The 10 best/worst films of 2013

2013-01-01 06:00

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As the year rolls to a close, Gayle Edmunds lists the most memorable – good or bad –of the 200 films she’s seen this year.

1The colossus 

Though this was a big year for the biopic – with Daniel Day-Lewis taking home the Oscar for Lincoln – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has got to be the best.

Idris Elba’s fine portrayal of our greatest citizen and Naomie Harris’ turn as Winnie Madikizela will go down in history for many reasons, not all of them cinematic.

Chances are that Elba, who garnered a Golden Globe nomination for the role, can also expect a nod from Oscar.

2Drawing family fun 

This is a little bit of bias, but in a year that delivered the sequel to Despicable Me and the latest Disney adventure, Frozen, Khumba holds its own.

This locally made animated film is the second from the guys who made Adventures in Zambezia and it’s much, much better.

It’s the tale of a zebra missing half his stripes who takes a trip through the African savannah with a lone wildebeest and a retired performing ostrich to find his stripes and save his herd.

3The superhero 

It’s been a big year for superheroes. Iron Man had his third outing and Thor his second, but my best of the year goes to the new Superman.

The Brandon Routh version could best be described as vanilla, while Man of Steel has, well, steel.

Henry Cavill is a worthy successor to the late, great Christopher Reeve and Russell Crowe does Marlon Brando proud in his reboot of Superman’s father, Jor-El.

4The little film that could 

The Brits are famous for these types of films and it’s been a while since we’ve had one as uplifting as this.

Song for Marion is simply delightful. It’s about an aged community choir that comes together when one of their own get sick.

Vanessa Redgrave is fantastic as Marion and Terence Stamp (of Priscilla Queen of the Desert fame) is her eternally cranky husband who finds his inner melody.

5The mindbender 

Cloud Atlas sprawls across time. It is a complicated opus of a film based on a book that is even more complex.

It hits the three-hour mark as it explores the universe of human experience, moving back and forth in time with a cast of characters that are villains in one time and heroes in another, victims in the past and predators in the future.

It’s a spectacular feat from a trio of directors?–?Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana (of The Matrix fame)?–?who are probably the only folks in Hollywood who could have done it.

6Retro Reboot 

What the Lone Ranger couldn’t pull off, the cast of Star Trek: Into Darkness do.

Captain Kirk and Dr Spock’s latest adventure looks like the 1970s series that spawned it, but the content is updated for a modern audience, with Benedict Cumberbatch adding to his already impressive CV one of TV space’s most enduring villains, Khan.

Alas, Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer just couldn’t make cowboys and Indians cool again.

There’s way too much of an uncool history of genocide that comes with it.

7The belly flopper 

The guys who served up the supersuccessful The Pure Monate Show just couldn’t get Blitz Patrollie to hit ha-ha on the laugh-o-meter.

The film stars David Kau and Joey Rasdien, and was written by Kagiso Lediga?–?none of this helps. What we get is a hodgepodge of nonsense as a pair of cops tear around town trying to get back their big bust.

8Ego trip of the year 

Will Smith, a.k.a. Mr Box Office, tricks his faithful audiences with After Earth.

It hardly stars the Fresh Prince and is instead a vehicle for his teenage son, Jayden, to practise his two facial expressions?–?puzzled and sulky.

Smith and son crash-land on the planet that used to be Earth and while Will lies with a bleeding leg, Jayden must take a journey to get the medicine to save his dad.

This film explains in painful detail why nepotism is a problem.

9Unlikeliest love story 

Warm Bodies has the best opening lines of any zombie film. It’s a narration by R (Nicholas Hoult), the zombie who falls in love with a living girl after eating her boyfriend’s brains.

Sure, it’s a tough relationship start to overcome, but R and Julie make it work.

Funny and sweet, this film showed that the zombie genre can be more than walking corpses and gore.

10SExiest film of the year 

The Sessions, based on Mark O’Brien’s article about getting some, is one of the funniest and most touching films of the year.

John Hawkes is Mark, a writer who is in an iron lung, but who is determined to lose his virginity despite the challenges this entails.

Helen Hunt is Cheryl, a sex surrogate who takes the job of helping Mark.

Awkward, amusing and real, The Sessions is one of the most intimate films you’ll see.

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