Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Films of 2013

These are some films from the last year, which some critics have named the year’s best. In all, they are all worth a dekko…

"Night Across the Street"
The latest from Chilean master Raúl Ruiz, and we rest the case

"Upstream Color"
A sci-fi mind-bender among pigs, a tortured love story; a film a very few people understood

"Inside Llewyn Davis"
Coen Brothers’ elegy to music, and musicians who failed to make it, melancholic with a killer soundtrack (Please Mr Kennedy) and a ginger cat

"Wolf of Wall Street"
A study of excess (that’s right, greed is good) from Martin Scorcese, over-long, with more than 500 f-words, tons of cocaine and loads of nudity

"At Berkeley"
The university and the state of American intelligentsia

"The World's End"
Pub crawlers meet aliens on Doom’s Day in a place where buddy comedy goes wild

"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"
You ain’t seen the end of Alain Resnais yet too, and the who’s who of the French film royalty who appear and disappear from the scenes

"To the Wonder"
Some stunning nature photography and the ethereal face of Olga Kurylenko, some more sunshine and Xavier Bardem as a priest in Terrence Malick’s latest

"The Act of Killing"
Former killers recount their art of killing via cinematic recreation as pop musical. History repeats itself, first as horror, then as musical

"The Great Beauty"
Decadence as art in modern Rome, and yes, roots are important

"I'm So Excited"
A Pedro Almodovar failure set in an aerospace

"Like Someone in Love"
After studying the nature of true love in Europe in Certified Copy, the Iranian master goes to Tokyo, in search of, what else, love

"Something in the Air"
After the epic Carlos, Olivier Assayas goes personal, to Paris in the ’70, which is no less epic

In the year when a master like Spike Lee would remake his film Oldboy, Korean auteur Park Chan-wook comes to Hollyood to make a horror film with Nicole Kidman

"Paradise: Love"
Years after Heading South, another film unflinching looks at European sex tourism to Kenya

"Blue Is the Warmest Color"
The sex scenes made the news, but at the heart of it, there is a fascinating love story, told with a clear-eyed gaze

"Drug War"
Johnnie To goes to China and wins the war against drugs, despite the twists and turns that collide like a game of dominos

Or how a dictator was booted out, with some help from Coca-Cola

"12 Years a Slave"
An unflinching portrayal of American slavery, need we say more

Orcas in captivity and you know it’s a bad thing and dangerous

"Computer Chess"
Who knew chess could an ingredient to a time travel sci-fi film

Five Nazi children lost in Germany after WWII

"Museum Hours"
Understanding real life in the environs of a museum

Sad man falls in love with an operating system that has Scarlet Johansson’s voice

"Behind The Candelabra"
The much-talked about Liberace biopic, love in the time of plastic surgery

"Spring Breakers"
Girls gone wild in Florida, with some help from James Franco

"Lee Daniels' The Butler"
Modern American black history from the point of view of a White House butler, and Oprah

"Before Midnight"
They are back after nine years and they are married and they are in Greece and they still can talk

"Enough Said"
You just cannot be a friend with your boyfriend’s ex-wife, James Gandolfini’s last film

Based on a David Sedaris short story, it means child of God, where he goes apple-picking

"August: Osage County"
‘Breaking shit’ during a family reunion, it cannot get worst than this

In space, no one can hear you scream. The adage holds true, even in IMAX

"The Bling Ring"
Theft as the ultimate goal of fandom

"Stories We Tell"
Washing dirty laundry in public, as the public watches, fascinated

"Captain Phillips"
A Hijacking by Somali pirates as filmed by Paul Greengrass of those Bourne movies

"Cutie and the Boxer"
Love story of a real life Japanese couple in New York, utterly fascinating

"All Is Lost"
Robert Redford alone in high seas, alone and wordless

Matthew Mcconaughey searches for his lost love in a modern retelling of Huck Finn

"The Past"
A Separation director tells a layered story set in Paris to show that you cannot really separate yourself from your past

The first film from Saudi Arabia, among other things

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi action thriller in English, based on the French graphic novel

"Like Father, Like Son"
The lost son saga gets an unexpected twist in the hands of the Japanese master

A close look at the North American fishing industry

"Frances Ha"
A French New Wave film set in modern New York, remember Goddard? Anna Karina?

"Beyond the Hills"
Religion vs. superstition in Romanian wilderness

An old actor finds his delayed glory in this black and white comedy about imaginary money

"Post Tenebras Lux"
Mexican Carlos Reygadas’ new film, the same obscurity, the same uncomfortable sex scenes, and this time, a CGI Satan

"20 Feet from Stardom"
The joy and tragedy of being a back-up singer with a pop star

"American Hustle"
As Tina Fey puts is succulently: Explosion at the Wig Factory

"A Touch of Sin"
Big Troubles in Big China, bloody and murderous

"The Spectacular Now"
Teen romance was never sweet, and fraught with danger

"Short Term 12"
Life in a foster care

"Fruitvale Station"
A real life crime gets a cinematic treatment with emotional resonance

"The Wind Rises"
Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, which should be the reason enough

"Hannah Arendt"
Biopic of the German-American political thinker

"Blue Jasmine"
The film for which Cate Blanchett is winning all the awards

"The Way Way Back"
Growing up with divorced parents is tough

The animation film of the year. Period. Oh, cheers for women power

"Much Ado About Nothing"
The director of The Avengers adapts Shakespeare in his own house with his friends

"Don Jon"
Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut, sweet, but not really a sex comedy

"Upside Down"
He looks up, she looks down, but they live in different worlds in an upside down universe, high concept, great visual, but…

Dame Judi Dench. That’s all.

Fabled F1 rivalry

"What Maisie Knew"
Henry James updated in modern American, but divorces are the same

"This Is the End"
Celebrity end-of-the-world comedy featuring Franco, among others

"A Hijacking"
An antidote to Captain Phillips’ high-energy visual story-telling, a real heart-breaker

"Caesar Must Die"
Prison inmates decide to perform Julius Caesar and things predictably becomes real

Neil Jordan makes another vampire film, this time with the ladies

Snow White in a black and white silent Spanish film

"Pain & Gain"
Michael Bay makes a low budget comedy and somehow it works

"The Selfish Giant"
The Oscar Wilde short story gets a fabulous screen treatment

"Pacific Rim"
Giant robots and alien sea monsters fighting it out in the future, with some tiny people inside and behind the robots

Brian De Palma remakes the French film Love Crimes and makes it juicier that way only he can

"The East"
It’s much more than just an expose of a cult

"The Lone Ranger"
The Johnny Depp misfire, he is not a real Red Indian

"The Sapphires"
The Dreamers in Australia and Vietnam, genuine fun

Daddy goes looking for missing daughter, but there are complications, and a detective called Loki

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