I know I’m a little late with this, but it’s always good to look back at the year of films and judge the overall quality.
I realised two big things from forming this list; 1) I’m embarrassed by how little I actually saw, and 2) There were definitely more forgettable films than memorable.
Here’s the best from last year…
13. The Way Way Back
Only just crept in the list… I didn’t even really enjoy this while watching, but it lingered and eventually grew on me over time. I still can’t believe Sam Rockwell isn’t bigger than he is.
12. Enough Said
This movie will make you sad during certain moments of the story, but mostly because it’s the last we’ll see of James Gandolfini. Even though this won’t be the role he’s remembered for, every line and mannerism is a testament to his brilliant career.
This could have been brilliant with a better ending, more attention to detail and less eye-blinking from Jake Gyllenhaal. Paul Dano is the new Philip Seymour Hoffman for the “go to” creep.
The cinematography in this movie is amazing. Considering Ron Howard knows as much about Formula 1 as I do (which is very little), he did a great job of capturing the adrenaline and excitement. Daniel Brühl was also outstanding as the racing legend Niki Lauda.
9. Iron Man 3
After the climax of The Avengers, there was no chance Shane Black (replacing Jon Favreau as director) could adhere to the usual sequel approach: “go bigger and better”. Instead, he tossed Tony Stark in a psychological battle against his own ego.
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Apart from being an hour too long and featuring way too many characters, Jackson’s middle section of the same book is stunning to watch. To be honest, I’m enjoying this trilogy even more than LOTR.
There’s nothing fancy about Mud, but curiosity will suck you in from the first encounter with McConaughey’s troubled and often shirtless stranger.
6. Black Fish
If you’re planning a trip with the kids to SeaWorld in 2014 then you might want to check out this doco first. Considering it’s made such an impact on the public since release is a triumph in itself.
5. American Hustle
Another lengthy film, which is held together by strong performances from all involved. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence should both be nominated and awarded for their supporting roles.
Apart from a few cliché and unnecessary moments, there’s no arguing Alfonso Cuarón’s dizzying space-disaster is an incredible feat. His technique and use of special effects is amazing, and the film is about my only argument in favour of 3-D.
3. Behind the Candelabra
This didn’t get a theatrical release in America because it was “too gay”, so it’s really disappointing that Australian distributors didn’t have the balls to release it here. Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are both awesome, and strangely believable as a couple, in this fairly tragic tale of Liberace.
2. This Is the End
This is the only film since the first Hangover movie to make me snort at the theatre. It’s the kind of film you wish you could make with your friends when you’re stoned… and when your friends are Seth Rogen and James Franco, that’s actually possible.
1. Fruitvale Station
This got my vote because I really didn’t see it coming. I knew nothing about the incident at Fruitvale Station before seeing this film and I suggest you avoid reading up on it before watching. It’s truly heartbreaking and Michael B. Jordan carries the entire thing with ease.
Honourable Mentions: The World’s End, Stoker, The Place Beyond the Pines, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Stoker, Monster University, Man of Steel, Side Effects, Star Trek: Into Darkness
Movies I shouldn’t have missed: Cloud Atlas, Captain Philips, Blue Jasmine, Philomena, Short Term 12, Spectacular Now, Before Midnight, Anchorman 2, Much Ado About Nothing, Frances Ha, About Time, Kings of Summer, Despicable Me 2
Movies I don’t mind missing: Pacific Rim, World War Z, The Great Gatsby, After Earth, The Heat, The Lone Ranger, Grown Ups 2, Red 2, R.I.P.D.
Movies that haven’t even been released in Australia yet: Her, Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis, Out of the Furnace, Nebraska, All Is Lost
The Worst Films of 2013: Olympus Has Fallen, Gangster Squad, Kick-Ass 2, Jobs, The Butler, The Wolverine, Spring Breakers, OZ: The Great and Powerful, Now You See Me, Elysium, The Internship, Fast & Furious 6, Pain & Gain, The Hangover Part III, We’re The Millers
Movies I’m looking forward to seeing in 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy, The Raid 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 22 Jump Street, Gone Girl, Sin City: A Dame to Die For, Interstellar, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Transcendence, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jupiter Ascending, Foxcatcher, Neighbours
Let me know if you think there’s any I missed!