It’s that time of year – reviewers bust out their movie logs and compile best of lists. I’m not any different. Here are the four films that I think topped 2013.
This makes it onto a list of best films ever, in my humble opinion. The incomparable Guillermo del Toro crafts a futuristic film that doesn’t demonise technology, but instead celebrates it. Giant monsters (kaiju) come up from sea – or more accurately, a portal in the sea – and humankind has no choice but to build giant robots to punch the shit out of them.
The absolutely stellar cast features Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Humnan, as well as a diverse supporting cast including Chinese, Russian, American and Australian pilots and support staff. Sidenote: Elba and Kikuchi’s characters are two of the best characters I’ve ever seen on the big screen.
All in all, a triumphant celebration of teamwork, technology, monsters and robots punching the hell out of giant sea beasts.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
So I haven’t articulated my exact thoughts on all the race-related controversies surrounding The Hunger Games franchise (see: the whitewashing of Katniss and the fan reactions over Rue and Beetee not being white).
However, I must admit that the transition from book to movie for The Hunger Games was close to flawless. The first film was excellent, but Catching Fire gets more into the politics of Panem. The institutionalised violence of the Capitol and the distribution of wealth in Panem is eerily similar to modern America, as are the theatrics of reality television and the way media depicts events.
As a note, it’s fascinating to watch the media reaction to this franchise, namely all the Team Peeta and Team Gale nonsense. I’m not against love stories in any way, but it’s interesting to see the how the real world reacts to a story about class and oppression. They make it about the love story. See any parallels?
In any case, a riveting film.
I’m a superhero person, so there was bound to be at least one superhero movie in here. It was a toss-up between Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, but in the end, Shane Black’s reunion with Robert Downey Jr. won out.
Plot-wise, I didn’t find it quite as engaging as the original Iron Man film, but it made up for that with a lot of the same elements that made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang so good: the unreliable protagonist narrating, the breaking down of the fourth wall, and a biting sense of humour that in my mind, is what separates the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Nolan’s Batman and co.
A blockbuster that was at the same time, hilarious.
My viewing of world cinema tends to be limited – we don’t get a lot of foreign exports here (aside from good old Hollywood’s, of course), but I caught this film at the Hola Mexican Film Festival’s opening in Melbourne, and it was incredible.
Full of heart, humour and drama, Nosotros Los Nobles (in English, We Are The Nobles) is about spoilt children, and the lesson their father tries to teach them through an elaborate set-up. It had a rapturous reception in Melbourne, as well as doing extremely well at the box office in Mexico and in the US.
Keep in mind these are the films I enjoyed most this year – the runners up include: Captain Phillips, Now You See Me, The World’s End, No, Gravity, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug…