Lists, Uncategorized

THE 100 BEST FILMS OF 2013 | #50 – 41

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Previous: #100 – 51   |   Next: #40 – 31

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thisistheend1_1

A medium-sized budget meets a genuine flair for comedy. Seth Rogen and his carefree company (Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, the Devil) have a transparent love for getting together and messing around, and have a talent for making us feel like we’re in on the joke too. As far as self-deprecatory apocalypse comedies go, this scores a lot of points for its adlib-heavy mischief, inspired set pieces and superb cameo after superb cameo, but it’s the mob’s unflattering portrayal of themselves that makes This Is the End particularly memorable.

‘Hermione just stole all of our shit.’

whatmaisieknew1_1

‘Tender’ isn’t even the word. A heartbreaking performance from the tiny Onata Aprile as Maisie is the centre of this pastel-hued world, which is populated by uncaring adults everywhere she looks. Caught in the middle of her parents’ explosive break-up (Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore both on fine form), it’s up to Lincoln – Alexander Skarsgård continuing to prove he’s one to watch – to give her the love she deserves. It’s unsentimental, yet always manages to pull the heartstrings in the right ways and for the right reasons.

‘My father married my nanny, so court made my mommy get married too.’

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Boasting Sam Rockwell at both his most Rocky and most Welly, The Way Way Back is a far-beyond average teen coming-of-age tale. If you ever felt even slightly isolated while growing up, you’ll find much to revel in here; the movie’s beaches, water parks and parties all brim with life-changing decisions, some for better and some for worse. Duncan’s most important experience, like it was (and still is) for all of us, is to figure it out on your own. It’s feel-good cinema without the guilt.

‘On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think you are?’
‘A 6.’
‘I think you’re a 3!’

trance1_1

So you’ve made two Oscar botherers in the form of Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. You’re hot off being at the helm of an unforgettable opening ceremony for the Olympics. What on Earth do you do next? Why not try going back to your roots on the streets of London, and unravelling a sexy mystery thriller with the human mind as the backdrop. Danny Boyle proves he’s still articulate with big themes in Trance, and while it may smell of conceit here and there, it’s a largely triumphant, cerebral spectacle that never loses sight of its heart.

‘No piece of art is worth a human life.’

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Director Francis Lawrence had the unenviable task of stepping into Gary Ross’ shoes when it was decided he was to take over the rest of this newly sparked franchise, when The Hunger Games did so well both critically and commercially. Boasting characters whose complexities defy conventional teen flick tropes, and artfully handling huge, high-stakes action, Catching Fire is a more than welcome next chapter in the saga of Katniss Everdeen and her 12A Battle Royale dystopia.

‘Since the last games, something is different. I can see it.’
‘What can you see?’
‘Hope.’

likesomeoneinlove1_1

Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami casts his gaze to Tokyo, masterfully crafting a gentle paean to the bedfellows of love, sex and jealousy. Telling the tale of a prostitute caught in the crossfire of men’s desire via the rich cultural glass of Japan, it translates on-screen as a delicate yet shocking portrait of isolation in a world that professes to seek connection. Its brutal ending will stay with you for a long time, but not before it knocks home the message that identity plays an unwinnable game with all of us when it comes to romantic love.

‘Whatever will be, will be.’

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Garbage! Vulgar detriment! Filth! Or so an audience in the forties would declare upon leaving the local picture house, after a matinee performance of John S. Baird’s latest. Today, cinema goers are practically desensitised to the eyebrow raising actions of the movie’s antihero Bruce, a law-breaking cop indulging in all the excesses he can get his nasty mitts on in a career-high from James McAvoy. All the better then, that the execrable perversions on display here are captured in a sort of mystical, sensitive light, cast as shadows protruding from an unwell mind. It’s sickeningly good.

‘Same rules apply.’

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This isn’t a documentary on whether rolls of photosensitive tape are better than bleeps in a harddrive; curated by Keanu Reeves, this is a cool-headed treatise on the pros and cons of analogue versus digital cinema, but more so the nature of filmwatching itself. Big names such as Christopher Nolan, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese all weigh in, giving ample insight into a heated ongoing debate, and a look into what makes our greatest movies – and their makers – tick.

‘In a way, cinema was the church of the 20th century.’

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It’s a privilege to have people like Lake Bell exist. Her debut feature, concerning the cutthroat industry of trailer voiceover artists, handles the concept of sexism in the career battleground with charm, real pathos and a lot of laughs. If the unique premise alone doesn’t grab you, then everything else will – be it the note-perfect casting from Demetri Martin through Geena Davis, or the screenplay that spins its brilliantly written scenes with emotional payoff and economic dexterity. Roll on feature number two from Bell.

‘This Wednesday, one woman will teach another woman to sound a little less retarded.’

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Bring your best time travel-proof tissues. British stalwart Richard Curtis takes the cinema-ready concept of time travel and breaks it down to its barest emotional applications. Domhnall Gleeson is on fine hush-voiced form as Tim, who has the uncanny ability to temporally shift himself to any point in his past; the effects are either devastating or uplifting as he navigates life’s everyday ups and downs. Ultimately, it’s Curtis’ deconstruction of the father-son relationship at About Time’s core that will have the most potent ramifications for both the danger of time travel, and your Kleenex.

‘You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy.’

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Previous: #100 – 51   |   Next: #40 – 31

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About GaryGreenScreen

Freelance film critic.

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