The Best Films of 2013

Welcome to the first Electric Shadows Annual Top 10.

We’ve seen hundreds of films this year.

Dismissed those unworthy – yes, we’re particularly looking at you Diana, The Big Wedding, To The Wonder and Olympus Has Fallen.

Salute those worthy of attention and worth an evening of your time – Cloud Atlas, Mud, Lincoln, The Look of Love.

And present here the ten films we thought were the must-sees, the standouts, the cream of the silver screen in 2013.

Don Jon Poster10. DON JON
Joseph Gordon Levitt whips out his outrageously large talent with a knockout directorial debut… that he also wrote… and stars in. As uber-confident swordsman Jon Martello (“Don” Jon to his awed friends), a hit with the ladies but more interested in online porn, he offers a bare-naked depiction of the modern male. But with Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore co-starring as two very different women in his life, Jon’s road to enlightenment is going to have quite a few ups and downs. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

The Place Beyond The Pines Poster9. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Ryan Gosling reteams with Blue Valentine director Cianfrance for a sprawling, ambitious crime story that packs an unexpected emotional wallop. Gosling is a funfair motorbike stunt rider, turning to crime to care for one-time fling Eva Mendes and the son she had by him, while joint lead Bradley Cooper is a rookie cop facing his own battles. Fathers and sons, past wrongs and the inevitability of history repeating itself is all here in a bold and daring movie. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wolverine Poster8. THE WOLVERINE
Cinema’s favourite X-Man gets a second stab at his own movie and all involved are determined to make amends for the spectacularly dull, clumsily titled X-Men: Origins – Wolverine. Jackman may be on his sixth outing as hirsute grumpy-boots Logan, but attacks the part with claws fully extended. Best superhero film of the summer, and who would have thought that? Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Fear Poster 27. IN FEAR
On their way to an Irish musical festival, a twenty something couple opt to check into a hotel for a night of getting-to-know-you nooky. But, as the countryside becomes a lethal maze, it rapidly grows apparent they are not intended to reach their destination. Writer/director Jeremy Lovering makes a confident debut with a stripped back, text book example in escalating dread. See it, just don’t see it alone. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackfish Poster6. BLACKFISH
A shocking expose of greed, barbarity and callousness in the multi-billion marine life theme park industry, Blackfish is candidate for 2013’s best documentary. Following the blood trail left by the 2010 killing of a trainer by the largest orca in captivity, Cowperthwaite’s movie is an unforgettable experience and, with shocking caught on camera footage, a disturbing insight into the world behind Shamu. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Jasmine Poster5. BLUE JASMINE
Cate Blanchett will surely be clutching a golden statue come March 2014’s Oscars for her astonishing performance in this sensational Woody Allen drama. As Jasmine, a pampered Manhattan socialite brought to Earth with a stony broke bump, she commands attention with a turn of incredible complexity. Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and even Andrew Dice Clay also impress in this ambitious examination of the haves and have-nots, corporate greed and the lies we tell ourselves. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Partridge Alpha Papa Poster4. ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA
The big screen is finally graced with the presence of Norfolk’s most infamous son. And good news, it’s a back of the net success. Coogan and co. make nods to big screen action with a Die-Hard-in-a-radio-station plot, but what makes AP: AP fizz is the decision to play it parochial. Norfolk locations, hilarious radio (e.g “an interview with the father of Norfolk’s most sun-tanned child”) and gags that come as thick n’ fast as Airplane! or Naked Gun make this textbook. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Phillips Poster3. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Batten down the hatches for this nail-biting biopic, boasting an Oscar-baiting return to form from everyone’s favourite everyman Tom Hanks. Recreating the five days in April 2009 when Somali pirates boarded US container ship Maesk Alabama and took its Captain Richard Phillips hostage. United 93 director Paul Greengrass once again crafts a taut thriller around a real-life crisis without sacrificing authenticity or humanity. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gravity Poster2. GRAVITY
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are lost in space as the audience loses itself in ninety-minutes of cinematic perfection in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Action movie and disaster epic, with a dollop of existential soul-searching against a backdrop of deep space, this raises the bar of big screen spectacle as Star Wars, Jurassic Park and The Matrix did before it. Succumb to its irresistible pull. Full review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stoker Poster1. STOKER

Park Chan-wook has yet to make a bad film. But, there is a ravine at the bottom of which lies the dreams of many a foreign director who attempted to the jump to English language moviemaking. The South Korean Park however glided across with Stoker. Alice in Wonderland as directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it is a coming-of-age story, psychosexual fantasy, revenge drama, mystery tale and black comedy in one irresistible bow-tied box. Here’s to whatever Park decides to do next.

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Daniel