My own subjective ranking of 2013 films (That I’ve seen so far)

Erm ok, I’ll admit that I have yet to watch: American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Her, Nebraska, Catching Fire, Ilo Ilo and a few more I guess…
By the way, I feel like this list isn’t so much a ranking of what I perceive as the greatest films of 2013, but more of the ones that I’ve enjoyed. So yes, be prepared to see some critically panned movies in there.

I apologies in advance if my pictures are of different sizes but I’m too honestly too lazy to edit them :p

1) Blue is the warmest colour

It was a real tough decision between this one and my number 2. I guess I decided to go with this film as I came out being more surprised and impressed than I expected myself to be. And no, not because of the explicit sex scenes. A particular critic described us viewers as a fly on the wall observing the lives of 2 girls in love with one another; and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s not just a mere lesbian porno as some people label it to be, but an emotional journey about a girl who learns to discover herself and her flaws as a person. I will also go one step further to add that this is the best acted film of the year in my book. The breakup scene alone is so realistically depicted that I even I myself felt rather uncomfortable. The development of the character by the lead actress Adele Exarchopoulos is really fantastic. You can see her confusion, her loneliness, her excitement, her devastation so realistically portrayed that it is a bit disturbing lol. The movie itself is 3 hours long but I never felt bored because I was always so engaged and curious to find out more about these characters and their lives.  Bravo!

2) Gravity

Overhyped? If you say so. Boring? Maybe. Do I love it? Yes. I think it is a very beautiful film, both visually and emotionally. It also has a perfect balance between the intense moments as well as the emotional ones. The technical aspect is in my humble, opinion, groundbreaking. The effects, the music, the editing, the directing: Perfect. And the actor(s?). Clooney’s character is weird, but it didn’t bother me that much. Sandra Bullock was wonderful. I have always liked her anyway. Not that I think she is a fantastic actress, but because she’s really an awesome person and I don’t think that she is that bad an actress either (Don’t love, but don’t hate her performance in The Blind Side). Anyway, it’s just amazing to see how she managed to develop so much from what’s a thinly written character. Initially, we see her as this quiet, reserved woman who chooses to immerse herself completely in her work to forget a personal tragedy, but due to the situation, we see her grow and find an inner strength which allowed her to survive. I also happen to be a sucker for such films (Disaster, survival, finding inner strength) so there’s no doubt that I’m very biased towards it. I guess the corny dialogue and the supposedly unrealistic moments are valid criticisms, but I’m somewhat ok with it….The fact that the movie “didn’t really have a plot” didn’t bother me at ALL. Jeez, the woman is already struggling to survive and encountering a shitload of problems, do you still want an alien invasion or what? The fact that it only had one character throughout (I don’t get why this is considered a problem) didn’t bother me, because Sandra carried the film beautifully. Anyway, hasn’t tis method of storytelling been used in 127 Hours and Cast Away?? O.O

3) The Wolf of Wall Street

I actually disliked the film the first time I watched it. However, over time it kinda grew on me and there are many elements that I admire. For one, despite it being hyper gross and vulgar, it is actually pretty damn hilarious at times. I could list the “Geeeet off the phhooone!” scene, or the “The funeral!?” line, or the yacht in choppy waters, or the “I know  and you know what I mean. I wouldn’t call this Scorsese’s best film but I think he did a pretty damn good job with this one anyway. To be honest, the first portion depicting the rise of the main character was a bit boring to me. I mean, it was entertaining at first, but after a while I felt like I couldn’t care less about this group of messed up assholes and their decadent lifestyles. But the downfall part was damn good, especially when you watch them try to figure their way out of the various tricky situations they’re in. I have to admit that I didn’t think too highly of Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance initially but in hindsight I actually think that he had an extremely tricky part that could have been badly overacted. So yes, I think he did an excellent job. It’s just personally not the kind of performance that I fall madly in love for. Still, there’s no denying that he did a great job in depicting the character’s rise and fall, combining it with the right amount of intensity, drama, charisma and comedy. It’s an unusual role for him, since I’m so used to seeing him do his angry-serious-yelling man thing. Jonah Hill wasn’t that bad either, imo, but I couldn’t help but wonder about how Joe Pesci would have been flat-out amazing here.

4) Captain Phillips

Well, I’ve already done my review of that so I’m not gonna repeat what I’ve said. In summary, it is a well-directed, well-acted thriller, with great performances by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi and a very intense atmosphere.

5) August: Osage County

I am going to do a more in-depth opinion piece on this, so I’ll just say that I liked the film much more than expected despite its flaws. Marvellous Meryl is really great (as usual), but I don’t think this is her best performance. Julia Roberts, who is one of those what I call “pretty-disliked-but-I-admit-I-don’t-hate-her” actresses is actually much better than I expected her to be. The film has some pretty nice dramatic and comedic scenes, but the flow of the story feels a bit off. It feels as if all of the best parts/main events of the play are all strung together (the original play is 3 hours long), so it does feel a bit unnatural at times.

6) Blue Jasmine

My opinion on this one is totally biased by the way; Objectively speaking, I should be judging this film by itself but my mind has been so influenced by A Streetcar Named Desire that I simply cannot help with the comparisons. A knock-out performance by Cate Blanchett, a great supporting performance by Sally Hawkins, and overall a very good, but not great film. I’ll go ahead and admit that my opinion of A:OC would probably be the same if I actually watched the original material.

7) The Heat

Erm, obviously you don’t go in watching this movie and expecting it to be a Scorsese crime thriller. It’s vulgar, offensive, crude, violent, extremely unrealistic and unlikely…but you know what? I thought it was funny as hell. Melissa McCarthy’s loud over-the-top comedic style would have annoyed me usually, but it was well complemented by Sandra Bullock’s deadpan line delivery. These 2 together are as convincing as law enforcement officers as me being the president of the United States aka not at all. Still, it was a brainless, enjoyable comedy that was comforting to me during a stressful school period.

“My fear is that I’m gonna put you in a bikini and you’ll still look like a fucking bank teller.” LOL

 8) Rush

Daniel Bruhl clearly unpleased with Oscar snub. Kidding…

Sighs…I was hoping that it would fare better with me over time, but it ultimately got the same treatment as the other Ron Howard films. Like I’ve said before, his movies are usually enjoyable and I dare say great, but for some reason they just don’t stick in my head. I still think that this is one of his best films though.

9) Prisoners

I didn’t like it as much as most people did when I first watched it but right now, I think there are some elements that I really admire. Like I’ve said, I really loved Hugh Jackman’s performance…and Jake Gyllenhaal’s work kinda grew on me I guess. The dark and grim atmosphere is quite well down, as well as the tension and suspense. I just can’t love it like many people do, and I feel like I have seen much better thrillers than this.

10) Ah Boys to Men part II

NAH don’t say I never support Singaporean films ok? I’m terribly ashamed of myself. Not because I hardly support local movies, but because the one that I watched isn’t the Golden Horse winning Ilo Ilo by Anthony Chen but a Jack Neo one. I WILL buy the DVD for Ilo Ilo ok? I swear by that.

I’ll just go ahead and say that this is probably one of his better efforts. Sure the CGI wild boars scene was fricking stupid, but it was some what salvaged by Mr Brown’s presence. Sure, the entire sequence in the food court involving CGI warships, planes and army tanks and Chen Tianwen promoting the virtues of army is really as in your face as it can get. But for the most part, I did find myself chuckling at some scenes. I didn’t even watch part I by the way. The characters are TOTAL stereotypes (like in all his movies), but I feel like the fact that this movie is based on the SAF makes this aspect somewhat acceptable. I mean, aren’t most army jokes derived from those stereotypical characters anyway?

OT, I’m not a fan of his movies at all, by the way. I consider myself very open to movies, and I know that I shouldn’t be expecting myself to watch The Godfather when watching his films, but the laziness of his storytelling and in your face moralizing can really get to me.  Call me cold hearted and cynical but his jokes aren’t very funny either (guanyinma.com seriously wtf -.-) Whenever I think about that monstrosity called 突然发财 and it’s (I’m not kidding) “Oh! It was all the character’s imagination” ending, I will instantly recall the time I nearly had a seizure as a primary school kid in the cinema. And don’t get me started on 孩子不坏 and Chen Xiao Dong running through the school naked because of a lost bet…seriously? Or the “online bullying” and that split personality chick who suddenly adopts some femme fatale way of speaking out of the blue “要比坏。。。就比坏。。。“ O.O

Urgh.

And the FUCKING product placements. Not that I have anything against them, but if you want to use an entire scene to advertise the frigging products (Like totally forgetting about the storyline at that moment), it gets INCREDIBLY annoying. TO ME!

Ah well, who am I to comment? His movies definitely have their share of loyal fans so it doesn’t matter if I don’t join the gang anyway. As his supporters will say, “only know how to criticise, go make one movie yourself lah!!” Sure…

Anyway, congrats to Ah Boys to men 2 being the top grossing film of 2013. I guess this one is going to follow suit.

11) Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

For the LOVE of god, ENOUGH WITH THE WHIMPERING ALREADY I TELL YOU!

This is another one of those movies where you have to shut off your mind and accept it for what it is. But even so, it was really draggy at times, and I guess Tsui Hark was so excited with 3D technology that he just had to send almost every CGI object flying out of the screen in slow motion…swords, axes, sticks, bees, bugs, cloth….you name it. And it would have been fine, except that I watched it in 2D. So yeah, it was kinda lame.

Talk about one bizarre plot…A whimpering Angelababy (whom I was literally begging to STFU in my head) who is in love with a lover transformed into The Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man a monster by toxic beetles…a poison that has to be cured by drinking the urine of virgin boys…a sea monster (Great CGI btw) that hardly has any relevance to the plot (I mean, I think it could have some link but I didn’t even care anymore by then)…a trolling Wu Zetian who decided to troll the main characters by poisoning them so that they can drink the urine…I tell you, by the time the film reached the final sea monster battle I was just accepting things for what it is. Still, it’s fairly entertaining.

12) The Grandmaster

Ok shoot me. Seriously. I know ranking ABTM 2 and Detective Dee above The Grandmaster is like telling Steven Spielberg that Uwe Boll makes better films than him. But at least ABTM 2 and detective dee achieved their purpose of being stupidly entertaining films.

I’m a firm believer of less is more, so this one really comes off as unnecessarily messy and pretentious. The movie sure is deep, and I can appreciate that, but I more often than not find it incredibly boring and muddled. Oh sure, the cinematography is beautiful, and it even got nominated for an Oscar for its work here.  Zhang Ziyi is good, and I’d say probably the best part of the film. I wonder why they kept showing so many of her scenes even after they announced that her character died though. Like make up your mind? IF you still want to feature her, then put her death later or something? Tony Leung, one of the GREATEST cinema actors imo (无间道,色戒), is criminally underused as Yip Mun. He basically smirks and bashes people up, and I guess he had a crying scene that lasted a few seconds. The barber was funny, sure, but what was the point of his character? Actually, what was the point of Yip Mun in this show? Oh wait, what is the point of the whole freaking show? Song Hye Kyo is one freaking beautiful and talented korean actress but…she’s really a 花瓶 here.

I guess I’m too stupid and “shallow” for this movie. Which, imo, had the potential for being really great btw.

13) The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Horrible. HORRIBLE, I tell you. I feel bad for Lily Collins because I could see that she was trying to make it work but the AWFUL screenplay, the convoluted storyline, the terrible editing, the pretty bad acting just made the whole process intolerable for me. Not to mention that the CGI wasn’t that great as well.

WTF did Sigourney Weaver really sign up for the sequel? Wait, WHY IS THERE EVEN GOING TO BE ONE?

Ok, that’s all…for now. I’m pretty sure I’ve watched more movies than this. Or maybe not, since I don’t really have a live nowadays. If I remember any more, I will update it in a separate list. I may also include the movies that I have yet to watch after I watch them…if I have the time.

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