Based on F. Scott Fitzgeralds ‘classic’ novel of the same name, The Great Gatsby is a story told from the point of view of Nick Carraway (Tobey McGuire) about his time in New York in the spring of 1922. The plot revolves around Carraway, his next door neighbour the mysterious Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio (swoon), with his countless secrets, and Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan who lives just across the bay.
The film has been criticised for putting style over substance – the story is interesting, and although it may not being the most gripping dialogue ever written; what you see on screen is where the film thrives. Luhrmann is such an incredible visual director, every scene is beautiful to just LOOK at! It’s like being transported into a hyper-stylized 1920’s New York for 2 hours and 20 minutes, the set is so detailed. The soundtrack, produced by Jay-Z ,shouldn’t work with it being the 1920’s (where’s the jazz!?) but it does, and it’s amazing hearing an Beyoncé and Andre 3000 cover of Amy Winehouse over one of Gatsby’s famous parties. An honourable mention goes to Miuccia Prada and Catherine Martin for working alongside the costume designers to create the flapper dresses of my dreams. – Reba
Possibly one of the most talked about films of this year Spring Breakers sees Disney gals go bad in this candy coloured dream. Aside from the fact that Harmony Korine is one of my favourite directors his ‘slice of life’ way of story-telling made this oh-so relevant to teens today. I feel like this film could be put in a time capsule labelled 2013 and that would be all you’d need to know to get a sense of our current social state. After a group of teenagers rob a store to fund their spring break shenanigans they are bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a drug lord and arms dealer who is quite frankly, one of the weirdest Korine characters yet. With Franco currently heading an oscar campaign for his role, girls in balaclavas and bikinis amongst Instagrams finest I’m sure we’ll be hearing sprrrrraaaaannnng brrreeeeaaaaaakkkkkk for a whole lot longer. –Chloe
Filth is the second of Irvine Welsh’s novels to be adapted cinematically the first, of course, was trainspotting. So, naturally there was a lot of interest surrounding the movie from the off. Filth follows corrupt cop Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) through his hallucinogenic spiral to extreme mental deterioration as symbolised by his own festering tape worm. Bruce is a violent, sexist, but somehow loveable (??) addict who is trying to win back his wife. The most explicit film I perhaps have ever seen please learn from my mistakes and do not watch this with your father. To tell the truth, Filth did not quite live up to the expectations set by Trainspotting, but it cannot be denied that is a captivating and riveting watch. –Joanna
I’ve always been a fan of the Lord of the Rings films, and when the Hobbit was announced as a three parter in 2011, I was ridiculously excited that my marathons would be extended from 9 hours to 18. Desolation of Smaug was released this year, and lives up to the high standards set by An Unexpected Journey. Tauriel the silvan elf has been added to the narrative to make up for the lack of portrayal of female characters in previous LOTR films. She’s smart, headstrong and just incredibly awesome. I waited all year for it, and although it was only released a few weeks ago, it’s definitely my favourite film of 2013. –Jordan
The Way, Way Back was my favourite film of the year, not cause it was the coolest or the funniest (though it’s pretty damn funny), but cause i watched it at a time when it really hit home. This summer I’d been travelling either on my own, or with my nana or complete strangers. Over the summer through experiencing america with my nana and meeting lots of new people and my confidence growing a whole bunch this film got through to me and just resonated with me and closed out my summer like nothing else could. With a perfect depiction of a boy going through his awkward phase, and turning into a normal human being, and a great soundtrack to go with it, I could not recommend this film more. Jim Faxon and Nat Rash have pulled off another film for the ages. –Molly
I’m never usually so impressed by stories about male friendship, I mean come on, they are EVERYWHERE, but The Kings of Summer is 2013’s answer to Stand By Me. Sick of their lives at home three teenage friends run off into the woods build a house and attempt to live off the land. An utterly charming and sweet movie looking at the complexities of male friendship and teenage life, a glimpse into an act of independence and freedom we all crave and I’m sure a huge nostalgia hit for any older viewers. One of the better coming-of-age films of late it boasts one of the best soundtracks of 2013 (I was in floods of tears hearing Youth Lagoon-17 in the credits), Nick Offerman being fucking hilarious and the infamous BIAGGIO, one of my favourite characters of this year. Can’t wait to see what Vogt Roberts cooks up next. –Chloe
Besides filming his up-coming film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (out March 2014), Wes Anderson also made time to direct a number of shorts and adverts for Prada. In Castell Cavalcanti race car driver, Jason Schwartzman, crashes unknowingly in the village of his ancestors. What I loved most about the was, despite the lack of dialogue or real story, the feeling shone through; the setting and costumes are so clean and vivid. And Jason Schwartzman was great as ever. –Joanna
Wadjda, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, is not only the first feature film to be shot in Saudi Arabia, but it’s also the first film made by a female Saudi filmmaker. The accomplishment of the mere creation of this film in a society where women aren’t even allowed to drive is remarkable in itself but the directing, writing, cinematography, and acting of the film is just as astounding. The film tells the story of Wadjda, a spunky and outspoken 10-year-old girl living in Saudi Arabia. Her best friend, Abdullah, constantly teases her about how he can ride a bike and she can’t. This makes Wadjda become determined to raise enough money to buy her own bike and race him. However, buying a bike is no simple task for a young girl living in Saudi Arabia. Riding a bike is seen as ruining a girl’s virtue and is frowned upon. But even after being told no many times, she doesn’t give up and continues to sell bracelets, mixtapes and follow orders from other students for money. When she starts losing hope about ever raising enough money to buy a bike, the news of a Koran memorization contest is mentioned in school. A contest with a cash prize of 1000 riyals– more than what she needs to purchase a bike. She sets her goal to win this contest and we follow her life as she devotes all her time and effort to achieve her dream. I was completely immersed in Wadjda’s life when watching the film. The dialogue is funny and charming but never lacking in importance, the cinematography is beautiful, and the acting is great. The side plots about the different relationships within Wadjda’s family also felt crucial to the film and were intimate and well-done. There was not a single moment in the film that felt unnecessary and every scene and dialogue held vital importance. When you watch Wadjda, it may simply be about the journey of a fun, enthusiastic and courageous young girl who wants to ride a bike, but Wadjda is more than that. Wadjda is the future. –Rena
TW: violence, sexual assault, rape, incest
In a feat of stylistically beautiful horror, “Stoker” takes its audience on a warped jaunt, revealing the disconcerting details of a twisted family secret ripe with an unnerving intertwining of violence and sexuality. The film’s masterful direction by Park Chan-wook (“I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay”) can only be described as tension inducing, with unique applications of focus and sound that highlight seemingly minute or unimportant details. “Stoker” is fascinatingly morbid, in that psychopathic “wow, this is really fucked up, but I can’t stop, nor do I want to stop, watching” sort of way.
In the film, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) loses her father (Dermot Mulroney) in a tragic auto accident on her 18th birthday. At her father’s funeral, India’s mysterious and previously unknown Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) surfaces. He moves in with India and her ice queen mother, Evie (Nicole Kidman). Quickly, India begins to question Charlie’s intentions. However, instead of feeling revulsion, India becomes ever more infatuated and enthralled with her uncle. –Katarina
The Place Beyond The Pines is my personal favourite film of the year for a few reasons. Firstly the cinematography is beautiful, the long empty roads with forests lining the sides, shot in muted and deep tones it really doesn’t get much better. Although the film does loosen in the middle, the drama is naturalistic and the way that the story was split into generations and acts made it more of a poem than a film. TPBTP had a lot of mixed reviews from people, I think the problem that people had was its ambition, the film set out to create a mood and to captivate the audience, and I think that people didn’t realise what the ambition was.
The first story in the film is of Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling), a stunt bike ride who discovers he has a son with old flame Romina (Eva Mendes), he takes up a new career as a bank robber to support the new found family. The second story is that of Luke’s criminal career, it has brought him to the attention of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), who is a cop trying to stay on the straight and narrow while his colleagues become more and more corrupt. Finally the last story is that of their sons, and how the sins of their fathers affect them in the modern day as history threatens to repeat itself for Jason Glanton and AJ Cross.
Audiences had a major problem with the length of the film and the fact it was separated into three parts, which if you look at the film, made a hell of a lot of sense to do. This was a massive thing in the 50’s, loads of films were split into different parts and this was down to when television threatened the dominance of cinema, and although it made the overall film longer, it was needed. One thing we can take away from this is we all expect big things of director Derek Cianfrance. –Chip
Unlike the typical Disney princess movie storyline which focuses on romantic love, the dreamy prince and a true loves kiss, Frozen refreshingly focuses on the strong, unconditional love of two sisters, on a tale of fun, adventure and finding themselves. Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Idina Menzel (Original Elphaba in Wicked!!!), this tale tells us of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, with a twist as Elsa is gifted with magical, icy powers. When a disaster strikes when they are just girls, which involves Elsa almost killing Anna with her powers, Elsa locks herself away in her room in an attempt to hide her magical abilities from everyone. As her attempts to hide her powers fail on her coronation day, out of fear of hurting others elsa runs away into isolation, where she stays in her own icy kingdom. Little does she know that upon leaving her city it’s summery weather soon becomes trapped in an eternal winter. Anna feels guilty as it was her actions that lead to Elsa’s powers being revealed, and goes on an adventure to find her, as she believes that the only way to stop the snow is to find Elsa. On her way she teams up with Ice seller Kristoff, and his sidekick reindeer sven, where they encounter mystical trolls, a funny snowman, Olaf, love, death, and most importantly, SNOW! With moments that makes you laugh and cry, and songs that truly make you feel like you are watching a broadway show and make you want to stand up and clap when they have finished, disney have really out done themselves this time. They have even thrown in a shocking twist, that had every single person in the cinema gasp collectively! However, i think that the thing that needs most recognition in this movie is the marvelous work that Disney has done with the absolutely stunning visuals in this film, that are noticeable in every second of screen time. From the beautiful faces of the sisters to grand icy castles and Northern lights, we are able to see that Disney truly do put everything into their work. Also, we can’t help but acknowledge that this is one of very few films of 2013 that that is headlined by a female, and this one is headlined by not just one, but two! Hurray! –Hayleigh
Woody Allen’s latest film Blue Jasmine presents a rather unlikeable protagonist called Jasmine, a New York socialite who is attempting to rebuild her life after financial ruin caused by her husband. Despite Jasmine’s greed and self-delusion, you have to have some sympathy for the character due to the situation she has found herself in, all of which is captured incredibly well by Cate Blanchett. I also have to praise the film on its blue and yellow-toned cinematography, as well as a music score consisting purely of jazz music. Unsurprisingly, Woody Allen is still creating brilliant films in 2013, and will hopefully continue to do so in 2014.
No film, excluding this one, has ever made me genuinely consider leaving the cinema due to unbearable suspense. I considered it thoroughly in all 134 minutes of Captain Phillips but eventually realised I needed to know what happened. I still quiver watching the trailer.
Paul Greengrass’ 2013 film is based on the true (TERRIFYING THOUGHT) story of Captain Richard Phillips whom, due to his quick thinking and intelligence, manages to save his crew from Somalian pirates who hijacked their cargo ship in 2009. The Captain-played by Tom Hanks- is then kidnapped by the four Somalian men and is forced to stay in a lifeboat equivalent until the dramatic intervention of the US navy (their exaggerated heroic depiction, amusing). I don’t want to give too much away but the story is phenomenal and intensified by the raw portrayal of a true story.
Not only is this film harrowingly, horrifyingly honest but is also incredibly well-acted. Tom Hanks is BRILLIANT; similarly the four newcomers-Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali-are exceptional. I read an article a while ago that explained that the first time Tom Hanks met the men was shooting their first scene together-in which Barkhad Abdi is taking over the ship. Much of the dialogue is improvised-another emphasis on their remarkable performances and the overall brutally amazing and truthful depiction of Captain Phillips’ story. –Zoe
Warning: slight spoilers TWs of blue: homophobia, verbal abuse, loneliness, binging
After watching blue Is the warmest colour this year I felt visually satisfied, lonely and like all emotion had been drained from me. Beautiful, but be warned, it’s very sad. Beautifully shot, erotic and controversial because this tale of female sexuality was directed by a male, . Blue has some faults, in that sense, many feel that the director was just using the idea of a little lesbian movie boost his portfolio. I don’t know if that may be true, but this film has certainly stuck with me this year. Some feel that blue was aimed at a male audience. Well, I am a woman and I was certainly looking forward to it and I, like many queer women, have formed a slight routine of posting many gifsets and pictures from the film onto my blog. Lets focus on blue’s strong points: Amazing acting, has been said that its the performance of the year. Realistic. Natural. The film takes us through the life of Adele, a lost girl who doesn’t know where she’s going. She meets a boy and goes on a date, but after having sex it is clear that she isn’t sexually satisfied, however nice the guy may be. Lonely, and in need of intimacy after sharing a kiss with a girl in her class, she stumbles across Emma, a mysterious blue haired girl in a gay bar. The two then begin seeing each other. The film deals with disturbing homophobia from her classmates, such as pressuring her to get a boyfriend before she’s even considered her preference, yelling ‘you will never get my pussy’ and making fun of Emma who was waiting for her at the gates by saying she looks like a ‘bulldyke’. The film is also controversial for using the supposedly never done position of ‘scissoring’. This scene did not bother me, i can kind of see why some queer women would not like this, because supposedly this position is only practiced in porn, but some women do do this for pleasure. it is kind of homophobic to assume that the scissoring was ‘just for the male audience’, I’m pretty sure a lot of queer women did actually enjoy that scene, it is not just men that have the ability to think ‘thats so hot’. But I respect that its not for everyone. Blue has been my favourite film this year because it was emotionally powerful and the acting was brilliant. I also really love lea seydoux. –Katie