Top Ten 2013


Well it’s that time of year again, and this year has certainly been a mixed bag.  Some great movies and a few stinkers, but I have enjoyed compiling the good and the bad over the last week or so, to finally come up with what I consider to be the ten best movies I’ve watched and reviewed (for the first time) this year.  Note: I try and limit the contenders to movies released in the last two years.

Top Ten 2013

1.  The Impossible
2.  Django Unchained
3.  Captain Philips
4.  Elysium
5.  Stoker
6.  Sightseers
7.  Man Of Steel
8.  Flight
9.  The Wolverine
10.  Dredd

Notable mentions:  Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, World War Z

2013 and the year ahead


Been an interesting year (so far) and with 2014 looming on the horizon, I got thinking about some of the interesting things I have been able to experience in 2013.  Three quality pieces of technology immediately spring to mind … firstly my Sony Xperia SP smart phone, which I really enjoy.  Slick functionality, with none of the slow down of my previous phone (the Sony Xperia U) and it’s great for emails, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Oh and it makes calls, takes very good pictures with it’s 8mp camera – can see me sticking with Sony for a phone in the future too. 

Windows-8

Next up was my Windows 8 PC … now I was as sceptical as the next person regarding Windows 8 but I really like it.  The implementation of Apps, the new Start screen, and general slickness of everything makes it feel like a really state-of-the-art piece of kit on my humble budget.  This carried over nicely into the XBOX ONE, which visually borrows a lot from Windows 8 and is proving to be a great machine … even if at the moment the games only hint at what the console is capable of.

Movie-wise 2013 has been pretty good and highlights include Tom Hank’s movie Captain Phillips, Park Chan-Wook’s english language debut Stoker and Tarantino’s Django Unchained.  My yearly Top Ten will follow on New Year’s Eve and I think it’s going to be interesting selecting the best movies and choosing what order to put them in.  I am sure everyone has their favourites so I will be browsing and commenting on those that I discover on other blogs … look out for me!

django sunglasses

This year has also been interesting for TV shows, with highlights including the Kevin Bacon thriller The Following, even with the final season of Dexter proving disappointment.  Yet I discovered Breaking Bad this year too, and was the reason I subscribed to Netflix.  Boardwalk Empire, in it’s fourth season seems to show no hint of letting up on it’s quality either. 

2014 for me, aside from life, work, family, bills etc will be all about the XBOX ONE … with big hitters coming next year like Metal Gear Solid 5, The Division, Watchdogs and Quantum Break.  Should be very exciting.  We should also start to see true next gen graphics finally being showcased.  I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t taken a lot of interest in movies coming out next year … is there an Avenger’s sequel?  Oh and what about that rather worrying sounding Batman Vs Superman??  At the moment I am trying to cram in as many movies as possible before the end of the year, with the likes of Iron Man 3, Kick-Ass 2 and Monsters University all scheduled to be reviewed in the next fortnight.  Oh and let’s not forget a little movie by the name of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

metal-gear-solid-5

Plenty to think about and watch in the coming days, and hay it’s Christmas too – so I will report back as usual on what I have gratefully received on the day.

Craig.

2013 Academy Award Winners


What an interesting result, eh?  Some of my predictions from earlier were correct, but as expected many were way off.  Oh well…  Congratulations to the winners and maybe next year for the losers…… Winners are in RED, my predictions are in BLUE.

Best Picture:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Lincoln”  Tutt tutt, thought this had it in the bag!

“Les Miserables”

“Life of Pi”

“Amour”

“Django Unchained”

Argo” WINNER!!

Best Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”  YAY!!!!

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Alan Arkin, “Argo”  Damn…

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”  Damn, so close!

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Best Director:

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”  I got it!!  Yay!!

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Best Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”  Predicted!!  Ok, that was an easy one!!

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Best Actress:

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”  Oh well….

Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Was pleased to hear Quentin Tarantino won for Best Original Screenplay, but disappointed that yet again, a Pixar movie got the Best Animated Feature Film nod, for the otherwise forgettable Brave … must have been a weak year in that catagory.

Django Unchained


Viewed – 29 January 2012  Cinema

When Quentin Tarantino makes a movie, it’s an event.  Fact.  Few director’s have the kind of celebrity status he enjoys, and thankfully more often than not, he can deliver.  Over the years I would say he has evolved, from merely the movie geek wonder kid with a series of snappy scripts and a growing cult fan base, into a film-maker of true credibility.  2009’s Inglorious Basterds proved that, and now with this highly anticipated latest effort, he’s painting the classic spaghetti western in his trademark sharp-as-a-knife dialogue, clever-ass narrative and obscure soundtrack.

Django Unchained

Jamie Foxx (Ray, Colateral) plays Django, a slave who teams up with savvy bounty hunter King Shultz (Inglorious Basterdz’ Christoph Waltz) who promises to help him track down and free his wife, who has been sold off to a local tycoon, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).   Now as should be expected, this isn’t like every other western you might have seen (technically it’s a southern, according to Quentin) with Tarantino’s usual mix of sporadic violence, smattering of carefully implemented comedy and lengthy scenes of tense dialogue all aided by a soundtrack so bizarre and obscure, that the whole thing threatens to turn into farce.  Yet Tarantino is better than that and somehow makes it all work, especially once you get into the groove.  Waltz, as in Basterdz steals the show with a brilliantly charming but no less deadly performance, aided by a perfect Foxx, who owns the title role.  Of course it should go without saying that DiCaprio is also excellent in possibly his first villainous turn (proving very psychotic), and a special mention should go to Samuel L. Jackson who as always lights up the screen every time he appears.

Naturally though this is QT’s gig, working from his own brilliantly entertaining and often shocking script (his take on the slave trade utterly humbled this viewer) … and although stylised and at times comic-book-like (the bloody violence clearly exaggerated) still nails one of the darker times in American history.

Essential.

Verdict:  5 /5