10. Fast & Furious 6
The most insane action film this year, in a year that had giant robots hitting gargantuan sea monsters over the head with cruise ships, Norse Gods ripping Greenwich apart and zombies so aggressive, their bodies become pylons other zombies can climb up. With a who’s who of heroes and villains that goes toe to toe with The Expendables (MMA fighters, a ten time WWE world champ and a guy from The Raid is just the tip of a pretty awesome roster), Fast 6 is filled with the kinds of high octane action sequences most films of this calibre would kill for. The best thing though? It knows how silly it is and unlike its tedious predecessors, doesn’t ask you take it seriously. A refreshing change of pace from most real world action films.
Gravity is an awe-inspiring exercise in technical film making. Through a painstaking process, Alfonso Cuarón, Emmanuel Lubezki and Jonas Cuarón managed to create the joy of floating through space and the despair of being trapped in one of the most inhospitable environments known to man. The lighting, composition and staggering special effects capture the loneliness of its isolation, making you feel truly cut off from all other life in a way that feels so definite and final. The way the whims of its physics can fling you with such devastating force is realised with terrifying clarity, as is the loss of all hope when you realize that there is truly no coming back. If only the story was handled with a little more subtlety than the roller coaster thrills of its action, this film would appear a lot higher.
8. Thor: The Dark World
Excellent blockbuster film making. Exhilarating, laugh out loud and with a villain and hero combination that most films would die for. Thor: The Dark World is one of the best films that the Marvel cinematic universe has given us so far. The film strides with an effortless swagger, exuding charisma from almost its entire cast. Thor is more of a strong and silent type this time around eschewing his rock star nature, but walks around like he owns the place and swings the hammer to match. Loki, however is the real star of the film giving it a pace none of the other characters can keep up with. He has them running in circles but his scenes with Thor will have your face aching in smiles.
7. Wreck It Ralph
As much as I expected to enjoy what was being marketed to all as the Toy Story of Video Games, I never expected to have an animation made by Disney Studios on my top of the year list. Not in 2013 at least. The creation of a colourful, imaginative world that would make sense for our hero’s to meet up and party in, was the foundation for a story that was as heart breaking as it was heroic and as thoughtful as it was thrilling. Special mention goes to the four leads John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch who are so perfectly cast as their virtual counterparts you wonder if the characters were created before or after their talents were secured.
6. White House Down
A total box office bomb in the States where its red, white and blue flag waving was ignored by the very audience whose patriotic tendencies it was designed for. Directed by flag waving action film mastermind Roland Emmerich, White House Down saw a paranoid CIA conservative as the main bad guy and a Barack Obama homage as one of the heroes. Surprisingly (or not) this wasn’t compatible for an audience who in lieu of original thought chant USA at every available oppertunity. Which is a shame because this is the kind of old school action film making Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone and Arnie are trying so hard to recreate and failing at every turn. They could do themselves a favour and take some notes from Channing Tatum who is down to earth enough to be believable as an everyman, charismatic enough to carry a whole franchise and funny enough to make comedy a genuine career option.