hmv's Films of 2013: #10 - #1
Over the last month, we've asked all our staff members to vote for their favourite films of 2013 and they've responded in droves. Over 150 films received votes, but, after every vote has been counted, we have our final tally. Here's the full rundown from #10 right down to #1...
Guillermo Del Toro's blockbuster stomped all over the box office this summer with its humongous monsters and even bigger robots going head to head to decide the fate of humanity. Visually incredible, refreshingly gusty and hugely entertaining.
Star Trek Into Darkness
This might not have been a hit with Star Trek fans, who voted it as the worst film of the series earlier this year, but it certainly proved to be a hit with the movie going public.
JJ Abrams' second (and sadly looks like final) outing with the crew on the Starship Enterprise kept the vibrancy of his first attempt, but upped the ante significantly when it came to the villain Khan. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch with scene chewing intensity, the battle between Khan and Chris Pine's Captain Kirk is thrilling to watch. Roll on the next one.
The World's End
The eagerly anticipated final instalment of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's Blood and Ice Cream trilogy finally emerged this year and it did not disappoint. Wright followed the zombies of Shaun Of The Dead and buddy cops of Hot Fuzz with The World's End, a tale of five childhood friends reuniting to finish a mythical pub crawl with truly life-altering consequences.
Darker than either of the trilogy's earlier efforts, but with more to say and more defined characters, this kept up the trilogy's remarkable standard with great aplomb.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Aha! (Sorry). After being talked about for many years, it was in 2013 that Norfolk's most famous son finally hit the big screen and boy, was it worth the wait. Crammed full of the same near-the-knuckle humour and slapstick brilliance that had made the sitcom such a success, this proved that Partridge is here to stay.
Thor: The Dark World
Boosted by the huge success of Marvel's Avengers: Assemble, Thor and Loki's second adventure stands head and shoulders above their first. Catapulted back to their native Asgard with Natalie Portman's Jane Foster in tow, the pair battle to stop Malekith (played by a chilling Christopher Eccleston) and his army of dark elves from destroying everything in their path.
More confident than their debut with a real sense of purpose, this franchise is set to grow and grow.
Man Of Steel
Studio execs, writers, directors and producers have been trying to get superman right for a very long time, and this year they finally managed it. A true origin story, which took you back to the birth of Kal-El, this combined beautiful sweeping visuals with a surprisingly dark story. Henry Cavill's casting proved to be a masterstroke and we can't wait to see him duke it out with Batman.
Iron Man 3
This was always going to be a sure-fire hit, but no one was expecting it to be this good. The introduction of writer/director Shane Black breathed new life into the franchise as Tony Stark battled a mysterious enemy, wisecracking across the globe as he did so. Full of spectacular action sequences and big laughs, this cements Iron Man's place as a franchise that, so far, can do no wrong.
Despicable Me 2
The animated hit of the year. This proved to be stupendously successful at the box office and delighted children and adults in their thousands. The minions proved for a second time that they are one of the finest creations to ever hit animated film-making and the story, which subtly moved on from the movie's first outing, was just as light, breezy and easy to take in. The minions are getting their own movie soon, hands up if you're more than a little bit excited by that…
This and our eventual winner were neck and neck right up until the end; such is the power, poise and sheer wonder of this film. Only released in early November, Alfonso Cuaron's labour of love married spectacular cinematography and incredible visuals with a story that was truly gripping. You will never value oxygen more than right after you see this film.
Quentin Tarantino's recent output could best be described as hit and miss, but this year, all the way back on January 18, he struck gold and produced hmv's Film of 2013, Django Unchained.
The film is his seventh full effort as writer/director and is set in the DeepSouth of the USA in the mid-part of the 19th century.
Starring Jamie Foxx as the eponymous Django, a freed slave, Christoph Waltz as Dr King Schultz, a bounty hunter who frees Django to help him with his work, Leonardo DiCaprio as the vicious plantation owner Calvin Candy, Kerry Washington, Django's wife Broomhilda, who he is desperately trying to find, and Samuel L. Jackson, who is absolutely chilling as the head of Candy's house slaves.
Together, Django and Schultz go into business as bounty hunters and embark on a series of daring adventures in the quest of some big prizes. Eventually Django confides in Schultz that he is searching for his wife and the Dr vows to help them reunite. From there on, it’s carnage…
In many ways, this film feels like the perfect distillation of everything Tarantino has proved he does so well. The dialogue is as offbeat, sharply and blackly comic as ever, the violence (of which there's quite a lot) demonstrates the horrors of the period without feeling gratuitous and the plot keeps twisting and turning constantly.
Then there's the soundtrack, which is, as always with Tarantino, magnificent. A blend of Ennio Morricone's epic, spaghetti western soundscapes, old-school Americana and supremely funky tracks (including the superb mash-up of James Brown and 2pac 'Unchained'), it's up there with his very best work.
Tarantino has been with us too long to feel like a Hollywood outsider anymore, but he remains a true original. This meshes together everything he excels at and it'll be truly fascinating to see what he does next time round.