Posted by: greercn | December 23, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 2013

Yes, it’s a quirky list. My top 10 films (and those that just failed to make the cut) all had to be:
a) Unforgettable. I wanted to watch everything by this director again and again, after seeing this.
b) Teaching: I like to learn. Sometimes, I learn best when I am laughing.
c) Entertaining: Images and scenes stay with me. I didn’t look at my watch once during the movie and I was a little sad when it ended.

1) No. This magnificent Chilean film recreated the advertising agency campaign that worked against Pinochet continuing as Chile’s leader in 1988. It’s gripping, tightly directed by Pablo Larrain and beautifully acted. I watched it four times and it got better and better each time. Then, I went and watched his two other films about Chile under Pinochet, again and again.

2) Behind the Candelabra: Liberace is of no interest to me, but Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are magnificent here. It’s a real slice of the lves of others and excesses and secrets of the 1970s. The central relationship feels truthful. Steven Soderbergh must direct many more movies.

3) Gravity: Alfonso Cuaron creates a new form of space/scifi movie. It’s physically beautiful and utterly engaging. Before this, I was a little bored by Sandra Bullock. Now, I’ll look out for her next film.

4) Before Midnight: The bittersweet, warm and funny drama tied up the loose ends from Julie Delpy’s briliant trilogy. The chemistry between her and Ethan Hawke is so real.

5) Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa: Finally, I see the point and the humour of Alan Partridge. It was an “aha” moment. This lovely film combines the best of the Ealing comedies with wonderful comments on modern life. A surprising treat.

6) Love Is All You Need: A very moving romcom in Danish, Italian and English. I thought I would forget it quickly. I still think about the two central performances – Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm – a great deal. And the Italian and Danish settings are superb and different from the look of anything else I saw this year. Susanne Bier is a terrific director.

7) Upstream Color: I have no idea what any of it means. I have theories. My friends have theories. My friend Nige has a plausible and intelligent theory. Shane Carruth is a genius and whole sequences glow in my memory.

8) Nebraska: Bruce Dern gives a powerhouse masterclass as the head of a dysfunctional clan. The dreadful trailer put me off. In black and white, the film offers unusual locations and magical performances. I laughed a lot.

9) I Am Nasrine: This moving story of a young Iranian woman forced into exile in northern England gripped me and deserves a much wider audience. Tina Gharavi is a director I will watch out for. Micsha Sadeghi gives a moving performance and Shiraz Haq is a star of the future.

10) Prisoners: Denis Arcand’s first English-language movie is a gripping thriller with an extraordinary central performance by Hugh Jackman.

Films that just failed to make the list but stay with me include Philomena, Mud, In The House (Dans La Maison), Rush and Sunshine on Leith. I got around to seeing “Bullhead”, made in 2012 but now among my top 10 movies of all time. “False Trail” (Jagarna 2) was a truly individual Scandinavian thriller. “Side Effects” was another terrific thriller. And I liked “Jack Reacher” more than any of my friends did.

You can see all my full reviews of these by going to the “search” function at the top of the page. I never include spoilers.

Do comment and disagree with me, if you wish. I love to learn.

A BIG thank you to all the people who sat through films with me and, most of all, to the Stratford East Picturehouse staff. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year to all.


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