Films of 2013

Disclaimer: due to a laptop theft in February 2015, I lost most of my 2013-2014 files. I have tried to accurately remember all past entertainment indulgences, but some small mistakes or omissions are unavoidable.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street
'$430,000 in one month, Jordy. Huh? (...) Sides? Sides? $26,000 worth of sides? What are these sides? They cure cancer?'
Terence Winter's screenplay is an endless barrage of hilarious lines, and Rob Reiner gets some of the best moments as Jordan Belfort's dad. Martin Scorsese is at the top of his game, stretching the story of a shady criminal into a three hour epic that never runs out of steam. As an audience member, you're gasping for breath, trying to recover from the off the wall moments, and then you realize it's all based on real events and real people were scammed. Darn. Leonardo DiCaprio has never been better.

2. Oblivion
Joseph Kosinski's Tron Legacy keeps getting better with each viewing, and his sophomore effort Oblivion proves his début wasn't a fluke. An engaging storyline, gorgeous visuals, and Tom Cruise as his intense, focused self. Cool movie.

3. About Time
A touching, well-written, and beautifully cast time travel movie. You can't go wrong with Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and especially Bill Nighy. Richard Curtis delivers yet again. Not a perfect movie, but a damn cute one. Full review on The Reel Place.

4. Gravity
A stunning technical achievement on nearly every level, and one of the most gorgeous 3D movies I have ever seen. Film making at its absolute finest.

5. The Lone Ranger
A box office bomb that needs more love. Armie Hammer nails it as the titular hero, and the train chase (with mostly practical effects!) at the end is intense cinema. I also dug the maligned narrative framing device with Old Tonto.

6. 7 Cajas
A Paraguayan movie, discovered during a film critic course I took (in order to write better movie reviews). '7 Cajas' - which means '7 Boxes' - is an immense crowdpleaser, in which young Victor (Celso Franco) accepts an odd proposal that could make him $100. Said odd job quicky goes off the rails and attracts unwanted attention. The excellent Lili González co-stars. A must-see.

7. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
A horrible idea on paper, 'Hansel & Gretel' turned out to be a whole heap of cheesy goodness. No idea whether or not it holds up to repeat viewings (I haven't seen this since 2013). Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton make for a dynamic duo, and Famke Janssen is clearly having a lot of fun hamming it up, so here's hoping for a sequel rather sooner than later.

8. Pacific Rim
The thinking man's 'Transformers' may be too much praise (besides, I have only seen the first 'Transformers', and I liked that one). 'Pacific Rim' is dumb and big, but expertly made and fun.

9. Jack the Giant Slayer
Nicolas Hoult is always excellent, and this reimagining of the classic fairytale is a crowdpleasing CGI spectacle. A flop that didn't deserve to be one.

10. Only God Forgives
A super-polarising movie. Five years down the road, I still don't know what to make of it. It certainly stays with you long after the credits have rolled, which is at least saying something. So what is 'Only God Forgives'? Violent, gorgeously shot, expertly scored, overall very pretentious, and starring a character called 'Julian'. But is it a GOOD movie? Is it on a par with 'Drive'? No verdict as of now.

11. Star Trek: Into Darkness
2009's Star Trek was superb fun, but this sophomore effort is suprisingly mediocre. As if made by a committee, without the passion of the first one. Oh well.

12. Man of Steel
Quite the boring superhero movie. No investment in the characters, no fun, no memorable set pieces. Pity.

Special mention

13. Jurassic Park 3D
Full review here.

Julian De Backer, 11 April 2018