Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Film Babble Blog Top 10 Movies Of 2013

Since it’s nearing the end of January and the Oscar nominations have been announced, I figured it’s about time that I post my Top 10 favorite films of 2013.

Any year that boasts such vital work by film makers as Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, the Coen brothers, Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, Edgar Wright, 
Alfonso Cuarón, and Spike Jonze is a good year for film, and this last year was the best in my book, or more aptly on my blog, since 2007.

My picks start off with what is, for sure, a very personal favorite:

1. BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Dir. Richard Linklater)

No other movie in 2013 spoke to me more than Richard Linklater's third film in the ongoing saga of Jesse and Céline, respectively rendered by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. BEFORE MIDNIGHT catches up with the couple we first met as strangers in Vienna in 1995's BEFORE SUNRISE, having wed since meeting up again in Paris in 2004's BEFORE SUNSET.

Now on a summer vacation in Greece, Hawke and Delpy walk and talk down memory lane while dealing with whether they want to continue on the same path together. It could be that I'm the same age as this couple, and overly relate to the depiction of a marriage that keeps one philosophically on their toes, but, whatever the case, this film got to me big-time. Glad to see it scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy. My review is here.

(Dirs. Joel & Ethan Coen)

The Coen brothers’ 16th film, concerning the failings of a fictional folksinger in early ‘60s New York, may be one of their most divisive films. While it’s won many awards from Film Critics associations (National Society of Film Critics, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle), it didn’t get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and many folks I know, including my wife, thought it lacked an emotional connection. I, however, was transfixed by everything the brothers were going for from the film’s aesthetics aping the iconic album cover for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan to the T. Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack of authentic sounding folk tracks to the nuanced performances by Oscar Isaac in the title role, Carey Mulligan as his pissed-off former lover, and John Goodman, in his first Coen brothers’ film since 2000’s O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? Read my review.


(Dir. Martin Scorsese)

I wrote in my review last December: “Martin Scorsese’s 23rd film, and fifth with Leonardo DiCaprio, nails the rampant excess of the ‘80s greed era with such a fearlessly funny, and raunchy as Hell glee that it makes Oliver Stone’s 1988 insider trading spectacle WALL STREET look like Sesame Street.” Read the rest of my review.

4. BLUE JASMINE (Dir. Woody Allen)

Cate Blanchett sure looks hard to beat in the Oscar race for Best Actress for her ace acting as hot mess Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis, a former Manhattan socialite previously married to Jack Abramoff-ish millionaire investment banker Alec Baldwin. Allen's film, one of the 77-year old film maker's most substantial later works, is also up for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Helping the film make my Top 10 is its excellent cast including the also nominated (for Best Supporting Actress) Sally Hopkins as Blanchett's adopted sister, the aforementioned Baldwin, Michael Stuhlberg, Peter Sarsgaard, and especially, and a bit surprisingly, Andrew Dice Clay. My review.

5. THE WORLD’S END (Dir. Edgar Wright) 

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy concludes with this more than worthy follow-up to SHAWN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ. Pegg, along with Nick Frost, Paddy Constadine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan, attempt to complete the “Gold Mile” pub crawl they never finished two decades ago and the results are uproarious. My review.

6. 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Dir. Steve McQueen)

McQueen's powerful period piece fearlessly tackles one of the most harrowing and hardest-to-take subjects in history: slavery in the pre-Civil War era Deep South. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong'o all got well deserved acting Oscar noms as did McQueen for direction. The film itself at first seemed a shoo-in for Best Picture, but AMERICAN HUSTLE seems to be gaining momentum these days. My review of 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

(Dir. Alexander Payne)

Read my review of this near perfect piece of major Payne here.

8. THE GREAT BEAUTY (Dir. Paolo Sorrentino)

This Italian film, nominated by the Academy for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, hasn't opened in my area yet so I'll withhold my review, but I'll just say that its a visual feast of Fellini-esque proportions in which pretentious performance art is savaged by the wit of Toni Servillo, as a once promising but now jaded journalist.

(Dir. Alfonso Cuaron)

Click here to read my review of this Sandra Bullock/George Clooney outer space-set thriller in which I say that it’s so refreshing to find a film set in the heavens, on the edge of Earth’s atmosphere to be exact, that doesn’t need attacking aliens or big ass asteroids to be scary - the prospect of being stranded, untethered in outer space is terrifying all by itself.

10. HER (Dir. Spike Jonze)

I was delighted that this lovely poetic movie set in the near future about a man (Joaquinn Phoenix) who falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Read why here.

More later...


Jaye Flood said...

I have been really wanting to see Inside Llewyn Davis.

Film streaming said...

c est un tres beau film
Merci pour le partage