Hey y’all! Its that time of the year again (kinda – sorry for the delay I have been on holiday) for me to do a rundown of my favourite films of last year. Batten down the hatches!

10) Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Hahaha! Yeah, I love Alan Partridge and was made up that this was fun, funny and gave nods to all AP fans. I have no idea what people in other countries may make of him but to my school and Uni friends and others who dealt with Alan since his early incarnations in the 90’s will be very pleased.

Bravo Alan, bravo.

Bravo Alan, bravo.

 

9) Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This was one of my most anticipated films of 2013. I read all the books after seeing the first film to find out that the story isn’t about kids killing kids. It’s about rebellion and corruption. Albeit set against the backdrop of kids killing kids.

Catching Fire is, in my opinion, the best of the books and makes for a great and entertaining film. I’m not looking forward to the next film given that it will actually be two films and the one book that it was based on was bobbins.

8) Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks had a good year for me. I loved Cloud Atlas, Saving Mr Banks and Captain Phillips. Captain Phillips made it to my Top 10 list mainly because of one scene.

It’s a bit bizarre as since the days of “The Burbs” and “Big” I have loved the films that Hanks had been in more so than actually appreciating his acting. I wonder if it’s a good or a bad thing for someone’s who’s career has spanned over 4 decades to say that in at least that one scene, Tom Hanks is an extremely emotive and engaging screen presence.

Major props to all the pirates that invade his ship. They were all played by first time actors and all gave a great insight into a story that is seldom told, apart from by the Jack Sparrow saga

 

7) Good Vibrations

I didn’t see many independent British Films in 2013 but i’m “Good Vibrations” is a pearl. Set against the back drop of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Good Vibrations is biopic telling the story of Terri Hooley who didn’t care that people were hitting each other with fists and sticks and things that go “BANG”. He just wanted to listen to good music and give everyone the opportunity to do the same.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DruhJkZU4EI

There are so many great scenes of Terri hearing a great song for the first time that are as emotional as any I have seen on the screen. Deeply nostalgic and great natured – Good Vibrations resonated well with me and left me wondering, “Why can’t we all just get along and listen to ace music”?

 

6) Les Miserables

The main complaints about “Les Mis” were: the singing all the way through, Russell Crowe and “it not being like the stage version”.

Regarding the singing: Come on – you knew what to expect – don’t be silly! Why go watch it?

Regarding Russell Crowe: I don’t see why he was lambasted as much as was. I’m not his biggest fan but thought he played the role well as a singing angry prison guard-cum-army man very well. Death scene was a bit silly though…

Regarding the “Its not as good as the stage show comments” – I have never seen the stage version. I may never see it. But FFS, shut the fuck up! Its a different production recreated on a different medium by different people for a different audience. This doesn’t make it a better or worse telling of the story of Victor Hugo’s 1500 page behemoth. How many people have read that by the way? Oh thats right, no one that’s still alive, that’s who!

 

I really loved this film dammit!

I really loved this film dammit!

Im not sure what it is about Les Miserables that had me hooked in but I was swept in by the sillyness of the opening tete a tete duet between Hugh Jackman’s (Jean Valjean aka “24601”) and Crowe’s Javert. This happens to be Wolverine’s parole hearing following a lengthy period of incarceration for stealing a loaf of bread. Jackkers then skips off a-singing and a-dancing promising to stay on the straight and narrow before stealing a substantial sum in the form of treasure from a church. In spite of being rapidly apprehended by some pretty efficient lawmen (CSI:Paris – The Revolution years anyone?) and brought back to the scene of his crime he gets away Scott free. Actually NO! He gets some candlesticks to his haul and a packed lunch and gets sent on his way.

After actually escaping with the loot he does decide to “unbreak-bad” and uses his loot as a seed funding to become a goody. Well, after changing his identity. Presumably he needed to pay the services of a forger so the point at which he becomes good is bit grey!

He then hijack’s a horse drawn carriage… Sorry no he doesn’t – I’m being a dick.

OK – he does go good and to cut a long story (seriously 1500 pages…) short he inherits the child of one of his former sweatshop employees after she accidentally gets fired, turns to prostitution and dies.

Wow – this story is getting a little bit far fetched now eh? Where was I? Yes – so the child turns out to be the girl off of the poster of the film and he looks after her until a French Revolutionary rebel falls in love with her and asks to take her virginity. And then they all die. And the dude that plays “Ali G” and “Borat” is in it. And they all speak cockney or posh english despite being in Paris…

Hmm – I know I shouldn’t like it with that ridiculous set up but I did, I really did! The songs charmed me – i listened to the soundtrack 7 times a day after watching the film – just ask any one of my Facebook friends who had the misfortune of seeing my daily feed at that time!

If you have an open mind – have a watch! Serious!

Special Mentions

This year was labelled as a substandard year by many but I found it really hard this year to whittle down to my Top 10. In doing so I see that I have not included any documentaries so I will catch them all at the end.

So without further ado here are the films that didn’t make my Top Ten but that you should definitely see.

Fast and the Furious 6

You need to forget everything that you know to be true relating to the laws of physics and the abilities of human bodies to withstand massive trauma. Im convinced these guys are superheroes. Fast 6 is fun and incredibly dumb and contains some of my best scenes of dialogue ever.

I was looking forward mightily to Fast 7 and was gutted to hear about the death of Paul Walker. R.I.P.

 

Stoker

Damn this is a dark film! Families have never been more dysfunctional. Director Park Chan Wok (Oldboy) steps out of South Korea for the first time and makes a film that is not as violent as expected but is magnificently psychologically twisted.

Filth

I remember reading the book (Irvine Welsh) over a decade ago and trying to imagine what the manifestation of this scumball would be like on the screen. I was initially disappointed with James McAvoys casting but was sucked into his scuzzy world within moments of the film starting.

Documentaries

I didn’t in all honesty catch that many documentaries this year but these ones that I did see were quality!

20 Feet From Stardom: All about the backing singers from way way back. Why didn’t many more of them step forward given that they could often sing better than the lead.

20 Feet from Stardom

Blackfish: Put some killer whales in a goldfish bowl in Sealife they go stir crazy and kill people it seems. Dayum! Great companion piece with Rust and Bone from 2012

The Crash Reel: The guy that maybe shoulda won an Olympic Gold had he not suffered a terrible crash.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax: Scottish rappers aren’t taken seriously (unsurprisingly) so change their names and accents and tell people they know Eminen.

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer: Russia doesn’t come across well after incarcerating members of the all girl collaborative band for what was effectively a bad Jackass stunt.

Stories We Tell: The story behind this family unfolds in an unconventional, compelling and touching manner

The Act of Killing: The guys who committed the genocides of communists and Chinese get to recreate their evil crimes over a few beers and cigars. They must be fun to hang around with…

K*