Top 10 Movies of 2013 Top 10 Films of 2013

The 86th Academy Awards will be live very soon and here I am, finally listing my personal favourite films. It was quite a good year with a decent amount of great movies but unfortunately due to time constraint (a lot of work these days), I wasn’t able to watch as many high rated films as I wanted to yet, so do expect possible major updates on this post from time to time, just like the top 10 lists of previous years.

As usual, many of them weren’t released in Malaysia and only those released in Malaysia has a full review by me. Without further ado, here’s my top 10 personal favourite 2013 movies (that I’ve seen thus far)…

Top 10 Best Films of 2013

(Malaysia distributor and release info in brackets)

10. Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nusantara Edaran Filem)

Surprised with this title? So was I. But I’m sure this would be kicked off by at least one of the “highly rated films I’ve not seen yet” listed below this post. Nevertheless, this Hunger Games sequel was intelligently done by director Francis Lawrence, who replaced the first instalment’s director and somehow turned me, an anti-ripoff critic who loved Battle Royale (2000), into a fan. It’s easily enjoyable and politically relevant, blessed yet another memorable performance by the talented young Jennifer Lawrence. >> Read full review

9. All is Lost (to be released in 2014 by United International Pictures)

All is Lost movie still - storm yacht

It’s no Life of Pi, but it certainly is one hell of a survival flick with high level realism. No backstory, no conversation (hardly any dialogue actually), just one old man versus the Indian Ocean on his damaged yacht. If this was “based on a true story”, it probably would’ve been nominated for Best Picture Oscar. Fantastic solo performance by Robert Redford and brilliant special effects, all that with less than $9 million production budget.

8. Blue Jasmine (not released in Malaysia)

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine movie still

A Woody Allen drama with a very emotionally demanding leading role. It depicts a spoiled, rude upper class lady who’s suddenly gone dead broke and begun having frequent mental breakdowns. Cate Blanchett’s powerful display here is definitely one of the best performance ever by an actress, and without much of a doubt, she’d win the Oscar.

7. Inside Llewyn Davis (not released in Malaysia)

Inside Llewyn Davis still

Dysfunctional characters and beautiful music – who would’ve thought that could work this well in a movie? Some of the scenes are so subtly powerful that it made me begin to like folk music as well. Inside Llewyn Davis may be more of a comedy but its depiction of the tough lives of musicians who can’t find a breakthrough, is no joke.

6. Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia)

Gravity 2013 movie still

Gravity is like almost like Avatar (2009) to me – highly entertaining, revolutionary filmmaking, breathtaking visuals, very cool never-been-done-before space cinematic experience, but plot and dialogue wise not very well written and the performance by the cast aren’t award-worthy. Critics loved it but general audience loved it best. Although the film isn’t “Best Picture” to me, I think Alfonso Cuaron deserves the Best Director Oscar for this. >> Read full review

5. 12 Years A Slave (GSC Movies)

Through this film, we can thoroughly witness the cruel nature of the America’s senseless racism and slavery played out with brilliant cinematography and powerful acting display. Like many other critics, I too think that although the film is a painful one to watch, it’s an essential one, not only to serve as a reminder for humanity, but also to show how a film with great respect to an autobiography should be made. Apparently Steve McQueen filmed this entire movie with just one camera… maaaad genius. If I was an American, it would probably have an even heavier impact on me, but I’m not, which is why it’s only at no. 5 of this list. >> Read full review

4. Dallas Buyers Club (not released in Malaysia)

Jared Leto & Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club movie still

It’s not a comfortable or enjoyable film to watch but if you have someone you care about suffering a deadly disease or illness and the better treatments for it are illegal in most countries, you’d appreciate the subject of this film as much as I did. It’s essential biographical drama to educate the people that the law may be flawed and corrupt and when it’s matter of life and death, you might need to consider going for it regardless of the consequences. Brilliant performance by both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

3. Wolf of Wall Street (banned in Malaysia)

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street movie still

I really didn’t want to put this film so high up here on the list ’cause it’s mostly only about how a stockbroker enjoyed being literally “filthy” rich, but fucking hell, it’s just incredibly hilarious. Perhaps the funniest funny of the year. How Martin Scorsese managed to get Leonardo DiCaprio to do the crazy, retarded scenes is truly a wonder. Although DiCaprio has never won an Oscar and probably won’t again with this (thanks to Matthew McConaughey), he totally deserves one for the overall of his career.

2. Her (released in 2014 by GSC Movies)

This brilliantly written and performed sci-fi drama is multi-layered, thought-provoking, perspective-challenging, self-reflecting, emotional and above all, entertaining. Or rather, it probably unintentionally reassured that my philosophy about romance and life aren’t wrong. Joaquin Phoenix is perhaps the biggest snub for Best Actor in the Oscars. >> Read full review

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1. Rush (TGV Pictures)

Rush 2013 movie wide poster
As usual, the most enjoyable film of the year would the number one for me. Nothing socially important, nothing overly artistic, just pure fun entertainment, and for 2013 it’s none other than Rush. It probably wasn’t nominated for the Oscars just because it’s a movie about a sport that Americans don’t care about, especially when it’s based on the true story of two racers that weren’t Americans. This gripping and heartfelt film successfully portrays the meaning of friendly rivalry and passion for the sport and winning. You know what’s even more amazing? I actually hated Formula One racing before watching this film. >> Read full review

Honourable Mentions

Prisoners (Nusantara Edaran Filem)
Frozen (Walt Disney Pictures Malaysia)
Captain Philips (Sony Pictures Malaysia)
Enough Said (GSC Movies)
Philomena (released in 2014 by GSC Movies)
Snowpiercer (released in 2014 by TGV Pictures)
– The Wind Rises (released in 2014 by GSC Movies)
– This is the End (not sure if it was released in Malaysia)
– American Hustle (released in 2014 by Rainfilm Sdn Bhd)
– The World’s End (apparently released in Malaysia by United International Pictures)
– Rigor Mortis (GSC Movies)

Highly rated films I’ve not seen yet

(titles marked with * were released or will be released in Malaysia)

– August: Osage County
– Before Midnight
– Computer Chess
– Frances Ha
– Short Term 12
– Mud
– Blue is the Warmest Color (French)
– The Great Beauty (Italian)
– Like Someone in Love (French-Japanese)
– The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgian)
– The Past (French)
– Omar (Palestinian)
– Touch of Sin (China)
– Gloria (Chilean)

>> Top 10 Worst Films of 2013
>> Top 10 Films of 2012

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