Films I Saw in 2013

31 films watched in the cinema in 2013.  A chronological list with notes on the notable ones:

  • Looper

A bit of hype surrounding this one and so I let it die down before seeing it, and so it was the first cinema visit of the year.  With all time-travel movies there are always paradoxes and the threshold of how much it can get away with mostly depends on either how good all the other things in the movie are, and/or how unforgivable or noticable the paradox is.  All this is mostly subjective as well, so here’s my opinion.  The paradoxes are not so big that they’re noticable until you really think about it, and the rest of the film is really quite good.  A well structured and engaging story with some good themes and ideas (which is a big thing with me – I would give a film more credit than it prehaps deserves if it has good themes and ideas).  Bruce Willis and JGL both great, and also mentioning Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano in the supporting roles.  Great film overall.

  • Django Unchained
  • Police Story

It was so good seeing this with an audience.  Haven’t done that before.

  • Swingers
  • Side by Side
  • Magnolia
  • Punch-Drunk Love

It has recently been brought to my attention that there are plot points in this that are problematic, specifically the phone sex-line scene towards the beginning that gives the film its rather loose payoff.  The rest of the film is also a male fantasy type romantic story, as sweet as I think it is.  As someone who grew up watching a lot of romantic comedies and with a slightly skewed and unhealthy idea of romance and dating, Punch-Drunk Love is really a film I identified with in terms of the sweet moments where Barry (Adam Sandler) and Lena (Emily Watson) interact.  The entire film seems like something PT Anderson, or any male neurotic writer/artist, would have written on a lonely summers day.  Having realised these things I don’t think I can really like is as much as before, but I do still love the scenes with Barry and Lena.  Of note is the scene in Hawaii where Barry is at the payphone trying to reach Lena – the light is fading outside and when Lena finally answers the phone the light in the payphone box lights up with a ‘ding’.  Also I love the music by Jon Brion.

  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Vulgaria
  • Side Effects
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Grave of the Fireflies

I had never seen this before and didn’t know what it was about when going in.  I won’t say much more about it, except that by the end my face was flooded with tears.

  • Days of Being Wild
  • Populaire
  • Now You See Me
  • Man of Steel
  • World War Z
  • Only God Forgives

I watched this whilst I was in Amsterdam, so the subtitles during the dialogue in Thai were in Dutch.  It added an extra mystery to it all, where all I had to decipher what was being said was tone, pitch, pace and mise-en-scène.  The film is slow and stylised and pretty gruesome in parts.  It has a David Lynch feel to it, mixed with something else that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Kristen Scott Thomas is great in it, but not enough to be recommended.  Only watch if really interested, or fancy Ryan Gosling (or seeing him get beat the fuck up).

  • Byzantium

Brilliant.  Watch it.

  • The Master

“What the fuck is this about?” is still my reaction.  Caught this as a one off screening at the Prince Charles Cinema.

  • Commando

One of a few really great cinema experiences this year for me.  Everyone in the auditorium knew what was what, and it was a lot of fun to see it with them.

  • Monsters University
  • Elysium
  • Kick-Ass 2
  • Frances Ha

One of my favourite films of this year.  Frances goes through the pride and insecurities of a 20-something in New York City, and it’s really funny, sweet, and go watch it.

  • Enter the Void

…By Gasper Noe and is very visually interesting and stunning.  With the lack of a conventional narrative it was good enough to keep me until about 15 minutes before the end where I lost interest.  The scene just didn’t seem to go anywhere or do anything new.  Other than that it’s a impressive piece of work.

  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Philomena
  • Gravity
  • Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle)

The French title is a much more apt title.  The film is really about a part of the life of the main character, Adèle.  It stayed interesting throughout its longer-than-average running time.  Impressive and great performances.

I watched a few films at home as well.  Here are some I would recommend for various reasons:

The Wayward Cloud

A Taiwanese film that is half crazy slow paced weird shit and bit part musical.  The musical numbers are entirely separate sequences spread across the film.  The rest of it is slow and minimal.  The musical bits were quite fun and creative.  The rest of it was pretty weird.  Watch for something different.

Prometheus

Watch it just to see how incredibly awful it is.  Watch it, then read/watch some criticism of it.

Detachment

Adrian Brody.

The Front

Starring but not written or directed by Woody Allen.  Film is about artists in Hollywood who were black-listed after being suspected of being Communists.

Drug War

A cat and mouse thriller from China, but honestly, I think they knew what they were doing as it became super ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek towards the end.  Good fun.

The Raid

Lol, martial arts film of the type I’ve never seen before.  Other martial arts films have some kind of overall story.  This is just a plot that is an excuse for people to fight and get beat up in various, occasionally hilarious, ways.

That’s about it.  Thanks for reading.

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