The best of what’s left of 2013’s Films
With the year drawing to an inevitable close through dark winter days and impending Christmas overload I thought it worth highlighting some of the films filling out the rest of 2013. Sure there a bigger releases than on this list, as well as smaller too, but here’s a varied selection to hopefully please all. (All release dates UK)
Bad Grandpa (October 23rd)
Everyone’s favourite jackass Johnny Knoxville is back with Bad Grandpa, a completely tasteless yet hilarious looking piece of hidden camera comedy. With a plot marginally more developed than the Jackass trilogy Bad Grandpa is the story of disgruntled pensioner Irving Zisman (Knoxville) and his grandson billy’s trek across America, bar the basic premise the film is a selection of tenuously related gags and sketches.
Unlikely to win any awards or critic approval Bad Grandpa will be a nice bit of comic relief during the oncoming tirade of heavy hitting Oscar hopefuls.
Philomena (November 1st)
One of the most low key entrants on this list, the all British affair Philomena could be a dark horse in the running for this year’s best films.
Billed as the typical heart-warming tale the film sees weary, out of favour journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steven Coogan) help out Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) in her quest to America in order to find her child, now grown up, that was taken away from her so many years ago. Pitched by Coogan to Dench in her garden, she immediately warmed to the role and agreed to do it. The off screen chemistry is likely to spill over into the film, making for a heartfelt sad piece by also emotionally powerful and ultimately enjoyable.
Gravity (November 8th)
Currently hauling in £27.7 million in America, Gravity has been both a critical and commercial success by all accounts, a surprise to some, including director Alfonso Cuarón.
Channelling Kubrick’s landmark 2001:A Space Odyssey the film boils down two unfortunate souls being stuck in space following an accident. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock have been praised for their compelling and gripping acting, as has Curon for crafting some of the most spectacular cinematography of recent times with his depiction of deep dark, isolated, space.
A film worth coughing up the extra cash for to see at the all-encompassing IMAX in order to get the full space age experience.
Don Jon (November 15th)
Supremely likeable man of the moment Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to be incapable of putting a foot wrong of late; a whole host of strong recent performances have been complimented by his first venture into direction with Don Jon. A comedy drama on the right side of the rom-com line, the film looks to match light hearted drama with a genuinely entertaining tale.
Centred on the relationship between hot headed Italian American Levitt and the irresistible Scarlett Johansson, the former who watches too much porn and the latter who watches too many rom-coms, and how their differing ideologies match up with each other. Don Jon has been met with mostly positive opinion bar a small pocket of moans about the film’s depiction of New Jersey natives. If Levitt can create something as universally appealing as 500 Days of Summer, which he starred in, then he’ll be on to an absolute winner.
Carrie (November 29th)
The first of two remakes on the list, this one a re-imagining of the 1976 film, originally based on Stephen King’s psychological horror story- Carrie. King’s novels have been prolifically converted into video format, often more than once, so it’s no surprise that Carrie is being remade yet again.
A classic at the time but the original has dated badly, leaving space for a more shocking and relevant portrayal. King’s first novel revolves around meek high school girl, Carrie, who has telekinetic powers to which she uses to horrifying effect on her tormentors. Whether this new adaptation offers anything beyond cheap laughs for Halloween is yet to be seen.
OldBoy (December 6th)
A remake of the 2003 Japanese thriller, the latest version stars Josh Brolin as lead with Spike Lee in direction. The original may have only been 10 years ago, arguably too soon for a remake, and been a cult favourite amongst many cinema fans due its shocking violence and compelling story telling but controversial Lee is likely to put his own unique spin on proceedings.
Joe Doucett (Brolin) is held captive for 20 years in solitary confinement for unknown reasons and by unknown captives. One day is released from his hellish reality for no apparent reason, with vengeance and questions on his mind Doucett sets about finding out whom, and why, his life was taken away from him. A bloody tale of violence and vengeance soon transpires.
Kill Your Darlings (December 6th)
After the underwhelming On The Road it’s about time someone successfully translated the importance, genius and influence of America’s Beat Generation to the cinema. Kill Your Darlings may not guarantee it but it certainly looks like it has the best chance of being the defining piece about literature boffins Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster).
Following the future poets’ beginnings at the Columbia University the story is not only a biopic of their existence but a swirling tale of murder, deceit and lust. Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame stars and gives a strong performance as a failed Intellectual who becomes entangled with the young revolutionaries. Looking to juggle pretentious intellect and relatable human emotions Kill Your Darlings looks an enticing prospect.
Nebraska (December 6th)
Director Alexander Payne has become something of an expert in low key, heart-warming tales about people in crisis due to his previous releases, The Descendants, Sideways and About Schmidt, with his latest film, Nebraska, very much in the same mould. Shot in a lifeless void of black and white the film looks like the motion picture equivalent of Bruce Springsteen’s morose 1982 album of the same name, a musical voyage into the lives of small town, blue collar America.
Nebraska, the film that is, plot centre’s on ageing Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) whose small town existence is changed forever when he believes he’s won the lottery jackpot of a million dollars in Nebraska. Woody finds himself sandwiched between a sceptical wife and son, June Squib and Will Forte respectively, on one side and a new found selection of friends vying for his wealth on the other.
Payne’s films have been divisive so far for critics and audiences alike and his latest offering looks unlikely to differ from his usual style, regardless Nebraska looks full of strong, emotional performances to back the simple story.
Harry Hill Movie (December 20th)
One for the British readers here, yes Harry Hill the doctor turned big collared comic is taking is suitably bizarre sense of humour to a cinema near you (unless you live outside of the UK). Little is known about the film bar this encouraging plot summary:
“When Harry and his Nan (Julie Walters) discover their hamster is seriously ill they set off on a road trip to Blackpool pursued by a lunatic vet (Simon Bird). Along the way, Harry falls in love with an undersea shell person (Sheridan Smith), witnesses canine superstars The Dachsund Five, and meets indie rock band The Magic Numbers – who run a B&B. It all culminates in a fight on top of The Blackpool Tower. Who could be behind it all? Could it be Harry’s evil twin Otto (Matt Lucas), who was separated from Harry at birth and brought up by Alsatians? Based on a true story, it’s all-singing, all-dancing family entertainment from the big collared loon himself.”
If it’s as great as TV Burp then it’s going to be bloody fantastic. I like Harry Hill on TV but I like the sound of him in a film, but which is better? There’s only one way to find out…FIGHT!
American Hustle (December 20th)
Semi contemporary period dramas Argo, No and Behind the Candelabra have made retro cool again- the big collars (not Harry Hill), gold chains, perms and flamboyant suits. The next film to ride the groovy wave’s crest is American Hustle.
Directed by David O. Russell American Hustle contains a star studded line up, mostly made up of previous collaborators- Christian Bale and Amy Adams from The Fighter as well as Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro from Silver Linings Playbook.
The film sees expert conman Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) along with his glamorous assistant Sydney Prosser (Adams) team up with renegade FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper). The unlikely pairing is dragged into the wild world of New Jersey, alluring due its potential financial returns but dangerous and violent in its illicit dealings.
With Russell getting Oscars for Bale and Lawrence last time they worked together expect American Hustle to be a strong contender in the battle for the famed accolades next year.