2013 at the movies: A year in review

The Cinephiliacs were born in the last 12 months, and so it seems even more important to have my first entry to the site, for 2014, be a year in review, a look back at the past 12 months and the movies I’ve watched.

I haven’t, by any means, seen all the releases of 2013, there have been some major releases that I’m yet to watch and that gives me lots of things to look forward to for 2014 and offers plenty of potential reviews for this site too. Some of the films I didn’t get chance to see, for whatever reason, and wish I had, are Blue Jasmine, the latest Woody Allen film, and a movie I regret not finding time to go and check out. Gravity, the sci-fi film that has been called one of the best in recent time. In fact, there are so many, I will stop there, with those two probably being the main two movies I regret not seeing in 2013.


But while I regret not seeing some of the films that hit the big screen in this past year, I did get to see some truly amazing ones too, and found myself really thinking of this year as a remarkable one for movies. The mixture of genres has been refreshing, with each month offering so many diverse options to pick through. This, the fact that there were at times just so many films I wanted to see, and so little time to see them, was the main cause for me not seeing certain titles in 2013.

The first movie of 2013 that I saw in theatres was the Disney animation, Wreck it Ralph, a wonderful and charming tribute to the pixels and bits of the early days of video games, featuring well loved gaming characters like Bowser from the Mario series, the little ghost from Pac Man and many others that are bound to give a little jolt of nostalgic excitement to those of us who grew up playing 8 and 16 bit games. The same night, I walked into another screen after seeing this colourful and cute animated film to watch Elijah Wood as a schizophrenic lady-killer in the remake of 70’s cult sleaze classic, Maniac. It was a year filled with these sorts of contrasting moments, with films of all kinds tickling my movie loving taste buds in all sorts of ways.


There were some movies released in the UK in 2013 that had been released elsewhere in 2012, so for those of us in Britain, titles like Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, The Place Beyond the Pines and others were as much 2013 flicks as they were 2012 ones.

There have been films in 2013 that I found to be over-rated and not very enjoyable, but noticed that opinions differed on them depending on who you talked to. For me, the worst film of 2013 by a mile was Grown Ups 2, the terrible, badly written, badly acted and egomaniacal “comedy” starring Adam Sandler and his friends. It was worse than terrible and one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Opinions on that one tend to be similar to mine, but one that did divide opinion was Only God Forgives, a movie I found to be patronising, smug and shallow, yet others found it to be intriguing, artistic and brilliant. I guess it’s all subjective, but those two movies stand out to me as the ones I enjoyed the least in 2013.


Moving on from the worst, I have many films I would say I loved in 2013, and making a list of favourites is quite difficult because of how many I truly enjoyed in the last 12 months. The coming-of-age films like Mud, Kings of Summer and The Way Way Back stand out to me as some of my favourite film experiences in the past year, bringing me so many enjoyable, nostalgic and charming moments. Man of Steel, Elysium, Stark Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug were the big budget blockbusters that I loved in 2013, each of them leaving my jaw on my knees as I watched my expectations surpassed in each of the four cases. Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks blew me away as a drama film with amazing performances whilst also leaving my short of breath in a way that only the best thrillers can do. Stoker, the surreal and dark film from the director of the original Oldboy, was a  breath of weird and wonderful fresh air and left me wanting more as it reached its climax. Then there were a couple of comedy movies that stand out as extremely enjoyable, with The World’s End, This is the End, The Heat and We’re the Miller’s all ticking the boxes for providing plenty of laughs and giving me an escape from serious life for a while. The final film experiences at the cinema for me in 2013 were Thor 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, all of which were insanely enjoyable experiences and films that, regardless of other opinions, I had fun with in many ways.


I could go on, there have been so many extremely brilliant, great, good, and adequate flicks to hit the screens in 2013 that even if I listed all of the ones I can remember I would still accidentally leave some out.

Below are my nods, based on my opinion, on the best of 2013, in various catergories. Feel free to agree or disagree and answer them in the comment section with your own opinions.

 2013: BEST FILM EXPERIENCE: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

2013: BEST ANIMATED FILM: Monsters University

2013: BEST HORROR FILM: Evil Dead

2013: BEST SCI-FI FILM: Elysium

2013: BEST FANTASY FILM: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

2013: BEST SUPERHERO FILM: Man of Steel

2013: BEST INDIE FILM: The Way Way Back

2013: BEST COMEDY FILM: The World’s End

 2013: BEST FILM PERFORMANCE: Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

2013: WORST FILM: Grown Ups 2

2013: BEST DRAMA FILM: Captain Phillips

And finally, my personal top ten films of 2013. May 2014 bring us all some more excellent motion picture moments. Happy New Year!

10: The Place Beyond the Pines

9: Mud

8: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

7: Star Trek: Into Darkness

6: MonstersUniversity

7: The World’s End

4: Captain Phillips

3: The Way Way Back

2: Elysium

1: (tie) The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug/Man of Steel


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