The best and worst for 2013

The top films of the year and the ones that failed to make the grade

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Leigh Paatsch

1 GRAV­ITY

Ev­ery frame of Grav­ity is a supremely sub­lime com­bi­na­tion of the you- are- there and the how- did- they- do- that? It com­pletely im­merses the au­di­ence in both the won­der of space and the won­der of cin­ema. Not just a stun­ning work of sci­ence fic­tion, but a truly heart­felt work of hu­man drama. Hey, Hol­ly­wood, got any more of th­ese kind of movies? We’d all love to see ’ em.

2 MUD

It starts with some­one’s boat lodged high in the trees. It ends with some­one’s body float­ing down a river. And in be­tween? A clas­sic tale of in­no­cence lost and wis­dom gained, one that com­fort­ably holds its own against the likes of To Kill a Mock­ing­bird and the best works of Mark Twain.

3 AMER­I­CAN HUS­TLE

A joy to watch from be­gin­ning to end, and a sec­ond tri­umph in 2013 from gifted wri­ter­di­rec­tor David O. Rus­sell ( Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book). The de­ranged plot­ting of this ca­per flick set in the 1970s is Argo meets Good­fel­las meets The St­ing, with all three get­ting along like a house on fire.

4 DJANGO UN­CHAINED

Quentin Tarantino has been around more than two decades now, but his films still ex­ude the en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm of a fresh tal­ent at work. Here, Tarantino con­tin­ues his re­cent knack of rewrit­ing his­tory books to suit him­self, with the US’s slav­ery era get­ting a force­ful go­ing- over.

5 CAP­TAIN PHILLIPS

The best movies based on real- life events can make you for­get the es­tab­lished facts, and sim­ply feel the mo­ment at hand. Such is the case with this grip­ping ac­count of the 2009 hi­jack­ing of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama by four So­mali pi­rates. Such fine act­ing from Tom Hanks as well.

6 PRIS­ON­ERS

A com­plex, un­set­tling and ut­terly ab­sorb­ing crime drama, fea­tur­ing a clear ca­reer- best dis­play from Hugh Jack­man. Not since Clint East­wood’s 2003 mas­ter­work Mys­tic River has a Hol­ly­wood film drilled down to the emo­tional core of ev­ery­day peo­ple.

7 BLUE JAS­MINE

When it counts, vet­eran film­maker Woody Allen can still make movies that mat­ter. Luck was on his side when he cast Aus­tralia’s Cate Blanchett ( above) as a bro­ken woman fated to never piece her life back to­gether. The puls­ing power of her per­for­mance war­rants the next Best Ac­tress Os­car.

8 ZERO DARK THIRTY

A sear­ing, chal­leng­ing fac­tual drama all about the US gov­ern­ment’s marathon hunt for Osama bin Laden, the most no­to­ri­ous ter­ror­ist in his­tory. A blast from our re­cent past that does not un­der­charge the ex­plo­sive na­ture of its sub­ject mat­ter.

9 SIL­VER LIN­INGS PLAY­BOOK

Jen­nifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper ( right) were fan­tas­tic in an edg­ily off­beat love story of two highly strung peo­ple on the re­bound. To tag this as merely a feel­good movie is to do it a great dis­ser­vice. The hard- headed sense of hu­mour trumps the soft­hearted na­ture of the tale ex­actly when it should.

10 STO­RIES WE TELL

In a year blessed with bril­liant doc­u­men­taries, this en­gross­ing Cana­dian- made af­fair was the ab­so­lute stand­out. Di­rec­tor Sarah Pol­ley thought she knew her late mother Diane. Un­til she in­ter­viewed all the fam­ily and friends will­ing to in­form her oth­er­wise. Proof pos­i­tive that one life story is ac­tu­ally many.

AND THE NEXT TEN ...

11. Flight 12. The Hunt 13. The Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire 14. Ely­sium 15. Be­fore Mid­night 16. Black­fish 17. The Se­cret Life Of Wal­ter Mitty 18. Ain’t Them Bod­ies Saints 19. World War Z 20. Frances Ha

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