The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards for 2013

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):
First Position
Still Mine
Stories We Tell
20 Feet From Stardom
The Hunt
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.

Also Terrific (in alphabetical order):
Blue Jasmine

Highly Recommended:
Red Obsession
The Croods [not reviewed]
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks
West Of Memphis
What Maisie Knew

Sleeping Beauties (didn’t make a ripple commercially, but worth chasing up on video)
I Wish
More Than Honey
The Rocket
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.

Worth Seeing:
Kill Your Darlings
The Gilded Cage
The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Funniest Flick:
What’s in a Name? (Le Prénom)

I Liked These But Many Folk Didn’t:
Spring Breakers
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.

Fruitvale Station
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)
Mood Indigo
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.
Promised Land

Kon Tiki
Mystery Road


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
American Hustle
Django Unchained
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!

4 thoughts on “The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards for 2013”

  1. What this post has done is make me realise just how little I go to the cinema so I have just resolved that for this year ahead I will see one movie a month. At least that is something so thank you for that!

  2. Good to hear from you, Doris. Hope you keep at least this one of your NY resolutions (wish keeping mine were as pleasant a prospect!). Your comments on any of the flicks we review here that you end up seeing would be most welcome.

    All the best to you for 2014.


  3. I am pleased to say that I have kept my new year’s resolution! Today we saw a film on your list but the one that you rated as disappointing: The Railway Man. You talk about poor directorial choices though I am not sure I am experienced enough at film watching to know what that meant in this context. I did have a couple of issues regarding how young Colin Firth looks in respect of the character he is playing and and some scenery quibbles but otherwise I was not disappointed. It was a distressing film but I feel an important one. I’ve written about it on my blog though probably not to the review standards you are used to 😉

  4. Good on you for already following through on your resolution to see more films, Doris. Your response to The Railway Man is as valid as mine, or anyone else’s.

    If you’re reviewing a film, I think it’s important to support your findings, but in a list such as those that comprise my ‘Awards’, there is no room for examples. The Railway Man didn’t make much impression on me, partly because I’ve been to Kanchanburi and visited Hellfire Pass, all the war sites, graves and museums, and know that the movie barely scratched the surface. I guess that awareness combined with my personal connection with the area may have detracted from the cred of the film to some extent in my case. These subjective elements are always present, and have to be taken into account with any review, or opining on the worth of a film.

    Anyway, because I didn’t particularly rate this one and have seen quite a few terrific films since, I no longer have a detailed memory of the pros and cons. Among the directorial choices I considered poor, though, were the casting of Kidman (not her fault, but I don’t think her character was a credible fit as a partner of the lead), the nature of the flitting back and forth between time periods, the slow pacing and unimaginative 40s-style shooting of much of the post-war stuff, and the curious lack of emotional clout of too much of the movie. It should have been powerfully affecting, but for me, only the very end hit the spot with any sort of wham. This was essentially an extraordinary story of two men from opposing sides dehumanised by war, who overcame their enmity to find a semblance of peace and a kind of improbable grace through forgiveness on one side and contrition on the other, and I think the film should have been far more heavily weighted towards that process and how it came about in the two individuals concerned.

    Pls send through the link to your blog so readers of the thread – including me! – can have a look at your comments on The Railway Man.


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