Suprising Films of 2013

I have concluded my favourite films of 2013 but I thought those that didn’t make the list did deserve at least some recognition and credit as there were many releases that took me by surprise and entertained emphatically.

#5

The World’s End was absolutely great and was a popular release and favourite for many but it took me by surprise as I expected a huge let down compared to the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz that are now hilarious classics but Pegg and Wright teamed up again to round off a great trilogy with no let downs.

#4

Dark Skies wasn’t perfect but it does deserve credit as a good horror in a year when the genre didn’t really glorify itself. With a good storyline and execution I really enjoyed it much to my surprise.

#3

Despicable Me 2 was a huge box office success and a huge family favourite of 2013. After seeing and enjoying Despicable Me I was expecting this sequel to be more of the same but instead the refreshing twist and hilarious minions made it more enjoyable than first imagined.

#2

This is The End was one of my favourite comedies of the year in a genre that really flourished. When I saw trailers I assumed it would be much like the other previous releases where we watch Rogan smoke a few joints and crack a joke or two, being funny but average, however with the huge ensemble of great a cast it was just brilliant!

#1

The Heat was my favourite comedy of the year making me laugh non-stop! What surprised me most is the diversity Bullock showed from providing great comedy to a great classic in Gravity. The Heat didn’t look all good at first with some dodgy airbrushing but it proved me wrong!

Fell free to comment below and tell me your top surprises of 2013!

Advertisements

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.

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.

 

Hello Again!

Since starting college again  I have some what neglected my blog 😦 but I have decided to start again with my film reviews. I’ve decided that working in the film industry is something I hope to do as a future and that starts next year. So hopefully writing reviews will get me somewhere, you don’t have to agree with my reviews or love them but reading them would be great and so would feedback. I also want to take requests of films you want to see me review. Thanks for following my blog too, and for the many likes and comments I got over the summer. – Liam

Pixar Shorts!

After seeing the magical craze and the impact that “The Blue Umbrella” has had on viewers recently, I’ve decided to challenge myself to watch and review as many Pixar Short films as I can! I would love it if you could view them, comment and get involved and you can find them on my blog under the new category “Pixar Shorts”. Thanks guys, also a quick thanks to for the comments, likes, follows and support on my blog – Liam