MY 2013 AWARDS

The year of 2013 has been a great year for the film industry and cinema; there have been some outstanding releases that have therefore played a role in advertising cinema in all its glory; however there have also been those flops and shameful failures. I have been lucky enough to have viewed many new releases this year and more so, some outstanding ones. I have also been lucky in dodging some of the terrible showings. I will not be awarding films generic titles but ones that suit its viewing most accordingly.

I SHOULD HAVE KEPT MY £10 AND BROUGHT NETFLIX AWARD!

Surprisingly there was no contest for this award even with Movie 43 and The Harry Hill Movie being released in the same year. Oblivion for me was the worse film of 2013 that I had paid to see and even with that in mind, I’m sure it still would have been equally terrible if it was free! The story to Oblivion really didn’t reveal itself till the end so for the most part it was Tom Cruise fixing broken droids with chewing gum and fighting his own clones in a “Tom Cruise-off”. It was just a really poor film that seemed the only purpose it fulfilled was to remind us all how egotistical Mr. Cruise is. For the majority of this film apart from planning the fire exit route home, I was actually thinking of things I could have brought instead, and yes a month’s trail of Netflix crossed my mind!

IT WAS WORTH THAT EXTRA £1 FOR THE GLASSES AWARD!

Most films I’ve seen in 3D have really not been worth that extra £1 for the glasses nor the hassle of the glasses irritating your head. However on that very short list is a 2013 release that I believe is the best cinematic viewing experience in recent years! Gravity was outstanding and its use of 3D was just brilliant. The scene that was most amazing consisted of Ryan Stone’s (Sandra Bullock) tears falling from her eyes towards your face out of the screen. Alfonso Cuarón editing and effects should be applauded. There were really no other contenders for this award, Gravity was visually faultless!

I ALMOST CHOKED ON MY SKITTLES WHILST LAUGHING AWARD!

Every year a handful of “comedies” are released and only a select few manage a snigger or a laugh. This year has been slightly encouraging though with a few films being released that were surprisingly funny. This is the End was by no means special but I giggled due to the works of Seth Rogan once again, and of course The Worlds End was very good displaying that classical Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright humour. However the best comedy of 2013 for me was The Heat! It was hilarious and included amazing humour achieved by the physical display as well as the dialogue. I was actually lucky to see the advanced viewing of The Heat all the way back in February/March and I can still remember the punch-lines. There was one scene out of many that made me hysterical and I actually choked on my skittles at the time, I shall just call that “the watermelon scene”. The Heat isn’t the best film ever but it definitely succeeded at making me laugh non-stop throughout so the award was a no-brainer!

MOST TENSE EXPERIENCE AWARD!

There’s nothing I find more interesting than how a film can make you feel so tense and on edge despite knowing full well it’s just fiction, it’s just a film. This year two films made me on edge, James Wan’s horror The Conjuring had one particular scene that made me amongst others a little bit clammy. However it was Captain Phillips that completely by surprise made me so tense and thrilled throughout viewing. Tom Hanks playing the lead role in a film based on the real life event of Somali pirates capturing the captain of an American cargo ship back in 2009. It had many breath taking and nervy scenes that was helped by the great performance of Tom Hanks. As well as being the tensest viewing experience of 2013, Captain Phillips is also one of my favourite releases.

IT WAS SO WORTH BEING SURROUNDED BY KIDS AWARD!

No matter how old you are there will always be certain films that you can’t help but go to the cinema and watch, despite it involving being surrounded by excitable kids and their parents. Despicable Me 2 was one of those films that I had to see and it was very worth it due the minion mayhem, but it was Monsters University that was the real entertainer. The long awaited sequel to the 2001 Monsters Inc. and the film of my childhood it was one I couldn’t resist. Watching Mike and Sully back at university competing in the scare games was great and it really made me feel like a little child again. I might have looked a bit odd laughing and smiling throughout but the film was amazing. I really don’t regret going to the cinema to see it at all even I did look like a big kid and I’m sure there were many others out there just like me!

YOU SHOULD QUIT THE FATHER AND SON DUO AWARD!

It’s always a disaster waiting to happen when a film becomes a family project. However the film that needed to ditch its father and son duo wasn’t A Good Day To Die Hard but Will and Jadon Smith’s After Earth. The father and son duo had struck lucky with The Pursuit Of Happiness but it wasn’t going to happen again. Jadon really can’t act and the storyline was so dull, at times I didn’t know what was worse. The film previously had such a huge advertisement campaign focusing on the pairing but after this display, this should be the last time we see the Smith’s on the big screen together for a while.

LETS JUST SHHH AND ENJOY THE CINEMATOGRAPHY AND SOUNDTRACK AWARD!

I had to squeeze this film in here somehow! Many will criticise and shame Nicholas Winding Refn’s 2013 Only God Forgives but for me it was a technical and visual master display. It was the unlabelled sequel to the very popular and prestigious Drive (2011) but the film itself was very different. Despite a quiet story, the technical side of Only God Forgives was amazing, the cinematography was really as good as it gets. I’ve heard this film being described as many things, but the one that was really spot on was, “Perfect photography without the caption.” Once again like Drive the soundtrack was also brilliant. Even if you don’t have a clue about what is going on you can’t shun the faultless visuals and for me it was one of the best and underrated releases this year.

I WAS BRIEFLY SCARED AWARD!

2013 for horror was very disappointing in comparison to my original expectations. With big name releases like The Evil Dead and Carrie I was hoping for something else apart from just gore but that didn’t arrive. Surprisingly though it was two of the less talked about films that made the impact, Mama was especially good but James Wan’s The Conjuring for me was the best horror. It had an interesting story that was executed well resulting in a few moments where I was actually scared. The “clap game scene” especially showed that. Again it was nothing too special but it was definitely the best out of the bunch.

 

BEST SEQUEL AWARD!

Usually when a bag full of sequels gets released it’s for the wrong reasons and they only produce a dent in their franchise. 2013 however was a good year for sequels with the likes of, Monsters University, A good day to Die Hard, Despicable Me 2, The Hunger Games etc. but as expected there was no contest as soon as The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug was released. The prequels to the best trilogy made in Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit films were always going to have high expectations and they’ve surely delivered. Once again the entertainment flourished with a great storyline and cast recreating that much loved adventurous feel. There is no other alternative than to choose The Hobbit as the best sequel!

MOST FAVOURITE PERFORMANCE AWARD!

There are always those films and those characters that you can’t help but get attached too and this is purely down to the great performances captured by the actors and actresses. This year for me I saw two standout performances, Colin Farrell although only playing a side-role in Saving Mr Banks was absolutely brilliant. It was Farrell’s co-star Tom Hanks that gave the best performance of 2013 though, in the outstanding Captain Phillips. Tom Hanks reminded us all just why many regard him as one of the greatest actors of recent years. It was the final scene that really showed this, as a hysterical Tom Hanks captured brilliantly the feelings of Captain Richard Phillips. There will be no surprise if Hanks wins many awards for his role as without it Captain Phillips wouldn’t have been as enjoyable and as impacting.

There’s my non-generic awards for 2013, feel free to comment on all those wonderful controversial statements, or perhaps agree with my absolute correctness.

 

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My Challenge Progress- Pixar Shorts

A week has passed and that means I only have one week left, so far I haven’t failed my challenge and I hope you’ve been following along. I have so far managed to review and watch 10 Pixar animated shorts, here are the links to my reviews and my current ranking, I hope you enjoy and I do really appreciate it if you’ve been following along.

1- Day & Night (2010)  – ★★★★½

2- Boundin’ (2003) – ★★★★½

3- For the Birds (2000) – ★★★★½

4- Geri’s Game (1997) – ★★★★

5- Paperman (2012) – ★★★★

6- Knick Knack (1989) – ★★★★

7- Red’s Dream (1987) – ★★★½

8- Luxo Jr. (1986) – ★★★½

9- Tin Toy (1988) – ★★★

10- Adventures of Andre and Wally B (1984) – ★★½

 

For the Birds (2000)

Genre: Family, Animation, Short, Comedy

Director: Ralph Eggleston

Writer: Ralph Eggleston

Rating:  ★★★★½

Pixar were developing quickly making huge big-selling popular feature films, with their shorts somewhat taking a back seat three years after their last (Knick Knack 1997) it was up to new Ralph Eggleston to buck the trend with “For the Birds”. To say Pixar were developing quickly is somewhat an understatement, the quality, graphics and all round animation is flawless. As always it’s witty, fun and sweet all with that magical Pixar feel making you feel like a child again, that’s if you’re not already one. Ralph Eggleston’s story follows a group of “stuck up” snooty birds sitting on a telephone wire, they mock a recently arrived “goofy” looking bird but get there just desserts in a shocking accident. You find yourself rooting for the goofy bird, feeling sympathetic and when he gets his revenge you laugh and cheer and then of course after realise it’s just a short film.

It was Eggleston’s first edition for Pixar and lasted a very entertaining enjoyable three minutes. Being released with Monsters, Inc. a very popular feature it stole some of the headlines winning an Oscar, for Pixar that was two successful wins in the last two attempts. What makes me love For the Birds so much was the way you could relate to the big goofy bird being shunned upon and when karma played its role you couldn’t help but laugh and smile. In a way from the story, quality and characters it is flawless however I do feel there’s an element missing nevertheless its brilliant and simply great.

Let me know you views, watch it here.

Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University (2013) Poster

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure, Animation

Director: Dan Scanlon

Writers: Dan Scanlon, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird

Staring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren

Rating: ★★★★

In a time before Monsters, Inc. where Mike had braces, was even smaller, even more adorable there was Monsters University. To say Monsters University does its pre-sequel justice is an understatement, it gets funnier, cuter and even more brilliant. The new technology used by Pixar clearly shows as the quality of the monsters are phenomenal, the writing is amazing and the film as whole will certainly be remembered just like Monsters, Inc. as a classic.

We join our small, green monster friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) in his school-days taking a tour of Monsters University’s “Scare Floor”, as his big one eye gazes from a far at his heroes he realises that he wants to be a professional scarer. Scaring human children to sleep, collecting screams for energy being a professional scarer is a job that separates the monsters from the beach balls. On his journey to reach his dream Mike joins Monsters University where he meets James P. Sullivan “Sully”, (John Goodman), big, blue and terrifying and coming from a long line of the best scarers life looks easy for Sully. Whilst Sully chooses the “jock” life, pranking, partying and sleeping; Mike chooses the “nerd” life of studying, studying and studying but when the two face their first exam their conflict leads them to fail the course.

With the easy route to his dream ruined the only way Mike can become a scarer is to win the “Scare Games”. The Scare Games is a traditional Monsters University event that judges who the best scarers are, but with Mike paired up with Sully and a bunch of unexperienced “rejects” his team “OK” are certainly the underdogs. The film focuses on how the games and challenges faced bring the characters of Mike and Sully together. The fierce competition from other monsters and the principle “queen” makes the adventures of our adorable monsters action packed, fun and dangerous.

Pixar once again has managed to reflect real-life from Monsters University, in Monsters, Inc. (2001) the film and the different characters represented those in the work place. This time round the characters represent those in a school environment making it very relatable to the audience. The film as a whole has “family” written all over it from the cute characters and the great gags that will keep everyone entertained. The use of casting also attracts those older with the likes of Helen Mirren (The Queen), Steve Buscemi (Fargo) being very popular well-known figures.

The film had me hook, line and sinker from the opening, seeing the cute little Mike walking around brought back all those feelings and memories from Monsters, Inc. The way that Pixar manage to create such emotion and feelings for Wazowski with only an eye and brow to work with is incredible and new monsters such as “Squishy and Art” just emphasised the awww’s.  The storyline was also intelligent, adding information that only gives us a further insight into the life of our much-loved Mike and Sully also giving us a chance to see behind the scenes.

This film lived highly up to the standards set and I’m glad it did, I’m sure you’ll find Monsters University on the best sequel lists rather than the ones that shouldn’t have been made. Faultless from start to finish, from characters to storylines, to gags and casting. It was hilariously entertaining and once again Pixar has created an animation picture that will become a classic. If you enjoyed Monsters, Inc. then you will love Monsters University, so what are you waiting for-Its scaring time!

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich

Writers: Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston, Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Rhet Reese, Johnathan Roberts

Staring: John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, Billy Crystal

Rating: ★★★★

Due to the recently released sequel “Monsters University” I decided to revisit one of my childhood favourites. “We scare, cause we care” is the slogan of the monsters in Monsters, Inc. Pixars animated creation states the legend that monsters do exist in the closet is obviously true. With another inventive storyline and some adorable lovable characters here’s a film that is for everyone in the family. I loved this film when watching it twelve years ago as a kid and I love it now as a seventeen year old.

The story follows the two lovable monsters James P. Sullivan (Sulley) and Mike Wazowski voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal. The two work for Monsters, Inc. the utility company who powers the city with the screams and goosebumps of children. Sulley big, blue and the companies best scream-generator accidentally finds trouble with cute, little two-year old girl Boo as he accidentally lets her into the city, Monstropolis . Mike, short, green and one-eyed has to help Sulley get Boo back home before the city gets a big shock. The twist in the plot of Monsters, Inc. is that it’s the monsters who are scared of the children and not the other way round.

The story feeds of the relationship between our adorable monsters and Boo, how the three together become close leading to a watery-eyed moment when it times to say goodbye. The other characters in the film purely represent those In the work place making the film more relatable for the adults. Monsters, Inc. released after the two Toy Story’s shows once again the brilliant, inventive imaginations of Pixar as well as their technical skills with their animation.

Just like other Pixar films it provides plenty for the family, as a child the characters alone were enough to entertain me but the silly gags and behaviour of our monsters create many chuckles. Like most children films there are also many adult humour moments creating those sneaky laughs that you miss if you’re a kid. Before viewing kids were kept awake at the thought of scary monsters hiding in the closet, after watching they will be jumping in looking for the door to meet Sulley and Mike.

Monsters, Inc. is a film that has just like most Pixar Films set a template for future family films, I personally love it and its one of my favourite animated films of all time. It has it all, lovable characters, a great storyline, laughs and an ending that leaves you with a lump in your throat no matter how old you are. I hope Monsters University is half as good as this film and does the franchise some justice, if you haven’t already seen this film then you’re missing out.