Best and Worst Films of 2013!

So another year bites the dust, and I get to compile my annual list for 2013!

Same rules apply as always (and please feel free to look back at previous years!) I don’t only watch films in the theatres, I also watch DVDs and include them. Of course, only films I’ve never seen before!
(I can’t have Pan’s Labyrinth win every year… can I?)

So without further ado, here is it, in descending order, the best and worst of 2013!

1. Cloud Atlas
It certainly divides opinions, but I got completely involved with Cloud Atlas. A real testimony to quite how complex a story narrative can become; six diverse stories within different time periods, editing to and from each. Yet despite this complexity, one narrative comes through.
I find myself thinking about its multiple subtexts and messages too often!

2. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino always gives a radically different cinema experience, but with Django Unchained it became something more than his recent work; the film is loaded with integrity. Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz steal the show, and Jamie Foxx is excellent as the lead.

3. Rush
Formula One is a misunderstood sport nowadays, and a little lost. Rush is a perfect biopic covering one of the most incredible rivalries in the sport’s history, Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth play Niki Lauda and James Hunt with great accuracy, and director Ron Howard captures everything with an intense, emotional lense.

4. Paranorman (2D)
I was disappointed missing this in the cinema last year… now I am even more disappointed I missed it! Paranorman, by the studio that gave us Coraline (another top 10 spotter) continue their fun, adventurous and creative stop-frame animation style, with all the darkness and scariness still in place.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life
I’ve been described as against older films… which frankly isn’t true! It’s a Wonderful Life really is as good as everyone says it is. A character based reflective storyline that will warm even the most cynical of hearts.
There isn’t much I can say, other than see this movie at Christmas time if you haven’t already!

6. Modern Times
A Cinema Cocoa fan suggestion, and it won out! My first Charlie Chaplin film to review, and Modern Times surprised me with its great variety of physical acting and set pieces. But most of all, the incredible way that a film shot in 1936 can have so much to say about, well… “modern times”!

7. Gravity (3D)
Asides from being a deathly gripping ride, showing the utterly relentless danger that exists for those brave enough to go into space… Gravity is only 90 minutes long. It only tells us so much, there’s only two characters. It is so rare today to see a film so clever and intense and yet so precise and simple!
Haunting, terrifying and intense.

8. Pacific Rim (2D)
Giant robots punching giant monsters!
You need more than that? Guillermo Del Toro directing giant robots punching giant monsters!
Why are you asking for more? I don’t understand…?

9. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Now this is my kind of rom-com. A rom-com where the world literally ends.
A Steve Carell film in my top ten? Strange. But Seeking a Friend is unusual, quirky yet feels very genuine.

10. White Heat
Waaaay back in January I treated myself to my first James Cagney film. 1949’s White Heat is something of a testimony to blockbuster films done right. Directors of today would learn a lot about how to make concise, time saving and exciting stories instead of bloated 160 minute marathons. The film is a gem of editing and precise storytelling.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2D)
Punch-Drunk Love
Robot and Frank
Thor – The Dark World (2D)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (3D)
Evil Dead (2013)
Quiz Show
Wreck-It Ralph (2D)
The Place Beyond the Pines
Kick-Ass 2
Oz the Great and Powerful
Hansel and Gretel
Frozen (2D)
Zero Dark Thirty
Rec 2
Running Scared
The Wolverine (2D)
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Iron Man 3 (3D)
Now You See Me
Fast and Furious (#4)
Seven Pounds
Despicable Me (2D)
Seven Psychopaths
Monsters University (2D)
The Croods (2D)
The Last Stand
Despicable Me 2 (2D)
The Hunger
The Proposal
You’re Next
The Angel’s Share
The Lone Ranger
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Killing Them Softly
The Wolfman (2010)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Fast and Furious 6
Fast Five
Man of Steel (2D)
The Sweeney
World War Z (2D)
Troll Hunter
Repo Men
GI.Joe – Retaliation (2D)
Epic (2D)
Frankenweenie (2D)
The Man with the Iron Fists
Safe House
Jack Reacher
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Bullet to the Head

10. A Good Day to Die Hard
Ugh. Die Hard 5 isn’t even problematic because it is an outdated genre movie… it is a problem because (asides being brainless and hideously repetitive) it encapsulates what I HATE about the current 12A/PG-13 society. I hate it. An iconic hero of action films cannot even say his own catchphrase?? You ARE kidding me right?

9. Flight
If Die Hard 5 did that, then Flight encapsulates my hate for studios false advertising their films! The film in the trailer was not the film I wasted two hours watching. An ugly, unpleasant grind through Denzel Washington’s drunken anti-hero’s self destruction.
Stop, just stop selling the wrong film. It won’t do you any favours!

8. Battleship
It is Battleship, the board game, turned into a film. Need I say more?
However, its teaser trailer was promising; a claustrophobic alien battle lost out on the open ocean, limited supplies against unknown aggressors.
Nah. Let’s have a huge, bloated pile of nonsense that spans the globe, with a romance thrown in and… Rihanna.

7. Survival of the Dead
George A. Romero, master of horror and father of the zombie film… what happened to you? Really, I don’t know if you are making some jib on society or something with this garbage, but even with the shoe string budget you can surely make something more worth while than this??
Terrible accents, a plot of gibberish, poor use of zombie effects. Just plain dead.

6. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
A lot of people just gasped. Superman 4 is regarded as the worst of the worst. But I will defend it:
It is terrible.
But at least it has the excuse of a budget cut down to a quarter and its script being massacred. I felt it was at least inventive, and a Superman story, unlike…

5. Superman III
Dizzying how Superman 3 is only fifth worst; this film physically hurt my head! Utter, utter nonsense from the moment it starts to the moment it ends, with only the briefest of detours into some semblance of quality.
It starts with burning toy penguins! It ends with some massive super computer originally designed on chocolate wrappers by Richard Pyor! AAH! MY HEAD AGAIN.

4. 2 Fast 2 Furious
An education in stupidity. You think Fast and Furious 6 was stupid? No. 2 Fast 2 Furious is so bad even its title is retarded.
Enter Tyrese Gibson’s character, who eats all of the scenery without a pesky plot to shackle him.
Plus… everyone’s wearing the loudest shirts, and all the girls are in bikinis, bro!

3. The Devil Inside
There are bad found footage films, but then there is The Devil Inside. “Based on a true story” and “The Vatican does not endorse this film”, haha, reaaally. The Vatican doesn’t endorse the idea that they lock away real people who are really demonically possessed in an asylum, then just release said possessed person into the custody of a clueless daughter. Of course!

2. xXx 2: State of the Union
By all accounts, this is the worst film I’ve seen this year. Whoever thought Ice Cube could replace Vin Diesel in a physical action movie series deserves a smack over the head. XXX2 isn’t in any way explicit content, it is only explicitly stupid.

1. Ozombie
One wonderful, wonderful…. Cinema Cocoa fan… gave me this film in a bid for the worst spot.
Well done, sir. Ozombie, the straight-to-DVD interpretation of Osama Bin Laden returning as a zombie was truly terrible. It wasn’t even fun, like most spoof films are; it was just bad, bad, bad, badly made.

Some of you might be disappointed with my inclusion of DVD films, Ozombie and Modern Times not good enough for you on the ends of the spectrum, eh?
Well here is a second list, a list of Cinema Release Only films, for a more polarising view of 2013’s offerings.
(Plus I get to put Man of Steel in the bottom 10 this way!)

Cinema Release Only:

01. Cloud Atlas
02. Django Unchained
03. Rush
04. Pacific Rim (2D)
05. Gravity (3D)
06. Filth
07. Star Trek: Into Darkness (2D)
08. Prisoners
09. Trance
10. Robot and Frank

Thor – The Dark World (2D)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (3D)
Evil Dead (2013)
Kick-Ass 2
Oz the Great and Powerful
Wreck-It Ralph (2D)
The Place Beyond the Pines
Hansel and Gretel (2D)
Frozen (2D)
Zero Dark Thirty
The Wolverine (2D)
Iron Man 3 (3D)
Now You See Me
Monsters University (2D)
The Croods (2D)
The Last Stand
Despicable Me 2 (2D)
You’re Next

10. The Lone Ranger
09. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
08. Fast and Furious 6
07. Man of Steel (2D)
06. World War Z (2D)
05. GI.Joe – Retaliation (2D)
04. Epic (2D)
03. Bullet to the Head
02. A Good Day to Die Hard
01. Flight

Look at this, you get two lists for the price of one! Or maybe I just like making lists…

So my final thoughts on 2013’s films… While some I missed (Captain Phillips, The Heat) the average this year was surprisingly high! It was very difficult to decide on the top end, I had to resist shuffling them around as the year went on it was that close.
Don’t despair that your favourite film was somehow just below another film you thought was worse… Star Trek: Into Darkness above Prisoners? It could easily be the other way around, it is that close in my mind.

Films like Prisoners, Filth, Wreck-it Ralph, Oblivion all deserve special mention that I couldn’t give. I really liked those.

There have been a few bad missteps in 2013… Die Hard 5 was truly deplorable, and really proves that another should not come to be. Man of Steel divided the audience more than any other film I’ve known in a long time… I personally thought it was a big mistake. Iron Man 3 was pretty tedious too, and I hope it makes Marvel think about its future and not just the money it made.

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