2013 had some very fun movies. However, I don’t think there were ten outstanding films. Sure some had tons of action, humor, and special effects, but at the end of the day they aren’t going to be looked back as classics. Similar to Stephen King’s lists, the films only include ones I have seen (so films like “American Hustle” are null and void).
Honorable Mention: The Book Thief
Based on Markus Zusak’s novel, The Book Thief follows Liesel, who is raised by foster parents during Nazi Germany. The film starring newcomer Sophie Nélisse and the legendary Geoffrey Rush involves Liesel and Hans (Rush) learning to read together in an era where books were banned and Jews were killed.
The B-plot of the film has Hans and his wife Rosa (Emily Watson) house a Jew, Max (Ben Schnetzer) and Liesel learning many things from Max. This B-plot serves as a main focal point of Liesel as she grows up over the course of a few years.
There aren’t many occasions where an animated family film would end up on a Top movie list. But Disney created a gem with Frozen following Anna and her kyrokinetic sister Elsa. When Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her powers, she is secluded into her room until she is crowned queen. However, when an accident sets off her powers again, she flees, sending Anna out to find her.
With a cast of side characters including Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven, and a soundtrack full of fun new songs, Frozen has been heralded as ‘the best since The Lion King’, and it can easily be seen why. The film will be held in same regard as these classics for years to come.
4. Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks appears twice on my list this year, with Captain Phillips ringing in at fourth place for the year. The film details the ‘true’ account of Captain Phillips and his crew after his ship got taken over by Somali pirates. The interactions between Richard Phillips (Hanks) and Muse (Barkhad Abdi) are award worthy in themselves.
Whether what really happened on the ship is factual or not, the rescue is real and the film was nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t seen Captain Phillips yet, it will be released in a few weeks on DVD and I feel that this film could be this year’s Argo.
3. 12 Years a Slave
Many thought Lee Daniel’s The Butler was going to be on many Top film lists this year, but 12 Years a Slave was the dark horse that really has captured the eyes of millions. Solomon Northup (Chiwitel Ejiofor) is a free black man as the film starts, who awakens after a night of drinking to find out that he is now being sold into slavery.
The film follows Solomon’s twelve year struggle to freedom and also boasts a huge supporting cast including Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, and Brad Pitt. The thing holding this film back from all the major awards is that many independent films don’t boast the financial necessities to be able to campaign like those major films.
Gravity was one of the most spectacular, visually stunning films of all time. Following Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) after she is knocked into orbit after her ship is destroyed, Gravity was a survival story of the ages. Co-starring George Clooney as Matt Kowalski, the film is equal parts tense as it is funny.
This film was definitely made for both IMAX and 3-D, and should be seen in the IMAX 3-D format to really get the best quality of the film. Many thought this was supposed to be an action adventure flick, but Gravity really is a story of survival, and does so amazingly.
1. Saving Mr. Banks
Who ever thought the story of how Mary Poppins was created would be so interesting? But Disney has produced an amazing movie that details how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) persuaded Poppins author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) into giving Disney the rights to make a film based on her beloved Mary Poppins.
Disney did a great job paralleling PL Travers now and her past, that included her father (played by Colin Farrell) and her messed up home life. The producers also did very well to recreate the 60s and made the film not only compelling, but fun to watch.