Favourite Scenes From 2013

2013 left us a week ago now but still looking back it was a great year in the world of cinema for viewing experiences and entertainment. Regarding my 2013 Round-Up there’s not much left to conclude, so here I bring you some of my favourite and the most memorable  scenes from 2013 releases.

#5

A scene that is truly memorable comes from the recent instalment to The Hobbit series, The Desolation of Smaug  presented us with a stunningly made Dragon which in its final scenes breaks free covered in liquid gold shaking it everywhere. An image and scene that was perfectly executed and is surely to be an award-winner. The scenes involving Smaug were all impressive.

#4

One of the most talked about and divided film of 2013 was Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, despite dividing opinions it really made an impact on me with a brilliantly executed display. The scene I’m sure no one will forget is the long-awaited fight scene that saw Ryan Gosling in a violent display. It was my favourite scene from the film, especially with Cliff Martinez once again adding amazing score.

#3

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was an excellent and surprising film with an almost perfect balance between comedy, drama and action. The very final scene for me was a real heart-warmer which summed up the films pleasant atmosphere! there were also many perfectly shot scenes that really glorified the captured scenery but for me the ending had a mixture of everything.

#2

Gravity was for me the best visual experience of recent years with amazing effects and great use of 3D! A real awe inspiring scene that was a real highlight and advertisement for recent technology was the inclusion of 3D tears as Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone broke down.

#1

Captain Phillips was crowned my favourite release of 2013 and this was mainly down to the amazing and inspirational acting from Tom Hanks. In the final scenes under examination Hank’s Phillips breaks down into shock and capture’s a breath-taking performance that I’m sure will bring many rightful awards and plaudits.

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My Favourite 10 for 2013

Since I have now viewed most of the 2013 releases I had originally intended to here are my favourite 10. I know I have already posted My 2013 Awards but here is a more formal list, fortunately I don’t have a habit of going to bad screenings so my list was a bit of a headache to conclude and finalise.

#10

“Different”, “Refreshing” and “Tense”

#9

“Fun”, “Alive” and “Heart-felt”

#8

“Thrilling”, “Clever” and “Chilling”

#7

“Pleasant”, “Touching” and “Powerful”

(Reviewed Here)

#6

“Fun”, “Entertaining” and “Brilliant”

(Reviewed Here)

#5

“Master-class”, “Violent” and “Brave”

#4

“Fun”, “Entertaining” and “Simply Great”

(Reviewed Here)

#3

“Touching”, “Inspirational” and “Magical”

(Reviewed Here)

#2

“Visually-Flawless”, “Tense” and “Special”

(Reviewed Here)

#1

“Breath-Taking”, “Tense” and “Stunning”

(Reviewed Here)

Captain Phillips concludes my 2013 list and gets named my favourite film of the year. I only wish I had reviewed more of them but I’m sure I shall with second watches. Feel free to debate and comment about my choices and it would be great if you’d name your top 10 films of 2013 below!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Genre: Adventure, Action, Drama, Comedy

Director: Ben Stiller

Writers: Steve Conrad, James Thurber

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly

Rating: ★★★★

Ben Stiller directing and starring in the film of his career. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been compared to some big name films and has been frequently labelled “The New Forrest Gump”, but for me it has enough loveable aspects to stand alone and be regarded as having its own story and being its own style of film. Surprisingly funny and powerful, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has heart and a great storyline with an even better message being conveyed.  Inspiring visuals and cinematography then add the star quality Stiller would have hoped for creating an entertaining watch.

Ben Stiller is Walter Mitty, a dreamer so busy dreaming he doesn’t get to live, always finding himself “zoned-out” in the background of everything that he does. A long-time server and loyal employee of Life Magazine Mitty works as a negative film developer but his position is soon under threat due to the magazine turning to the world wide web,  revealing there will only be one more issue of the global magazine printed before the online version is launched. When photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) sends Walter “the best work of his life” for the final issue, the intended final front page, shot negative 25 goes missing. Stepping out of his daydreams Walter Mitty goes on the most courageous adventure of his life in attempt to track down the mysterious photographer and the missing photograph that takes him half way across the world.

The adapted classic tale also focuses on the growing relationship between Walter Mitty and his co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) that sets up a rather heart-felt romance and relationship. The film in a whole is very pleasant and heart-warming whilst at the same time surprisingly funny from script to scenes. In the opening of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty the focus is very much on the constant drifts from reality by Mitty, where he rescues small dogs from fires and makes harsh compassions between his boss and the beloved Dumbledore. The rest of the film though, focuses on the idea of reality both however are very action packed and entertaining.

The art of enjoying this film is to stretch your imagination; at times the humour is silly and so is the story but despite this it is hilarious and entertaining if you let it be. The gags are great and the majority are due to the unfortunate events in Walter’s life, the comedy almost hints at Stiller’s previous work, especially Zoolander.  The action is the highlight however as the missing shot takes Walter half way round the world, to the jaws of a shark and to the face of an erupting volcano, providing more than enough escapism.

The thing I loved most about the story of Walter Mitty is the element of truth and realism it holds; especially speaking about myself I can firmly say we can often find ourselves drifting from reality into daydreams and wild imaginative thoughts all with the same hope of one day experiencing them. Ben Stiller and Steve Conrad have really worked well together and have successfully achieved a great adaption from James Thurber’s classic, creating a film we can all relate to.

I can see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty achieving many awards and much recognition; technically I believe the film flourished in terms of visuals and cinematography. The vast amounts of long shots and wide shots  showing off scenery views from mountains to long roads was awe inspiring and a real treat for the eyes. The score was also a real gem, especially the clever inclusion of the classic Space Oddity by David Bowie.

The Secret Life of Walter isn’t perfect, at times the narrative has flaws and the script comes across too cheesy making it look like it’s trying just too hard for laughs and gags. However you leave the cinema feeling inspired and there’s a real special element about this film that is quite unique. The ending is a real heart-warmer and glorifies a fantastic piece of writing, if you’re thinking of seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty than I can only ask you take it for what it is and then you will really realise how great this film is.

Night At The Museum (2006)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Director: Shawn Levy

Writers: Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon (Screenplay), Milan Trenc (Book)

Staring: Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Owen Wilson

Rating: ★★★

I remember watching this film as a kid in the cinema and just like most others my age I found it amazing and exciting, seven years later although not as excited and amazed I still very much enjoy it. Night At The Museum has had some really bad and in my opinion unfair reviews, it has a predictable somewhat plain storyline but then again not many films break that mould, what this film does do though is create laughter and give you a new look at history. It has a great cast from Ben Stiller to Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais and the special effects are what you expect but still of quality. In general this film is very watchable and if you let yourself you will enjoy it and be entertained.

Ben Stiller plays the character of Larry Daley, divorced and unemployed he’s a complete loser but the failed marriage and career doesn’t bother Larry as all he wants to do is be a good father and impress his son, Nick. When finding out he might be getting evicted Nick and Larry are disappointed to say the least but in a desperate need of a job he takes up the vacancy of a night guard at the natural history museum. There’s a saying that at night history comes to life, unfortunately for Larry it just happens to be true. When the sun sets all the museums exhibits come to life, from Rex the dinosaur to cavemen and elephants. After somewhat settling in on the job Larry invites his son to spend a night shift alongside him however the retired guards Larry replaced set out to steal the museums most precious treasures, with the help of the most historic figures Larry must stop the guards and save the museum all before the sun rises.

The supporting cast to Ben Stiller as previously mentioned is outstanding and involves some big names. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan play to rival figures one being a roman the other a cowboy, the two provide great laughter and some funny scenes. Others such as Robin Williams who takes on the role of Teddy Roosevelt and Ricky Gervais who plays the boss of the museum. The scenes as a kid excited me, seeing a giant dinosaur come to life and play fetch like a dog was amazing not so much now but it still brings a smile and that’s due to the good special effects. Due to the special effects not only does it bring amazement but laughter as some historic characters wreak havoc.

Night At The Museum is very watchable like I’ve said and although really for kids if you let it, you will enjoy this film. The cast is great and this for me is the key to this film, all providing laughs and comical sequences they keeps you entertained. As a kid the dream is there, that you can walk into a museum and it comes to life, as an adult it’s about the special effects and more so the laughter. This was never going to be an iconic film or one that people will watch over and over but it entertains and that’s what its meant to do. Fun, creative and hilarious.

My Top 5 Comedy Actors

#5 Ben Stiller: There’s no surprise Ben Stiller is on my list, if there is such a thing as a “funny gene” then he’s definetly inherited it with his parents (Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara) being legendary comedians. He started his acting career in the late 1980’s and is now directing and producing his own films. If you asked someone to name some of their favourite comedies I’m sure a Ben Stiller film will creep up. Most famously known for his hilarious Zoolander (2001) and later on the likes of Meet The Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers(2010). He’s also featured in one of my favourite comedies There’s Something About Mary (1998). He most certainly deserves his place on this list, after all he did create “The Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too”.

#4 Steve Carell: Personally Steve Carell is one of my favourite actors as he’s just brilliant and hilarious, breaking through into the acting world in the 1990’s he’s been a prestigious face for the last decade. I don’t think you’ll find a un-funny film that’s he’s done. Winner of a Golden Globe and voted funniest man on Life Magazine there’s no surprise he’s on this list. His most well known films being Crazy Stupid Love(2011) , The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)and Anchorman (2004) topping a huge list of amazing comedies. His performance in Crazy Stupid Love is amazing and his role as Brick in Anchorman is hilarious and makes the film. When it comes to jokes and acting silly Steve Carell is certainly the guy to come to and well he’s a lover of lamp and desk and ummm carpet.

#3 Paul Rudd: He’s usually the guy hidden behind bigger stars and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but for me he’s brilliant and one of the funniest guys in the business who has a smart head on him, writing and producing some amazing films. Playing background roles in films such as Anchorman (2004), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007) he eventually made his name to get lead roles. Writing and staring in the amazingly successful comedy Role Models (2008) and Dinner For Schmucks (2010). His performance in films such as Role Models and even in I Love You, Man (2009) were very impressive and had my eyes watering from laughter. I’m glad he didn’t stick to his previous occupation of a DJ as he’s one of the funniest guys around, making him deserve his place on my list.

#2 Seth Rogen: A former stand up comedian as a teenager he is now staring, writing and producing some of the best comedies around. With his recognisable laugh and hair he is definitely a popular guy. Breaking into the industry with films such as Knocked Up and Pineapple Express (2008) he has really made a name for himself, for me Pineapple Express is an amazing film and Seth Rogen is hilarious in it, also showing of his talents by writing the screenplay. He’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and is definitely now a well known star, also releasing this years hit comedy “This Is The End”. For the countless times he’s made me cry with laughter and for the films he’s made funny, and made in general he deserves his spot on the list at number two.

#1 Will Ferrell: At number one of my list and probably on many peoples lists is Will Ferrell, his curly hair has been on screen for a while now and he’s featured in an amazing amount of comedies. His most remembered being Anchorman where he plays the lead character of Ron Burgandy and Step Brothers(2008). Just like other top actors he is behind the writing and producing of his own films showing off his many talents. He is also the man behind my favourite Christman film “Elf” (2003) where he is unbelievably funny playing Buddy, and also one of my other favourite comedies such The Other Guys(2010). If Will Ferrell is in a film then it will certainly be funny and one to watch, nominated for two Golden Globes he is certainly a favourite with the public as well. Its safe to say I love Will Ferrell just as much as he loves scotch, scothcy scotch scotch.

There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writers: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (Screenplay), Ed Decter and John J Strauss (Story and Screenplay)

Staring: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon

Rating: ★★★★ 

Comedies are those films that everyone pretends to love but really find themselves only laughing twice throughout the film but not realising, however with There’s Something About Mary it’s completely different. Its one of my favourite comedies, its quirky, fun and different and had me laughing more than not the whole way throughout the film. This film turned 15 years old recently, in those 15 years I’ve seen this film at least 10 times and it seems to never get boring or old and the laughs don’t seem to fade either. The film being the work of The Farrelly Brothers there’s no surprise its funny, they push for as many laughs they can get whereas most other films get their laugh and carry on with the plot.

Ben Stiller plays the character of Ted, the geeky guy in high-school with his neck supporting more braces than face, however Mary (Cameron Diaz) has a thing for braces. Mary is the opposite to Ted, popular, attractive and sunny. Ted gets a strike of luck and his dream girl asks him to prom, however they never quite make it after a bizarre, eye-watering, painful but funny incident involving a zipper, frank and beans. Several years later Ted gets another chance to get his dream girl, hiring a private investigator Healy (Matt Dillon) to locate her but Healy is as dodgy as his moustache. Mary still being the same, Healy becomes interested and throws some false information at Ted and by false I just mean the usual lie of saying someone has 4 kids, 250 pounds and is currently on their way to Japan as a mail-bride. However this film is meant to have a touch of romance and Ted eventually becomes apart of Mary’s life again, but that wont stop the freaks from chasing after her providing more hilarious sequences.

There’s more than a few sequences let alone stand alone moments and gags that will make you laugh, I wont ruin them and the fun although I’m pretty sure its impossible. I will say though after watching this film you’ll find yourself a lot more wary of Jack Russells, zippers and using somebody’s hair gel. The laughs are created from everyone, there’s not a single character that doesn’t have a gag or a one-liner to set you off again. The other characters In the film consist of Dom (Chris Elliot), Ted’s friend who’s more weird and slightly scary than funny but that’s probably due to the fact he has a whitehead on his eyeball. There’s also Magna (Lin Shaye) the neighbour who has probably had more sunbeds than Ted did orthodontists appointments, in a peculiar fashion she provides us with many laughs with help the help of her dog.

This film is different from others, although it has a generic storyline it has an amazing twister of a plot containing many laughs, something most “comedies” don’t provide. I love it when you can just watch a film and it will just take you on this journey, entertain you and make you laugh and this is exactly what There’s Something About Mary does. Even up against modern-day comedies this film will still win, it’s truly spectacular and for once there’s a comedy that can make you explode with laughter more than once.

Anchorman (2004)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Staring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate
Rating: ★★★★
Anchorman is possibly the godfather of the current “teenage” generation, sad but true. It’s hugely hilarious with an amazing well known cast also featuring many cameo performances from comedy stars I will not mention. Set in a news station it stereotypes and mocks what happens on the news, from those cheesy smile credits to the friendly chats after the sign off. It takes an opportunity to show the viewers what they might not see on the news, behind the cameras, but of course this is a comedy and you can’t believe everything you see on TV.
The story focuses on San Diego’s popular news Anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell),
He’s a master of the jazz flute, winner of 5 Emmy’s and has a woman as a co anchor, wait did someone say Women! Trouble arises as manager Ed Harken (Fred Willard) decides he wants some diversity and hires Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who aspires to be a network anchor. Scared cause “their menstruation attracts bears” the act of sabotage begins from the San Diego news men but the woman fight back.
The male news team consist of very well known comedy actors, Steve Carell plays  Brick Tamland, the weather man with a grenade in his pocket. There’s also Brian Fantana and Champ Kind (Paul Rudd, David Koechner) and the four together occasionally go suit shopping and sing afternoon delight. It would be boring eventually and unfair to get all the laughs in this film from mocking the stupidity of the news team. So Anchorman focuses on Ron Burgundy and Veronica. They get close and into a relationship, taking trips to pleasure town but when work gets in the way they turn bitter and their actions have costly consequences and Ron loses his job, will Ron and Veronica get back together and things go back to usual? Stay tuned San Diego.
The laughs in this film are big and there are plenty off them. Some films go too far and try too hard for laughs being somewhat stupid and silly, however despite Anchorman doing this, they do it well and you can’t stop yourself from laughing. As mentioned before there are a number of cameo performances from other well known comedy actors, they all meet in a Network standoff free-for all and well things escalate quickly. I love this film like I love lamp and scotch, you’ll find yourself laughing and eventually quoting it every time you put it on and I personally think its the best comedy in the last decade for sure. If you haven’t already seen Anchorman you’re missing out, it’s definitely a must watch comedy.