Best of 2013: Writer/Director David Barras (Electric Man)

Published on December 10th, 2013 in: Best Of Lists, Movies |

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Let me start by saying that this list is not exhaustive. These are choices made from the films I’ve seen this year. I have a few catch-up films to watch like Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which from what I hear (I’m a fan), would probably have made the list, had I seen it. So, of the films I’ve seen and in no particular order, here are my faves from the past 12 months.

Stoker: Park Chan-Wook’s English language debut. Stunningly shot psychological thriller.

Blackfish: I had the good fortune to see a pod of Orcas in the wild a few years back and it was one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever had. The pod deliberately swam right under the boat and tipped around to look up at us. That they are intelligent, social animals is beyond doubt, which makes this story of their poor treatment in the name of entertainment and the terrible human cost all the more damning.

Philomena: What could have been a preachy drama about the evils of the Catholic church instead plays out as a redemptive road movie with more laughs than some so-called comedies. Dench gives a standout performance and is more than matched by Steve Coogan who co-wrote the script with Jeff Pope.

Before Midnight: These three movies can stand proud with the best cinematic trilogies. What amounts to people talking for three entire movies is funny, endearing, heartfelt, moving, romantic, true, and a mirror of our passage through life. One of the most accurate portrayals of a relationship ever filmed and possibly the best “third film” in a trilogy ever.

Rush: I’m no fan of Formula One but that didn’t stop me loving this film. Like the Senna documentary from a couple of years back, this tells the story of the rivalry between James Hunt and Nikki Lauder; director Ron Howard does a wonderful of putting the audience into the races. But it’s the performances that really make the film, especially Daniel Bruhl as Lauder.

This is the End: A bit too long, a bit too much improvisation, but this is simply the best comedy I saw this year.

Captain Phillips: An exercise in tension. Paul Greengrass puts his talents to good use and Tom Hanks gives a standout performance in this near-perfect movie.

Filth: Not quite as good as Trainspotting, but not far off. Another film where the performance of one acorn, James McAvoy, holds the whole thing together. Kudos to the supporting cast also, especially Eddie Marsan, who plays against type as McAvoy’s downtrodden mate. Not for the fainthearted.

The Place Beyond the Pines: Ryan Gosling is one of the most interesting actors around at the moment. He captivates the screen when he’s on it and is compelling to watch. A sins of the fathers drama which is perhaps a little too long but packs a great dramatic punch.

World War Z: Every summer a slew of blockbusters come forth to attract us out of the sunshine and into the darkness. And every year I find myself disappointed by the majority of them. This year, World War Z was the standout for me. I haven’t read the book, so I had none of the issues with the film that some had. I thought it was an effective plague movie (it’s certainly not really a zombie film per se). After all its problems and reshoots, I don’t think anyone was anticipating its success, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as a popcorn summer movie. Great to see Glasgow doubling as Philly in the set piece opening scene of the film as well.

And that’s it. The ten best films I’ve seen, so far, this year.

If anyone would like to see Electric Man, it’s available on DVD from Amazon.com and on iTunes, Xbox, Playstation and Blinkbox.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

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