Saturday, 18 January 2014

2013 film countdown, part 6: for a few movies more

I'll preface this post by noting that I saw a total of 100 films in 2013, which is a record for me. Not nearly as much as that crazy cat, Jez. His goal this year is to watch 365 films he hasn't seen before. I think I'll be saner and just try to exceed 100.

And now for some older films that I saw in 2013. Mostly, I have good things to say.

Pre-2013 films: highlights

Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy

Narrowly missing out on the top 10 were these classic spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name (even though he has a name in each of the films).

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly had the most complex plot, the best cinematography, easily the best soundtrack, and one of the greatest scenes I've seen in any film (the three-way stand-off). It is undoubtedly one of the most well-made films of all time. But here's the thing: I liked For a Few Dollars More better. I guess it was more fun. Who knows. Maybe if I re-watch them in a few years my feelings will change.

A Fistful of Dollars, being Leone's first foray into westerns, was clearly the weakest of the three, but it was still very enjoyable.


Famous for its (faked) single shot, this well-regarded Hitchcock film centres around two friends who are so confident they have pulled off the perfect crime (hah!) that they have a dinner party while the body is still in the room. Unfortunately for them, James Stewart also stars in the movie. Suckers.

Based on a play, this certainly felt like watching one on the screen (in a good way) and I would kind of like to see a stage production of it.

The Godfather Part III

All I knew about this one going into it was that it's set even further into the future of the Corleone family, and that it's nowhere near as universally liked as the first two films, to put it mildly. I guess my expectations were pretty low but I thought it was a really good film. Sure, it was not as good as the first two films in the series (Why aren't they listed in this post? Spoilers: they make my top five.) but I thought it was a fitting end to the trilogy, and had some nice call backs to Godfathers I and II.

The Expendables 2

Unlike the first Expendables film, which I thought tried too hard to have a complex, coherent plot (and failed), this one was just good, silly, unadulterated action movie joy.

Blood Simple

The directorial debut of the Coen brothers, back in the day when only Joel got the directing credit. This is a fairly slow moving crime thriller, almost Lynchian in its mood-setting. I didn't love it but it is worth a watch. Comparing this to their later films, you could see that the Coens were at this point already finding their own style of storytelling. There is the violence that you would expect from them, but the killers aren't quite as cold as in Fargo or No Country for Old Men.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Worth mentioning because of Marlon Brando, who does a good Marlon Brando impression.

Official 2012 World Series Film

Go Giants!

The Italian Job

I was somewhat disappointed in this one, probably because I'm too used to modern car chases. That said, I can't stay mad at it thanks to this classic scene.

Bull Durham

Again, another disappointment. It wasn't a terrible film but I just didn't think there was enough baseball. Sports is usually the primary reason I watch sports films, after all. To that extent, I enjoyed Major League more than this.

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