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Best and Worst Lists: 2009-2018

I’ve been doing year end lists for 10 years now!

Yep, as of next year, I’ll be passed a decade of ranking my best and worst of the year that had passed, starting off posting them on Bebo believe it or not! So I’ve decided to archive them here to make it easier to reach them.

When I moved my year end lists from my Blogspot to my WordPress account, I edited them inasmuch as I omitted embarrassing wording (or made fun of myself for it) and rearranged the order. Not here, baby! You’re gonna get my embarrassing movie taste and cringe way of conveying it as fecking intended!

The lists from 2009-2013 will be saved here, and afterwards you’ll be linked to the previous years output from this blog. Got it? Good. Let’s start with:

2009

Favourites:

Up.I’m kinda going through a Pixar craze atm, and I think it’s partially inspired by this movie (I’m going to watch Wall-E soon, which I’ve heard MASS praise for). What I really love about this film is that it actually tackles a very inevitable and trying problem, despite it’s rather over the top premise: age (well, it’s inevitable if you live that long, but I digress). I know everybody talks about the first 10 minutes of the movie, but what really gets to me is Carl himself. He’s so cantankerous and mean-spirited, but yet so likeable. The limitations that his age is putting on him (due both to his health and how people are treating him), combined with his very pure and beautiful love for his wife, really spur him into a very magickal adventure. What also makes this work is his relationship with the young boy that accidentally hitchikes along the way. Being the exact opposite of Carl, he’s also incredibly likeable and I love the relationship these two have. Okay, I’m just rambling on, so I’ll just sum up why exactly I love this film: it’s beautiful, it’s touching, it’s incredibly clever (even for Pixar’s standards), and it just hits every mark that makes it a very accesible and enjoyable family film. I also love the idea of a talking dog that talks like a dog would probably talk! It’s so funny, and the dog in question (Dug) is just so endearingly loveable!

The Hangover. I just love how this movie took a rather overused idea (road trip movies: all the fun, none of the actual experience of leaving your house and entering the cold, dark world), and just made a really good film out of it. The characters are incredibly likeable and play off each other really well, the mystery is actually engrossing and you really do wonder just what happened to their friend, Mike Tyson’s cameo works surprisingly well (also he’s just hilarious!), and overall it’s really, really funny! Granted, there’s some stupid gross out stuff, it doesn’t completely detract from it. It’s probably not the most intelligent or thought provoking movie you will ever see, but it’s not trying to be. It’s just trying to be a silly, funny, entertaining feel-good comedy that makes you laugh out loud and is just a seriously fun experience in the movies. Also anyone who’s had the same drinking experiences as I involving cameras can REALLY appreciate the post-credits sequence: easily the highlight of the movie for me!

Worst:

Wolverine: Origins: this is a 2011 entry that I forgot to put in because, well, I want to forget this movie ever existed. It not only took one of my favourite characters from the comics and turned him into a mockery, it sanitised Wolverine more than he EVER has in an X-men movie, has a painfully bad plot that is a chore to sit through, insanely cheap and awful special effects and pointless cameos for the sake of them. This is how I imagine comic book movies look to non-fans: big, dumb, flashy, paper thin characters, stupid and cliched plot points and morose, brainless and over-the-top films. Absolutely pathetic film.

Harry Brown. This film just pissed me off. It’s overly simplistic social commentary pissed me off, it’s uninteresting and underdeveloped antagonists pissed me off, it’s overemphasizing themes pissed me off, it’s usage of law enforcement pissed me off, it’s hilariously over-the-top portrayel of the underground society (particularly the drug culture) pissed me off: it has all the ambitions of a serious, insightful revenge movie with none of the intelligence to follow up. Even this wouldn’t bother me if the film wasn’t just so unbelievable BORING to boot! It’s slow as hell, as it tries to build up Caine’s character into a fighting force and give this film some credibility, the action is very laidback as the film tries to be ‘realistic’ and just ends up being disturbingly silly, and it’s just an incredible mess after the first few minutes, which sadly I thought were building up into a very exciting movie (which pissed me off even more, coz it’s like the film tricked me into thinking it was going to be decent). If you want a movie that makes a clever and potent insight into the messed up, corrupt society we live in, don’t watch this movie. If you want to see a movie that’s a fun, silly action movie, don’t watch this movie. The only thing you can watch this movie for is Michael Caine, who gives an excellent performance as a lonely man trapped in this very horrible situation, I just wish the rest of the movie held up as well as he did. A shame, really.

Honourable mention: Avatar. Yes, Avatar. Before people start, I didn’t overall HATE this movie. It was entertaining for what it was. I probably brought into the hype too much, but I honestly think this film thinks it’s epic when it really isn’t. It’s story is simplistic, as is it’s message, the characters are dull and underdeveloped, the acting is acceptable at best, the music kills me, and it’s just not that well put together film if it weren’t for the damn special effects, which are mind boggling. Granted, it did get a few things right, like a pretty realistic portrayel of what the ‘not-so-distant’ future would be like rather than having shoes that randomly tie themselves, Sigourney Weaver was really a saving grace of this film, playing a really interesting character (who dies before the last third of the movie. Ho-hum…..), and the mecchas are really cool looking. I just don’t think it makes up for it’s failings. If they hadn’t portrayed the military and the corporation as big, mindless, destructive baddies, than it would have been better. If it hadn’t relied so heavily on a pretty boring and uninspired love story (same problem I have with Titanic), than it would have been better. If Cameron had concentrated on as much on the story as he did on the effects and made a more believable, tangible alien world and not treated the writing as automatically ‘dumb’ and ‘overused’ as the film’s concept clearly was, than it would have been a better movie. The fact is that they didn’t, and it isn’t. I love the look of this movie, I just can’t wait for this technology to be used in a better movie.

(note that I was contemplating putting Ice Age 3 here, which I only saw coz my friends wanted to go, long story there, but I didn’t dislike it as much because it was pretty much as stupid as it was trying to be and I loved Simon Pegg’s character in it. So, yeah, I find more out of a badly written, apathetic kiddy movie than James Cameron massive, well-received sci-fi epic. Go fig….

(so I abused the term likeable, couldn’t spell “portrayal”, spelled magic with a “K” which doesn’t work in this context, put The Hangover in my best list, added X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 years after the fact and had to tell you about my experience with Ice Age 3 just to shit on Avatar again! Oh well. Still stand by Harry Brown being a piece of shit)

2010

With the Oscars coming up, I’ve decided to use this as an excuse to make my favourite movies I saw in cinemas in 2010 seem relevant. I should have done this at the start of the year, but laziness ensues my life. Anyway, here are my top two favourite/least favourite cinematic releases I managed to catch in 2010

Best:

his-and-hers

His and Hers

I’m kind of surprised that a movie I loved this year happened to be a documentary, of all things. It’s also a documentary that seems to glorify the gender roles of the doting woman, at that. I think that’s just a fairly knee-jerk reaction to the movie, though, as it is a lot more than that. It’s about the importance of relationships, told from the perspective of women about men, and how that changes rapidly as we get older. From cradle to near the grave, we watch these women discuss their fathers, their husbands and their sons, and about the impact these men have on their lives. There’s nothing abusive about the relationships being told, nothing unfair on their parts. They’re all very genuine, very heartfelt and very true to form as to how relationships work. It’s a wonderful little documentary, very well done, very stark and tightly edited and has a wonderful theme of traditional love in a modern day context. The score is gorgeous, as well.

Toy Story 3

I was REALLY, really hesitant about calling this film one of my favourites, as it’s a very obvious choice. I can’t help it, however; once thinking it over, I realized just how much I loved this movie. It has so much going for it, and balances all these various elements so well together. It’s a continuation, yet stands on it’s own. It’s a perfect way to end the saga of these characters we’ve grown to know and love, yet doesn’t feel rehashed or in-your-face about it. It’s very emotional, poignant and honest, yet silly, goofy and fun. It’s another perfect Pixar movie, and a great way to end this franchise. It really harkened me back to my young 6-year old mind after seeing the original and getting more attached to my toys as I now thought they were alive (I thought that before, though this film seemed to confirm it for me), and I doubt I was the only one who felt that. It’s almost like the end to my childhood, and it couldn’t have gone out in any better way. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about watching it, it really is a perfect film; funny, innocent, yet surprisingly dark and true to life. Made for the adults who loved the first two as much as the kids who haven’t seen it, it truly marks the end of one of the few perfect trilogies out there.

 

Worst:

Clash of the Titans

This really is the only film I hated this year, where absolutely NOTHING worked for me! Horribly boring pacing, ugly and uncomfortably forced special effects, abysmal acting from some surprising sources (Neeson) and some unsurprising ones (that fucker from Avatar). The only somewhat likeable thing about it was Ralph Fiennes as the villain, and this isn’t enough to save this horrible movie. It has NOTHING to it, and if it weren’t for me and my friend making fun of it, it would have been the one of the worst times I’ve been to the cinema since I saw Wolverine: Origins on my birthday (a film I hated so much I forgot to add it to my shitlist when I did a review like this last year, I wanted it to escape my mind so much). Fuck, fuck, FUCK this fucking movie!

Let Me In

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me,  as Let the Right One In is one of my favourite movies that I harp on about a lot and this is a rather sub-standard remake. I think some of it works, it has some pretty nice effects and the acting is really effective. I just think a lot of the chilling subtlety and stark deadness, that made the Swedish movie so beautiful and feel so alive is just gone from this. The lighting is standard, the pacing is standard, it’s just a very tried-and-tested Hollywood movie. I was expecting to hate it, but it’s not that bad. There’s just nothing to it, and the movie that is out there is worth your time a lot more than this is. There’s just not much there to compel you to see it.

(yeah, really wouldn’t put Let Me In in a worst list. Overall the writing for my 2010 “list” is better, though I probably wouldn’t do that “I DON’T WANT TO PUT THIS ONE BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE LIKE IT, BUT I CAN’T HELP IT!!!!!” thing anymore, it’s cliched and really try hard, like I want people to think my film taste is cool and diversive. I also abuse the term “perfect” a LOT for TS3 [it isn’t perfect-great film though!] and took a chance to shit on Avatar again because of course)

2011

I….didn’t go to a lot of movies in 2011. This tends to be a tradition of mine (which is also known as ‘deciding my money is better benefited to my debilitating alcohol condition), but I REALLY skipped over seeing some well received ones and went for more popcorn flicks you see with your mates rather than films with great artistic merit. Because of this, a lot of the movies I went to see were on the same precedent of……eh. Not great, but not terrible. They were very even. There are, of course, exceptions to this and I shall discuss them now!

(this is not to say I didn’t watch a lot of movies this year, because I certainly did, but my criteria I have made for this is recent releases I watched in the cinema and nothing else because the list of films I have watched overall would go on too long for my limited attention span. Just to throw them out there: Best movie I saw all year was Wings of Desire, worst was the 2009 version of The Picture of Dorian Gray with an honourable mention to Fantastic Planet [seriously, people really like this movie, too….]).

Best:

Black Swan.

Darren Aronofsky, to me, is the modern Stanely Kubrick. Is he as good as Kubrick? Well….no, but he’s innovative, clever, has great ideas and concepts for films, is really passionately into them and takes time out of these massive stories to focus on characters. This is one of those, for me. It’s dark and brooding, with the right amount of tension and characterisation to really make it hit home and really help you relate to the characters. Natalie Portman is fantastic in the main role and it truly takes us through her obsessive desire to be the best she can. It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, it’s tragic, the cinematography and visuals really hit you hard and keep you enraptured in the movie from start to finish. I loved this movie and it’s easily Aronofsky’s best work (that I have seen). Will be waiting enthusiastically for what else this visionary oddball has to offer (goddamn him for dropping Wolverine! And for what, having a child?! Yeah, like THAT’S as important….)(do not mention the sex scene. It is a SCENE in the entire movie and I want to discuss the movie. Though, yeah, it was hot)

50/50

This one took me by surprise for many reasons. For one, it made me really, REALLY like Seth Rogen (as someone who never thought he would pass by ‘eh’ when I watched him). For another, it took a dark and very touchy subject matter that effects a lot of people and actually made a very likeable and compelling dramedy out of it. Thankfully, I’ve never had to personally battle with cancer, but the movie really made me buy the struggle, the clinging to hope and the absolutely crippling realisations of death with a lot of earnesty and honesty. It’s not afraid to both play the reality but also find the humour in this rather tricky situation and I really admire the writer (himself a cancer survivor and what inspired him to write this movie) for taking this kind of look on the subject in a very real manner. Joseph Gordan Levitt gives a powerful performance of an ordinary guy completely torn apart by this disease randomly breaking down his life and he buys every tear, every laugh and every emotion he has to go through in this discovery. Also a shout-out to Anjelica Houston, who gave a relatively small role a lot of weight.

Honourable Mention: X-Men First Class

If it weren’t for a few issues with the editing and the plot this would be my second pick. It’s still a brilliant movie, though, really bringing to the table what the X-men are capable of on the big screen with a relatively small budget. I love how the complex relationship between Magneto and Xavier got so much focus, I love how it took relatively unknown X-Men characters to form the team (sans Beast and Mystique), I love how they took the elements of prejudice from the comics and wrote them in seamlessly into the story and I even love how they rewrote Magneto’s origins to make Shaw his main opponent in this movie. To go even further, I love how they made Shaw (another relatively unknown character outside of the comic book world) the main villain and got Kevin Bacon to play him and they got a villain everybody HATED (Azazael) and made him cool. It was the little comic book movie that could and went above and beyond all the odds to be the best X-Men movie out there. They are forgiven for Wolverine: Origins. Also, props to Michael Fassbender! Man, that dude is chillingly great.

Worst:

Bad Teacher

I really wanted to like this film. It had great potential to be a goofball comedy that had a selfish but likeable protagonist and be charming and fun and it fell really, really flat for me. Cameron Diaz could NOT pull this off for me and I just found her character irritatingly selfish and even her predictable ‘redemption’ didn’t win her over. Justin Timberlake (who I may add I actually think can act) is woefully miscast and that’s a real burden on the movie as he has a significantly large role. Not that it was largely terrible-Jason Segel was a saving grace and really funny and likeable in every scene he’s in and there were moments that did make me laugh (particularly with Diaz’ roommate who got some funny if unoriginal bit moments and a REALLY funny bit involving a guy Diaz ‘seduces’ to get information and the subsequent aftermath of that), but it just fell flat for me overall. It’s like it’s trying to be funny and quirky and charming and hip and just fails on nearly all those elements as it seems to fail to combine them to make a decent film. Overall, I’d give it a miss.

Pirates of the Carribean: at World’s End

Bad Teacher was the only film that disappointed me and even then I couldn’t bring myself to hate it because it worked on some levels and, hell, it was trying to be different (I just don’t think it worked). Everything else was on the ‘eh’ scale. This movie was the ‘eh’-est, as I don’t hate it, but I can’t particularly remember a lot of it. While this one was a marked imporvement over the sequels (mostly due with the smart decision to cut out Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly’s characters and their stories), it still manages to keep the films convoluted and abysmal pacing problems AND harp on on stories from the other movies! The only saving grace was that they were at a diminished scale. Johnny Depp returns and, for the first time since the first movie, he’s really likeable and swash-buckling fun (it did help that he got more focus, as well). Penelope Cruz actually did a decent job and I was invested in her character and her story (which actually has a clever, if slightly dark, end to it). But the villain is boring, there are still a tirade of subplots (seriously, cut out the story about the Spanish and the priest/mermaid’s love story and it doesn’t affect the movie AT ALL!!!) and in the end it’s just a forgettable, slightly entertaining but overblown adventure film from a franchise that was worn out since the first movie. If they thought they could reach the same heights of the first movie, they were sadly mistaken.

And that’s it for 2011! 2012 looks like a damn interesting year, with the premiere of The Artist, the new Muppets films and two huge comic book movies in store for us. First film I’m gonna see in theatres??? Michael Fassbender as a sex addict. Fun times ahead….

 

(Darren Aronofsky is nothing like Kubrick what the fuck?! I forgot he nearly made a Wolverine movie, that would have been weird. Also drooling over a lesbian scene-classy….it’s also funny bow incensed I was over Bad Teacher (barely remember that film) and I STILL laugh at getting the subtitle wrong for the fourth Pirates movie so I left it there. More really embarrassing spelling errors too)

2012

2012 was a…weird year for movies. It was definitely a year for high concept, interesting ideas with questionable execution (I call it the ‘Prometheus’ effect, though I don’t think that movie is as bad as people make it out to be. Until the final act, anyway). Also, I saw a lot more movies that came out this year in the cinema, so I extended my list to ten, though will only write a paragraph about my top/bottom two. A lot of the films in my top list seem to be action movies with very little substance, but that’s because they actually executed their concepts well and delivered exactly what they offered. Without further adieu, here’s my list!

  1. The Artist This was a late 2011 release in American cinemas, but it didn’t hit Irish screens until early 2012, so I count it on this list. A cute, clever and highly energised tribute to the silent movie era of old, it manages to go beyond a mere nostalgia trip of the films of old. It takes a look at the very dark end to the careers of a lot of silent movie stars due to the introduction of ‘talkies’, a consequences of bringing spoken dialogue and sound into movies that is very overlooked. By doing so, it’s an incredibly clever commentary of the industry today and how advances in technology could be detrimental to the people in the industry by making them irrelevant. Far from being cynical and downtrodden, however, it remains upbeat and hopeful and strays from the overtly dark turn that mainstream movies have seemed to take. It shows us that you don’t need such overdone effects and a high budget to make a great movie, sometimes simpler is better. While it has some tonal problems and the story does seem a little rushed near the  end, The Artist is a wonderful movie that will hopefully earn its right as a classic in its honouring of the classics
  2. The Avengers The success of this movie should come as a surprise to no one, considering its four year build-up and the insane hype it got. Still, that should certainly not take away from what a magnificent success this movIe ended up being. It’s got the scope of a Michael Bay film but with intelligence and heart. Its characters are rich in power and ego and play off each other beautifully, helped along the way by Joss Whedon’s incredibly witty script. It rewards people who have watched the ‘Road to Avengers’ franchise yet is easy to follow and still fun for people who haven’t seen any of those movies. It’s over 2 hours long yet never feels like it’s slowing down or being padded out. While it’s not the most thematically ambitious movie, its character development can be summed up with ‘Some do, some don’t’ and it doesn’t take itself as seriously as its scope may ask it to, it’s an incredibly refreshing change from the ever popular ‘dark and gritty’ superhero movies of old and it feels truly like a comic book movie, something a lot of comic book movies really cannot say. It’s epic, it’s incredibly satisfying and it’s made for fans and non-fans alike to sit down to enjoy, hence its incredible success in the box office. I’ve been waiting for this movie since I saw the post-credit scene in Iron Man 4 years previous and it met and utterly exceeded my expectations. With Whedon on to write and direct the sequel and already two movies out next year to set it up for its 2015 release, let’s hope the formula remains successful for the future.
  3. The Muppets
  4. Paranorman
  5. The Raid: Redemption
  6. Dredd
  7. The Amazing Spider-Man
  8. Cabin in the Woods
  9. Skyfall
  10. Inbred

  1. Snow White and the Huntsman There seems to be this weird trend of modernising fairytales for film lately and they seldom, if ever, work. Snow White got 4 different adaptations this year, 4! I have only watched this one and I was willing to avoid it, but I was told on recommendation that it actually isn’t that bad. Clearly, I didn’t agree. As soon as Kristen ‘I suck the life out of everything I’m in’ Stewart dominates the screen, you might as well turn off the movie. It shamelessly rips off other fantasy movies of its ilk, including directing lifting a scene from Princess Mononoke for no good reason! It’s characters are dull and get no development, the script is weak and really lacking in any sort of style and flavour and the story is so muddled with plot holes and underdeveloped scenes and plot threads that it’s clear that nobody on this project really seemed to care. The only saving grace for this movie is that some of the older actors clearly aren’t trying and just having fun, like Bob Haskins and Charlize Theron is excellent in this movie (better than she was in Prometheus, anyway). It’s a pity she’s barely in the movie after the first act. If the most interesting thing to come out of this movie was Stewart’s affair with the married director, this movie needs to be avoided as much as Kristen needs to avoid sleeping with her co-workers. Hopefully this and the equally as terrible looking Hansel and Gretel adaptation this year will kill this boring, pointless modernising fairytale trend.
  2. Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter This movie I defended against its detractors. I thought it was going to be a fun, balls to the wall action flick as the premise is so goddamn ridiculous, there was no way they would try to make a serious, personal character study about America’s 16th president who is secretly a vampire hunter. And, of course, I was completely wrong. Outside of my disappointment that somebody said to themselves ‘You know what? There’s a lot of serious material out of making a historical figure kill vampires on the sly’, but the movie is just a boring, inconsistent mess. It doesn’t know if it wants to just go balls out with the vampire concept or make this about a successful man and his struggles to keep a double life for himself (it should have focused on the latter). The lead is freaking dreadfully dull and the rest of the cast don’t really try to help matters. The editing and effects are God awful and it’s hard make out sometimes what the hell is going on. The integration of real life events into the plot is done lazily and kind of insultingly as to what happened and it just meanders through events without any rhyme or reason, not trying to earn audience’s sympathy or even give us a decent fight scene. It’s paced so fast that I can’t get any connection between the characters or the situations and we’re just taking along for the ride in the most cynical, apathetic way possible that a film maker can do with its audience. It’s a pity as this premise sounded like it could be a brilliantly fun vampire flick with a twist, but it just failed to deliver on any level. If you want a good Lincoln film this year, my guess is that Lincoln has what you acquire. Skip this mess if you already haven’t.
  3. The Bourne Legacy
  4. The Three Stooges
  5. Ted
  6. The Grey
  7. Looper
  8. The Woman in Black
  9. Hotel Transylvania
  10. The Dark Knight Rises

And that’s all from 2012! It was a very chaotic year for movies, with surprising gems, untapped potential and some underplayed films that seem to be spewed out to make a quick buck. Hopefully 2013 will be treating us better with its releases.

(yaaaaaay, Kristen Stewart bashing and implicit slut shaming, shut the fuck up. Also I randomly  capitalised an “I” at one point. This isn’t too badly written otherwise, just a lot of hyperbole and personal tastes changing, like I wouldn’t make The Artist my number 1 pick and would honestly put The Bourne Legacy over Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and also Hotel Transylvania does not belong on a worst list, and I don’t even think it’s that amazing! I’m also super self-conscious about putting action movies on my list-just like what you like, man! Also forgot that mainstream films were so dour and moody until, surprise surprise, The Avengers made them more lighthearted and fun. Also that weird fairytale trend that didn’t go anywhere too quickly. Oh well…)

2013

10 Best Movies of 2013

10. Philomena

And incredibly heartfelt true story about a woman forced away from her son trying to track him down 50 years later. Steve Coogan and Judi Dench are my favourite onscreen couple this year; the cynical, world-weary journalist and the doting, innocent old woman just play off each other so hilariously and their chemistry is palpable. It’s sweet, it’s heartbreaking, it’s very funny and it’s revealing of the situations in the Magdeline homes back in those days. While it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the movie if you know the true life events, it’s a better experience if you go into it blind about the true story of Philomena.

9. Rush

Another powerful true story with two leads on the forefront, though racecar rivals from the 70s. While Daniel Bruhl carries the film admirably as it largely focuses on his portrayal of Niki Lauda, it’s Chris Hemworth that steals the show with his nuanced and dynamic portrayal of the larger-than-life, womanising party man James Hunt. The racing scenes are some of the best action scenes shown in film this year with stock footage intercut with shot reaces seamlessly. It’s got brilliant, biting dialogue from Peter Morgan, probably the best writers of historicals in the business, and its script weaves through the story and tonal changes effortlessly. It’s a moving story about the importance and power of healthy competition and a must-see for those who love Formula One and even those who don’t. Here’s hoping Hemsworth and Bruhl get their recognition come Oscar season.

8. A Hijacking

Overshadowed by the (admittedly great) other Somalian pirate film Captain Philips, this Danish production takes a very different and alienating look at the event of a hijacking. Rather than showing the escape or the action of the event like its contemporary, or even the heroism, it explores the long, arduous process of hostage negotiation and how that can have an affect on both the crew and even the kidnappers. Lines of comraderie become blurred on the boat while a man’s life is completely torn asunder by having the weight of so many people’s lives on his shoulders. It’s an incredibly slow movie, but the pacing works to get the sense of ennui that sets in on the boat and it’s a slow, methodical and almost painful build-up to the finale. It’s a harrowing, fascinating film and well worth the look for anybody who is interested in a different side of a rather terrifying event.

7. Wadjda

One of the most important movies to come out this year. The first movie to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first to be shot by a Saudi woman. While the plot is pretty simplistic and you can see where it’s going (the main plot with the girl, not so much the b-story about her father), the plot is used to show how women interact in Saudi culture and how they are treated. It’s a fascinating look into a culture not many people outside of it ever get an insight into and just an incredibly daring triumph for the director. It’s also a lot of fun, with the title character being a very resourceful and delightfully spunky one, brilliantly portrayed by the actress. It’s enjoyable ride from start to finish and a lovely insight into the lives of women in Saudi Arabia.

6. The World’s End

The Cornetto trilogy ends with a bang! Though probably the weakest of the trilogy, it’s still a hell of a fun ride, even if it’s incredibly dark at parts. Simon Pegg’s Gary King is one of the most fun characters of the year, and the reversal of the camaraderie between himself and Nick Frost was a rather interesting and daring move for this final installment. It’s also strikingly more mature route this time out, focusing on mid-life crises and the negative aspects of arrested development. It still packs in the fun, however, shows Wright’s growth as a director, closes off the trilogy in a pretty satisfying way and has lots of little moments and laughs throughout. A great sci-fi comedy and here’s hoping this team will meet up again for another sweet-based trilogy.

5. All is Lost

Big year for isolated disaster movies. With the atmospheric and brilliantly shot Gravity to this minimalistic, wonderfully absorbing thriller about a man’s seemingly hopeless fight against the elements of the ocean. Robert Redford is magnetic in the role, barely speaking in the 90 minutes where he is the only person onscreen and you are completely glued to him. The sound editing is brilliant, making you look around to see where the next calamity will strike. It’s beautiful to look at, tense as all hell and manages to be a great character study while you just see this man reacting to everything that is happening to him, barely speaking a word. It’s one of the most daring and fascinating films of last year and is coming to mainstream cinemas soon, so I implore anyone interested in survivalist films or just the art of cinema in general to go see it, it’s a brilliant display of both.

4. Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett will absolutely be robbed if she doesn’t win Best Actress for her performance here. While the rest of the movie is your typical Woody Allen greatness, with quirky characters and absolutely hilarious dialogue, Blanchett blows everyone out of the water with her excellent portrayal of a woman trying to stablise her life after losing everything. While the way the story is structured can be a little unnerving at the start (you get used to it), it’s used so brilliantly to show this woman’s life and personality and comes together perfectly at the end. The supporting cast is great, it’s seriously very funny, San Francisco looks beautiful at the hands of a man who has been in the industry for approximately 40 years and has the best performance of any movie I have seen this year. Definitely check it out.

3. Filth

One of the most overlooked movies of the year. Disgusting, warped, unnerving, mean-spirited, and absolutely brilliant all the way through. James McAvoy shines in the role of a deranged and unstable cop in Scotland, doing the best to use everything and everyone around him to try to get his way. He puts in my second favourite performance of the year, surrounded by a huge host of British talent, Jim Broadbent in particular playing a rather creepy role. It’s excellently written, with a tight script that keeps the audience glued every step of the way, it’s completely unafraid to touch on whatever shocking taboo it wants, it has no interest in making the audience feel safe or comfortable and it has probably some of the best laughs in cinema of last year. Like Trainspotting, another movie based on an Irving Welsh novel, here’s hoping this movie finds its audience and goes on to be a cult classic.

2. Cloud Atlas

One of the most ambitious and polarising movies of 2012, only getting a release in Ireland in March. While the length of the movie can throw people off, as well as the racial caricaturing and the all over the place storytelling, it’s a wonderful film that’s visually stunning and with a strong thematic undertone. The stories range from goofy to funny to just heartbreaking, helped by a wonderful score and the imaginations of visionary directors who clearly went all out to present these ideas. The concept of reincarnation and interlinking history is a bit broad and all over the place, but it strikes at ideas of the human condition and how one person’s actions can leave a mark over time. It’s a wonderful exploration of history and ideas of everlasting life and, while I’ve heard the book is better, the movie is still a triumph and well worth your time.

1. Blue is the Warmest Colour

Okay, the sex scenes are bit pornographic and probably not too accurate to lesbian sex. Yeah, the movie is reeeeeeeeeeeally long. Yes, there isn’t much story going on here, it’s just about a relationship from beginning to end. But you know what? It’s tender, it’s daring and it’s a beautiful story about first love and how that can deteriorate. The lead actress are mesmerising in how great they are; they absolutely carry the film and their chemistry is palpable. The idea of how love changes you is such a beautiful one and you really see the progression as the movie explores a large chunk of their relationship. While it’s nearly 3 hours long, the pacing is used to tell the story, like A Hijacking, and so do the sex scenes (despite the fact that the behind-the-scenes information regarding their shooting is not very comforting). These people pretty much threw themselves into this story and it shows. It’s a great showcasing of love, it keeps its sexually political edge to the backburner as it’s more focused on the love story, it’s uncompromising in a very real and ugly portrayal and the characters are both engaging and memorable both in their personalities and development, the focus character Adele in particular shines. This movie is getting a limited release due to its explicit sexual nature, so if you get a chance to watch it I highly, highly recommend you do. It’s my favourite movie of the year and hopefully movies that focus on same sex couples in the future learn something about telling these stories from it.

10 Worst Movies of 2013

10. Mama

Outside of some pretty impressive visuals from Guillermo Del Toro, this movie is such a waste of time. Based on a short film of the same name, Mama just proves that just because you can expand an idea to feature length doesn’t mean you should. Terribly paced with obvious scares and a pretty uninspired villain, it culminates in an ending that tries to be bittersweet and tragic when it’s really just unsettling and strange. A waste of Jessica Chastain’s great talents, after she was frankly snubbed the Oscar for Zero Dark Thirty she very much deserved*.

*I’m not saying Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t great in Silver Linings Playbook and she’s probably one of my favourite actresses working at the moment, but Chastain owned that performance and it’s a shame she didn’t win.

9. Short Term 12

Another movie based on a short that works better in that format. I know a lot of people really like this movie, but it just didn’t connect with me at all. The characters are one-note clichés with really forced problems in order to ascertain drama out of the concept. I’m not saying that these children wouldn’t have these sort of issues in a halfway house, but when you put one problem on top of another like this, it makes it hard to see this kids as actual characters and more like victims, and that goes for the main character who connects with one of the children in a really contrived way. The direction is choppy, the script is filled with obnoxiously ‘quirky’ dialogue and the serious issues these characters go through just don’t ring true for me, nothing to really recommend outside of the acting. There are ways to deal with issues of child abuse, and this film doesn’t really take them.

8. Epic

This movie was just really boring, and nothing really to take from it. It had a great concept, a star-studded cast (Christoph Waltz played the villain, for God sake!), it’s animation wasn’t great in comparison to Disney or DreamWorks standards, but it was passable. I think its biggest issue is that it’s so unbelievably normal. The characters are stock, the threat is not that engaging, there’s obnoxious as hell comic relief and random and strange cameos. Epic this movie is not.

7. Breathe In

These are the kinds of romance movies I hate. The ones that act like they have a grand, sweeping love stories, but in the end produce a bland, passionless affair. The pacing is awful and it does nothing to help us connect with any of the characters in the film. Guy Pearse is practically asleep, and the ‘will they/won’t they’ relationship he has with his student is just so goddamn insufferable that you end up not caring about the outcome. The film’s cinematography is pretty bland, the characters are underdeveloped or just boring, it really goes out of its way to be unremarkable. Thankfully, it looks to stay that way with audiences.

6. Oblivion

Good visuals and a star-studded cast does not a movie make. This movie just has the most bizarre, uninspiring sci-fi plot that is predictable and tries to be more clever and artistic than it actually is. Tom Cruise is trying so hard to come back into movies that show off his talent as a leading man after the success of Jack Ryan, and this does not show off his talents at all. It’s just a bland, poorly paced mess with a dumb story and a weak concept.

5. A Good Day to Die Hard

This movie is seriously depressing. To see a great movie like Die Hard be represented so poorly by this awful sequel. Terribly directed, with actions scenes either too goofy to like or just go on forever. Bruce Willis could not be more charmless if he tried, he’s clearly only doing this for the paycheck at this stage. His son is obnoxiously annoying, there aren’t any characters you can actually give a shit about. Awful plot, terrible twists that completely take you out of the movie and just some of the weakest action sequences in a year that was quite good for action. If Live Free or Die Hard killed the franchise, this one propped its corpse up like a marionette puppet. Let this series just die (hard) in peace.

4. The Purge

Great concept, incredibly awful execution. To bring up an idea like the purge and waste it on a pretty standard house siege plot is lazy and incredibly cheap (the movie’s budget was only $3 million). The direction was boring and fell on old horror tropes to get a reaction, it tries way too hard to be scary or creepy, the social commentary is asinine and way too spread on, and ignores incredibly obvious things that making crime legal would cause (only murder is really explored). The only saving grace is Lena Headey, but even she does not make this movie worth watching. Here’s hoping the sequel will have a budget to actually use this concept smartly.

3. Only God Forgives

I know a lot of people really love this movie, but it just did nothing for me. It’s seriously way too esoteric for its own good and it feels like you can pretty much make up whatever plot you want to it. It’s story is minimalistic and seems to hinge on whatever the director wants you to take from the symbolism, Ryan Gosling is so underused in a character above his talents and the cinematography is irritating and almost eye gouging in its obsession with colour saturation. This will probably be the most controversial choice on the list, but I stand by saying that Only God Forgives was one of the biggest disappointments of the year and a terrible follow-up to Nicholas Winding Refn’s excellent Drive.

2. A Spell to Ward off the Darkness

While Only God Forgives is minimalistic, it at least has a plot and a willingness to let people wonder what it all means. This movie has none of that, and I mean nothing. It’s meandering, has no real purpose to it other than following this one guy around and there’s no rhyme or reason for the progression of the movie and where it goes. It’s beautifully shot, which makes it such a pity that the movie is so painful to sit through, but good visuals are nothing in a movie unless there’s something going on with what the images are presenting. An awful film and a waste of clearly talented cinematographers.

1. Bela Kiss: Prologue

It’s rare when I watch a movie and nothing works. The story? Incoherent and lazily put together. The characters? Incredibly unlikeable assholes with no real established motivations in anything they do. The plot holes? Everywhere. The direction? Uninspired and the movie is just ugly to look at. The acting? Awful. The use of a real life killer who is interesting enough to make a movie of by himself without this weird plot of him being alive since World War I? Incredibly insulting and the movie is intercut with flashbacks randomly and it’s nearly impossible to make out what to make of it. I hate this movie passionately. It’s an insult to the horror genre, to the story of Bela Kiss and to me as a cinemagoer. Hopefully it will stay obscure because this movie does not deserve any attention outside of people talking about how bad it is.

(So there are some really hilarious spelling errors here, and a few movies I would never put on these lists now [I’m way too hard on The Purge, even if that film ain’t great]. However, this is where my film taste started to properly form, and my writing style really started to take form. I got better as I went along, who knew?! This was my only proper Top Ten by the way-after I transferred these lists to my blog, I just expanded my list to whatever movies I wanted to talk about.

Speaking of, this is the last list I have to post on here! I’ll just share links to my other blog posts-no interjecting with present day thoughts, just links to these blogs if you want to see my thoughts on my favourite/least favourite films from that year)

2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

2015

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

2015: A Year in Review

2016

2016

2016: Watchlist/So Bad it’s Good

2016: Worst Movies, 37-11

2016: Best Movies, 36-11

2016: Worst Movies, 10-1

2016: Best Movies, Nate’s Honourable Mentions + 10-1

2017

Colorful 2017 New Year date in sparklers

2017: Watchlist and Guilty Pleasures

2017: Worst of, 24-11

2017: Best of, 23-11

2017: Worst of, 10-1

2017: Best of, 10-1

2018

2018-new-years-eve-by-nordwood-themes-unsplash-1000x

2018 Year End Lists

Got all that? Good. Great.

Now let’s count down my bottom and top 10 movies from these lists.

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