2013's Lost Gems & Surprise Hits: Part II - Film
Welcome back to Part II of our Lost Gems & Surprise Hits feature. This time we're looking at films, so here's our selection of films we think everyone should see, and some that were seen by more people than anyone expected...
Berberian Sound Studio
Ok, technically this is quite close to the wire as it was actually released on DVD in UK on the last day of 2012, but it’s so good we felt it had to be mentioned. Peter Strickland’s disturbing but beautiful film is set in the 1970s and tells the story of an English sound engineer working for an Italian studio that specialises in horror films, whose mind begins to unravel while working on a film called The Equestrian Vortex. Featuring a stunning performance from Toby Jones in the lead role and also boasting a soundtrack that, poignantly, is the last work of the band Broadcast, following the tragic death of Trish Keenan, this is a unique and brilliant film from a director who is proving to be one our best.
Without doubt one of the oddest cinematic experiences of the year, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s documentary following the exploits of a commercial fishing trawler is eerie and intense, but also rather beautiful. With no dialogue or narration, the film’s atmospheric cinematography and soundtrack leave the viewer totally immersed in the experience. Equally gripping and disorientating, this is one of the year’s most unique films.
From the director of Sideways and The Descendents, Alexander Payne’s charming film is about an aging father named Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) who believes he has won $1million after receiving a fraudulent sweepstakes letter in the post. He persuades his reluctant son to drive him from their home in Montana to Nebraska to collect his ‘winnings’. The film is essentially a road trip movie that is as funny as it is touching, as father and son weave their way north meeting all kinds of characters that Woody supposedly owes money to. It was only released a couple of weeks ago in the UK and we’d recommend catching it in the cinema while it’s still showing.
Costing a mere $3 million to make and raking in over $89 million at the box office, James DeMonaco’s thriller has provided the healthiest return of any film in 2013. Ethan Hawke stars in this dystopian film set in a future where all crime is legal for a 12 hour period once a year, allowing society to ‘self-regulate’ and creating a world where the crime rate is almost zero. When a family shelters a wanted criminal during the purge, they find themselves held hostage with a decision to make: turn him over, or face death themselves. Not to be missed.
Now You See Me
Boasting a cast that features Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher, Louis Leterrier’s film sees four magicians mysteriously summoned to an address that binds their fates together as they become an illusionist act with a twist: their big trick is robbing a bank, for real. Or is it? As they are investigated by the FBI, the film’s twists and turns keep the viewer guessing throughout, never sure what is real and what is illusion. Not predicted to be a huge hit but taking a very handsome $350 million worldwide in cinemas, it’s one of this year’s best.
James Wan’s horror film - based on a true story about the haunting of a family house in Rhode Island - only cost $20 million to make, but with worldwide takings of over $315 million it’s one the biggest successes of the year. The film tells the story of the Lutz family as their new dream home begins to turn into a nightmare. They call in paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life investigators involved in the Amityville case that formed the basis of the film The Amityville Horror. Wan’s direction, some great performances and an extremely creepy doll named Annabelle all help make this one 2013’s creepiest flicks.