Monday 30 December 2013

Movie Moments of The Year - 2013

Though I didn't keep very good track throughout the past 12 months, I think I've cobbled together some of my favourite moments from 2013's films as well as some older movies I saw for the first time. So here's a random walk through them...

2013 films:

  • Best spine-tingling, goose-bump raising moment of the year: Merry Clayton's rendition of "Southern Man" in Twenty Feet From Stardom. You can almost feel the spittle as she tears into the song while her backup band shreds it.
  • The joy of playing music when you're young in We Are The Best! and Metalhead.
  • Mark Ruffalo's music producer imagining the instruments and arrangement backing up a solo acoustic performance in Can A Song Save Your Life?.
  • "Who starts a song like that?" - Christian Bale's American Hustle hustler talking about "Jeep's Blues" by Duke Ellington.
  • "Five Hundred Miles" performed in Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • The red waterfalls in Byzantium and Neighboring Sounds - one a recurring motif reflecting the "birth" of a vampire and the other a shocking sudden foreshadowing.
  • The effective use of colour in Stoker.
  • The bright colours in Only God Forgives and Trance.
  • All those gorgeous sunsets in Spring Breakers
  • The opening shot of billows of dirty water cascading down like an avalanche in Watermark.

  • Martin Freeman's face upon exiting the washroom in The World's End (as he tries to act naturally by pretending to recognize someone else in the bar) - the expression is there for no more than half-second, but it's damn perfect. I can still make my wife laugh by imitating it.
  • The discussion of the legalities of dwarf tossing in The Wolf Of Wall Street that had a loose improv feel somewhat akin to Anchorman.
  • The shelf life of Quaaludes in The Wolf Of Wall Street - funny, scary and awe-inspiring all at once.
  • The minions of Despicable Me 2 - I hadn't seen the first movie yet, so these yellow dudes were terribly amusing to me.
  • Ron Burgundy prepping to go on the air at the beginning of Anchorman 2 - "Who will save the babies!? Who will save the babies!!??"

  • The entirety of the "Safe Haven" sequence from V/H/S/ 2, but especially when it goes batshit insane.
  • A "guest" in Under The Skin seeing what suddenly happens to a previous one - easily one of the most "whoa!" moments of the year.
  • The lingering camera watching Solomon Northrup barely keeping himself upright to avoid strangulation in 12 Years A Slave
  • That opening 13 minute shot in Gravity that slowly, but ever so surely, ramps itself up from quiet beauty through horrendous tension-filled devastation to utter hopelessness.
  • The final dinner scene in We Are What We Are - a perfect summation of the film's title really.

  • The opening single take car ride in Before Midnight - it sets up the story, gets you up to speed, perfectly encapsulates their characters and should make any parent chuckle.
  • When the son in R100 experiences what the father does - where else but in Japanese cinema...
  • The enveloping sound field of Upstream Color.
  • Marcus' rap in Short Term 12 - if only mainstream rap had any of this power.
  • The paranoia of Jesse Eisenberg's "eco-terrorist" at the end of Night Moves - not one of my favourite films of the year, but a great ending.

  • All the scenes in the riotous cacophony of the clubhouse in From Up On Poppy Hill.
  • Frances twirling across the street in Frances Ha - I wish the film had more joy like this moment.
  • Those seagulls in Leviathan - the audio of the film was grating and frankly annoying, but the images of the gulls from the water and from afar were spellbinding.
  • Paul Rudd comes across a lost soul in Prince Avalanche - heartbreaking (especially when you learn the story behind the woman "acting" that part...).

  • The opening 10 minutes or so of Post Tenebras Lux - from the little girl wandering among the cows to the devil making an entrance.
  • The videogames in Her - pretty silly and funny, but I'd love to play 'em both.
  • "Science ovens" from American Hustle - especially when Jennifer Lawrence talks about them.

Older films:

  • Judy Garland's devastating rendition of "The Man That Got Away" in A Star Is Born. Stupendous.
  • Those first two sections of Girl Walk // All Day are pretty much pure joy.
  • Every time something "repeats" in The Day He Arrives.
  • The use of the colour red - only twice - in Elena.

  • Noroi: The Curse - not the best found footage horror film I've ever seen, but its very last scene is a hum-dinger.
  • All the moments in Klown that emphatically point out that this film could never have been made in North America due to some very dark humour.
  • The kangaroo hunt in Wake In Fright - animal lovers tread very carefully when viewing this scene...

  • The increasingly odd parties that Marcello attends in La Dolce Vita.
  • How quickly The Call went from a surprisingly decent thriller to head-slappingly bad.
  • The impressive line walked by Ferpect Crime between misogyny and female empowerment. I'm still not sure if it managed to stay on it, but it was still pretty impressive all the same.
  • Henry Silva not even making it to the halfway mark of Lust In The Dust - dammit, if you have Silva in your cast, use him as much as you can!

  • The glee on Mercedes McCambridge's face while the world is ablaze around her in Johnny Guitar. Actually, any moment both her and Crawford were on screen together was just dripping with awesomeness.
  • Little by little, the look of the country changes because of the men we admire - Hud.
  • The singing of "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" in Cabaret - a terrifying moment.
  • Every time Liza Minelli struts her stuff on the stage of the Kit Kat Club in Cabaret.

  • The subway passageway scene in Possession left me stunned for most of the rest of the movie - Adjani's performance in this scene is a thing to behold.
  • The Creature on fire in Creature From The Black Lagoon.
  • The first moment of "Oh right, this is a Ken Russell film..." in Lair Of The White Worm as a young woman touches a cross on the wall and then suddenly...
  • The intermission title card in the middle of Eega. Brilliant.

And finally:

  • Savouring every moment watching A Christmas Story for the upteenth time with my 13 year old son and my 86 year old Dad.

Tuesday 10 December 2013