Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Top Films of 2013 (Updated Jan 26, 2014)

*** UPDATED Jan 26, 2014 (see ***new inclusion in top ten below)

As an avid cinema lover, it was a great year in film viewing.  I haven't shared a list of my favourites in a few years, so I thought I'd do so this year.  I saw dozens of films this year either in commercial theatres, at film festivals, or in the comfort of my home.  

Below is an exhaustive list starting with my Top Eleven favourites from the year (including a 2012 title that was released in Toronto in 2013), plus other awesome flicks not in my top ten, my list of films I very much want to see as soon as possible,  followed by okay films, disappointing films and just plain bad ones.  

As a very political gay man, you'll notice a large number of queer or politically-friendly titles near the top of the mix:  


MY HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE TOP 11 FAVOURITES FROM 2013

1. 12 Years a Slave (Well on its way to Best Picture at the Oscars, this brutal gem paints a honest and unforgettable portrait of a part of North American history many try too hard to forget.  This is a brutal reminder just how awful humans can be, yet also how heroic and beautiful we can be as well.)  

2. Gravity (Astonishing technological filmmaking, it has to be seen on the big screen (and preferably in 3D), and is one hell of a ride.)

3. Quai d'Orsay (Hilarious French film is simply a must-see for all political staffers and junkies.) 

4. Concrete Night (Pictured above - A gorgeous, sexy, B&W art house film from Finland about a sexually confused teenage boy who takes to heart too much of what his selfish and clueless older brother, soon off to prison, has to say.  The queer flick of the year, in my opinion.)

**********5. Blue Jasmine (A perfect Woody Allen movie with probably what will be one of his most famous female anti-heroines, played by Cate Blanchett, well on her way to her second Oscar.) 

6. Fruitvale Station (Fleshes out the imperfect but beautiful life of a young black man and the tragedy of trigger-happy cops who rule over them with near impunity.  This paints a portrait of a life snuffed out too soon that might otherwise be just a statistic.)   

7. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley can do no wrong, it seems.  She basically cut open her own veins and let the blood spill out onto the screen, detailing deep family histories most of us would choose to keep secret.)  

8. It's All So Quiet (Deliberately paced, highly emotional portrait from the Netherlands of a middle-aged, closeted farmer, living with his old and bedridden father, very haunting and completely satisfying.) 

9. Only Lovers Left Alive (Sexy Tom Hiddleston and the always wonderful Tilda Swinton play vampire husband and wife in this Jim Jarmusch tale, probably the most original and thoughtful vampire flick I've ever seen.) 

10. Strangers by the Lake (Sexy, simple murder thriller which acts as an extended metaphor for the questionable choices many gay men make in their sex lives and elsewhere.)

11.  No (Chilean film about the successful referendum PR campaign to depose dictator Augusto Pinochet, showing the power of smart messaging over the brute thuggery of a dictatorship.)  


TOTALLY AWESOME BUT NOT QUITE IN MY TOP TEN (in alphabetical order): 

American Hustle

Bad Hair 

Before Midnight

Beyond the Candelabra (TV Movie, but it was great so I'm listing it here.) 

Blue is the Warmest Color

Captain Phillips
Catching Fire: Hungers Games 2

Dallas Buyers Club

Don Jon

Elysium

Five Dances

Frances Ha

Getting Go: The Go Doc Project

Her

Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Inside Llewyn Davis

Interior Leather Bar

Iron Man 3

Kill Your Darlings

Mud

Pacific Rim

Philomena

Prisoners

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Room 237

Rush

Saving Mr Banks

Star Trek Into Darkness

This is the End

The Way Way Back
Wolf of Wall Street

World War Z


HIGH ON MY MUST-SEE LIST FOR 2014, in order of my desire to see them: 

The Butler 

All Is Lost

Out in the Dark

42

Nebraska

A Touch of Sin

Reaching for the Moon

Geography Club

Short Term 12

Enough Said

Gabrielle

Museum Hours

The Hunt

The Conjuring

The Act of Killing

Blackfish

Fast and the Furious 6


FINE, BUT NOT OVERLY SPECIAL:  

August: Osage County

Beneath the Harvest Sky

C.O.G.
Eastern Boys

The F Word

Free Fall

Kick Ass 2

Now You See Me

Riddick

Salvation Army

Test

DISAPPOINTING OR JUST PLAIN BAD: 

Bruno and Earlene Go To Vegas  

Gerontophilia (Bruce Labruce can do better than this.)

Man of Steel (Incoherent, dizzying action, I was literally looking at the clock waiting for it to end.)

Oculus

Paranoia (You can find Liam Hemsworth shirtless in far better films than this rubbish.) 

SO BAD OR BORING I COULDN'T FINISH THEM: 

Adore

The Host 

Only God Forgives

Sal

3 comments:

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm in awe. I've never known anyone, other than a professional reviewer, who has taken in movies on your scale, Matt. No one even close.

Matt Guerin said...

Thanks so much! I'm a big movie lover and make a point of seeing as many as my heart desires. Would love to see more if I could. It helps to have many festivals in Toronto and all releases too, pretty much.

Matt Guerin said...

p.s Of course my biggest list above was the one with films I haven't yet seen at all, but will asap. Still yes it's a lot of movie going. :-)