With the Oscars only a few days away (Sunday, March 2nd, 8PM), it is time to take a look back on all the films the year of 2013 has offered us. This year was an extremely anticipated and busy year for film. Exciting and important pictures came from some of the finest directors, and featuring at least one of my favourite actors. This is my way to pay tribute to 2013, which in my opinion, has been an outstanding year for film of all genres.
Here is my 2013 “must-see” movie list. Some of them are nominated and some aren’t. Nonetheless, they are all worth watching. All these movies were able to differ themselves from all the other movies 2013 brought us due to the story, visuals, and acting.
dir. Alfonso Cuarón starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney.
I am glad the movie Gravity exists because it truly is a one of kind picture. The only and main reason why this movie needs so much attention is not because of the story line itself but the way the movie is delivered to us. The visuals are mind-blowing. You are in space. You are the astronaut and you are up there alongside George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. For a film completely made in front of a green screen, it is visually striking and breathtaking. Matt (Clooney) and Ryan (Bullock) are on a shuttle mission when a storm of debris attack their shuttle and causes an explosion. They both have to fight their way back to Earth. The visuals create suspense and help to intensify every little aspect of the story because you feel like you are a part of it. With Gravity, you are in for a real roller coaster ride that lasts way longer than sixty seconds.
dir. Woody Allen starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins.
Cate Blanchett portays Jasmine, a self-absorbed, selfish, bitter, sarcastic and completely mad woman. She marries a rich man (Alec Baldwin) until he gets caught by the government for fraud and theft. She suffers from a mental breakdown after the nasty divorce and goes back to her sister’s (Hawkins) for help. Throughout the whole film, the question remains, did Jasmine know about her husband’s illegal business activities? Blanchett’s acting is so flawless it makes me question her effortless ability to play such an insane character. At the end of the movie, the audience cannot feel any sympathy for Jasmine because you dislike her that much. It’s been weeks since I have since Blue Jasmine and am still not over her performance.
The Great Gatsby
dir. Baz Luhrmann starring Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan.
Luhrmann is known to bring literary pieces to screen and make you go, “How did he do that?” He has done it with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and did it again with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Set in the 1920s, Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes back to Long Island to win his true love back, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). Lurhmann emphasizes the materialistic and idealistic worldview this era leaned in to. Baz Luhrmann’s visionary talents shine on screen with the clothes, diamonds, parties and music making you wish you could go back to the jazz era and party it up with this legendary and timeless character that is oh so well known as the Great Gatsby.
dir. Spike Jonze starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams.
A disturbing and shocking film about what could eventually happen to our society due to our technology’s fast process of developing and expanding all over the world. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) plays an introverted man who falls in love with his OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system and eventually becomes involved in a relationship with his OS1. Jonze brings up the issues involving emotional attachments to technological devices and what it would do to our world. Her makes you question the importance and significance of all these mobile devices we definitely use too much.
Dallas Buyers Club
dir. Jean-Marc Vallée starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto.
Montreal’s director Jean-Marc Vallée directed this year’s most important film, Dallas Buyers Club. Based on the true story of a man who suffered from AIDS, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) battled pharmaceutical and medical companies to improve treatments for HIV+ patients. Set in 1985 in Dallas, the movie raises awareness about society’s multiple taboos surrounding homosexuality and homophobia. McConaughey, disgustingly skinny and dirty-looking, demonstrates his acting skills and proves us that he will not only portray pretty boys with Southern accents in romantic comedies for the rest of his career. Jared Leto is absolutely convincing as a transgender woman. He is a woman. Such radical and extreme physical and mental transformations deserve to be praised and admired. Dallas Buyers Club is true dedication.
The Wolf of Wall Street
dir. Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill.
What could I possible add about The Wolf of Wall Street that has not already been said? I already reviewed it here but I’ll keep it short and sweet here. Once again, DiCaprio and Scorsese team up for an American satire demonstrating the disgusting and unacceptable side of human nature. Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), a stockbroker, opens a company on Wall Street that screws people over by having them invest in bogus stocks. Greedy and obsessed with power and money, Belfort goes too far and brings everyone down along with him. At 71 years old, Martin Scorsese proves us he still has incredible talent to depict American culture in his movies and is here to stay. After three hours of debauchery, drugs and hookers, you will be left wanting even more.
dir. Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy.
There was Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) and this year, Richard Linklater gave us the wonderful gift of Before Midnight, which marks the ending of the most underrated romantic trilogy. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) are now married with two twins and are spending the summer in Greece. The film obviously follows what has happened between the two in the last decades. The film meets all expectations. The couple is exactly where they should be and struggle with the problems the audience knew they would eventually have to deal with. As with the previous movies, Before Midnight is all about the dialogue between the couple. Linklater reaches a fascinating level of realism when it comes to relationship issues as shown in the way Céline and Jesse speak to each other. If you have followed Jesse and Céline since their first encounter in Vienna back in 1995 in Before Sunrise, you will have an immense sense of closure which makes the movie very satisfying.
This Is The End
dir. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen starring Jay Baruchel, James Franco.
It’s rare for comedies to get recognized and be taken seriously. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg teamed up once again to bring you the comedy of the year, This Is The End. Totally exaggerated and impossible, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and the rest of Hollywood are portraying themselves, sort of, while attending a party at James Franco’s new crib. Little did they know, the apocalypse showed up as well. Left with oo much alcohol and drugs but not enough water and food, the guys have to survive. According to Rogen, 50% of the dialogue in the movie was improvised. These comedy geniuses deliver the funniest and most unexpected lines and you will not be apply to contain your tears of laughter.
dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore.
Don Jon marks Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial and writing debuts. Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is a man who is addicted to porn and does not seem to be able to stay in a relationship because of it. The movie portrays realistic, contemporary, and relatable traits about women, men, sex, and relationships. There is an important focus on porn itself — sometimes funny, ironic, but also, serious. The movie touches on important questions about porn that have never been discussed because it seems to be taboo but most importantly, it is story that has never been seen on screen before. It is not a woman’s perspective on men or a man’s perspective on women but a man’s real view on men’s behaviour. The story is told from an honest point of view and from a different perspective. Overall the movie leaves you feeling awkward and weird and above all, it makes you feel different.