As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to reel off One Room With A View’s Top Ten Films of 2013. Each writer will list their top ten and we’ll reach an ultimate list at the end. To achieve this, we’ll be using a simple points system so that a film placing 10th = 1 point, 9th = 2 points and so on until whichever film finishes top gets a perfect 10. The film with the most points at the end of our lists is our film of 2013.
With all that sorted, it’s time for David to take the floor and list his top ten of 2013:
FROZEN: Full of songs, laughs and stunning animated set-pieces, Frozen highlighted a continued return to form for Disney. Although not quite a Tangled-topper, Frozen overpowered lukewarm initial interest to deliver a surprisingly warming and funny film. Despite a sagging middle and Idina Menzel’s voice not truly fitting her character, the songs alone ensured this film never stalled or struggled. The songs ‘Let It Go’ and ‘For The First Time In Forever’ are terrific and, for those numbers alone, it deserves a place in my top ten.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW: This terrific teen drama was hardly seen by anyone upon release. In fact, the only buzz it received came through those fortunate enough to see it at festival or press screenings. For the lucky few who did – which include myself – it truly dazzled, with Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller delivering performances way beyond their years, clearly identifying themselves as talents to watch in the coming years. Soulful, authentic and completely genuine, it’ll be treated as a classic in years to come. Watch this space.
PACIFIC RIM: Occasionally, films should let their hair down and go apeshit. This was Pacific Rim. Financially it bombed, and the critics slated it – yet I adored it. How can anyone not admire a giant 200ft robot using a barge to bash in a monster’s head in Hong Kong? Although ridiculously and almost obscenely dumb, Pacific Rim‘s unrelenting bravery, audacity and affection to translate your inner 12-year-old boy’s thoughts to the big screen with such success and style deserves praise and attention. A definite addition to my Top Ten.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Paul Greengrass’ ability to deliver affecting and heart-thumping action-dramas is second-to-none, and Captain Phillips continued this trend, aided by peerless performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. Kinetic, furious and blood-pumping, Greengrass’ focus never wavers, never taking his foot of the gas – even if it takes a while for his foot to actually step on it. This is by no means a USA tribute act; it’s a highly intelligent and thrilling piece of cinema with one of the most devastating endings seen in recent years.
BLACKFISH: Aside from 3D, the biggest cinematic trend of the noughties is the growing strength and recognition of the documentary. 2013 saw this hugely popular and powerful documentary hit the scene in a big way. It’s a truly gripping experience that highlights the ostensible shocking wrongs of SeaWorld and the very idea of keeping killer whales in captivity. Blackfish acts as testament to the true power of this genre as it informs, intrigues and thrills without patronisation or inundation. Shocking, impassioned and astonishing.
IRON MAN 3: Following the disappointment of Iron Man 2 but after a great turn in The Avengers, there were mixed emotions entering this threequel. However, Shane Black delivered with aplomb to deliver the funniest and most thoughtful comic book movie to date. Packed with Black’s traditional humour and self-awareness, Tony Stark was fully allowed to establish himself as the ‘anti-Batman’: light and witty, but with enough emotional heft to engage. Aided by great performances by Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, it ensured that if this is Iron Man’s solo goodbye, it was an extremely strong farewell.
CLOUD ATLAS: Unashamedly bold, it’s a behemoth of storytelling free from the shackles of traditional narratives, edited with exceptional understanding and skill. The ensemble cast excel with Hanks, in particular, standing out – granted, he has the majority of the lead roles. It is criminal that the cast, visual effects and, especially, the makeup received no awards recognition or acclaim. A genuine cinematic injustice yet, in time, this film will be rediscovered and re-appreciated.
DJANGO UNCHAINED: All of Tarantino’s features are a pleasure for cinephiles, but Django Unchained was a cut above as it was a feast for any creature with senses. Visuals of stunning beauty, performances of bite and flair, and – quite frankly – one of the best soundtracks of modern cinema; everything in Django sparks with blood and sensation to deliver a wickedly entertaining and important feature on slavery and the origins of America’s racist past. Deliciously enjoyable throughout with Waltz, DiCaprio, Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson – arguably his best performance since Pulp Fiction – on complete fire.
RUSH: As an F1/new Ron Howard fan, the signs always looked good for Rush. However, it simply blew me away as it delivered such phenomenal, almost orgasmic, cinematic highs in all departments. It’s a fascinating story wrapped in adrenaline-pumping cinematography and powered by award-winning performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. A simply exhilarating piece of cinema, providing continual emotional beats as well as extraordinarily exciting race set-pieces. It plumps for euphoria over subtlety but when you can deliver scenes this good, why the hell not? In a year without Gravity, there’s no question that this would be my number one – but this year, Rush takes the silver medal.
GRAVITY: The bandwagon for Alfonso Cuarón’s latest is set to derail, with critics seemingly attempting to outdo one another to pour excessive praises and love upon Gravity. Although excessive, Gravity is phenomenal. Cuarón masterfully crafted an unforgettable adrenaline-pumping, rip-roaring rollercoaster ride. Clooney and Bullock captivated and moved throughout, matching the outstanding CGI set-pieces blow for blow. Gorgeous to look at and thrilling to watch. Simply watching Gravity on a laptop or iPad is not good enough as this film proved the essential necessity of cinemas. It’s unmissable and only the biggest screen will do for the best film of the year.
SCORES (after Round 1)
Gravity – 10 points
Rush – 9 points
Django Unchained – 8 points
Cloud Atlas – 7 points
Iron Man – 6 points
Blackfish – 5 points
Captain Phillips – 4 points
Pacific Rim – 3 points
The Spectacular Now – 2 points
Frozen – 1 point
What do you think to David’s choices? Couldn’t agree more or couldn’t bear to watch? Tell us what you think below!