To start, I want to acknowledge the contributions of my co-reviewer, Karen, to the Boomtown Rap reviews of 2013. We don’t always agree, of course, but I think I can speak for Karen in claiming that we always – well, nearly always – respect each other as reviewers, whatever our differences in assessments. Good one, Karen, and here’s to more dual/duel reviewing in 2014!
Note: I would have invited Karen to participate in these 2013 Movie Awards, but she’s away enjoying greener pastures (if you can say that about the deserts of the Middle East).
I’m cynical about the very notion of “best” and “worst” movie lists. I’ve banged on at length about this in previous years. Those masochists, obsessives or long-suffering close friends who for some perverse reason aspire to an in-depth understanding of my philosophical position can linger over my intro to last year’s Movie Awards and/or those of 2011. For the rest of you teeming hordes of Boomtown Rap devotees, suffice it to say that I do not pretend that my lists say anything definitive about the films therein, although the same does not hold, obviously, about me and my taste in cinema. Let me not be falsely modest about this, though. I, of course, believe my picks are spot on. If you don’t agree – or do, for that matter – bother to bloody comment, awright!
My best/worst/etc lists are accompanied by a disclaimer, acknowledging that the compilation has been made from a limited selection of movies, and detailing omissions from the list of 2013 candidates. A glance at these omissions will confirm that my viewing is heavily weighted towards arthouse/indie film.
My list categories are idiosyncratic, acknowledged, but how else am I going to accommodate choices that I acknowledge as essentially subjective, while maintaining a semblance of order in the fond hope of keeping things intelligible for you, dear reader?
On with the show, then. In keeping with tradition, I summon the ghost of Stanley Unwin, narrator on The Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nutgone Flake album. In fact this year, Stan finds voice through youtube. Turn on your speakers and treat yourself while poring over these fascinating lists, why dontcha?
Are you all sitty comftybold two square on your botties?? Then I’ll begin…
The BR Movie Awards for 2013
2013 Movies I Loved (in alphabetical order, linked to my reviews):
Stories We Tell
20 Feet From Stardom
Zero Dark Thirty [not reviewed]
As realist action cinema goes, this is as good as it gets. A nail-biter par excellence. And contrary to the charges it copped from some critics, it avoided any sense of yank triumphalism. A ripsnorter.
Sleeping Beauties (didn’t make a ripple commercially, but worth chasing up on video)
More Than Honey
The Sunnyboy [not reviewed]
If this gem of a doco had been given more than a one-night stand in the indie cinema circuit, I would have listed it in the ‘Also Terrific’ category, but since so few folk saw it… Anyway, if you’ve ever been a fan of The Sunnyboys this is essential viewing, but really it’s more a case study of schizophrenia than a rockumentary. Compelling, tragic but not without hope. If you come across the DVD, grab it.
What’s in a Name? (Le Prénom)
I Liked These But Many Folk Didn’t:
The Paperboy [not reviewed]
Good trashy southern gothic, with Kidman turning in one of her best performances as a slutty southern femme fatale who falls for the wrong bad boy (and how!). Crap ending, but that didn’t stop, say, Silver Linings Playbook from scoring big points with the critics, so scooze me y’all ifn I ain’t holdin’ nuttin’ agin’ The Paperboy on that thar account.
The Railway Man [not reviewed]
Not a bad flick, but due to poor directorial choices fell far short of the tremendous cinematic potential of the dramatic, emotion-charged real-life story on which it was based.
Before Midnight [not reviewed]
Lots of naturalistic self-reflective and extra-self-reflective conversation that went on and on without going anywhere much. Widely acclaimed, but for me, indulgent, insubstantial and often irritating. Leave this mode to Woody, kay (with meaningfully sustained narrow-eyed heat-ray in Madame Delpy’s direction).
Silver Linings Playbook [not reviewed]
What’s all the fuss about? The narrative collapsed into Hollywood sentimental slop, and the parting message that the cure to serious mental illness is…wait for it…lurve (preferably of another looney) is ludicrous. Jackie Weaver’s Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress was a head-scratcher, especially since she wasn’t even on the radar for her career-best supporting role in Animal Kingdom. Bleagh.
Much Ado About Nothing [not reviewed]
It’s a big jump for director Joss Whedon from Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Shakespeare – too big. This contemporisation of Much Ado jars in all sorts of ways, none of them pleasant and few even tolerable as far as I’m concerned. And OK, Whedon has done a lot more than Buffy. I’m guilty of taking a cheap shot there. But this effort sucks arse, and that’s that, whatever the vast majority of critics claim. I never promised anything more than subjectivity in these Awards, remember.
Odd-bods (whacked out, weird, not necessarily wonderful)
The Boy Castaways [not reviewed]
OK, I wouldn’t argue with the general assessment that acclaimed theatre director Micheal Kantnor’s transition to feature film is less than seamless, but this voyage to a twilit kitschy rocknroll wonderland (or “grand cabaret of the soul” as the promo blurb put it) was artistically brave, and I found the film enjoyable for its eccentricity, sheer strangeness and music. Tim Rogers’ whacked out performance was a plus.
Probably Not Worth Seeing But Better Than ‘Meh’
Drift [not reviewed]
Yes, this missed the opportunity to get to terms with an exciting era, and the intrusion of contemporary colloquialisms and slang was intensely irritating to a language pedant like moi (why o why didn’t they consult people who were there; there’s still lots of ’em living in Margs, so surely it wouldn’t have been such a big ask). Nevertheless, worth a look for those who spent time at Margaret in the 70s – or if, like me, you enjoy surf flicks even if they’re crap.
Dog Of The Year:
Happiness Never Comes Alone
Disclaimer: I did not see the following movies:
Movies I Haven’t Seen But Wish I Had
Life Of Pi
The Great Gatsby
The Place Beyond the Pines
Tim Winton’s The Turning
Top 20 Highest Grossing Films 2013 (Australian box office):
1. Iron Man 3 – $39.21 million
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $36 million
3. Despicable Me 2 – $35.57 million
4. Life of Pi – $27.76 million
5. The Great Gatsby – $27.44 million
6. Fast & Furious 6 – $26.91 million
7. The Croods – $23,752,747 (saw)
8. Man of Steel – $24.25 million
9. Monsters University – $24.10 million
10. Thor: The Dark World – $22.83 million
11. The Hangover Part III – $19.15 million
12. Gravity – $18.52 million
13. Django Unchained – $16.52 million
14. World War Z – $16.42 million
15. Now You See Me – $16.16 million
16. Oz The Great and Powerful– $15.87 million
17. Star Trek Into Darkness – $14.86 million
18. The Wolverine – $14.39 million
19. Silver Linings Playbook – $14.27 million (saw)
20. The Heat – $13.42 million
Previous Annual Awards
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2012
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2011
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2010
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2009
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2008
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2007
Happy New Year, folks, and may 2014 be a bumper year for great movies!