Well Folks its that time again for year end lists. This year it was extremely hard to narrow my list to a top ten and a few bubbling under but that means it was a very good year or a very bad year but in this case its the former.
So without further ado here is the list for 2013.
Great performances by the two lead actors, split into two parts the story is told from his and her perspective raising a fascinating debate on which way the story works best. Experimental but a very unique concept.
Just a solitary guy who is a bit of a loafer having a really bad day. From dealing with is father, a girl he used to make fun of at school who is now very desirable plus growing frustration of an inability to get a cup of coffee anywhere in Berlin.
Chilling first hand account of prison camp life in North Korea from the eyes of an escapee who was born in a camp to two political prisoners and started work in the cap at age 6. The viewer gets a very strong sense of a lifetime of suffering and see the scars left physically, emotionally and psychologically on a person that remains front and centre even after he is out of the situation.
A bride on her wedding day who always played second fiddle to her younger sister realizes that she does not know all she should about her new husband when an oddball boarding school colleague from his past crashes the wedding to tell a tale long since buried.
A young man struggling with his demons attempting to do good more often that he does bad but his attempts to change lead him into conflict as it did with the Bay Area Rapid Transit Cops on that fateful day.
A full on portrayal of the excess of late 80's early 90's Wall Street. Leonardo DiCaprio is permanently in overdrive playing Wall Street Broker Jordan Belfort. Martin Scorsese delights in displaying the totality of the debauchery on screen.
Spike Jonze returned from too long an absence with a touching story about a lonely guy that strikes up a more than functional relationship with his new operating system. Set in the near future and based on a quick observance of the people's reliance on their tech devices today the plot line is very believable and may be the best statement of where we are at as a society the end of 2013.
The Coen Brothers take on the late 50's early 60's folk scene in Greenwich Village New Your. Oscar Issac is terrific in the title role. Although his character is more often than not selfish, mean and cruel Isaac plays him in a way that the audience does sympathize with Llewyn Davis as the Coen's as they tend to do torture their lead charter in a film.
A novitiate nun is the last days before she takes her final vows goes to see her last living relative
only to discover that she is Jewish. She embarks on a journey with her Aunt across the Polish countryside to discover the fate of her parents and older brother including a visit to the family farm taken from her relatives two decades before under laws enacted in the country during the second world war.
Steve McQueen's Unflinching, Raw, Steely Adaptation of Simon Northrop's book. The film does not have any round edges; it is sharp, pointed and an almost cold to the touch visceral experience. As the view watches they can sense other members of the production team telling McQueen that perhaps he is going a bit to far then by what appears on screen realize that he went twice as far as he originally planned.
Bubbling Under: The World's End, This is the End, Nebraska, Stoker, Side Effects, Gringo Trails, Muscle Shoals, Violette.
Worst of the year:
1. American Hustle - An unsuccessful attempt to cross Boogie Nights with Goodfellas.
2. The Fifth Estate - Duelling Laptops reminiscent of two kids sitting across from each other playing
3. Fading Gigolo - A really bad film with an abundance of wasted talent. Turturro had a
profound statement at the TIFF screening when introducing the film he said
" wait until you SEE the film before you applaud."