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Dom 5As the award season hots up, its time for the third annual groovers awards. All awards are chosen by me and the criteria for eligibility is decided by me. Most of the awards are self explanatory: Best Movie, Best Actor, Best Actor and Actress, Best Screenplay (original or adapted), Best Foreign Language Film. The Best Looking Movie is just as it sounds, the movie that looks best, a combination of design and photography. The Fandango Award; Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. The Fandango award goes to a writer, director of star for a debut or breakthrough movie.

Best Movie: StokerStoker

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón for GravityAlfonso Cuarón for Gravity

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue JasmineCate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers ClubMatthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight Richard Linklater Julie Delpy Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight

Best Foreign Language Film: The Broken Circle BreakdownThe Broken Circle Breakdown

Best Looking Movie: GravityGRAVITY

Fandango Award:  The award goes to Jeremy Lovering and Alice Englert for In Fear. Although his debut movie, Jeremy Lovering has been directing for TV for 20 years. Although this is rising star Alice Englert third movie, it was actually shot before the other two. Jeremy Lovering and Alice Englert for In FearA special mention to Dustin Hoffman who at the age of 75 and after more than 50 years in the business decided to turn his hand to directing with Quartet but he didn’t win.Dom 5

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As previously reported I am struggling to come up with a top ten movies of 2013. The problem, there are four 2012 films that didn’t get a UK release until 2013 that are in contention. There are also half dozen big 2013 movies that haven’t been released here yet. Therefore I am forgoing my top ten in favour of a top five (sort of).

  1. Stoker (dir. Chan-wook Park): Its no secret that Oldboy is one of my all-time favourite movies, it therefore comes as no surprise that I have been eagerly anticipating the English language debut of its director, Chan-wook Park. It isn’t Oldboy but I was far from disappointed. Sumptuous and beautiful to look at and suitably weird and unnerving.stoker
  2. Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater): Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back for part three of Richard Linklater’s “before” series. Nine years after the events in Paris and the magic is still there. It’s basically more of the same as we saw in the first two movies. In other words it is sensational.Before Midnight
  3. Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuarón): Generally I hate 3D but once in a while it works, once in a very long while, it really, really works, this is that film. To call it stunning is an understatement. My one reservation, it just won’t be the same on TV as it was in IMAX 3D.GRAVITY
  4. Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass): Pauld Greengrass lends his signature style and flair to the true story of Somali pirates. Full of visual style and unbelievable tension, Greengrass’ direction is sublime and Tom Hanks gives the performance of his career.Tom Hanks
  5. Rush (dir. Ron Howard): Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are excellent as James Hunt and Niki Lauda in this true story of their rivalry particularly during the 1976 F1 season. But ultimately it is a story about people not about racing and like the Documentary Senna (2010) it should still hold the interest of audiences who are not racing fans.Rush

Also recommended:

Nebraska
Prisoners
Mud
The EastNebraska Prisoners Mud The East

The best of 2012 released in 2013 in the UK:

Zero Dark Thirty 
Cloud Atlas 
Django Unchained 
Amour Zero Dark Thirty Cloud Atlas Django Unchained Amour

Look out for my redux list later in the year once I have seen all 2013 movies.

Ryan at The Matinee has compiled a list of other bloggers best of lists HERE

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If you take a look at the top ten grossing movies of the year so far there are seven sequels (Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Monsters University, Fast & Furious 6, Oz The Great and Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness) and a reboot (Man of Steel). World War Z (based on a book) will probably be knocked out of the top ten by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smug leaving Gravity as the only original property to bother the top ten. Do audiences only go in large numbers to see sequels of franchise movies or do studios only commit large amounts of money to existing properties that a ready made audience? The $825million taken by Christopher Nolan’s Inception proved that a totally original movie could make money, however it would probably never been given the green light if not for the $1billion The Dark Knight took. As cinema prices creep up and audiences become ever more selective, studios become more cautious making it a self fulfilling prophesy relegating most original ideas to smaller films. With this in mind, here are my top five original movies of the year. Original movies, not a sequel, prequel, remake, re-imagining or reboot. Also, not based on a book, comic book or true story.

Stoker: In the year that the remake of Chan-wook Park’s masterpiece Oldboy limped onto cinema screens Stoker proved to be Park’s best film since Oldboy. The original screenplay was written by actor Wentworth Miller. A weird, beautiful and sublime blend of melodrama, psychological thriller and coming of age drama. Budget: $12,000,000 (estimated)stoker

Gravity: Alfonso Cuarón’s space adventure about a pair of astronauts trying to find a way home after a collision in space is a truly stunning film and the first film that should be seen in 3D preferably IMAX 3D. Budget: $100,000,000 (estimated)GRAVITY

Prisoners: Great acting from ensemble cast and stunning photography from Roger Deakins combine with taught direction French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve making his English-language debut elevate this from a genre movie with an overt subtext to a really good film. Budget: $46,000,000 (estimated)Prisoners

The East: An original story of the murky world of private intelligence firms and an environmental anarchist collective. Written by director Zal Batmanglij and star Brit Marling. It is notable for great acting and its dark melancholic tone. Budget: $6,500,000 (estimated)The East

Pacific Rim: To call Guillermo del Toro’s monsters vs. robot movie original would be a stretch as it appears to be based on every other monster movie/comic book to have gone before it, however it isn’t directly based on any other previously produced work. It makes the list ads it is just great fun, pure and simple. Budget: $190,000,000 (estimated)PACIFIC RIM

Mud – the continuing renascence of Matthew McConaughey.
The Counsellor – Cormac McCarthy’s first screenplay is far better than has been reported
About Time – Charming and funny time travel comedy from Richard Curtis.
Blue Jasmine – Cate Blanchett, deserves an Oscar.
Elysium – Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi action drama lacks subtlety but is still good

Check back at the end of the month to see how many of these movies make my top ten of the year.

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In The HouseMamaDaniel Day Lewis as LincolnHansel & Gretel Witch HuntersLes MisérablesThe PaperboyZero Dark ThirtystokerDjango UnchainedWarm Bodies

(All films release in the UK in January, February, March 2013)

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Radio 2's Top 100 Favourite Albums

I spent a large proportion of the past Bank Holiday Monday listening to a BBC Radio2 poll ranking their Top 100 Favourite Albums. Basically what they did was take their Top 100 Most Played Albums (limited to one per artist) and asked listeners to rank them. The results were often surprising with a top five consisting of:

  1. Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head
  2. Keane – Hopes & Fears
  3. Duran Duran – Rio
  4. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (the only one a lot of people expected)
  5. Dido – No Angel

Ahead of what a lot of people expected including in the top five:

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Queen – A Night At The Opera
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Led Zeppelin – Untitled fourth album

One of my thoughts were that different records live longer in the mind and memory, and possibly the heart than others. For example, I bought No Angel when it first came out (before the Eminem sample made it a hit), I listened to it a lot but haven’t listened to it in about five years. I first heard Rumours and Zeppelin’s fourth album when I was a kid and still listen to them all the time and see no reason why I won’t continue to for the foreseeable future. The conclusion, if they re-do this list in fifteen or twenty years time No Angel and A Rush Of Blood To The Head may not make the top 10 or even the top 100, but Rumours, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Sgt Pepper, Born to Run, Bridge Over Troubled Water and countless other classic albums will still be there.Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Led Zeppelin Bridge Over Troubled Water The Dark Side Of The Moon

This got me thinking about the current and recent movies that will be heralded as classics in the future and which will be forgotten. Skyfall will be watched a lot and may prove to be the best Bond ever but will be dismissed as just another Bond movie. The Dark Knight Rises will survive as part of, one of the best movie trilogies ever, but possibly the weakest link of the trilogy. The Artist may be considered a gimmick. Stoker, Cloud Atlas, We Need to Talk About Kevin and some great foreign language movies like Amour, Rust and Bone, The Skin I live In and In the House may be too obscure for the masses. Moonrise Kingdom is going to age well as is Argo so could be up there in popular opinion. I can’t make my mind up about Drive and Black Swan but hope I love them as much in years to come as I do now after two or three viewings and hope others feel the same about them. Margin Call and Zero Dark Thirty will possibly stand as testaments to the time but possibly not a time we will want to look back on too often or very fondly.Moonrise Kingdom Argo Margin Call Zero Dark Thirty

The conclusion, there hasn’t been a 12 Angry Men, The Godfather, Goodfellas or even Star Wars in recent years, the two closest are probably The Dark Knight and Inception. I’m not saying it is a bad time for film, in fact the opposite, while, the occasional all time classics seem a little few and far between the number of really good movies being made is greater than ever. I just long for a Citizen Kane, The Searchers or Casablanca, we are about due one. Or am I being cynical and some of the movies I have mentioned will find their way to the upper reaches of the IMDB top 250?Citizen Kane The Searchers Casablanca 12 Angry Men

Update:

Want to read more on the subject? Check out THIS ARTICLE that picks up the baton from where I left off.

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Regular visitors may have noticed a lack of posts this month. The simple reason I have been too busy watching movies to write about them. Sixteen movies at the cinema in twenty-nine days to be precise. Was it worth it? This is what I have seen:

Mama: A simple and generic ghost story horror movie that is creepy atmospheric and with just enough jumps to keep it ticking along. The whole thing is elevated by the presence of the sensational Jessica Chastain who is as great in a genre movie as in more weighty movies.Mama

Cloud Atlas: Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski’s adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name. moving between six stories set between 1849 and a time approximately 300 years into the future. Utilising the same actors in the different stories to help ram the metaphor down your throat, but it gets away with it. What it lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in charm and beauty.Cloud Atlas

Stoker: Its no secret that Oldboy is one of my all-time favourite movies, it therefore comes as no surprise that I have been eagerly anticipating the English language debut of its director, Chan-wook Park. It isn’t Oldboy but I was far from disappointed. I won’t dwell on the plot as its best to go in without preconceptions, I would like to say you won’t be disappointed but to say you will love it or hate it is probably more accurate. Matthew Goode continues to impress, Nicole Kidman reminds me of what I used to love about her and Mia Wasikowska finally gets the role her talents deserve.Stoker

Arbitrage: An intriguing drama that blends a topical story of the murky world of hedge fund management with a crime thriller. The cast, particularly Richard Gere is fantastic but the movie as a whole is a little cold and holds its audience at arms length.Arbitrage

Side Effects: The film seems to get lost in the “will it/won’t it” speculation over if it is to be Steven Soderbergh’s last movie as a director. I have heard criticism of the movie for descending from a serious movie with a social realist agenda to a more base genre movie, without going too far into the plot, I found the movie strongest in the latter parts of the movie. Not the directors finest work but a an intriguing and enjoyable movie that tips a knowing hat to directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.Side Effects

Oz the Great and Powerful: Prequel to The Wizard of Oz that ticks all the boxes you would expect but lacking the magic and spark needed to really make it work. It comes across as another cynical Disney attempt to cash in a successful movie.Oz the Great and Powerful

Parker: Jason Statham is a good fit for the Parker character. The movie starts and ends well but sags in the middle. As predicted it, its biggest fault, its too long. A disappointing movie and a missed opportunity but not a terrible one.Parker

Welcome to the Punch: A British crime thriller that with a distinctly Hollywood feel. The plot isn’t great but the casting is spot on. The “Michael Mann blue wash” makes London look great. Ultimately it is flawed but still enjoyable and serves as a stepping stone for promising director Eran Creevy in just his second feature.Welcome to the Punch

In the House: A teacher becomes obsessed with the stories one of his pupils submits. There us just enough ambiguity to the story to elevate the story beyond the average quirky dark comedy. Great performances from Fabrice Luchini and Ernst Umhauer as teacher and pupil with equally good support from Kristin Scott Thomas(why are her French roles so much better than her English ones?) and Emmanuelle Seigner.In the House

The Paperboy: A dirty and gritty southern yarn that probably has more in common with the genre roots of director Lee Daniels first movie Shadowboxer than his better know (and received) Precious. I don’t get the look warm reception for this movie, a good bedfellow of last years Killer Joe that also revels in its visceral grime. John Cusack revels in the opportunity to play against type, Matthew McConaughey continues his redemption (following a lifetime of crappy rom-coms), Zac Efron reminds us again that he is so much more than the teenage movies he is known for, but this is Nicole Kidman’s movie displaying naivety and vulnerability at the same time as being sensual, sexual and controlling.The Paperboy

Vinyl: A British comedy drama based on the 2004 “rock and roll swindle” where aging welsh punk-rock band, The Alarm released a single fronted by a fake young band. A little lightweight and clearly made on a tiny budget but and enjoyable little movie with a strong cast including stalwarts Keith Allen and Phil Daniels and relative newcomer Jamie Blackley.

Vinyl

Compliance: This demonstration of human stupidity and gullibility is prefaced by claim “based on a true story”. Although the claim is that nothing has been exaggerated I suspect the story is an amalgam of many incidents. The movie is helped by a trim 90 minute running time and a good and largely unknown cast.Compliance

Trance: A British heist movie about the theft of a £25million painting. The less you know about Trance the better, other than to say with Danny Boyle you are in safe hands. The primary cast of James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel are all as fantastic as you would expect but the star is director Danny Boyle who skilfully manipulates the audience and their affections.Trance

Stolen: The first re-teaming of Simon West and Nicolas Cage, the director and star of Con Air (don’t get too excited, a similar re-teaming from Gladiator resulted in A Good Year!). As you would expect from a Nic Cage genre piece, it is no better than your average straight to DVD release but its quite good fun along the way.Stolen

G.I. Joe: Retaliation: I didn’t intend to see the first G.I. movie but good word of mouth convinced me to change my mind. While it wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t great. This sequel is more of the same. It isn’t terrible but it offers nothing that hasn’t been done better many times before.G I Joe Retaliation

The Host: Imagine Invasion of the Body Snatchers where all despair and desperation is replaced with hope and a love story. Just for good measure you could then take out any subtext and metaphor, and with it any meaning or point. That is the banal and emotionless movie that The Host is. On a positive side William Hurt is good and Diane Kruger looks like she is having fun as the villain.The Host

What’s the movie of the month? As  its the first of April I should say G.I. Joe or The Host but the truth, it’s an easy choice, my favourite movie of both the month and the year to date:Stoker movie poster

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As 2012 got underway I was looking forward to some well publicised movies like Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and The Hunger Games. I had heard good reports from across the Atlantic about The Artist, Young Adult and The Descendents. But, I had never heard of what turned out to be some of the best movies of the year: Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, Haywire, Rust and Bone, Café de Flore, End of Watch and Killer Joe. Hopefully there will be some pleasant surprises this year too, if not there is still a lot to look forward to:

Django Unchained
When Quentin Tarantino decides to make a western, he doesn’t just make a Weston, he makes a Blaxploitation Spaghetti Western. The cast includes Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio as well as a cameo from the original Django, Franco Nero. And did I mention Quentin Tarantino.Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty
I saw Near Dark when I was about 13, I have seen every other Kathryn Bigelow since (yes I am the person who saw The Weight of Water ) and would now watch anything she makes . It also stars Jessica Chastain who I had never heard of before The Tree of Life but is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses.Zero Dark Thirty

The Counselor
A Ridley Scott crime thriller based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penélope Cruz. Any one of these would be a reason to watch it.The Counselor

The Wolf Of Wall Street
Its Martin Scorsese what more do I need to say.The Wolf Of Wall Street

Cloud Atlas
Most readers probably know more about this than me as it was released three months ago in some countries. The story looks bonkers but Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski’s were responsible for two of my favourite movies of all time (Run Lola Run and The Matrix).Cloud Atlas

Star Trek Into Darkness
There have been a couple of great Star Trek movies, but the franchise had really run out of steam until the J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot that was far better than I ever expected it to be. Lets hope he can do it again.Star Trek Into Darkness

The Great Gatsby
As proved by previous adaptations The Great Gatsby (like all F. Scott Fitzgerald stories) is better on the page than the screen, however I am intrigued by what Baz Luhrmann will do with it.The Great Gatsby

The Last Voyage of Demeter
The Demeter was the Russian ship that carried Dracula from Transylvania to England in Bram Stoker’s novel. By the time it reached Whitby all the crew had disappeared presumed dead. Neil Marshall’s movie tells their story. One thing you can guarantee about Neil Marshall movies is that they are fun. (they don’t appear to have started shooting yet so I  Neil Marshall

Stoker
Chan-wook Park, the director of my favourite movie of the 00’s (Oldboy) finally makes an English language movie. It looks bonkers; and that’s a good think if you were wondering!Stoker

Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro’s giant robots v alien invaders movie. Enough said.Pacific Rim

And the next ten:
World War Z
Snowpiercer
A Field In England
The Paperboy
Machete Kills
Kick-Ass 2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Wolverine

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