glorification at the Oscars, this films hits deep. It’s an uncomfortable viewing experience, but in a good way (if that makes sense). It has to be on the list because it’s an experience, one I wouldn’t really like to embark upon again. Performances are solid apart from the A-Listers who ruin the film. It sits at number 1o because it was massively over-hyped and failed to convey its full potential due to a soggy, immobile middle – only to be topped off with a blunt resolution.
9. The Conjuring
Very rarely does a horror ‘creep’ in to a Top Ten list, but James Wan nailed this film. It’s eery and creepy which paves the way for legitimate scares. It does indulge in jump scares, yawn, but these are scattered throughout and are not too frequent. The performances are solid and the period drama adds to the chilling Gothic feel. Whilst it’s one of the very best horrors as of recent, it falls short on the list due to its repetitive nature. We’ve seen it all before, whilst the Conjuring does it all better, essentially it’s still a demonic possession movie and we’ve had plenty of these.
8. Star Trek Into Darkness
This starry sequel saw J J Abrams deliver a punchier and stronger sequel brimmed with gratifying action and set pieces. It’s a feast for the eyes and Cumberbatch is most definitely a daunting Khan, as he matches brains and brawn equally, proving to be a difficult adversary for Kirk. If anything, it’s just a tad too much and it bit too brainless. Nevertheless it is most definitely worthy of a spot on this list, solely due to the entertainment this film provides. It’s a good sequel and a good film, one that will not get boring in the immediate future.
Aside from ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, Matthew McConaughey gave another stellar performance in the underrated “Mud”. It’s a story about human relationships and its an exploration of the human condition – what it means to live and what anyone would do to survive. It’s an unexpected beauty and an example of the exemplary standard of film-making in 2013. The film has nothing wrong with it per say, only it’s ending is a bit predictable and a bit unrealistic. It’s a great film, but one I couldn’t watch over and over again.
Arguably the most overlooked film of 2013 along with Mud. Prisoners flaunts impressive acting with a complex and compelling mystery plot. It has the feel of a David Fincher movie and the plot twists certainly add to the feel. It’s premise is basic, but the themes it explores are complex and very thought provoking. It’s sick, twisted, confusing but at the same time very intriguing. This film had my attention and had me on the edge of my seat, every scene is crucial and superbly acted. The only reason it doesn’t rank higher is that other films were more watchable due to their light-hearted nature. Prisoners is a heavy film and creates an eery world, one I wouldn’t want to re-visit any time soon.
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
This film proves how blockbuster sequels of 2013 were generally better. This second instalment raised the action, the intensity and the emotion. It’s far better paced and thus far more enjoyable. It’s better executed and just better shot. However enjoyable, it’s still not perfect. Jennifer Lawrence excels but the male cast make the film slump ever so slightly, they must find her intimidating. Nevertheless, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and leaves you crying out for the immediate release of the sequel.
The better of Hanks’ performances, the film out does Frozen in produces a family-oriented film charged with emotion. With nostalgic music and a deep origin story, this film balances the transition from childhood to adulthood making it enjoyable for all. Emma Thompson is great and I’m still stunned as to why this film didn’t get more recognition.
3. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
After a depressing start to this new trilogy, this sequel made me jump with joy. It’s pacing was superb as everything was fresh and nothing was dull. The action was top-notch and the reveal of the dragon gave me goosebumps. I believe this entry into the universe dares to rival the third Lord of the Rings. This film sucks you in to Middle-Earth from the get-go and it’s very much welcomed. If the final two parts can be this good, then we are most definitely into a sumptuous treat over the coming years.
Don’t trust a list like this unless this film is within the top 5. Scorcesse smashes it out of the park with his take on corruption, drugs, money and sex. It’s an exhilarating ad thoroughly enjoyable 2hr 45. The film builds up for a crescendo that is equally disturbing and hilarious. The runtime is daunting, but you’ll get swept away with the mayhem that ensues with the aggressive intake of narcotics.
Never have I been more devastated at the outcome of the Golden Globes/Oscars. This film was snubbed and wrongfully so. This was my favourite film of 2013 for simple reasons. It’s character development and exploration was unrivalled, the acting was the best and so was the cast. Everything meshed well to provide an entertaining and insightful look into 80’s America, where prosperity was high and so was ambition – O Russell explores how each character has alternative aims and methods of fulfilling ambition. The script is clever and the plot is simplistic yet very intricate leading to an unpredictable ending to a heist film. After multiple viewings alternative viewpoints are formed surrounding each character, this makes every re-watch fresh and still as entertaining as the first viewing. I praise this film highly because unlike a lot of the garbage Hollywood produces, this is a character driven film through and through, the result is an intelligent film with superb acting which gives the film depth. It’s quite simply, in my opinion, the best film of 2013.
Her – A smart, futuristic film that focuses on what a “relationship” is composed of. It’s emotive, well-acted and surprisingly funny.
Captain Phillips – Another solid performance from Tom Hanks, a disturbing exploration of the real life story of the Somali pirates kidnapping Captain Phillips. The action is very well shot, but the ride is a bit bumpy with the majority of the interesting ‘stuff’ happening in the first half, leaving the second half exposed and a bit lost.
Dallas Buyers Club – A strong performance by McConaughey which is concerned with the battle against prejudice surrounding homosexuality. It’s a victory for equality, but doesn’t hold back in showing the struggle against achieving harmony.