Despite the fact that 2012 was a pretty dismal year for movies, 2013 definitely delivered. With a packed list of movies set to be rallying for an Oscar Best Picture nomination, here are ten films that I really enjoyed and would recommend. However, there are still a few movies left that I have yet to watch!
With Lars and the Real Girl being one of my all-time favourite movies, it’s obvious as to why I loved Spike Jonze’s Her. Set in a futuristic Los Angeles, the film surrounds a lonely writer played by Joaquin Phoenix who enters into a relationship with his new computer Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). What made me love this movie was the heartbreaking and charming performance by Phoenix and how ScarJo’s voice and expressions added by depth to the film. I also adored the bright colours of the film’s setting and the soundtrack is just to die for.
Hands down, this film is a cinematic masterpiece. Alfonso Cuarón manages to recreate space in this gorgeous yet terrifying film about a woman who tries to rescue herself (physically and mentally) as technical problems in space arise. I love how this film has a female lead and the fact that its graphics makes you feel like you’re among the stars. For full effect, you MUST watch this in IMAX. This movie is that brilliant, I’m sure we’ll still be talking about it in the next 10 years.
3. 12 Years A Slave
The most harrowing movie of the year is also one of the year’s best. Steve McQueen depicts slavery in the most brutal of ways. And yet, it’s a movie that you can really appreciate and enjoy even if it’s not uplifting at all. Chiwetal Ejiofor is so good in this film that he doesn’t even have to say a word. All you have to do is look into his eyes and your heart will just break. Michael Fassbender, who I’ve always enjoyed, made me really hate him because of the way he portrayed his character. And of course, we can’t forget Lupita Nyong’o, who delivers a breakthrough role that might just win her the Oscar come March 2.
4. The Way Way Back
In a coming of age tale about growing comfortable in your own skin, this film by writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is charming, hilarious and just an all-around feel-good tale. While the story surrounds a young boy, what really made this film for me were the scene-stealing supporting characters. Sam Rockwell is delightful as always while Allison Janney is hilarious as the alcoholic neighbour. It was also nice to see Steve Carell taking on the role of an insufferable jerk. Because God knows, he plays awkward and dopey way too often.
It’s too bad this film wasn’t so popular in North America because Chris Hemsworth delivers one of the best performances of his career as race car driver James Hunt. I’ll admit that I had a few reservations about this movie because it just looked like any other sports movie. But because it’s directed by Ron Howard and anchored strongly by Daniel Brühl (he plays Niki Lauda), this film had a lot more heart and emotion than I thought.
6. Don Jon
I loved this movie up until the last 10 minutes. But nonetheless, it’s good enough for my list. I’m very impressed with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for starring, directing and writing this movie when it’s his debut feature. What I enjoyed so much about this movie was the fact that it touches upon the many double standards men and women have for each other. In that sense, it felt very real…especially the argument about pornos and movies being different (movies win awards, you know!). I was also very amused by the over-the-top Jersey accents and just the ridiculous attire both ScarJo and Gordon-Levitt wore.
7. In A World…
I loved this movie for several reasons. First, it was all about female empowerment in the entertainment industry. Second, it was just quirky and fun as hell. Of course all of this can be owed to the wonderful mind of Lake Bell who wrote, starred and directed the film. Thanks to her and the casting director, I also got to see some of my fave underrated comedic talents strut their stuff (Ken Marino from Party Down, anyone?). What did make the movie however, was the hilarious cameo near the end of the film. I’m not telling you who it is but you’re just going to have to watch it yourself.
8. Short Term 12
This movie and its lead actress is so underrated that it probably won’t win any major awards. But OH MY GOD, I was emotional by the end of it. Larson takes on the role of a youth worker who helps out troubled youth. But despite being professional and serious about her work, she struggles to suppress problems of her own. Her performance here is absolutely heartbreaking and it’s just a wonder why she isn’t as popular as Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe she should do a blockbuster franchise.
9. The Kings of Summer
This story about friendship and growing up attracted me because I’ve always fantasized about building my own home. Three teenage boys do exactly that in this movie to get away from their parents but problems arise when a girl gets in the way of a friendship. This movie is definitely a sleeper hit but it’s one of the year’s most charming films.
10. This is the End
To think that I almost forgot to include this on the list, this movie undoubtedly made me laugh the hardest. Featuring cameos from practically every celebrity (Emma Watson, Rihanna, Aziz Ansari), this film about friendship and survival is just comedic gold.