2013 Top

by erikoksman | created - 12 Apr 2020 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Listing personal favourites from the year 2013

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1. Prisoners (2013)

R | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

70 Metascore

When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo

Votes: 628,018 | Gross: $61.00M

It is so interesting, disturbing and everything in between. On my second viewing, I paid a lot more attention to the characters and they are all so well developed. One of the interesting topics is how people handle trauma.

2. Captain Phillips (2013)

PG-13 | 134 min | Adventure, Biography, Crime

82 Metascore

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S.-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener

Votes: 434,082 | Gross: $107.10M

One of the most anxious movie viewing experiences. One of my favourite Tom Hanks performances.

3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 659,221 | Gross: $56.67M

A movie that manages to make you actually feel for the characters without it being forced or cheesy.

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

PG-13 | 161 min | Adventure, Fantasy

66 Metascore

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott

Votes: 616,739 | Gross: $258.37M

Such a fun movie. The CGI for Smaug is one of my favourite usages of the technique of all time.

5. Lenny Cooke (2013)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

70 Metascore

Lenny Cooke was the number-one ranked high school basketball player in America, but his inevitable fall from grace will forever be remembered.

Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie | Stars: Lenny Cooke, Tom Konchalski, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony

Votes: 706

This film can quite easily be divided into two halves. The first half was made with the intention to follow an upcoming superstar through his highschool years and the second half is what it’s like when it doesn’t come together. The distinction between these two halves is what made the documentary so great for me; the cut into Cooke approaching his 30’s was so sudden and impactful. I couldn’t help but to feel the devastation he and so many others with big ambitions have gone through; the endless nights of imagining ”what if”.

6. The World's End (2013)

R | 109 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

81 Metascore

Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier unwittingly become humanity's only hope for survival.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike

Votes: 267,061 | Gross: $26.00M

Edgar Wright just doesn’t miss. The comedy is so inventive and the characters are interesting and likeable. At the beginning I felt that some of the jokes were too forced but it got better as time went on. The pacing is my biggest issue because the movie is quite repetitive because of it’s concept but the humour and the performances from everyone make it a great time nontheless.

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

R | 180 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey

Votes: 1,245,104 | Gross: $116.90M

An extremely entertaining movie which doesn't feel too long in just shy of 3 hours. Di Caprio is once again fantastic, so is the editing and Scorcese's idea of what is entertaining and how to make it work in a movie. I also really liked how the movie doesn't seem to take a real stand on whether or not Belford's actions are right or wrong.

8. Like Father, Like Son (2013)

Not Rated | 121 min | Drama

73 Metascore

Ryota is a successful workaholic businessman. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another boy after birth, he faces the difficult decision to choose his true son or the boy he and his wife have raised as their own.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yôko Maki, Lily Franky

Votes: 23,014 | Gross: $0.28M

Sensibility I've come to expect from Hirokazu Kore-eda

9. Gravity (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

96 Metascore

Two astronauts work together to survive after an accident leaves them stranded in space.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen

Votes: 785,962 | Gross: $274.09M

Visually gorgeous. Perhaps lacks substance or I have just missed it.

10. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

93 Metascore

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 144,808 | Gross: $13.24M

The atmosphere in 'Inside Llewyn Davis' is unlike anything I have seen before. From the films I have seen, the recent Charlie Kaufman film 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things' resembles the atmosphere the most but it's still very different. How I would describe the atmosphere is that it's sort of melancholy and ghostly but the film didn't feel overly sad or miserable, but instead very mysterious. The cinematography and the excessively bleak coloring are the obvious components for making me feel this way. What kept it from being too miserable was the layered portrayal of Davis and the quirky side-characters.

While I could connect to Davis' literal and metaphorical lack of home and the feeling of being lost and while I found how the film handled the themes related to the uncompromising nature of true artistry interesting, there was just something missing for me. Maybe the quirky characters distracted me too much from Davis' plight or maybe it's just yet another case where I need a rewatch to really immerse myself.

11. Snowpiercer (2013)

R | 126 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

In a future where a failed climate-change experiment has killed all life except for the lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, a new class system emerges.

Director: Bong Joon Ho | Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris

Votes: 336,128 | Gross: $4.56M

Now that I watched this, I’ve seen every feature length film from Bong Joon-ho! I had heard some bad things about this and I didn’t like his other international film, Okja, so my expectations were quite low. But to my pleasant surprise, I found a lot to enjoy about it!

I think the film is well paced. There are quite a lot of action scenes but between them the film slows down and each time we get to know more about the situation. The information is often presented in a straightforward fashion but it didn’t bother me too much because I was genuinely interested to know more. There are also moments which initially don’t make sense but are explained later which only adds to the mystery. The action scenes are mostly well made and feel really chaotic and energetic.

The concept of the film is fairly simple but compelling. The film takes place in a train which is an interesting setting. The production design is really neat and each car of the train feels distinct and interesting. Some of the CGI looks quite poor but it didn’t bother me too much. The editing of the film feels really messy at times, especially towards the end. Scene contuinity didn’t make sense to me couple of times and emphasis is given to moments that feel out of place. For example the kid walking to the heart of the engine or the focus on Franco, the semi-boss.

The way this film tackles the theme of classism is as much on the nose as it can be but it manages to make observations that I found interesting, nontheless. I liked how things were muddled up in the end and it made me think about society as a whole. People will never be equal, there will always be people who suffer and people who thrive. The only way to break the cycle is to leave the train. As a sidenote, Tilda Swinton is pretty great!

12. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

PG | 137 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, James Marsden

Votes: 41,553 | Gross: $1.51M

Technically absolutely incredible. The script feels quite disjointed however.

13. Lee Daniels' The Butler (I) (2013)

PG-13 | 132 min | Biography, Drama

65 Metascore

As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.

Director: Lee Daniels | Stars: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda

Votes: 111,165 | Gross: $116.63M

A decent script with a strong cast. The directing is just too conventional to make it memorable.

14. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

PG-13 | 146 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

76 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Director: Francis Lawrence | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Votes: 627,681 | Gross: $424.67M

Enjoyable at the time of watching but ultimately very forgettable.

15. Monsters University (2013)

G | 104 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

65 Metascore

A look at the relationship between Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. "Sully" Sullivan (John Goodman) during their days at Monsters University, when they weren't necessarily the best of friends.

Director: Dan Scanlon | Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren

Votes: 333,843 | Gross: $268.49M

It looks incredible as you'd expect, the characters are still as enjoyable as in Monsters Inc. and it was surprisingly entertaining for the most part with the fast pacing being a key part in that. But in the spectrum of Pixar films, Monsters University feels largely pointless. It doesn't seem to have anything original to say. The film also should have ended way sooner than it did.

16. The Grandmaster (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 32,627 | Gross: $6.59M

"The Grandmaster" is very similar but totally different to the four other Wong Kar-wai films I have seen. The film looks magnificent like the other films and uses techniques and features that I've come to expect from him: step-printing, use of rain, voiceover etc. What feels unlike Kar-wai is the structure of the film. The Grandmaster feels something like a middle ground of a conventional biopic and a Kar-wai film. There is a clear narrative but it feels disjointed with the film jumping back and forth in time. It feels like the film is lacking narrative focus and doesn't know what it wants to be exactly. It just feels like the trademark fleeting nature of his films doesn't suit the biopic format too well. However, it is clear that he is passionate about the subject. The film is very nice to look at and is entertaining enough, but while watching it I was hoping I was watching one of his other films.

17. Queen (2013)

Not Rated | 146 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A Delhi girl from a traditional family sets out on a solo honeymoon after her marriage gets cancelled.

Director: Vikas Bahl | Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon, Jeffrey Ho

Votes: 62,348 | Gross: $1.43M

Pretty nice script is ruined by the directors sugarcoating and the editing makes the movie feel like a series of musicvideos.

18. Man of Steel (2013)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

55 Metascore

An alien child is evacuated from his dying world and sent to Earth to live among humans. His peace is threatened, when other survivors of his home planet invade Earth.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane

Votes: 723,515 | Gross: $291.05M

So uninteresting, generic, ugly looking film. Supermans conflict with humanity is pretty interesting.

19. Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)

R | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

74 Metascore

The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

Director: David Lowery | Stars: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker

Votes: 21,030 | Gross: $0.39M

I found this film to be such a ponderous, meandering and melodramatic mess. I have seen a lot of people praising the film for its cinematography and score and while I thought couple of scenes looked interesting mostly I hated how it looked and I found the score to be very repetitive and used in a way that further hindered my viewing experience. On multiple occasions the music made it hard to understand dialogue and if that was a conscious decision, I can't understand why. The only other Lowery film I have seen so far is 'A Ghost Story' and I consider it to be one of my favorite films so the disappointment is immense.

20. The Great Beauty (2013)

Not Rated | 141 min | Drama

86 Metascore

Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino | Stars: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso

Votes: 83,616 | Gross: $2.85M

'The Great Beauty' is one of those films that are not for me, not at this moment in time anyways. The film feels and looks incredibly expensive, often times reminding me of the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of 'The Great Gatsby' but purely from a visual standpoint it felt a lot more impressive than that. The camera is often moving and the movements are always very smooth and inviting. The film follows a rich man who spends time in rich and snobby circles. He seems to dislike plenty of the people he is around and seems to be rather displeased in his current life situation. I didn't get a lot more out of him even though we follow him for more than two hours. The dialogue reminded me a lot of Aaron Sorkins' quick-fire dialogue in many scenes. There is a lot of dialogue in the film but it often feels way too cryptic for me to derive anything from it. The film also jumps around way too much for my liking and made me feel as I'm constantly trying to catch up to what's happening.

21. The Great Gatsby (2013)

PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire

Votes: 496,611 | Gross: $144.84M

Prime example of "all style, no substance" and even the style can't always be appreciated. Acting is very so-so, but Di Caprio remains captivating. Tonally confused, I don't think the director had a vision what he was aiming to do.

22. Iron Man 3 (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 782,283 | Gross: $409.01M

The only good thing about is Robert Downing Jr. Then there are some all right things about it such as production value and supporting actors which is to be expected. Pretty much everything else about it was unbearable. It's not evemn laughably bad (apart from some editing choices and plot points) but its just very boring.

23. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

54 Metascore

When the Dark Elves attempt to plunge the universe into darkness, Thor must embark on a perilous and personal journey that will reunite him with doctor Jane Foster.

Director: Alan Taylor | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 620,599 | Gross: $206.36M

The only things I liked about this was one funny line and the portals were kinda fun. Other than that, it pains me so much when movies that with such huge scale are done in the most mundane, unimaginative way. There was absolutely nothing unique about this film. And also, the editing sucked.

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