Sunday, December 29, 2013



G.P. Manalo

72 movies that I have watched, 10,000+ words worth for reviews, and only 10 will make the list. With only a few days away till’ we welcome 2014 and say our goodbyes to 2013. Today, I take a look back at a pretty strong year for movies by listing my top 10 best movies of 2013.

Before you make any comments like “Where’s 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Prisoners, The Butler, Out of the Furnace, Wolf of Wall Street, and other great movies?” . Well, almost all of those movies that came out in the late winter are scheduled for an early 2014 release or maybe they will never be released at all in the country I live in, that or I just miss them in theatres.

Also, this is MY list; I’m not saying that these are the best of the best of 2013. So when you read my list, I’m telling you to feel free to disagree, I would love to hear your list that you think is definitely better than mine. That being said let’s go with the honourable mentions first.


15. Star Trek Into Darkness

Honestly, I regret giving this film a perfect score, after seeing it in a second viewing a few months later. This is what happens when I’m fresh from drinking the kool-aid and let the inner geek do the whole movie reviewing for a movie like Star Trek Into Darkness. Nonetheless, I still enjoy watching this movie from start to finish. Sure the old Star Trek references beat you in the head too much but I still enjoy it. It had great performances as they give them a more expansive role in the sequel, not to mention from my man, Benedict Cumbebatch. People argue about it being unoriginal but really all the Wrath of Khan references occurred in the last 30 minutes of the film, there were enough twists and turns for it to be different to the original Wrath of Khan.

14. Elysium

Definitely one of the smartest sci-fi movies of the year but with a lot of brawn, as Neil Blomkamp comes back with Elysium packed with great performances, a solid allegory about American health care and classism, and action where he uses the shaky cam very well than other action directors. Will this be nominated at the Oscars like District 9? I doubt it – It’s no tour de force (nor a tour de – farce, geddit?) but it was still a fun movie nonetheless.

13. The Conjuring

In a decade of horror movies saturated by cheap scares, torture porn and found footage movies. The Conjuring gives us a look back at how horror movies used to be giving us genuine scares and disturbing imagery without relying on the cheap gimmicks and gore heavy sequences but instead gives us scenes like the staircase scene, the final scene that is very much paying homage to The Exorcist and many more. This was definitely my favourite horror movie of the year other than the Evil Dead re-make.

12. Frozen

I didn’t know what to expect as I go into this movie (only watching the trailer with Olaf and Sven) until I read and watch the reviews by 10 different film critics. As I watch the film I was very much surprised on how much I enjoy the film so much. Disney has been returning back to form for the past years and It has been a home run for them every time (again, Planes…. Doesn’t need to be mentioned).  This film has that classic Disney feel from the songs and the characters that felt so timeless and at the same time giving us something new as it departs from the formula of a typical Disney Princess film.
11. The World’s End

It is so unfortunate that this film never saw the light of day in the country I live in (though Greenbelt 1 displaying this poster at their cinema hall still gives me hope), this would’ve been a fantastic experience at the theatres with a big screen and a great crowd of people. I am such a huge fan of Edgar Wright's films that I went out to buy this movie on blu-ray and it was definitely one of the best films of the year.

This was originally tied with number 10 but I realized that I had too many ties for the lower half of the list. Like the number 10 spot, it is about the end of the world but with a fresher take as one element adds something to make it feel new and it is the whole alien invasion plot in the middle of a pub crawl. As usual, Edgar Wright breathes life into something and It is an energetic movie from start to finish. It never stops and at the same time a very good blend of both drama and great comedic timing, not to mention great performances from a bigger cast than the usual Nick Frost and Simon Pegg team-up.  



 It is very unfortunate that this movie came out during my un-official hiatus, because this would’ve been a fun movie to review. Like what I said previously in “The World’s End”, this movie adds something to make a fresh apocalyptic movie and that element is the satirical humour behind these celebrities. The movie had me laughing up to the point where my sides started to hurt and people giving me weird looks in the theatre because I’m basically laughing at some f*#%ed up imagery.  The cast was great as a comedic team that I wouldn’t mind seeing more movies with them (hell, I could watch them sitting together in a dinner table for an hour and that would be entertaining).  


Both of these movies had the same thing in common: they offer non-stop larger than life action sequences, have actors that would say lines that’ll make someone like me cringe, a plot that doesn’t make much sense, and tells science to f**k off. Despite those flaws (3/4 that I mentioned at least) that I have mentioned the movie was able to mask those flaws as they breathe life upon it. It’s something that people say that you should leave your brain outside the theatre and just enjoy the pretty colours and explosions, but really I went in not minding it. As I watch both of these movies in theatres, I found myself enjoying this movie like a kid would. They are the best experiences I had in theatre and it definitely deserves the no. 9 spot.  


This is my last tie, I swear. It is a rare case for a sequel to be better than its predecessor and these two movies really went full force for their sequels. Again, these movies have something in common and it is that they improve upon their predecessors by a huge step and at the same time be a tremendously made movie.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – after a very underwhelming intro by its predecessor, this film (like I said in my review) takes off the kid gloves and starts doing serious business. The film is on to a new road with director Francis Lawrence, as he expands the world of Panem through its characters and the world itself, well shot action, gives the best performance from the actors, and a very relevant social commentary.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – again, another underwhelming intro by its predecessor but the sequel does improve the first one in many ways (and it stopped doing its best impression of the Star Wars prequels). It’s a very energetic movie, giving us nothing but enjoyable action scenes, great performances and a better expansion and exploration in middle earth. Sure both movies had its fair share of problems but not really enough to bring it down.

                                                     7.    CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Paul Greengrass has really outdone himself with this film, he does what he does best in this film and it is give us utter intensity from start to finish based upon a very intriguing story to tell. Tom Hanks proves in this movie why he is one of the best actors in the business right now as he sells the terrifying experience of being threatened by Somalian pirates. But it wasn’t just Tom Hanks who stood out in this movie, it is also the actors who played the pirates that sells the terror itself through their raw performance (and appearance, they really look like how pirates should be – hell they make Jack Sparrow look like a supermodel).

6.    DON JON

The reason why I never reviewed this movie is because when I watched this movie the local censorship pretty much cut a lot of stuff in this movie and I left the movie pissed because I barely understood the movie due to its lack of story and character development. I had to see the movie again online a few days ago and it was a very good movie as I went out of it. 

Really, who knew the kid from 10 Things I Hate About You will become not only a great actor but also a great screenwriter and director. I’ve always wanted a movie that tackles the genre of romance seriously (and this film did) because of how the market is overly saturated with idealism (I’m looking at you, Nicholas Sparks). This film shows how different medias can deceive us with the idea of love, giving us one-sided ideas due to our expectations.  It explores that very well in this film. I can’t wait to see what else JGL has under his sleeves as he makes more movies; it was definitely a great directorial debut for JGL.


Yeah, I’m more surprised than you are that a mainstream Filipino film made it to my Top 5 films of the year. After hearing a lot of rave (not to mention, Philbert Ortiz Dy keep tweeting about it) I went up to see this movie without watching any trailers (it’s by Star Cinema, it is better if you don’t see a trailer at all) and skipping the plot synopsis of the reviews that I have read. Without spoiling anything I could say that this movie is definitely worth your time. It’s probably the best mainstream Filipino movie packed with challenging performances, a very unique structure for the story, not to mention great direction and writing by Erik Matti and Michiko Yamamato. If you are angry about the local mainstream films, you should try this movie out. Hopefully this movie would give a new image to the mainstream industry as they make more movies like this. That’s all I could say about this movie.


The Way Way Back may not be original, it’s pretty much a coming of age film or how most critics say that it is “the summer that changed everything” movie. The film had enough heart and depth to make a great movie out of a template of a coming of age film. Sure, the main kid does come off as a bit of a 25 cent Michael Cera to me but the other performances like Sam Rockwell (who was fun all throughout) and Steve Carrell (playing a more believable asshole-type character than him in Burt Wonderstone) did make It all up.

3.    RUSH

This was another movie that was literally not on my radar until my friend brought up if whether or not I will see and review this movie on its release day. I had my doubts about this movie being released, but when it was I took the opportunity to see this movie.

I’m not much of a F1 buff but I surprisingly enjoyed this movie (it is the only racing game I’m interested in since the track is not just one big circle). For a topic that I have no clue at all, made me invested in the story. For a 2 hour film the pace never felt like I was sitting there for 2 hours because the movie is pretty much a high octane drama; it is very rare that in a rivalry movie, you get to root for both the underdog and the charming asshole (with a heart). Ron Howard was able to give us the idea of how dangerous the sport can be from the way it was filmed and give spectacular and Oscar worthy performances for Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth.


It is very rare that a movie like Gravity would success in many ways through different departments (writing, direction, special effects, etc). In such a simple concept of two astronauts surviving in space makes such a huge impact for just an 80 minute film. Alfonso Cuaron really brought out a lot of greatness from this film, but it was also the two leads that did the same thing too, not to mention the out of this world special effects. The two leads literally did their a-game in this movie and I can totally see the nominations for them. Sandra Bullock was excellent along with George Clooney as they both sell the fears of being in such an impossible scenario. This movie was definitely the best sci-fi film of the year, but it brought a big fight for the number one spot.


There’s a perfectly good reason why I didn’t review this movie and it is that…. It’s very difficult to review. This movie has secrets, secrets that can’t really be brought up. As much as I want to make a quickie review instead that is totally not me to do, not to mention it is pretty half assed. Though I did tweet (by simply saying “see it”) about this movie more times but I don’t think my so-called readers even follow me there. Anyways, I was very much blown away by this movie.

By its well kept secrets, I never had the idea of where the film will bring me, and I was very much surprised on the things that happened in the film. The message and the story Is very powerful for both parents and children. The story was presented uniquely enough to tell and connect three different stories together. yet the story is enhanced by great performances from the cast, making Ryan Gosling not be the Drive character for once, Bradley Cooper has been stepping up lately, Eva Mendes actually having a great role for once, and also Dane Dehaan – that kid is going places that’s all I have to say. This movie came out the same week as my birthday and it definitely made my week (besides the partying).

I hope you enjoyed my Top 10 Best list of 2013, I would love to hear your top 10 as well. It has been a great year for movies, despite the underwhelming summer blockbusters (I’m a superhero geek and I’m surprised this list never had one superhero movie). But with every great list there will always be a Top 10 worst list (with mentions), I will have my 10 worst list later on (that’s gonna be fun). Anyways, do you have a top 10? 5? 35? list of movies of 2013? if you do comment down below.

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