2013 has been a fantastic year for movies, one of the strongest for a long time, many blockbusters, a handful of brilliant comedies and a few nasty horrors. It proved to be the year of Iron Man has Paramount and Marvel’s fantastic Iron Man 3 beat off strong competition to nab the title of Biggest Box Office Hit in 2013. I’ve seen many movies at cinemas this year, and had quite the chore of choosing a top 5 from so many movies i loved, so excluding the movies i have yet to see, here are my 5 favourite movies of 2013…
5 – Star Trek Into Darkness – J.J. Abrams once again enters Star Trek territory (And his last Trek directing job, at least for now, due to his work on the forthcoming new Star Wars movie) with this huge sci-fi epic, continuing the adventures of the Starship Enterprise, led by the iconic Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), this time battling against arch-nemesis Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a movie that is as exciting and filled with incredible visual effects and set pieces as it is sorely underrated.
4 – Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks takes on yet another major acting role, starring as Cpt. Richard Phillips, the helmer of a US cargo ship which is hijacked by desperate Somali pirates who are as relentless as the man they’re holding hostage, leading to a spectacular showdown. Based on true-life events and directed by Bourne master Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips is a full-on rollercoaster ride of thrills and emotions, with Tom Hanks turning in one of his finest screen performances, in one of his best movies.
3 – The Hobbit : The Desolation Of Smaug – Opinion is split almost equally down the middle with the second chapter in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy of The Hobbit, some loved it, some were disappointed, I most certainly loved every bit of it. A lavish, massive blockbuster adventure, packed with action, wonderful humour and some of the greatest visual effects ever put to film, namely Smaug himself, a tremendous terrifying dragon with just a little hint of an ego, voiced brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch. A glorious movie, I’ve nothing but great things to say.
2 – Anchorman 2 : The Legend Continues – Once again, opinion is split right down the middle with the sequel to the 2004 cult comedy classic Anchorman : The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, some are underwhelmed by it whereas others think it bettered the first movie. I’m in the second camp. As a fan of Will Ferrell and the Anchorman gang, I of course love the first movie, but for me, everyone involved increased everything they did first time around, with far more racism, far more sexism and far more laughs than I ever expected. From minute 1 to the end credits, I laughed a hundred times. There’s no denying that Brick has become the favourite of the majority of Anchorman fans, and Steve Carrell gives his funniest most LOL performance here, but everyone shines, Will Ferrell and David Koechner are wonderful together, with Paul Rudd getting far more gags than he did in Anchorman. It’s not perfect I admit, it needs some trimming, some very pointless add-ons including a strange unfunny shark plot thread. But as a whole movie, it makes me very happy and I plan to buy the Blu-Ray the moment it’s released and replay Ron’s dinner scene with his new girlfriend over and over.
1 – Man Of Steel– As a lifelong lover of Superman, I’ve based that love on movies, TV shows and toys, as I’ve never read the comics, so i have very little idea of what a true Superman movie should actually feel like, so my perception of Superman has never come from his true origins of comics, but from his screen outings, so what i would want may not be what fans of the original comic books would want. It has always been known the world over that there will never be a greater Superman than the late great Christopher Reeve, he defined the Superman of the movies we all know and love. And from a young child until now, I’ve always loved his first three outings as the legendary superhero. But then in a strange twist of fortune, Quest For Peace came along and effectively destroyed the series, a low budget, badly scripted and cartoonish end to Chris Reeve’s run of Superman movies. And with that, the Superman of the silver screen was dead, with no more movies produced and the wonderful Mr. Reeve tragically taken from the world. But with the success of TV’s Lois & Clark : The Adventures Of Superman and Smallville, and with a continuing line of highly popular comics, the torch was handed over to X-Men/Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer, who went on to create the movie that made Quest For Peace actually not so bad after all, Superman Returns, simply one of the worst movies ever made, awful story, acting that could be bettered by 5 year-olds, and practically not a single piece of decent superhero action to mention. So with that, Superman again was dead to the movies. Until Sucker-Punch/Watchmen genius Zack Snyder and The Dark Knight‘s Christopher Nolan came together with a new Superman star, Henry Cavill, a whole new wonderful cast for the leading characters (Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner are names to make a movie fan tremble) and a completely different approach to the legacy of Superman, from changing the costume to suit the new age (Bye bye silly red undies), to a whole different setting and background story for Krypton, and in my opinion, delivered not only the greatest Superman movie ever made and the greatest superhero movie ever made, but to put it simply, one of the greatest movies ever made. I prayed for a good Superman after Returns, I got a movie that made up for a thousand Superman Returns. The most incredible action I’ve ever seen in a movie, a fantastic story, a cast that very few movies could beat and special effects that would even make Michael Bay himself weak at the knees. The final hour is a triumph of blockbuster filmmaking. Many many people will disagree with me on many points, but as an individual, I left the cinema with tears of joy streaming down my face, and my fists fighting the urge to punch the air in glee, and for me that hasn’t happened since The Dark Knight in 2008, so I not only hand my place of Best Movie Of 2013 to Man Of Steel, I also hand over my 5th Most Favourite Movie Ever place to it also. Bring on Superman Vs Batman in 2015.
Forgotten Gems – Olympus Has Fallen / White House Down
It was a year for White House movies at the cinema, with two movies released within months of each other. One being the brilliant White House Down directed by Independence Day/2012 legend Roland Emmerich (One of the most genuinely nice men in movies, a true gentleman, i’m a fan) starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx as hero and President who must stop a respected inside agent from striking against Iran with nuclear force in an effort to restore the military balance of the United States. An absolute thrill-ride from start to finish, plenty of big action, cracking stunts and special effects, hampered slightly by weak performances from the two lead stars, but nowhere near enough to ruin Roland’s latest thriller.
The second being Olympus Has Fallen with Gerard Butler on wonderful form (The best he’s ever been in my opinion, a fully fledged action hero), relishing the chance to kick bad guy ass, as he smashes his way through villians at 1600 to stop a revenge-seeking terrorist from launching attacks across America and wiping out the last line of defense, the nuclear weapon supply in the United States. An insanely exciting movie with a great cast also including Aaron Eckhart and the legend Morgan Freeman, packed with violent action, wonderful fighting scenes and an attack sequence toward the beginning that must be seen to be believed. Sadly, the movie does begin to settle into a more natural groove as it moves on and never reaches the high level of it’s first major explosion-fest again, but still a spectacular movie that has been cast aside in blockbuster season, and with a director like Antoine Fuqua, the man behind the camera on Training Day, The Replacement Killers, Tears Of The Sun, Shooter and King Arthur, i expected it to do so much better at cinemas. But with the sequel London Has Fallen announced, maybe this time more people will go along. I’ll be queing up for days to get my ticket. Both gems, both unappreciated by many, see them both.