<Round-up by: Sailesh Ghelani>

2013 was the year of 3D films.

I saw some brilliant ones and some disastrous ones. Films that used 3D to their advantage like the re-release of Jurassic Park, a great film in its own right and films that used 3D just for the sake of it. Of course the fantasy, sci-fi and horror genres are the ones that most benefited from 3D but barely a handful utilised it to their advantage. Horror, in particular, has failed to unglue itself from the tried and tested clichés that have made each new offering utterly predictable.

I must say that I’m happy the weight of those 3D glasses has reduced over time but they’re not always consistent at all the theatres. A lot more testing and quality control needs to go in to this technology for us to truly immerse ourselves in the medium.

When I say Favourite films 2013, I mean the ones that moved me, made me shed a tear, took me to the edge of my seat or just plain wowed me with their technical and visual splendour. I loved them because they made me smile – a difficult thing to get me to do especially after watching 1000s of films!

 ps: I may have missed a couple of films this year and have seen only India releases so if they’re not on the list please go ahead and comment on your favourite/hated films

1) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – An amazing step in an epic journey

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug movie poster

If you’re one of those people who thinks that this Tolkien based franchise is just a huge money making scheme then go back to sitting at Starbucks and waiting for the sequels to James Cameron’s ‘brilliant’ movie Avatar.

However, if you’re somebody who does understand sarcasm and has any intellect or common sense and appreciation for good story telling accompanied by stunning visuals and background score, then you’ll probably appreciate the genius and talent of Peter Jackson and the rest of cast and crew behind The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. You need to watch the first movie (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) before you watch this though (I recommend the extended edition).


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


2) About Time – A beautifully made and ‘realistic’ romantic, sci-fi, comedy

About Time movie poster

I was actually going to skip watching this film but a lonely weekend found me sauntering around Phoenix Mills and I decided it was this or the documentary Fire In The Blood. I chose About Time and it was time wonderfully spent.


I knew it was a romantic comedy and anything with Bill Nighy in it has to be at least half good. The lack of any romantic partner in my life and a somewhat melancholy mood drew me to About Time. I’m a fan of Brit humour – not everyone gets it but thankfully us Indian audiences do – and was prepared for a light-hearted rom-com in the vein of Love, Actually or Notting Hill (both also by director Richard Curtis). What I watched was something totally different and refreshing.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer



3) Star Trek: Into Darkness – The Benchmark for Future Sci-Fi movies

Star Trek Into Darkness movie poster

This film is the sequel to the successful 2009 Star Trek film that was designed to be a reboot of the original Star Trek show created by Gene Roddenberry. Though the Star Trek franchise is one of the oldest and most successful Sci-fi franchises it’s popularity had started to wane in the early 2000s.

The last few movies were rather disappointing and even fans were losing interest. All this changed in 2009 when the new movie was released. It was a fun, fast paced, witty, sci-fi action adventure that fans and non-fans loved. I had seen the 2009 film with a few of my friends who were not fans of the franchise when they went in the theatre but they definitely were when they came out.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


4) Prisoners – Spine-chillingly riveting

Prisoners movie poster

A chilling story so beautifully made and ominously shot with some tremendous performances, Prisoners is a true thrill.

From the title you can’t really tell what this film is about. And that’s just the start of so many intriguing things that crop up during the course of this two and a half hour film that’s a rollercoaster of suspense and drama.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


5) The Frozen Ground – The only real ‘monster’ is Man

The Frozen Ground movie poster

Apparently originally made for TV and Video On Demand, this based-on-actual-events thriller got a theatre release and we’re certainly glad it did. When I read that this was a first-time film for writer/director Scott Walker (who is also an actor, by the way) I was quite impressed.

This isn’t one of your regular action/thrillers with lots of gun battles, chasing down leads, cars being blown up or over-exaggeration to shock and awe. The Frozen Ground is a movie about a serial killer in 1983 Alaska and an Alaskan state trooper who happens to come by this case and is lucky enough to find a survivor who can crack the unsolved mystery wide open.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


6) Mud – A beautiful character-driven tale about life and relationships

Mud movie poster

When you watch Mud you’re in for a treat because there’s no CGI to distract you, no bombs exploding, no super heroes flying around ‘trying to be Iron Man’ and loads of good, subtle emotion and deep, nuanced performances.

All the reviews online tell you the story of this film and in my opinion that’s just darn bad of them, ‘cause it’s the story that is everything in this movie. And it unfolds at it’s own pace, gradually revealing all the characters in the film, their desires and fears, their heroism and cowardice, their flaws and shining moments.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer



7) Kick-Ass 2 – Shows us real superheroes don’t need lots of CGI!

Kick-Ass 2 movie poster

This is not your average superhero movie. For one thing… nobody in this movie has super powers. So why is the Kick Ass franchise so… well Kick Ass? All you need to know is that the name speaks for it self.

Kick-Ass 2 (originally it was going to be called Kick Ass: Balls to the Wall) is the sequel to the 2010 film Kick Ass. And before you even think about the question, yes, you do have to watch the first part to fully enjoy this one. They do go through the trouble of restating facts from the last movie but there are no flash backs so do yourself a favour and watch the first movie before you watch the action packed, hilariously entertaining and even slightly emotional tale of growing up that is Kick-Ass 2. It’s a movie that isn’t afraid to approach almost any topic. And what’s great is the minimal use of CGI with more focus on the characters and emotions.



Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer



8) The Great Gatsby – Over-dramatic and over-stylised and I loved it!

The Great Gatsby movie poster

The critics are divided but the audiences seem to love it. And I must say I was enthralled at the vivacious, ostentatious and delicious visual delights that The Great Gatsby had on display.

Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) is known for his penchant for musicals, for showmanship and all that razzle-dazzle. And he delivers this in champagne bucket loads in this new adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel by the same name.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer



9) The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – We laughed and laughed until we cried

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone movie poster

Didn’t manage to review this film earlier but went and saw it with a friend and both of us with the scantily-occupied theatre laughed till we were in splits.

I have no idea why this film has gotten bad reviews and very little publicity. On Rotten Tomatoes, 39% is the critics’ rating but the audience gives it a 63%. Maybe that’s an indication if you go watch as an audience with friends and not sitting in a preview theatre with some pretentious know-it-alls! Okay, no offense to my reviewing colleagues. It should be okay; I said ‘No Offense’! Watch the movie and you’ll get it…


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


10) Olympus Has Fallen – A heart-thumping, edge-of-your-seat action-thriller

Olympus Has Fallen movie poster

We’ve all seen movies about attacks or threats of attack on the President of the USA, but never before right at his (White) House. And never in such a chilling and cadaverous way as depicted in Olympus Has Fallen.

Hollywood’s penchant with films showing their own country being attacked by foreign and domestic enemies never ceases. Not even after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre that were far more real and scarier than any movie has ever depicted. Until maybe this one.


Read the full review here.


Watch The Trailer


Read our Top 10 Hated Films of 2013 here


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