The Flix List: Top 10 Movies from the first half of 2013

This list is rather late as we’ve already passed the halfway mark of the year a few weeks ago. As you know, because of personal circumstances, I had to take a blogging/movie-viewing hiatus for a while, so I missed a few screenings of what could’ve made my list: Mud, The Bling Ring, World War Z, etc.

In any case, my list contains a couple of movies that had been released last year internationally, but I included it here as I’m using the USA release dates. Now, when I say ‘top movies’ it’s sort of a cross between a ‘best of and favorite’, so the criteria is that these films made an impression on me, combining the virtue of being entertaining, deeply moving, thought-provoking, and indelible. Rewatchability is a factor but it doesn’t account as high as the other virtues I’ve mentioned, because some of the films here are more of a one-time-viewing-only types (for me anyway), but I still very much appreciate the artistry and passion that goes into making them.

So without further ado, I present to you my TOP 10 list (in reverse order):

top10_2013_firsthalf

10. Disconnect (full review)

10DisconnectThis film seems to have been overlooked as I barely saw any promos or articles on this one. It’s certainly not an easy film to watch as the subject matters are VERY unsettling: cyber-bullying, teen pornography, etc. I said in my review that I felt drained at the end of the film as there’s barely any humor injected here to break up the intensity. But I’m glad I saw it, and I was quite impressed by Andrea Riseborough and Frank Grillo, two actors I hope would get more roles in Hollywood.

9. Monsters University (full review)

9MonstersUI was a big fan of the original so even though the idea of any sequels is iffy, it was a lot of fun to revisit the delightful characters of Monstropolis. Mike Wazowski remains one of my favorite Pixar characters of all time, so right away I was fully invested in his journey. Pixar delivered once again in crafting a heart-warming story that’s nostalgic and relatable. The campus life is full of mirth and riotous fun, but not without emotional issues we humans can easily identify with.

8. The Angels’ Share

8AngelsShareKen Loach is no stranger to social commentary in his films and this could be his lightest one yet. By ‘light’ I don’t mean frivolous however, no siree, there’s a great deal of turmoil and mayhem surrounding the protagonist Robbie (played brilliantly by Paul Brannigan despite his lack of acting experience), but it’s also a story of hope and second chances. Oh, and it’s also hilarious! I was so fortunate to be able to interview screenwriter Paul Laverty who wrote this Scottish comedy gem. Do yourself a favor and rent this movie!

7. Iron Man 3

7IronMan3I was ready to dismiss this movie but you know what, somehow Tony Stark & co. managed to still be quite entertaining. I’ve listed 10 reason why this movie beats my expectations, as Shane Black deftly crafted a fish-out-of-water plot that gets the flamboyant billionaire out of his comfort zone. I for one enjoyed the ‘twist’ of the story, plus the humor and spectacle all come together to give us pure escapist entertainment. Of course, one’s enjoyment depends how jaded you are with superhero movies. I for one think there’s still enough juice left in this installment to entertain.

6. Stoker (full review)

6StokerMost of FC readers know I’m not one for disturbing movies, but there’s something so mesmerizingly beautiful about Chan-Wook Park‘s English language debut. It’s incredibly atmospheric and nearly every frame has such a delicately eerie quality that lingers long after the film’s over. Superb performances all around, especially Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. The latter played against type to great effect, so I’m glad he ended up getting cast here instead of Colin Firth. Highly recommended for fans of cerebral thrillers.

5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (full review)

5ReluctantFundamentalistThis is another tough film to watch but one that I’m glad I put it on my watch-list. I saw this during MSP film festival, and it’s one I don’t mind seeing again. Mira Nair takes a controversial subject matter of terrorism with care, as in essence the film is more about the Pakistani protagonist Changez living in a world rife with fear and suspicion. I was hugely impressed by London-born Riz Ahmed in the title role, portraying a deeply-conflicted who’s highly intelligent and charismatic. Even though there’ve been films of this subject done in the past, this one manages to set itself apart as it tackles a story that’s not often explored but certainly worth telling.

4. Star Trek Into Darkness (full review)

4StarTrekIntoDarknessJJ Abrams managed to make me interested in the Star Trek universe, which is quite a feat in itself. The strength of this movie is the zippy and fun tone, boosted by the chemistry of its cast and eye-popping special effects. Of course I have to mention the excellent casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, who somehow manages to still upstage the already-awesome Enterprise crew led by Chris Pine with his decidedly theatrical performance. It’s one of the funnest movies of the Summer to be sure, for sure I’ll be getting the Blu-ray 😀

3. The Kings of Summer (full review)

3KingsOfSummerI went in to this movie pretty much blindly as I only read the quick summary on IMDb and not knowing any of the cast. Well, it turns out to be a delightful surprise that I knew it’ll end up in my Best list of the year! This is a Summer film that offers a humorous but meaningful diversion from the loud tent-pole movies, with gorgeous nature scenery truly celebrates the beauty of the season. There have been countless of coming-of-age films out of Hollywood, and I think this directorial debut from Jordan Vogt-Roberts is an excellent addition in that sub-genre!

2. Man of Steel (full review)

2ManOfSteelWell, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that this movie would be in my top 5, right? 😀 It took me a while to process it the first time I saw it, I mean the scope of this movie is massive. But the more it sat with me the more I appreciate it, despite the CGI-overloaded third act. Superman is a tough character to crack, figuratively and otherwise, but somehow Chris Nolan, David Goyer and Zack Snyder managed to create an imaginative origins story full of spectacle but also full of heart. I love how the relationships between Kal-El and his Kryptonian and earthly parents are explored in great depth here. The casting is top notch all around, led by the first Brit in the role, Henry Cavill, who’s more than up to the task to provide of strength and vulnerability. Given my undying love for Superman, Man of Steel certainly did not dampen my love for this Kryptonian hero.

1. The Hunt (full review)

1TheHunt

Some films are so deeply affecting and impressively-made that the minute you left the theater, you knew straight away it’s going to be the one to beat in a given year. I had to sit down for a few minutes to take it in after the film’s over. My hubby and I looked at each other and we’re like, ‘WOW, that was something wasn’t it?’ Mads Mikkelsen is nothing short of outstanding as Lucas, a man on the hunt, a kindergarten teacher whose life suddenly got turned upside down as a seemingly ‘innocent’ lie runs amok in his tight-knight Danish community.

Director Thomas Vinterberg shrewd, minimalist style creates a highly tense, unsettling atmosphere that really gets under your skin. The lush and evocative cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen creates a captivating contrast between the serene-looking scenery and the increasing inner tumult within Lucas as things spin out of control. This is definitely a film not-to-be-missed, folks. Even with all the big-budgeted Summer movies that have come along since, this is one of those films that you won’t soon forget. I hope they’d get some nominations come award season.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These aren’t stellar by any means, but it was pretty entertaining, some are a pleasant surprise to me as they’re not even my go-to genre. So yeah, I’d recommend these for a rental!


WORST of the year so far:

I’m glad I’ve been able to avoid what’s poised to be stinkers like Grown Ups 2, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Movie 43, etc. but these are pretty terrible in their own right. It’s not even worth seeing on a plane IHMO.


UPVOTE please


So that’s my Best/Worst list of the year. Thoughts on my picks here? I’d be happy to discuss ’em with you 😀

Advertisements

60 thoughts on “The Flix List: Top 10 Movies from the first half of 2013

    1. Yep, I hope they’re done w/ Die Hard, I mean there are so many copycats out there anyway it’s getting tiresome.

      I hope you give the indies on this list a try, Michael, esp. #1!

  1. Man of Steel number 2? Woah. I would agree with your #4. Probably the best movie I’ve seen so far personally. But I haven’t seen as many of the indies as you have.

    1. Is that a good or bad ‘Woah’ Ian? Yeah, I figure #4 will make a lot of people’s top lists 😀 I’m not surprised indies make up the most of my list, esp. foreign films.

  2. Glad to see Star Trek on the list 🙂 It’s at the top of mine so far.
    I’m glad to see you liked The Hunt so much! It’s coming here on Friday and I was wondering if I should see it; I probably will now! The trailer looked so intense!

    1. Hi Hunter, somehow I knew you’d be happy STID made the list 😀 The Hunt is excellent but yes, very intense. It’s not something I want to see repeatedly though, but definitely a must-see at least one time!

  3. Great list Ruth! There is only one movie on the list that really disappointed me – Iron Man 3. But I may be in the minority on that one.

    There are three movies that were on my top 5 that I can’t wait for you to see: Mud, World War Z, and To the Wonder.

    1. Ah I see, well I don’t think you’re in the minority Keith, I actually didn’t think IM3 would make my list to be honest. Perhaps if I hadn’t missed a bunch of screenings, my list would’ve been quite different.

  4. ninvoid99

    Nice list. Mine is quite different as you can see here where it’s based on films that are actually released in 2013 which will explain why “To the Wonder” and “The Place Beyond the Pines” aren’t in that list as they’re in my 2012 list.

  5. I’ve just seen The Hunt and it honestly is one of those movies that makes me ashamed I belong to human race. Jesus Christ when that headmaster told everyone as if it was a fact before even telling him? I kept hoping a bomb will go off and kill 99% of morons there by the end of the movie especially after what happened to the dog :/

    1. I know isn’t it? It was infuriating to see how the townsfolk immediately believed the headmaster and not only that they were so quick to judge!! At the same time, the film didn’t paint them as ‘villains’ per se, just showing the worst that could happen to humanity. So yeah, quite an intense movie!!

  6. Ted S.

    I only saw 3 (Iron Man 2, Star Trek 2 and Man of Steel) of the movies on your list and they’re very entertaining. I honestly I haven’t any movie this year yet that I’d consider “best”. This year’s offerings are kind of just okay, not great. Hopefully the second half the year we’ll get some great films.

    1. I hear ya Ted, though I feel that the indies I saw were quite strong, but only The Hunt is close to what I call a masterpiece. Btw, you mean Iron Man 3, right? 🙂

  7. Great list, Ruth! You included some of my favorites, like IM3, Man of Steel and Into Darkness. Trance and Evil Dead would complete my Top 5 for the first half of the year, I think.

  8. lol 3 of your faves are on my most disappointing films of the year list.

    I really need to get around to watching Stoker, its streaming so I have no excuse.

    Had completely forgotten about The Great Gatsby, not sure how I missed putting that on my lame list of the year. 😉

    1. He..he.. well I figure everyone has different tastes in movies. Again, depending on which movies I got to see, the list could look pretty different.

  9. I haven’t seen most of these, I agree The Hunt is one of the best recent foreign films, powerful and well-acted.
    Will try and catch with some of the indies you listed on dvd 🙂 You didn’t watch The Place Beyond the Pines, Ruth?

    1. Hi Chris! Glad you agree about my #1 pick.

      No I haven’t got around to seeing ‘Pines,’ yet, I also missed MUD screening back in late April due to a darn snowstorm 😦

  10. Cool list, Ruth! Nice to see Stoker and The Kings of Summer on there. The Hunt opens here next week, and I can’t wait to check that out. Did you get to see Before Midnight? That’s still my favorite this year.

    1. Oh you’ve seen Kings of Summer too? That’s delightful isn’t it? I love Nick Offerman but the younger cast are great too.

      Hope you see The Hunt on the big screen, it’s gorgeous! No haven’t seen Before Midnight since I haven’t seen the 2nd film yet, so I might do a trilogy marathon on Blu-ray one day.

  11. I feel I need to see Stoker again, I only liked it, but just didnt love it like some people did or as much as I hoped I would, given the directors previous work. Nice list Ruth, of which I have seen only 2 of them lol 🙂

    1. Hi Tyson! I’m not ‘in love’ with Stoker or anything, but I appreciate it’s uniqueness and creativity. This is coming from someone who’s not really into Park’s other work which are too violent for my taste. Which other movie here have you seen?

  12. Right, that’s it. I’m buying The Hunt on Blu-ray! 🙂 Very strong list Ruth, a good mix of big blockbusters and little indie gems. I really hope The Kings of Summer gets a release near me, I really want to see that. I’d probably sling Pacific Rim and Before Midnight on my list.

    1. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed Chris. The visuals are so lush and evocative, I think it’ll look splendid on BD. Yeah, I’m glad there are more indies than blockbuster movies on here. I didn’t include Pac Rim as it’s on the later half of the year, this is only from Jan – June 🙂

  13. I need a lot of catching up to do. I haven’t seen around half of these. I you include the honorable mentions, the number is even bigger. Anyway lovely list!

    1. Hi Asrap! I presume you haven’t seen most of the indies? Yeah I missed a bunch of stuff too, but hey, that’s what Netflix/iTunes are for 😀

  14. Great list, Ruth 🙂
    I really want to see Stroker!! Still searching for it.
    Ha….Benny!!!!! Hahaha well I don’t need to say more and just like you I will buy the DVD so that I can watch him over and over again. I am a hardcore Cumbercollective (Benny sort of dislike Cumberbitches because it’s degarding women) not a Pine Nuts at all…so sorry Pine is going to be hardly notice when Benny is around.

    I have The Hunt waiting to be watched 🙂

    PS. I have just shared about my new school if you are interested. It makes me busy, I hardly have time to blog

    1. Hi Nov! Yeah I read your post about your new job, glad to hear you love it. I knew you would!

      Ahah yeah, I don’t like Cumberbitches either, I think he prefers the term Cumberbabes or something. No, I don’t notice Pine at all when Benny is on screen. Though I still look at Karl Urban 😉

      Yes you need to watch The Hunt!

  15. Nice list Ruth. I can’t wait to check out The Hunt and The Kings of Summer, and I should be seeing Stoker soon. Not surprised by Man of Steel, but I didn’t expect it to be that high. I’ll give it another look when it comes out on DVD.

    1. Well, I guess my love for Superman makes me appreciate Man of Steel more than I otherwise would. But it’s still a pretty good film.

  16. Nice to see you include The Angels’ Share in there Ruth. Couldn’t agree more on your #1 choice either. The Hunt is the best film so far this year. I’m sure it’ll still be in many top ten lists when the year comes to a close.

    1. Hi Mark! I knew you’d love that I include both of those, but they deserve to be here. Yeah I think The Hunt would stay on in my final top 10 list 🙂

  17. Great compilation Ruth – boy have you seen a lot of movies! I must do a better job of remembering what I have seen. Also I have been trying in vain to put together a mid-year report for about a month now and as you can see it ain’t been posted. But I will get to it tomorrow I suppose.

    Now back to you.MoS definitely deserves to be on the list, especially considering that there have been some pretty paltry offerings on the big screen in 2013. Iron Man 3 was quite a disappointment for me. The further I am removed from elements of it irk me. It is my Prometheus of 2013.

  18. Glad you included Stoker, this was a real surprise for me. Still need to see The Hunt though, Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors and I feel like I’m letting him down.

    1. Oh if you like Mads you definitely need to check out The Hunt. No such thing as late viewing man, we can’t possibly see everything at once can we? 😀

  19. Pingback: » Movie Review – Under The Skin (2013) Fernby Films

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s