Top List Thursdays – The top movies of 2013

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80th Academy Awards NYC Meet the Oscars Opening

Much like the Oscars, we’re pretty much very late on announcing the best of 2013. After all, we’re doing right now…in 2014. So grab your popcorn, a blurpee drink and sit down with your feet ona  sticky floor, because is going to tell you what was awesome last year!

After which, please feel free to vigorously disagree with our choices.

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)


There are plenty of directors out there who promise to revolutionise the way that movies are made. Most of them fail to live up to their own self-hype, but Alfonso Cuaron delivered something magnificent this year. The technical masterpiece that is Garvity is the kind of film that would have been impossible to make several years ago, and it combines the best of the evolution of film-making, with astounding performances of the cast involved. That’s the mark of a great director, and something that Gravity proudly bears.

Honourable Mentions: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Harmony Korine (Springbreakers), Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible), Ron Howard (Rush)

Best Actor – Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips



You know what really makes for great acting? When the thespian on the big screen is so damn convincing, you’re not even watching the movie and thinking about it. Tom Hanks hit the ball out of the park this year as Richard Phillips, as he tried to negotiate with Somalian pirates while showing audiences just how damn good an actor he really is. Hell, his performance is so bloody brilliant, that we actually forgave him for starring in Cloud Atlas.

Honourable Mentions: Michael Shannon (The Iceman), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Actress – Sandra Bullock in Gravity



There’s nothing worse than a great actor stuck in a cliched role. That’s pretty much where Sandra Bullock has been the last couple of years, as she’s been flung into romantic comedy after romantic comedy. This year however, she finally found some firm footing in a zero gravity environment. Gravity places you in the spacesuit of Bullock, while her acting makes you believe that she might just be one piece of lunar shrapnel away from dying in the cold, dark vacuum of space.

It’s a tour de force performance, and it just goes to show that Bullock hasn’t lost her touch, and should be headlining considerably more cerebral affair than yet another romance film.

Honourable Mentions: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Oprah Winfrey (The Butler)

Best Visual Effects – Gravity


Sticking with Gravity, it wins yet another award from us, for seamless special effects. There was no shortage of movies that were heavy in the FX department, but Gravity beat them all by actually creating an atmosphere where most viewers didn’t notice them in the first place. And that’s the mark of brilliance, which when coupled with that seamless opening shot, earns the feather in the cap that Gravity so richly deserves.

Honourable Mentions: Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Oblivion, The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Hero – Django (Jamie Foxx) in Django Unchained


When you think about it, great heroes are forged from sacrifice and pain. And those are characteristics that Jamie Foxx easily carried into, in Django Unchained. A slave all his life, Django eventually earns his freedom, while learning a few neat skills along his journey with the equally charming Dr Schultz that Christoph Waltz played.

An ass-kicker and a gentleman at the same time, Django was the walking embodiment of a western death in his film. But remember, the D was silent.

Honourable Mentions:  The Doctor (Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt) – Doctor Who,  Annabel (Jessica Chastain) – Mama, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Villain – (Tie) Kruger (Sharlto Copley) in Elysium & Muse (Barkhad Abdi) – Captain Phillips



Are we absolutely biased with this decision to include Kruger in at least one award? You damn right we are, but then again, look how awesome Sharlto Copley made this boytjie. A future Saffa merc with no morals and even less sanity, Kruger was a highlight of Elysium that fired on all cylinders and kept the action rolling. Likewise with Barkhad Abdi, he brought an insane level of intensity to his role as the nemesis of Captain Phillips, and that’s without even being a veteran actor. You actually did believe that he was one rusty AK47 bullet away from killing Tom Hanks, just by staring into his hungry eyes.

Honourable Mentions: Danny McBride – This is the End, Alien (James Franco) – Spring Breakers, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) – Star Trek Into Darkness, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) – The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Muriel (Famke Janssen) – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, General Fallon (Bill Nighy) – Jack the Giant Slayer

Best Fight Scene – Pacific Rim: Battle of Hong Kong


It may have had some bewilderingly stupid logic, but hot damn, Pacific Rim delivered on that promise to provide the bestest monster-stomping action of the year. When Gypsey Danger gets called in to help assist three other Jaegers that just got their asses handed to them by two massive Kaiju beasts, it single-handidly lays a smackdown so hard on the beasts, that nine months later a female Kaiju gave birth to a robotic fist.

It’s massive destruction, but filmed beautifully as the Gypsey Danger crew uses everything from boats through to rocket-powered punches to help save the city of Hong Kong. EMPTY THE CLIP! EMPTY THE CLIP!

Honourable Mentions: Man of Steel – Zod vs Superman, Iron Man 3 – Stark vs Extremis, The Wolverine – Bullet train fight, Star Trek Into Darkness – Spock vs Khan, Bullet To The Head – Sauna fight, Kick-Ass 2 – Mother Russia vs Hit-Girl, The Expendables 2 – Stallone vs Van Damme

Best Moment – Final 10 Minutes of Captain Phillips


We’re not going to spoil the ending here of Captain Phillips, but suffice to say that if you don’t feel anything during the final moments of that film, then you might be a soulless husk that walks this planet.

Honourable Mentions: Barrel escape (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Nick Frost destroying the door (The World’s End), Accidental suicide on aircraft (World War Z), The scarf lifting while the children played (Mama), The clap game (The Conjuring), Opening scene in Nagasaki (The Wolverine), Mako Mori as a child (Pacific Rim), Kruger eats a grenade (Elysium), Escape pod re-enters Earth’s atmosphere (Gravity)

Best Animated Film – Wreck-It Ralph



What? A 2012 film winning a 2013 award in 2014? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS? Technically, Wreck-It Ralph arrived on our shores in early 2013, after we had to wait to damn long for it to debut here. But the wait was worth it, as the animated film from Disney is just packed with charm, style and humour. Sure, you might say that it’s just your typical Disney flick about being true to yourself that just happens to be wrapped up in nerd drag, but the difference here is that the film has some genuine love for its source material and influences, something which made this our favourite animated film of 2013.

Honourable Mentions: Frozen, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2

Best Comedy – This Is The End



It wasn’t exactly the year of the comedy, unless you count GI Joe: Retaliation being possibly the most expensive joke ever filmed. But of those few that did emerge, there were some real gems. This Is The End is our favourite though, as the Hollywood team of James Franco, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel had us in stitches over their vision for the apocalypse. It may not have been an entirely coherent story told, but the combination of top notch talent and comedy that for once was entirely reliant on dick and fart jokes, made it worth splitting your sides over.

Honourable Mentions: Jackass presents: Bad Grandpa, The World’s End, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, The Heat, We’re the Millers

Best Soundtrack – TIE: Man of Steel/Gravity


This is a weird situation for our voting. Man of Steel has a great soundtrack that is actually pretty damn awesome to listen to when you’re not watching the film, while Gravity has an orchestral score that is just so intricately woven into the film, that you can’t imagine the movie without it. They’re both brilliant pieces of audio that deserve more recognition, making for one hell of a tie where the only winner here is your ear drums.

Honourable Mentions: Pacific Rim (Ramin Djawadi), Thor: The Dark World (Brian Tyler), Iron Man 3 (Brian Tyler), Pitch Perfect (Various), Rush (Hans Zimmer), Frozen (Various)

Best Film – Gravity


Was there ever any doubt that Gravity would movie of the year? We’ve all had our personal favourites, from Pacific Rim through to Captain Phillips in 2013, but Gravity had universal consensus from the entire staff as to not only being a benchmark for the entire film industry, but a monumental step forward that shows just how important a single movie can be.

Honourable Mentions: Django Unchained, Captain Phillips, Wreck-It Ralph, Pacific Rim, Rush, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The East, The Impossible

Worst Film – The Host


One of these days, Hollywood is going to hit on the next big Young Adult novel to replace Twilight. But it sure as hell won’t be The Host, which out of the YA films released this year, was by far the worst of the lot. Filmed with a budget that must have been stolen from a fat school child, crammed with actors who were more wooden with their performances than an angry customer at Timber City and just thoroughly bland, this is one film that should have refunded customers for the two hours of their life that they wasted when they went to see it.

Honourable Mentions: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, A Good Day to Die Hard, Diana, The Lone Ranger, The Hangover – Part III, Grown Ups 2, Scary Movie 5, A Haunted House

Last Updated: January 9, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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