Most of the critics have a different view, but I thought 2013 wasn’t a great year for movies. Here are a few that stood out for me as deserving “The Best” designation as well as a few others.
The Sapphires – A delightful romp based on the story of three aboriginal sisters from Australia who sang and entertained the troops in southeast Asia during World War II. A fun flick with no conflicts and no crisis. A real sleeper.
Lee Daniels, The Butler – Forrest Whitaker headed up a great cast with Oprah Winfrey to tell the mostly true story of the butler to seven presidents. Had a lot of great cameo appearances by top actors, like Jane Fonda doing Nancy Reagan. It tracked the butler’s career alongside the evolving civil rights movement.
Enough Said with Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gondolfini as two estranged singles who happen by chance to find a common thread and live through some trials and tribulations. Good cast. Very well done.
Gravity – Excellent film. A tour de force for Sandra Bullock with an assist from George Clooney. It’s a gripping story of an astronaut on a troubled mission. The music heightens the tension as you follow Dr. Ryan’s (Bullocks’) trials through space. A definite academy award nomination. I wish I knew how they filmed this great combo of acting and technical. My vote doesn’t count but I would pick this for the Oscar.
Last year we picked seven as outstanding.
Then there were some flicks that were good, although not outstanding.
The Jackie Robinson Story – No awards, but a great flick for anyone who grew up in the 50’s. It was very emotional and brought back a lot of memories. Well done for what it was.
Capt. Phillipe – Tom Hanks is at his usual top of the game acting in this tension-building account of a true story. Even when you know the outcome, you get pretty nervous as the drama builds. It’s first class storytelling at its best.
Dallas Buyers Club – Not the most uplifting movie, but exceptionally well done reprise of a sort of true story about the struggle to find effective medicines in the early days of HIV/AIDS. The acting by Mathew McConaughey who lost 40 pounds for the role and Jared Leto are outstanding.
Nebraska – If you saw the trailer, you saw the heart of this movie starring Bruce Dern in a standout performance. The best parts of the flick were his quirky wife and the older relatives. Some funny lines along with the frailties of declining age.
The Past – From the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi who gave us the outstanding “A Separation” a few years ago. This too is a well done flick with French subtitles. A quiet gem that plays well.
Philomena – You can’t beat Judy Dench for another outstanding performance in a mostly true and somewhat sad story of the Catholic church in Ireland hiding a son from an unwed mother’s desire to reconnect.
Saving Mr. Banks – You know Tom Hanks will always deliver and Emma Thompson is outstanding as the creator of Mary Poppins. No need to say more. A little long, but you’ll enjoy it.
Quirkiest Film of the Year
Inside Llewlyn Davis – Another Coen brothers’ exercise in exploiting the also-rans and super quirks in our culture. The Coen brothers always offer a different kind of entertainment. This one is about the folk rock scene of the early fifties.
American Hustle – Besides a first-rate performance from Jennifer Lawrence, this flick defies all the high ratings and early awards as a somewhat confusing scam with the audience being hustled.
Blue Jasmine – Outstanding performance by Kate Winslet as a sad, unraveling, single. It just wasn’t a Woody Allen movie. At least the kind of movie we’re used to from Woody.
Ready for some new flicks in 2014?