Top 10 Best Movies Of 2013 | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Top 10 Best Movies Of 2013




2013 is nearing the end to make way for a brand new year of 2014. And like any other years, I have compiled and cherry-pick my “Top 10 Best Movies of 2013”. Here goes:


10. THOR: THE DARK WORLD

A worthy sequel to Kenneth Branagh’s THOR (2011), Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor succeeded THOR: THE DARK WORLD with an efficient blend of fantastical element, action, drama, romance and comedy all wrapped up in the utmost enjoyable piece of entertainment. The sequel has some of the funniest moments ever seen from a Marvel movie and the honour mostly goes to Tom Hiddleston’s scene-stealing performance as Loki. 

9. NOW YOU SEE ME

Louis Leterrier isn’t the kind of director where you can associate him with high art. But when comes to popcorn-worthy cinematic spectacle, he sure knows how to deliver them even though they are mediocre ones (*cough* 2010’s CLASH OF THE TITANS *cough*). In this magic-themed crime caper NOW YOU SEE ME, he delivers his career-best so far with an entertaining mix of Christopher Nolan’s THE PRESTIGE crosses over with Steven Soderbergh’s OCEAN’S ELEVEN and a dash of Bryan Singer’s THE USUAL SUSPECTS. The acting ensemble is fun and playful, while the action (especially the one involved magic and illusion) are top-notch entertainment.

8. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Paul Greengrass took a temporary stumble when he made the disappointing Iraqi-set military thriller GREEN ZONE in 2010, but thankfully he’s back in top form with CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. The result is often tense and suspenseful hostage drama featuring award-worthy performances from Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi. 

7. ENOUGH SAID

Who would have thought that the late James Gandolfini who often typecast in tough-guy roles (e.g. TV’s The Sopranos), is capable to achieve a perfectly subdued performance? Together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who gives a memorable performance here), their chemistry is genuinely impressive. As a movie about finding love after marriage, writer-director Nicole Holofcener knows how to spice things up with witty and heartfelt moments out of mundane situations.

6. MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

Justin Chadwick’s MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM may looked like a typical biopic, but this well-meaning portrait of the late Nelson Mandela is benefited greatly from Idris Elba’s groundbreaking performance as the man himself while Naomie Harris provides winning support as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

5. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Okay, so STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS wasn’t as financially successful as the 2009 reboot but who cares? In this sequel, J.J. Abrams outdoes himself with a well-paced action adventure from start till finish. The movie’s recurring theme of friendship, responsibility and unity are more refined this time around while all the actors here are aces. But of course, this movie is best remembered for up-and-coming Benedict Cumberbatch’s groundbreaking performance as the mysterious John Harrison. 

4. GRAVITY

Alfonso Cuaron’s long-awaited return to the cinema since 2006’s CHILDREN OF MEN is certainly worth the agonizing wait. The result is flawed but mesmerizing space drama called GRAVITY – a tour de force cinematic experience blessed with cutting-edge visual as well as some of the most stunning and fluid unbroken takes ever put into film.

3. THE SPECTACULAR NOW

It’s rare to have a coming-of-age movie that doesn’t succumbs into Hollywood-like genre template, but THE SPECTACULAR NOW did just that by being profoundly honest and down-to-earth that everyone can relate to. 

2. MAN OF STEEL

I know that the inclusion of MAN OF STEEL as one of my “Top 10 Best Movies of 2013” is going to be controversial (or not). Without doubt, this Superman reboot was met with terribly mixed response. But I beg to differ. Of all the Superman movies I have seen since the groundbreaking Richard Donner’s version in 1978, MAN OF STEEL is the best Superman movie of all time. Say what you want about Zack Snyder, but he knows well what makes Superman such an almighty superhero in the first place. The action is appropriately E-P-I-C, while Henry Cavill shines in his breakthrough performance as Clark Kent and Superman.

1. PRISONERS

I have little hope when I first saw the trailer for PRISONERS. Instead of expecting the same old typical psychological thriller about missing person, I was surprised by the execution of this movie. Despite clocking at 153 minutes (that’s 2 hours and 33 minutes long!), the movie never flags. Like reading a page turner of a bestselling thriller novel, PRISONERS begins well and stays there until the thought-provoking finale. Plus, Hugh Jackman happens to deliver his career-best performance as the desperate father trying to find his missing daughter.

OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS (in non-particular orders):

1. DRUG WAR

It’s far from one of Johnnie To’s best movies, but DRUG WAR is a solid Mainland crime thriller featuring top-notch leads from Sun Honglei and Louis Koo. Not to forget also are the two memorably brutal gunfight sequences which are vintage Johnnie To.

2. UNBEATABLE
 

The MMA (mixed martial arts) subject matter may have been secondary here, but UNBEATABLE is an emotionally heartfelt drama featuring career-best performances from the bulked-up Nick Cheung and 10-year-old, Malaysian-Chinese Crystal Lee. Director Dante Lam, who is best known for delivering gloomy crime thriller, made a refreshing change of pace by bringing in a welcome dose of genuine warmth and offbeat humor to this movie.

3. THE CONJURING

Director James Wan is no stranger to horror movies but in THE CONJURING, he hits a career-high with this classical-styled spookfest. Technical-wise – from the carefully-composed camerawork (handheld, widescreen and tracking shots), the nail-biting score to the impeccable sound effects (hands clapping, wall bumping, etc.) – are flawlessly executed. As for the acting, Vera Farmiga delivers a standout performance as the strong-willed but emotionally vulnerable Lorraine Warren.

4. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

If you are an avid movie fan, you sure know the amount of accolades this hugely-acclaimed French lesbian drama has received ever since it won the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes 2013. Yes, the movie is unnecessarily overlong (almost 3 hours!) but the two central performances (Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux) are tour de force. Not to mention of course, their first memorably explicit sex scene together on bed which pushes the boundaries of NC-17 rating. 

5. THE WHITE STORM

Benny Chan’s THE WHITE STORM is a solid if flawed epic crime drama that pays tribute to the “heroic bloodshed” themes of brotherhood and sacrifice populated in the ‘80s and the early ‘90s (particularly the one which directed by John Woo). Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo and Nick Cheung all deliver first-rate performances. 

No comments: