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Added by Spike Marshall on 1 Jan 2013 08:20
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Films of 2013

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People who added this item 2714 Average listal rating (1773 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
Rocky (1976)
1st January

It's got interesting moments but it feels like it kind of fails at being an overall interesting drama. It doesn't help that Rocky himself is kind of a dull character. Sure there's adversity and sure he strives and works hard but there's no shading. He's just a lunk head deadbeat who can go the difference. The few attempts the film makes at shading never seem to go anywhere, like Rocky being a mob collector but still being portrayed as unflinchingly gentle.
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People who added this item 1359 Average listal rating (910 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
Rocky II (1979)
1st January

Riches to Rags to Riches again. There's a little more drama this time, but most of it comes from Apollo Creed's character rather than Rocky. Creed's arc, his inability to deal with his 'loss' and subsequent struggles with his damaged reputation are way more interesting than Rocky proving to be a complete and utter dumbass time and time again.

I mean seriously, I find it hard to support a hero who can't read.
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People who added this item 1229 Average listal rating (836 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
Rocky III (1982)
1st January

Rocky is such a cartoonish character anyways that I don't particular mind the shift to plastic absurdity which occurs in this film and it's jigotastic sequel. To be fair up until this point Rocky IV was the only movie I'd seen so this felt way more comfortable than the two more grounded early entries. Clubber Lang is kind of the perfect antagonist for this film, a brutal, snarling, punching machine who has about as much to do with the sport of boxing as Mr. T has to do with the world of actual dramatic acting.

But Clubber Lang's fists of fury and his hilarious way of seeming to outright kill his opponents really gives the film, which has very little structure, some much needed pep. Shame about that godawful Survivor song though and a shame that Stallone couldn't quite direct the film to match it's absurd story/characters. It's an oddly flat film, despite it's insane use of montage, and it's sequel really takes it to town in terms of construction and gaudiness.
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People who added this item 412 Average listal rating (255 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
2nd January

I found myself loving the first half of the film but growing increasingly restless as it went on. It's a great collection of sketches which sometimes coalesce into a great film. But aside from a great moment involving a chain gang the film feels really, really, front loaded. But it's got a goofy, irreverent, tone I really like. I'm a sucker for jokes like a cellist in a marching band and the recurring gags involving dress clasps and broken glasses.
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People who added this item 729 Average listal rating (450 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.1
Magic Mike (2012)
3rd January

I blow hot and cold with Soderbergh. I often like the concept of his movies, but aside from rarities like THE LIMEY and TRAFFIC I often find myself disengaged. It's kind of sad that one of my favourite movies by the guy is ERIN BROKOVICH. Essentially I'm probably a bizarro Soderbergh fan. As such when I say this is one of my favourite films by the director you've got to understand the context.

But I do love the film, it's a surprisingly warm and humane film and Channing Tatum is just a bundle of charm as the titular protagonist. Everytime Tatum is onscreen the film comes alive, and the film wisely chooses to focus on him rather than his young protege. In fact instead of using the protege as an entry point, he's used as a catalyst and an almost antagonist. The film is actually kind of inherently plotless, more a character study with story beats than anything else.

But at it's heart the film is good natured and layered, like it's titular character.

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People who added this item 1563 Average listal rating (1035 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
3rd January

I’m an unabashed Anderson fan. Love everything he’s done from RUSHMORE to FANTASTIC MR. FOX. He’s a director who has never disappointed me and even the film I liked least by him (DARJEELING) easily found its way into my top ten for that year. However amongst my friends Anderson was a hack and as such I found myself very much alone in my appreciation of his work. As such when those same friends came back from MOONRISE KINGDOM with nothing but praise I was concerned. You see I liked the stuff that Anderson was criticised for. I loved his aesthetic, I loved how constructed his worlds were, I loved how Anderson framed things. I even, due to my own circumstances, found myself continually moved by Anderson’s continued exploration of father figures as a central theme of his work. But these were all things that my friends criticised and as such I was expecting to find a more compromised film from Anderson. As such I held off on watching the film for a long, long time.

When I actually watched the film I was delighted to find it was just as much in Anderson’s wheelhouse as his other movie. I think maybe having the film be specifically a period piece and be specifically about children allowed people to accept Anderson’s usual style. I will admit the focusing on two kids, both embarking on their first ever romance, makes Anderson’s picturebook style feel a lot more natural than it normally would. It could also be that after the relative break that FANTASTIC MR. FOX presented they were just ready to accept Anderson’s style.

It also helps that Suzy and Sam are probably some of the most likeable lead characters that Anderson has ever had. Still the outsiders, still hopelessly self absorbed, but their age and the performances really help to get away the inherent unpleasantness that lurks within most of Anderson’s characters. They’re damaged, but salvageable. In many ways Suzy and Sam is like looking at the beginnings of some of Anderson’s older characters, watching the pivotal moment that would shift them into people like the grown up Tenenbaums, Zissou, or the brothers on the Darjeeling Limited. Whilst there’s an ambiguity to the end of the film, it seems to represent a path that leads to earlier happiness than most Anderson characters get.

This is probably my second favourite Anderson film, just behind THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, and whilst that will probably change once immediacy has worn off I was overjoyed watching it. It’s such an amazingly put together movie, with a rhythm and energy that Anderson hadn’t had since THE LIFE AQUATIC and an extended cast that could go toe to toe with the extended Tenebaum family. There are so many great little roles and characters in the film that it’s really hard to single some out, although it is nice seeing Ed Norton being playful with a role. He’s so great with lighter stuff, but so focused on more serious work, that I always forget how great a comedic touch he has. It’s also nice seeing Bruce Willis properly engaged by a material, even if he does play a little broadly and thus remind me uncomfortably of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. But the heart of the film is the two kids and they benefit from a focus that, for Anderson at least, is almost razor sharp. It’s such a perfect essaying of young love and of the period that I’d assume it was drawn from their own experiences if it wasn’t for the fact the 1965 setting dates it about half a decade before either Anderson or his co-writer Roman Coppolla were born.

There's such a great attention to detail to such odd little touches, like the overly elaborate Noah's Ark production, that it feels way more lived in than a fictional setting should. But that's the heart of Anderson I feel, his tics and offbeat choices actually granting a sense of verisimilitude to events that are inherently ridiculous.

So yeah, loved this. And I even loved the odd narrator guy, particularly his breathlessly dramatic which introduces the storm that rocks the third act of the film. It’s an offbeat choice but I really, really, loved it
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.9
3rd January

A little lunk headed, and occasionally god awful looking, there's still a little bit of charm in this. Of course I'm biased as I'm a massive fan of the MASS EFFECT universe. I've also read the, really disappointing, novels and so wasn't expecting much from the film.

It's exceptionally action orientated and does very little to make it's ancillary characters 'pop' but it does succeed in creating a truly nightmarish experience.
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People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
Alucarda (1977)
4th January

Absolutely mental. A feverish, visceral, at times almost nonsensical descent into violence and madness. Detailing two young girls who find themselves possessed by the devil, and the attempts of an over zealous church community to exorcise them, the film is lean and mean. Stuff happens exceptionally quickly and hums with a vicious, sordid, energy building up to a finale which is simply astounding.

With a dreamlike quality that calls to mind Suspiria the film moves at a lightning pace and takes utter delight in torture and malevolence. It's the kind of horror movie that makes you amazing comfortable but also impresses on it's sheer audacity.
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People who added this item 1050 Average listal rating (704 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Chronicle (2012)
4th January

The first hour of this film is easily a 9/10 for me. The last half hour more of a 7/10.

The interaction between the three leads is amazing, they're a genuine joy to spend time with and it makes their subsequent break up feel especially cool. Their performances, combined with some great FX work and the found footage style really help to grant a sense of verisimilitude to the film.

The last act, which essentially is an AKIRAesque superhero smackdown, goes big and doesn't succeed nearly as well as the first hour. Partially this is because the more intimate first half allows for the modest budget to not feel too strained, but it's mostly because it feels largely anemic.

The major conflict is well established, but it feels tonally ajar compared to the rest of the film. The machinations of the plot and the development of the characters suggest a more intimate, horror fueled, finale. Something akin to the end of Carrie. The final act however comes across as exceptionally impersonal and it makes very little sense.
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People who added this item 816 Average listal rating (483 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.9
5th January

This is exactly the film I assumed it would be, for better or worse. In fact I was kind of hoping it would be a bit more crazy than it actually was. There are moments in the film which match the sheer insanity of WANTED and NIGHTWATCH but it's surprisingly staid at times. It also doesn't help that it's plot flits around with very little regard for pace or tone. Stuff just happens, characters just do things, but none of it seems supported by anything other than the relentless march of the film.

Still it's occasionally fun and Timur Bekmambetov (for better or worse) directs the shit out of every single frame.
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People who added this item 1750 Average listal rating (1193 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
Ted (2012)
6th January

There's a Tom Skerrit joke at the end of this film that is one of about a half dozen killer jokes. Still trying to work out if we're supposed to laugh at how awful Ted is or if the film is just really racist and misogynistic. The movie is pretty much a long episode of Family Guy, complete with all the close to bone humour and constant referencing you'd expect. Unfortunately coming out of the mouths of real people it's hard not to essentially view the film as being incredibly racist.
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People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.9
5th January

This is a film that I find to be both charming and frustrating. It’s the story of a writer having a cataclysmic breakdown as he attempts to segue from children’s literature into more adult fare. Unfortunately his research on his desired topic, serial killers of Victoria Britain, has created in him an acute phobia of being murdered. The film starts with this writer, Jack (Simon Pegg), already in a state of turmoil and proceeds from there.

It’s got a claustrophobic, shambling, energy that almost immediately puts you into Jack’s head. If the film is successful at anything it’s in creating a truly fevered, and frenzied, state and maintaining that for the majority of its running time. There are occasional buoys of sanity, but for the most part we’re stuck in Jack’s headspace. As such the film is often not particularly pleasant, with the claustrophobia and atmosphere becoming so thick to become almost vicelike.

At these moments the film’s saving grace is its energy and direction. It feels at times like a bizarre mixture of THE MIGHTY BOOSH and Pegg’s collaborations with Edgar Wright. Although truth be told despite it’s at times maniac energy it veers closer to BOOSH than Wright’s movies (it doesn’t have the sheer control of focus of Wright’s movies for one). The film is populated with cutaway and moments of barely lucid surrealism and it is at times exhausting. Whilst Pegg is good in the main role he’s not a strong enough force to completely ground the whole endeavour and as it such it feels at several times like the film is massively going off the rails. It’s keeping with the tone of the film, but it also doesn’t feel particularly planned. As such it’s hard not to come away with the feeling that first time directors Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell don’t have sure enough hands as directors. Which is a shame because there are moments of the film that are fantastic.

In fact one of the main frustrations of the film is that it’s jam packed with great, indelible, moments that are almost throttled by the cumbersome husk of the film as a whole. It’s a real curate’s egg and the effect after a while is to bring to mind a sketch show rather than a cohesive narrative. But when the film works, it WORKS, and that is where the frustration comes in. Because it’s a film that is wrong footed by its own ambition and own desire to try new things. When the film allows itself to go off on some narrative diversion it really comes to life and gains a sense of playfulness that is missing from the main narrative. Sure the moments where it tells a tale via the medium of stop motion animation are a refreshing change of pace, but they’re also memorable because they feel more fully formed and coherent than the main story.

In fact the main narrative really only kicks into gear within it's last ten or fifteen moments, where an outside force finally pierces the self inflicted misery of the first two acts. In fact the last act is perhaps the moment when the film really has any consistency and it's largely because it gives Pegg a chance to interact with other people and become a part of an ensemble.

At the end of the day it feels like a director’s workshop come to life and some of the results are absolutely fantastic, it’s just a shame that the film is hung around the hoary old cliché of a writer having a nervous breakdown. It feels completely played out and means the main narrative is particularly difficult to invest in.
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People who added this item 861 Average listal rating (488 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
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People who added this item 554 Average listal rating (373 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
Killer Joe (2011)
5th January

Good god, this is something else. I was absolutely riveted throughout this film. It helps that Friedkin is a real favourite director of mine and this is probably my favourite film of his since RAMPAGE (although I do have a real soft spot for BUG). Just everything about this film feels off, but in the best way possible. It feels lived in, despite being kind of oddball and offbeat. If I didn't know better I'd say it was based off of an Elmore Leonard story, because it's got the same kind of dumbass schemers and slightly askew logic of his work. I'd be fascinated to see how the stage play this is based on plays out. You can kind of feel the stage routes at times as the majority of the action takes place in one location and in fact can be broken down into three major set-pieces (the introduction, the date, the finale) which all take place within the front room of the Smith's front room.


I love the way that Friedkin films this, and the weight he gives everything. The way that the beatdowns just look and feel so brutal (later on there is a punch to a characters face that has to be one of the most jarring and awful bits of violence I've seen in a movie in a long time), and the general sense of unease in the entire story really help give weight to a film that has a fairly small plot. I think the thing I love most about Friedkin is his way of using innocous details and framing them in a way that is just terrifying. He's amazing at building a real sense of revulsion just through the way he uses his camera and blocks things. There's a moment later on involving fried chicken which is kind of nothing conceptually, but is possibly one of the most viscerally unpleasant things I've seen in a film. It's just something about Friedkin, his best films can just put you on edge just by their presence (THE EXORCIST and BUG are kind of built on how effectively Friedkin can make your skin crawl) and that skill is used to amazing effect here. There's just a persistent, skeevy, feel to the entire film which makes it amazingly memorable.

The cast are all great. In fact the only person who falters for me is Hirsch. I think Hirsch is a great actor, he managed to make me like the absolutely repellant McCandless in INTO THE WILD, but he has very little to do here. The rest of the cast all get juicy moments and characters to play with, whilst Hirsch feels like he's forced to stay in first gear the entire time. McConaughey is dynamite here, just wonderfully calm and perverse and I think his interactions with Juno Temple (who does fantastic work) are the best thing in the film. Haden-Church is delightfully lunk headed as Ansel and Gershon just owns most of the scene's shes in. But the real star is definitely Friedkin's assured direction. There are very few directors who can do what he can do, especially in the sixth decade of their career.
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People who added this item 506 Average listal rating (366 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Top Secret! (1984)
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People who added this item 182 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 4.6 IMDB Rating 4.8
Twixt (2011)
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People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (84 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
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People who added this item 2707 Average listal rating (1591 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
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People who added this item 803 Average listal rating (425 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
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People who added this item 86 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
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People who added this item 1773 Average listal rating (1153 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
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People who added this item 2494 Average listal rating (1708 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4
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People who added this item 184 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
Excision (2012)
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People who added this item 770 Average listal rating (528 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
The Saint (1997)
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People who added this item 540 Average listal rating (354 ratings) 4.2 IMDB Rating 3.7
The Avengers (1998)
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People who added this item 911 Average listal rating (544 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Let Me In (2010)
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People who added this item 420 Average listal rating (269 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Safe (2012)
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People who added this item 277 Average listal rating (149 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
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People who added this item 463 Average listal rating (272 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
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People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.6
Age of Heroes (2011)
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People who added this item 363 Average listal rating (232 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 93 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Trespass (1992)
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People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.2
Inbred (2011)
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People who added this item 481 Average listal rating (307 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
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People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (69 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
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People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.9
Wild Bill (1995)
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People who added this item 1471 Average listal rating (898 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.1
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People who added this item 620 Average listal rating (376 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 122 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 4.8
Supernova (2000)
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People who added this item 174 Average listal rating (114 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.5
Stolen (2012)
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People who added this item 224 Average listal rating (155 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 6.7
Hollow (2011)
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People who added this item 121 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
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People who added this item 2172 Average listal rating (1400 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.2
Ghost Rider (2007)
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People who added this item 214 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
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The new movies I watched in 2013. This is only films that are new to me.

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