Top Films of 2013

The following is a compilation of the films I liked best in 2013**.

**If you’ve been following my reviews closely you probably realized that I’ve missed all the movies possibly in contention for Oscars and other major awards; family emergencies have prevented me from doing so, thus this list as it is may be at least until March 2014 or so, a work in progress.

Quartet (♦♦♦♦): is a movie full of great classical music and not so classical but equally beautiful as well. The humor is adult and naughty but in no way crude or over the top. It is a movie to enjoy as a celebration of life, good music and growing old, because only those who die young or before their time don’t get to do the latter. Also, Quartet is about second chances after mistakes that may cost someone the love of one’s life; thus it also a celebration of love in old age, of finding comfort in the familiar.

Oz the Great and Powerful (♦♦♦♦): is a splendid family movie with plenty of lush, dazzling special effects. The makeup and the costume designs are also top notch. The beauty of the land of Oz is in stark contrast with the black and white opening scenes of the circus in Kansas… It is noteworthy the attention given to the casting process since there are very good actors involved in this project.

Europa Report (♦♦♦♦): caters to a smart audience with a complex plot and development. It is not the typical “we came, we saw, we conquered” or “we fought the bogeyman with big guns and came up on top” sort of film. It is more profound and intelligent than that. The dialogues are filled with scientific and technical jargon that may alienate the big audience that commonly enjoys sci-fi movies. And the ending is not the run-of-the-mill sci-fi alien stuff so there may be a tendency to oversimplify it and miss its repercussions completely.

The Way Way Back (♦♦♦♦): is a coming of age, funny and entertaining movie with lots of heart for the whole family. The humor is very light and fresh and in no way crude, as most comedies are nowadays.

Lee Daniel’s The Butler (♦♦♦♦½): With Forest Whitaker in the leading role in perhaps his third best performance ever after The Last King of Scotland and The Great Debaters, The Butler is an account on the life of a man who made powerful changes in very subtle ways. It is a film which mirrors convulsive times in American history through the life of an African American family and the changes its members went through.

The East (♦♦♦♦): is a taut, very provocative thriller about eco-terrorism, but it's also a study into a cult- like group and how a charismatic character can shape or bend circumstances at will under the cover of defending a cause. In that respect, or at all, The East doesn't disappoint.

The English Teacher (♦♦♦♦): has a smart screenplay and great performances to boast of, especially Julianne Moore’s as the prim English teacher Linda Sinclair. This is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen this year.

The Conjuring (♦♦♦♦): it was very good and free of cheap tricks so used in the genre to make the audience jump from their seats. It was effective and scary, more psychologically so than most of the movies meant to do so. Let me say that The Conjuring is the typical example of why I avoid this kind of movies.

Gravity (♦♦♦♦♦): breaks with convention in more ways than one. For example, it's well known that sound doesn't travel in space; in spite of it, most sci-fi movies depict explosions in space as the loud affairs they're here on Earth. To fill the silent void, Alfonso Cuarón, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay in the company of his son Jonás Cuarón, resorted to radio communications and music to set the pace and the mood in the movie.

Captain Phillips (♦♦♦♦): Leave it to Tom Hanks to carry a movie like this on his shoulders. Captain Phillips is a taut thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat virtually from the start and Tom Hanks shines the most, though Muse, the pirate Captain and his crew are excellent in their roles as well… Captain Phillips is more effective because it’s a true story. This movie is a pure adrenaline ride from start to finish.

Blackfish (♦♦♦♦½): I got to say that Blackfish is a great documentary and makes its point very effectively. I went to Miami Seaquarium a few years ago and saw a show involving an orca and I remember thinking what an awesome job that was. Well, listening to those former trainers, some of whom knew the last trainer killed by Tillikum, and at least one of them who had personally interacted with Tillikum, was not only emotional but eye-opening; I got goosebumps.

Jobs (♦♦♦♦): pays homage to a man from our times who managed to conceive products that have changed the way we live. He wasn’t always nice and certainly didn’t play by the rules, but he lived with no regrets and changed the world in the process.

Special mention

Oblivion: I still feel at a loss for words on how to summarize and judge this movie.

Comments

  1. The Conjuring was freaky! My husband and daughter laughed when I screamed out loud (the clapping on the cellar stairs).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it! I totally lost it when the psychic looked towards the mirror in the music box and was supposed to see someone behind her...Freaky!

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