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Friday, January 31, 2014

Best Films of 2013 (part 1)

So, I've been watching lots more movies than usual lately (which, is quite an achievement cause I love movies) due to a combination of finishing postgrad, being unemployed and breaking my foot (which has me very immobile for the next 5 weeks). So I made a list, as I usually do. Other than the top 5 the rankings are quite fluid and all the films are quite good. (Disclaimer: I haven't seen Nebraska  which is why it's not on the list.)

25. Spring BreakersUSA- English. Directed by Harmony KorineThe entire cast is great but James Franco steals this show. Really didn't expect this to be good by the premise and trailer. I was wrong. Cause I expected wild and fun but this movie is much darker than that. Really it's a visual of not just the worst of youth but what you think the worst of youth is (which is so much worse), which sounds terribly depressing but luckily the film manages to just ride that line of satire. Like most good films, the good comes from taking a seemingly straight story or overused genre and putting a fresh look on it. With this it takes a teenage cash-grab crime film and completely turns it over into something that sticks in the memory. Darkly.

24. Blue Jasmine - USA - English. Directed by Woody AllenFor a man that's been making movies as long as he has it's quite surprising that he gives us something new, or would even bother to not stick to a formula. Blue Jasmine is every bit a Woody Allen film but the perspective is shifted to female view and the focus is on Jasmine, which in new for Allen though his female characters are usually well written. Excellent acting from Cate Blanchett drives this and the film pays obvious tribute to A Streetcar Named Desire. 

23. The Spectacular Now -USA-English. Directed by  James PondsoltI have little faith in coming-of-age stories usually because they formulaic and repetitive or in the cases where they're attempted to not be, they're so far from reality that it's impossible to connect. This film manages to be an adept and sensitive film that never comes across as dull despite the predictable trajectory and is thoroughly relatable. Granted high school wasn't that long ago and of course, my high school experience was nothing like the American one, but this film both brings me back to that time and gives me a new look/feel on the teenage experience. Manages to really capture the feeling of being caught in a time when everything's going to change but you're not sure how.

22. Enough SaidUSA - English. Directed by  Nicole HolofcenerCharacter study and romantic comedy. Generally these two things don't go well together as most rom-coms are less filled with characters than stereotypes. Good rom-coms, like good relationships are based on communication, and the dialogue in this film is excellent (really that's all you need for a good film, remember Before Sunrise?) even as the characters start miscommunicating to each other and building up the lies and awkward situations. It might be the script in part, but the chemistry between Julia Louise-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini is excellent and endearingly watchable.

21. This Is The End USA- English. Directed by Seth Rogen & Evan GoldbergI love fictional versions of reality. I have no idea why. But self-referential and semi-altered reality has always held appeal to me. Also, this film is just ridiculously hilarious. Good comedies, like good romance films, are rare and I'm always happy to find one. Completely energetic and wild and full of a huge cast of stars making fun of themselves (Emma Watson's cameo is solid gold), the film is full of laugh out loud moments and perfectly fits in with the seemingly endless stream of end-of-the-world films.

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