2013 may have been a bumper year for me in terms of seeing new films, but I still only went to the cinema 16 times (bloody hell, I thought it was much more than that), and saw only 55 films in total from last year. Well, it’s 57 now, as I’ve watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Cloud Atlas since posting my review of the year. The great bastion of truth that is Wikipedia says that around 285 movies came out last year, so there’s 230 films that prove I’m doing a pretty crappy job as a movie reviewer, which makes Robert Redford look like this:
So, in recompense, here’s the films I feel most guilty for missing last year:
Honourable mention: Trance
Step 1. A director I really like (Danny Boyle), and an English one at that, releases a film starring at least two actors I’m more than a little fond of (James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson). Unfortunately, I’m unable to see this in cinemas due to poor timing, other commitments and it not being on for very long at my local theatre. Step 2. The film is released on DVD, but who buys new releases these days? They’re super-expensive. Step 3. The DVD is discovered in a second-hand DVD shop for not too much money, and is hastily purchased. Step 4. Roll forward several months and a film I really wanted to see, that I own a copy of and am staring at right now, has yet to be watched. Why? Well, mainly because it’s probably quite violent and/or trippy, so my other half probably won’t like it, and also because there’s so many other films I need to watch too. Why are there so many films?!?! Why!?!?!?!? Ahem, other potential honourable mentions include Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England (it was streaming for ages, it was on TV, I missed it many times), J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips and, um, Escape Plan. It looks fun.
10. Don Jon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or Joggle, as I like to call him (you can keep your “Jo-Go”s, I incorporate the L as well) is an actor I always like in films, even when his character is a tad unnecessary (*cough* Lincoln *cough*), so when it was announced that he was directing – and starring in – his first film, then I initially jumped for joy, until the subject matter of porn addiction was brought up. It’s not really a topic I care for, so I waited for feedback, and the film sounded good, with the porn side tastefully handled. This is definitely a rental, but I don’t know when.
Philomena wins me over purely on the cast. Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan look like they have great chemistry in this dramedy about a woman whose child was taken away from her when she was young, but alas I couldn’t make it to the cinema in time. I’ve recently become something of a Coogan fan, but I’ve always known he was a decent actor, and by the sound of it this was a chance for him to really show his worth. I’m sure the trailers made it out to be far funnier and far less dramatic than it actually is, but I’m fine with that and I look forward to finding out.
I love animated films, and I’ve only heard great things about the latest from Disney, following in the footsteps of the slightly disappointing but still very enjoyable Tangled (worth it for the I’ve Got A Dream song alone). I predict Frozen will eventually be added to my ever-growing collection of animated films (most recent addition: FrankenWeenie), mainly because it’s the kind of film my girlfriend and I can enjoy together. They also work quite well as background films when doing other things, but that’s sort of damning with faint praise, which these features most certainly deserve far more than.
I loved District 9 when I saw it in theatres, but Niell Blomkamp’s culture-clash sci-fi follow-up has eluded me thus far. I’ve heard mixed feedback, but I still really want to see it, if only so I can listen to the Lambcast devoted to it!
6. In A World…
I always seem to enjoy movies about movie-making, and the role of the trailer voiceover artist is an area I haven’t seen depicted before, so I’m really looking forward to finally catching this. I haven’t seen it yet mainly because it wasn’t big enough to actually be released anywhere near me, which was a massive disappointment. Plus, Fred Melamed is in it, and he was one of the many things that made A Serious Man great.
5. The Spectacular Now / The Way, Way Back
I managed to catch The Kings of Summer last year, simply because it was streaming on LoveFilm, but these two other coming-of-age indies have yet to reach that lofty height, so they remain unseen by me. Of the two, I think I’m looking forward to seeing The Way, Way Back more, mainly because it features a supporting cast of actors I love – Steve Carell, Alison Janney, the almighty Sam Rockwell – but The Spectacular Now looks to have better leads in Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, plus Kyle Chandler and Bob Odenkirk are in there too.
4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This is one that I could probably go out and see now if I wanted – and in fact I had the opportunity a little while ago but blew it off to tidy the house instead, so now I’ve officially become old and responsible, dammit. The story of a man who has let life pass him by really appealed to me for some reason (can’t think why), and who knows, when I eventually see it maybe it’ll inspire me to go out and actually do something. If I tweet about seeing it then don’t write anything for a long time, be sure to feel happy for me.
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
I love love love the first film – the creativity, the silliness, oh my lord the puns – and this looked to promise more of the same, with extra food-based puns of course, but I’m going to have to wait and rent it now. I can pretty much guarantee I’m going to love it though.
2. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
This would have been seen on the same day as Walter Mitty had my house not been suffering from post-Christmas untidiness, so alas it – and the Lambcast episode devoted to it – will just have to wait until it arrives on DVD. The original remains one of my favourite modern comedies – it came out of nowhere from a random recommendation and I instantly fell in love with – and whilst I’ve heard some negativity about the sequel, there’s no way I’m never going to see it.
Alexander Payne is one of my favourite directors whose films I’ve never seen on the big screen. I had hoped to change that with Nebraska, before it wasn’t released anywhere near me. It’s not that surprising to see why, as there’s no A-list stars (Bruce Dern and Will Forte are hardly household names over here), little discernible plot – an old man thinks he’s won the lottery, so travels to the eponymous state with his son – and it’s in black and white for Christ’s sake, so I’m just going to have to wait. Ah well, hopefully it’ll be worth it.
Is there anything else huge I’ve missed? You can see what I’ve already seen from 2013 on these three posts.
Nebraskaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa… Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska… If you are a fan of Alexander Payne, then I think you will enjoy it. (I loved it.) I’m sorry it didn’t play near you. I used to live in an area that only got major Hollywood releases, so I understand your frustration.
I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, and I’m really looking forward to eventually seeing (and owning) a copy. Payne is awesome.
Frozen is an amazing film which everyone should see! How would The Hobbit have rated on your lists, out of curiosity?
The Hobbit was amazing, I had the biggest grin on my face during the barrels sequence, plus there’s a dragon, and I love dragons. It would have easily broken into my Top 5 of the year, but I haven’t settled on where yet. Maybe number 3, between Django Unchained and Iron Man 3.
I think Captain Phillips was the big surprise in 2013. If you have not seen it I would recommend it for this list.
I’ve not yet seen it, but I definitely want to. Paul Greengrass isn’t my favourite director but I love Tom Hanks. As soon as this is out I’ll be renting the DVD.