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Friday, February 7, 2014

Best Films of 2013 (part 3)

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.)

11. Frances Ha - USA- English. Directed by Noah Baumbach. If you watch Girls  then this film will remind you a lot of that series. It'll also remind you of Manhattan from Woody Allen, but younger people and also 40 years later. But there's that same sense of drifting yet drifting energetically. I like films about nothing at all so I'm biased but really this film is impossible without Greta Gerwig being quite likeable as Francis. It's less of a plot that just vignettes of aimless life in New York and so, of course, is steeped in that privileged part of society. Really this should be a film that doesn't work. But it does.

 12. The Past (La Passe) - France/Italy- French/Persian (Farsi). Directed by Asgar FarhadiI considered A Separation to be one of the best films of last year and was eager for the next film from Farhadi. Completely lived up to expectations with Farhadi again showing the ability to carefully document the intricacies and emotional labyrinth of family life and the falsity of assuming any situation is a simple one. This film has the feel of an early Springsteen record  (Darkness on the Edge of Town perhaps) with both the sense of wanting to get away and having to deal with the sins of the past.

 13.  A Touch of Sin (天注定; Tian zhu ding) - China - Chinese (Mandarin). Directed by Jia Zhangke. The best director in China right now, undisputedly and one of the best in the world. This film is more direct than previous ones with far less slow realism and quiet view. I like action films and the violence in this film is wonderfully choreographed. It's worth a watch on action alone, but this is a Jia film, so there's an entire story of the changes and differences among the classes of modern China as well.

 14. Captain Phillips -USA - English/Somali. Directed by Paul Greengrass. Acting of the very highest quality from both Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi (in his first film). The plot is excellent too and very intense as Greengrass films tend to be. The fact that it's all a true story only adds to the excitement. This is one of the good thrillers based on real life events (hopefully it starts a trend for more) but it's really the acting that makes it all so watchable.

15. The World's End - UK- English. Directed by Edgar Wright. British comedies, on average, tend to be better than US ones. And the Cornetto trilogy has always been good but the wait for this, the finale, was well worth it. Apocalypse comedies are in vogue now and with good reason, cause they're hilarious (who knew?). The film is pretty silly (good silly) and it's comedy with a heart.While it retains the same core as the earlier films the changes in this one gives a fitting end to the series.

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