Fade out - 2013 in review

Okay, so this is unfashionably late. Seasoned hacks filed their end-of-year reviews back in early December and here am I, on January 2nd, finally composing mine. Is it any wonder this blog attracts so few visitors? If you're going to be mediocre you should at least have the courtesy to evacuate your verbal effluence in a timely manner.

But enough of my long standing problems with indolence and self loathing, what of 2013? For me it was a year in which I ingested more celluloid, figuratively speaking, than ever before. 418 films in total; from Sailor Suit and Machine Gun though to Robot and Frank (the full list can be found at the foot of this post). Am I the richer for this experience? Probably not but cinema works out cheaper than a coke habit and it doesn't dissolve the septum.

In terms of summarising all this raw data I've been in something of a quandary. Should all simply reflect my favourite films I've watched this year from any era? That would be too easy. So let's begin with a rundown of my Top 25 new releases from the past twelve months...

25. Side Effects (2013, US, Steven Soderbergh)

Deliciously twisted, both narratively and morally, Steven Soderbergh’s bad pharma themed psychological thriller leaves a slight aftertaste of misogyny but the same could be said of many of the film noirs that inspired it. And Catherine Zeta-Jones was born to play a femme fatale.

24. The Bling Ring (2013, US, Sofia Coppola)

Sofia Coppola’s gaudy anti-fable about fame-obsessed Californian teenagers who burgled Paris Hilton et al affects the absence of morality. Like Spring Breakers (and by all accounts The Wolf of Wall Street) it’s hard to tell where aestheticism ends and satire begins.

23. Gravity (2013, US, Alfonso Cuarón)

Two thirds big budget art movie, one third sellout. It’s staggering how such a massive production can lack an intelligible script. Kudos to Sandra Bullock for her dedication to her craft but my preferred reading of the final twenty-five minutes are that it’s actually a dying woman’s fantasy. I half expected the character to be greeted by her dead daughter when she arrived back on terra firma. Indeed I think that would have made for a more satisfying and enigmatic ending.

22. Leviathan (2012, US, Lucien Castaing Taylor & Verena Paravel)

That's "Leviathan", not "Lev-ar-thee-an" as the woman at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley bizarrely insisted on pronouncing it before a Q&A with the ever-so-slightly tetchy co directors one cold Saturday evening in late November. Surely the strangest film of 2013 to secure mainstream distribution, Leviathan depicts life on board a Nantucket fishing vessel as a immersive, abstract collage of sights and sounds that might as easily derive from the bowels of hell. The disorientation of this experience, by comparison with the anthropocentric norm, is actually rather invigorating.

21. McCullin (2012, UK, Jacqui & David Morris)

One of the earlier films of 2013 (by the autumn it was appearing on television) this profile of celebrated war photographer Donald McCullin is a fascinating insight into what compels a man to seek out such traumatic situations and the personal toll that comes with it.

20. No (2012, Chile, Pablo Larrain)

The true story of the 1988 referendum that brought down the Pinochet regime in Chile is recounted in Pablo Larraín’s surprisingly light drama. Accusations that the film simplifies what took place are probably justified and perhaps the film ought to be viewed in tandem with works such as Costa-Gavras’ Missing or Patricio Guzman’s documentary Nostalgia for the Light. The aesthetic decision to shoot on 80’s videotape, to allow for less jarring integration with the historical footage, was commendable.

19. Blackfish (2013, US, Gabriela Cowperthwaite)

A damning indictment of the practices of SeaWorld and their treatment of killer whales, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary will leave any intelligent viewer enraged that semi-sentient creatures are being kept for the purposes of human amusement. Such has the film’s impact been that Pixar felt moved amend their depiction of a marine park in the forthcoming Finding Dory. 

18. All is Lost (2013 US, J.C. Chandor)

I suppose this should be considered a late entry as I watched it on December 31st and possibly if it hadn’t been fresh in the memory it may not have charted. Still, I like films which strip drama to the bare essentials and J.C. Chandor’s tale of an old man and the sea is the sort of existentialist analogy that Gravity ought to have been. Robert Redford as the anonymous hero and solitary cast member runs the gamut of flinches and grimaces, remaining impeccably clean shaven throughout his ordeal.

17. Le Skylab (2011, France, Julie Delpy)

Another late entry. A large family convene to celebrate the birthday of their matriarch in Brittany in the late seventies while somewhere far above the titular stricken satellite is about to plummet back to earth. Enchantingly inconsequential and unmistakably gallic; star and director Julie Delpy has clearly learned from working with Richard Linklater that less is more.

16. Beyond the Hills (2012, Romania, Cristian Mungiu)

This strange Romanian film is going to require another viewing before I have the full measure of it but it slowly reeled me in. An increasingly unnerving dramatisation of a real-life exorcism case that raises questions about the nature of mental illness and the recalcitrance of religious dogma while remaining enigmatic.

15. Before Midnight (2013, US, Richard Linklater)

I hadn’t watched any of the Before series until 2013 but probably relished this the more for seeing the previous two entries just a day previously. Nothing of any great significance really happens of course, but that’s half the point. The success of Linklater, Delpy and Hawke is that we as viewers find ourselves engaged by their dialogue, enjoying their company and caring about their relationship.

14. A Field in England (2013, UK, Ben Wheatley)

Ben Wheatley’s English Civil War drama garnered an invidious amount of attention via its simultaneous release on both tv, dvd and in the cinemas in the summer. There’s a nagging suspicion that even Wheatley himself may not know exactly what’s going on during its trippier sequences but more than enough visceral panache, impressively delivered on a minuscule budget, to give him the benefit of the doubt.

13. Prisoners (2013, US, Denis Villeneuve)

I’m a little disappointed this drama looks like it will be crowded out in awards season. The twisty narrative shifts from an exploration into the traumatising effects of child abduction and possible murder into a vigilante scenario, throwing up a multitude of moral quandaries. A labyrinthine mystery that keeps you guessing.

12. The Stuart Hall Project (2013, UK, John Akomfrah)

Against a soundtrack of Miles Davis and a montage of archive footage, Britain’s foremost cultural commentator looks back on his life and career and the conflicting ideas and forces that have shaped both his notions of identity and those of postwar Britain. It might be one needs to share some of Hall’s postcolonial baggage to find this as engrossing as I did, even while battling the soporific stuffiness of the ICA’s cinema.

11. Seduced and Abandoned (2013, US, James Toback)

Treading a fine line between documentary and mockumentary James Toback and Alec Baldwin’s tongue-in-cheek pursuit of financing for a reimagined take on Last Tango in Paris at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival probably appeals more to those with a knowlege of the machinations of the film industry than your casual cinemagoer. Soliciting the insights of the great and the good it gives a glimpse into both the glorious successes and demoralising compromises that come with bringing a concept to the big screen.

10. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013, UK, Declan Lowney)

Steve Coogan rightly won acclaim for his ‘straight’ performance as journalist Martin Sixsmith in Philomena but I suspect even he would concede that the tragi-comic Alan Partridge is the role for which he’ll remain synonymous.  Indeed Partridigisms were evident in his caricature of Paul Raymond in the disappointing The Look of Love earlier in the year. With Armando Iannucci and Peter Baynham assisting on scripting duties this was always likely to be a solid offering an while the hostage scenario is as contrived as they come it provides the perfect platform for Coogan to indulge in mugging and pratfalls aplenty.

9. Escape Plan (2013, US, Mikael Håfström)

Back in the late 80s it would have been inconceivable that Sly and Arnie’s  egos could have been accommodated in the same room, little alone the same movie. But time has mellowed them, or perhaps just reduced their box office expectations. There’s nothing especially groundbreaking about this souped-up prison movie but in a way that’s part of its nuts-and-bolts old school charm. One remarkable scene in which the tortured Schwarzenegger howls anguish in his native German may just be the finest piece of acting he’s ever done. “I really enjoyed that” said one bloke as I came out of the cinema, and I couldn’t help but concur.

8. Blue Jasmine (2013, US, Woody Allen)

It’s as if the nails are already being hammered into Woody Allen’s coffin with critics increasingly referring to his ‘late’ films whenever he has a new picture out (I imagine he’d opt for cremation anyway). Still this clever reworking of A Streetcar Named Desire is the equal of anything he’s directed in the last twenty years; distinguished by a career-best turn from Cate Blanchett as the bipolar Manhattan socialite forced to move in with her white trash sister after husband Alec Baldwin is jailed for embezzlement. Poignant, funny and unmistakably Woody Allen. Don’t write the old boy off just yet.

7. Nebraska (2013, US, Alexander Payne)

For some reason Alexander Payne’s previous films have always managed to pass me by, much as this black and white quasi indie passed over the heads of the simple folk of Epsom (pathetically there were just two of us in the auditorium when I went to see it). Bruce Dern delivers a touching career coda as the confused old man who travels to the titular state (and his former hometown) after receiving a plainly bogus letter that he’s won a million dollars. But it’s the bittersweet bleakness of the Midwest landscape, mirroring the languid desolation of the characters living there, that lingers long after.

6. I Wish [Kiseki] (2011, Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

In an age when the once-great Japanese film industry churns out lamentable trash like Big Tits Zombie and Tokyo Gore Police it might be easy to assume, like Robert Redford, that all is lost. How reassuring then to discover Hirokazu Koreeda’s whimsical tale about two young brothers living in different towns after their parents’ separation who hatch a scheme to meet at the point where the two new bullet trains will rush part each other in the hope the supernatural energy generated will grant them what they most desire. Yet the story is much richer than that; embracing the entire milieu in which the two boys live and the many different friends and family who populate their world. You can almost feel the mighty Ozu watching over proceedings with approval.

5. The Great Beauty (2013, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)

Paolo Sorrentino claims to have been surprised by the success of his most recent film, but given how flagrantly he both channels the spirit of Fellini and serves up a picture-postcard vision of Rome I suspect him to be disingenuous. La Grande Bellezza appears to have been made with an international audience in mind and although this picaresque odyssey delivers some sublime moments when I reflected over it in the following days I started to wonder if I’d fallen for a con. Perhaps with a subsequent viewing I’ll conclude that whatever its debt to Il Maestro this really was the year’s best. And it pretty much goes without saying however that Toni Servillo is superb as the Mastroianni-esque novelist turned jaded louche.

4. Stories We Tell (2012, Canada, Sarah Polley)

This unabashedly self indulgent documentary recounts how director Sarah Polley learned of her true paternity and how it impacted upon her family. Unpeeling the layers of mystery about her deceased mother she draws upon the insights and recollections of all involved, intermingling both old home movie footage and scenes shot to resemble them. Far from being simply an account of how she met her biological father (who frankly struck me as a bit of a selfish prat) it becomes an affirming meditation on life itself in all its messy, beautiful complexity.

3. Spring Breakers (2013, US, Harmony Korine)

Seriously??? I’m not sure ‘serious’ is a word that could ever be used to describe Spring Breakers and writer/director Harmony Korine fools nobody with its pretensions towards being an elegy to the wanton excesses of youth. What we’re actually shown is a knowingly trashy satire that celebrates vacuity and hedonism for its own sake and leaves those of us beyond a certain age to question whether today’s kids will be in on the joke. Are there really those who consider Britney Spears one of the great poets of our times? Worryingly I suspect there may be. James Franco is in ripely hammy form as the braided, blinged-up gangsta who leads our scantily clad young heroines unto temptation.

2. The Place Beyond the Pines (2013, US, Derek Cianfrance)

At the start of The Place Beyond the Pines there’s a long handheld tracking shot that follows Ryan Gosling through a fairground, consciously reminiscent one suspects of the start of Touch of Evil, that gives the first hint Derek Cianfrance’s third feature is not the straightforward, naturalistic film one might expect from the director of Blue Valentine. What unfolds instead is a sprawling cross- generational epic, in three distinct acts, about the sins of fathers returning upon both they and their sons. It’s audacity, evocative of the operatic styling of Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, left me completely stunned even as my bladder strained with the film’s unexpected length. Cianfrance breaks the rules, and maybe it doesn’t completely satisfy, but I’d rather live in a world where filmmakers take chances than not.

1. The Selfish Giant (2013, UK, Clio Barnard)

Call me dense, many would, but I couldn’t quite see the connection with Oscar Wilde’s short story (it’s years since I read it). However, there’s a poetry to Clio Barnard’s social-realist fable that recalls Ken Loach at his most gut-wrenching. It tells the tale of Arbor and Swifty, two teenage tearaways living on an impossibly bleak housing estate in Bradford, who skip school to earn money scavenging scrap metal to a dodgy dealer Kitten (Sean Gilder), who becomes a surrogate father of the worst kind. When Swifty, the bigger and more sensitive of the boys, shows an aptitude for racing Kitten’s pony traps in illegal races it causes a rift with Arbor’s venal sensibilities, leading to a tragic denouement and a redemptive finale that left me in tears.

The performances Barnard coaxes from her two juvenile leads are a revelation. Cinema that is genuinely humane, without recourse to sentimentality, is in danger of becoming a lost art. It requires an understanding of character and environment that the commercial mainstream simply won’t invest in. Thankfully there are still a few filmmakers left willing to bear that torch.

418 films, in a long list....

  1. Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (1981, Japan, Shinji Sômai)
  2. Matou a Família e Foi ao Cinema [Killed the Family and Went to the Movies] (1969,  Brazil, Julio Bressane)
  3. A Moment of Innocence (1996, Iran, Mohsen Makmahlbaf)
  4. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010, UK/Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  5. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2012, US, Sean Durkin)
  6. McCullin (2012, UK, Jacqui & David Morris)
  7. The Impossible (2012, Spain, Juan Antonio Bayona)
  8. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012, US, Marc Webb)
  9. The Eye (2002, HK/Singapore, Pang Brothers)
  10. Up (2009, US, Pete Docter)
  11. The Cruel Sea (1953, UK, Charles Frend)
  12. Close-Up (1990, Iran, Abbas Kiarostami)
  13. The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970, UK, Kevin Billington)
  14. Floating Weeds (1959, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  15. A Royal Affair (2012, Denmark/Sweden, Nikolaj Arcel)
  16. Akira (1988, Japan, Katsuhiro Otomo)
  17. Bonjour tristesse (1958, US, Otto Preminger)
  18. Early Summer (1951, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  19. Django Unchained (2012, US, Quentin Tarantino)
  20. A Chump at Oxford (1940, US, Alfred J Goulding)
  21. High and Low (1963, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  22. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954, Japan, Keisuke Kinoshita)
  23. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1938, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  24. The Hurt Locker (2008, US, Kathryn Bigelow)
  25. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012, US/UK, Rupert Sanders)
  26. Les Miserables (2012, UK, Tom Hooper)
  27. Lincoln (2012, US, Steven Spielberg)
  28. Zero Dark Thirty (2012, US, Kathryn Bigelow)
  29. Missing (1982, US, Costa-Gavras)
  30. Welcome to Sarajevo (1997, UK, Michael Winterbottom)
  31. Joy of Madness (2003, Iran, Hana Makhmalbaf)
  32. Osaka Elegy (1936, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  33. Green Zone (2010, UK/France/US, Paul Greengrass)
  34. Bronco Bullfrog (1969, UK, Barney Platts-Mills)
  35. Pressure (1975, UK, Horace Ove)
  36. The Dam Busters (1955, UK, Michael Anderson)
  37. Sisters of the Gion (1936, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  38. Pretty in Pink (1986, US, Howard Deutch)
  39. Nostalgia for the Light
  40. Ted (2012, US, Seth MacFarlane)
  41. The Road (2009, US, John Hillcoat)
  42. Deep Blue Sea (2011, UK, Terence Davies)
  43. Wisconsin Death Trip (1999, UK/US, James Marsh)
  44. Dan in Real Life (2007, US, Peter Hedges)
  45. Flight (2012, US, Robert Zemeckis)
  46. Hitchcock (2012, US, Sacha Gervasi)
  47. Skyfall (2012, UK, Sam Mendes)
  48. The Infidel (2010, UK, Josh Appignanesi)
  49. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy (2004, US, Adam McKay)
  50. The Hangover (2009, US, Todd Phillips)
  51. Due Date (2010, US, Todd Phillips)
  52. Step Brothers (2008, US, Adam McKay)
  53. The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures (1976, Brazil, Marcelo Motta)
  54. Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936, US, Frank Capra)
  55. Meet John Doe  (1941, US, Frank Capra)
  56. No (2012, Chile, Pablo Larrain)
  57. Cloud Atlas (2012, Germany, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)
  58. Stoker (2012, US/UK, Park Wan-wook)
  59. Finding Nemo (2003, US, Andrew Stanton)
  60. Monsters, Inc (2001, US, Pete Docter)
  61. Tabu (1931, US, FW Murnau)
  62. An Autumn Afternoon (1962, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  63. A Hen in the Wind (1948, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  64. The Mirror (1975, Soviet Union, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  65. Equinox Flower (1958, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  66. Revenge of the Zombies (1943, US, Steve Sekely)
  67. Nightmare (1956, US, Maxwell Shane)
  68. Howl (2010, US, Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman)
  69. Early Spring (1956, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  70. Tokyo Twilight (1957, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  71. There Was a Father (1942, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  72. Tokyo-Ga (1985, US/West Germany, Wim Wenders)
  73. Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013, US, Sam Raimi)
  74. Akasen Chitai [Street of Shame] (1956, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  75. Made in Dagenham (2010, UK, Nigel Cole)
  76. Yokihi [Yang Kwei Fei] (1955, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  77. Days of Youth (1929, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  78. I’ve Loved You So Long (2008, France/Canada, Philippe Claudel)
  79. Despicable Me (2010, US, Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin)
  80. Superbad (2007, US, Greg Mottola)
  81. Chikamatsu Monogatari [The Crucified Lovers] (1954, Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  82. World Trade Center (2006, US, Oliver Stone)
  83. The Big Red One (US, 1980, Sam Fuller)
  84. Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  85. Tokyo Story (1953, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  86. Side Effects (2013, US, Steven Soderbergh)
  87. Welcome to the Punch (2013, UK, Eran Creevy)
  88. Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  89. The Green Slime (1968, Japan/US, Kinji Fukasaku)
  90. An Actor’s Revenge (1963, Japan, Kon Ichikawa)
  91. War of the Worlds (2005, US, Steven Spielberg)
  92. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005, US, Scott Derrickson)
  93. The Paperboy (2012, US, Lee Daniels)
  94. Broken (2012, US, Rufus Norris)
  95. Late Spring (1949, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  96. The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1953, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  97. Imitation of Life (1959, US, Douglas Sirk)
  98. The Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006, US, Kirby Dick)
  99. Walk Cheerfully (1930, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  100.  Kuroneko (1968, Japan, Kaneto Shindo)
  101. Trance (2013, UK, Danny Boyle)
  102. Sunshine (2007, UK, Danny Boyle)
  103.  Point Break (1991, US, Kathryn Bigelow)
  104. Taken (2008, France, Pierre Morel)
  105. The Devils (1971, UK, Ken Russell)
  106.  London to Brighton (2006, UK, Paul Andrew Williams)
  107.  Holiday (1938, US, George Cukor)
  108.  The End of Summer (1961, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  109.  Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987, UK, Stephen Frears)
  110.  Teorema [Theorem] (968, Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  111. 127 Hours (2010, UK/US, Danny Boyle)
  112. The Place Beyond the Pines (2013, US, Derek Cianfrance)
  113.  The Killer Inside Me (2010, US, Michael Winterbottom)
  114.  A Cock and Bull Story (2005, UK, Michael Winterbottom)
  115.  24 Hour Party People (2002, UK, Michael Winterbottom)
  116.  9 Songs (2004, UK, Michael Winterbottom)
  117. The Look of Love (2013, UK, Michael Winterbottom)
  118.  West End Jungle(1964, UK, Arnold L. Miller)
  119.  A Hijacking [Karpringen] (2012, Denmark, Tobias Lindholm)
  120.  Robo-Geisha (2009, Japan, Noboru Iguchi)
  121.  Panic in the Streets (1950, US, Elia Kazan)
  122.  Pumping Iron (1977, US, George Butler & Robert Flore)
  123.  On the Waterfront (1954, US, Elia Kazan)
  124.  Corman’s World (2011, US, Alex Stapleton)
  125.  Kill Keith (2011, UK, Andy Thompson)
  126.  “Hush.. Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964, US, Robert Aldrich)
  127.  Occupied Palestine (1981, US, David Koff)
  128.  Salo (1975, Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  129.  Iron Man 3 (2013, US, Shane Black)
  130.  Sex and Fury (1973, Japan, Noribumi Suzuki)
  131.  The Lady (2011, France/UK, Luc Besson)
  132.  The Colour of Pomegranates (1968, USSR, Sergei Parajanov) 
  133.  Lunacy (2005, Czech Republic, Jan Svankmajer)
  134.  Vampyros Lesbos (1971, West Germany/Spain, Jesus Franco)
  135.  Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013, US, J.J. Abrams)
  136.  Moby Dick (2013, US, Trey Stokes)
  137.  Versus (2000, Japan, Ryuhei Kitamura)
  138.  Pink Flamingos (1972, US, John Waters)
  139.  The Great Gatsby (2013, US, Baz Luhrmann)
  140.  Sightseers (2012, UK, Ben Wheatley)
  141.  The Warriors (1979, US, Walter Hill)
  142.  The Monk (2011, France/Spain, Dominik Moll)
  143.  Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010, UK, Mat Whitecross)
  144.  The Good Die Young (1954, UK, Lewis Gilbert)
  145.  Be Kind Rewind (2008, US, Michel Gondry)
  146.  Wall Street (1987, US, Oliver Stone)
  147.  Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps (2010, US, Oliver Stone)
  148.  L’Enfant Sauvage [The Whild Child] (1970, France, Francois Truffaut)
  149.  The Agronomist (2004, US, Jonathan Demme)
  150.  Gimme Shelter (1970, US, Albert & David Maysles)
  151.  Cries and Whispers (1972, Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
  152.  Crimson Wings [Kurenai no Tsubasa] (1958, Japan, Ko Nakahira)
  153.  Season of the Sun [Taiyō no kisetsu] (1956, Japan, Takumi Furukawa)
  154.  Suzaki Paradise: Red Signal (1956, Japan, Yuzo Kawashima)
  155.  The Woman from the Sea (1959, Japan, Koreyoshi Kurahara)
  156.  Monday Girl [Getsuyoubi No Yuka] (1964, Japan, Ko Nakaira)
  157.  Black Tight Killers [Ore ni Sawaru to Abunaize] (1966, Japan, Yasuharu Hasebe)
  158.  Koyaanisqatsi (1983, US, Godfrey Reggio)
  159.  Headhunters (2011, Norway, Morten Tyldum) 
  160.  The Purge (2013, US, James DeMonaco)
  161.  The Iceman (2013, US, Ariel Vromen)
  162.  Fighting Elegy [Kenka erejii] (1966, Japan, Seijun Suzuki)
  163.  The Man Who Caused a Storm [Arashi o Yobu Otoko] (1957, Japan, Umetsugu Inoue)
  164.  I Look Up When I Walk [Ue o muite arukou] (1962, Japan, Toshio Masuda)
  165.  Munich (2005, US, Steven Spielberg)
  166.  Gasland (2010, US, Josh Fox)
  167.  Some Girls Do (1969, UK, Ralph Thomas)
  168.  I Could go on Singing (1963, UK, Ronald Neame)
  169.  Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1970, Uk, Freddie Francis)
  170.  This, That and the Other (1970, UK, Derek Ford)
  171.  All the Way Up (1970, UK, James MacTaggart)
  172.  Behind the Candelabra (2013, US, Steven Soderbergh)
  173.  World War Z (2013, US, Marc Foster)
  174.  Underground (1928, UK, Anthony Asquith)
  175.  Down Terrace (2010, UK, Ben Wheatley)
  176.  A Field in England (2013, UK, Ben Wheatley)
  177.  What Became of Jack and Jill? (UK, 1972, Bill Bain)
  178.  Man of Steel (2013, US, Zach Snyder)
  179.  Fear X (2003, Denmark/UK, Nicolas Winding Refn)
  180.  The Blood Beast Terror (1967, UK, Vernon Sewell)
  181.  The Turin Horse [A torinói ló] (2011, Hungary, Béla Tarr)
  182.  The Bad Sleep Well [Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru] (1960, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  183.  Branded to Kill (1967, Japan, Seijun Suzuki)
  184.  Pacific Rim (2013, US, Guillermo del Toro)
  185.  The Bling Ring (2013, US, Sofia Coppola)
  186.  The Act of Killing (2012, Denmark/Norway/UK, Joshua Oppenheimer)
  187.  Wadjda (2012, Saudi Arabia/Germany, Haifaa al Mansour)
  188.  The Puffy Chair (2005, US, Jay & Marc Duplass)
  189.  The World’s End (2013, UK, Edgar Wright)
  190.  The L-Shaped Room (1962, Bryan Forbes, UK)
  191.  Piggy (2012, UK, Kieron Hawkes)
  192.  Les Enfants Terribles (1950, France, Jean-Pierre Melville)
  193.  Stray Dog (1949, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  194.  Wild Style (1983, US, Charlie Ahearn)
  195.  Carry On Camping (1969, UK, Gerald Thomas)
  196.  Phantom Punch (2008, US, Robert Townsend)
  197.  The Wolverine (2013, US, James Mangold)
  198.  The Hunger Games (2012, US, Gary Ross)
  199.  Frances Ha (2012, US, Noah Baumbach)
  200.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, US, Steven Spielberg)
  201.  Rocky Balboa (2006, US, Sylvester Stallone) 
  202.  From Up on Poppy Hill [Kokuriko-zaka Kara] (2011, Japan, Gorō Miyazaki)
  203.  The Conjuring (2013, US, James Wan)
  204.  Only God Forgives (2013, US, Nicolas Winding Refn)
  205.  Right at Your Door (2006, US, Chris Gorak)
  206.  CB4 (1993, US, Tamra Davis)
  207.  Lock Up Your Daughters! (1969, UK, Peter Coe)
  208.  Alpha Papa (2013, UK, Declan Lowney)
  209.  Why We Fight (2005, US, Eugene Jarecki)
  210.  This is Not a Film [In film nist] (2012, Iran, Jafar Panahi)
  211.  Super 8 (2011, US, J.J. Abrams)
  212.  Tiger Bay (1959, UK, J. Lee Thompson)
  213.  Baby Doll (1956, US, Elia Kazan)
  214.  Pardon Us (1931, US, James Parrott)
  215.  Battle of the Sexes (2013, UK/US, James Erskine)
  216.  Dead Creatures (2001, UK, Andrew Parkinson)
  217.  Drunken Angel [Yoidore tenshi] (1948, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  218.  The House I Live In (2012, US, Eugene Jarecki)
  219.  Ice Cold in Alex (1958, UK, J. Lee Thompson)
  220.  Carry On Screaming (1966, UK, Gerald Thomas)
  221.  The Wicked Lady (1945, UK, Leslie Arliss)
  222.  Pack Up Your Troubles (1932, US, George Marshall & Raymond McCarey)
  223.  Macbeth (1948, US, Orson Welles)
  224.  Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972, US, Woody Allen)
  225.  Inherit the Wind (1960, US, Stanley Kramer)
  226.  The Cocoanuts (1929, US, Robert Florey & Joseph Santley)
  227.  What Happened to Kerouac? (1986, US, Richard Lerner & Lewis MacAdams)
  228.  The Way Ahead (1944, UK, Carol Reed)
  229.  Carve Her Name with Pride (1958, UK, Lewis Gilbert)
  230.  Went the Day Well? (1942, UK, Alberto Cavalcanti)
  231.  Millions Like Us (1943, UK, Sidney Gilliat & Frank Launder)
  232.  The Wooden Horse (1950, UK, Jack Lee)
  233.  Elysium (2013, US, Neill Blomkamp)
  234.  Project Nim (2011, UK, James Marsh)
  235.  Blackfish (2013, US, Gabriela Cowperthwaite)
  236.  Sons of the Desert (1933, US, William A. Sowter)
  237.  Jassy (1947, UK, Bernard Knowles)
  238.  Upstream Color (2013, US, Shane Carruth)
  239.  Vidal Sassoon: The Movie (2010, US, Craig Teper)
  240.  We Have a Pope [Habemus Papam] (2011, Italy, Nanni Moretti)
  241.  Nostalghia (1983, Soviet Union/Italy, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  242.  Il Divo (2008, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)
  243.  Tabu (2012, Portugal, Miguel Gomes)
  244.  Heart of the Matter (1953, UK, George More O’Ferrall)
  245.  You’re Next (2011, US, Adam Wingard)
  246.  The Family Friend [L'amico di famiglia] (2006, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)
  247.  This Must Be the Place (2011, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)
  248.  Rapt (2009, France, Lucas Belvaux)
  249.  The Great Beauty (2013, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)
  250.  Give Us the Moon (1944, UK, Val Guest)
  251.  The Consequences of Love [Le conseguenze dell'amore] (2004, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)
  252.  Third Contact (2012, UK, Simon Horrocks)
  253.  Rome, Open City (1945, Italy, Robert Rossellini) 
  254.  The Stuart Hall Project (2013, UK, John Akomfrah)
  255.  Rush (2013, US, Ron Howard)
  256.  Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, US/UK, David Lean)
  257.  Enemy at the Gates (2001, France/Germany/Uk/Ireland/US, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
  258.  The Most Dangerous Man in America (2009, US, Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith)
  259.  A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929, UK, Anthony Asquith)
  260.  The Corporation (2003, Canada, Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott)
  261.  Panic in Needle Park (1971, US, Jerry Schatzberg)
  262.  Colossal Youth [Juventude em Marcha] (2006, Portugal, Pedro Costa)
  263.  Bank Holiday (1938, UK, Carol Reed)
  264.  The Boys (1962, UK, Sidney J. Furie)
  265.  Roma (1972, Italy, Federico Fellini)
  266.  Memento Mori (1992, UK, Jack Clayton)
  267.  Jack Reacher (2012, US, Christopher McQuarrie)
  268.  Soy Cuba [I am Cuba] (1964, Soviet Union/Cuba, Mikhail Kalatozov)
  269.  HIghly Dangerous (1950, UK, Roy Ward Baker)
  270.  Kes (1969, UK, Ken Loach)
  271.  Quartet (2012, UK, Dustin Hoffman)
  272.  Olympus Has Fallen (2013, US, Antoine Fuqua)
  273.  The Fallen Idol (1948, UK, Carol Reed)
  274.  The Man in Grey (1943, UK, Leslie Arliss)
  275.  A Quiet Place in the Country [Un tranquillo posto di campagna] (1968, Italy, Elio Petri)
  276.  Horrors of Malformed Men Edogawa Rampo Zenshū: Kyoufu Kikei Ningen] (1969, Japan, Teruo Ishii)
  277.  Kairo [Pulse]; (2001, Japan, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  278.  Boy [Shōnen] (1969, Japan, Nagisa Oshima)
  279.  Harakiri [Seppuku] (1964, Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
  280.  Graveyard of Honor [Jingi no hakaba] (1975, Japan, Kinji Fukusaku)
  281.  God Told Me To (1976, US, Larry Cohen)
  282.  Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973, US, Richard Blackburn)
  283.  Escape! (1930, UK, Basil Dean)
  284.  Hungry Hill (1947, UK, Brian Desmond Hurst)
  285.  Love Story (1944, UK, Leslie Arliss)
  286.  Cardboard Cavalier (1949, UK, Walter Forde)
  287.  A Place of One’s Own (1945, UK, Bernad Knowles)
  288.  The Stars Look Down (1940, UK, Carol Reed)
  289.  Bedelia (1946, UK, Lance Comfort)
  290.  Cast a Dark Shadow (1955, UK, Lewis Gilbert)
  291.  Penny Paradise (1938, UK, Carol Reed)
  292.  Undefeated (2011, US, Daniel Lindsay/T.J. Martin)
  293.  Crumb (1994, US, Terry Zwigoff)
  294.  The Hunt (2012, Denmark, Thomas Vinterberg)
  295.  What Richard Did (2012, Ireland, Lenny Abrahamson)
  296.  I, Anna (2012, UK/Germany/France, Barnaby Southcombe)
  297.  Halloween II (1981, US, Rick Rosenthal)
  298.  Chaser (2008, South Korea, Na Hong-jin)
  299.  Baise-Moi (2000, France, Virginie Despentes/Coralie Trinh Thi)
  300.  Gaslight (1940, UK, Thorold Dickinson)
  301.  Prisoners (2013, US, Denis Villeneuve)
  302.  Sunshine on Leith (2013, UK, Dexter Fletcher)
  303.  Filth (2013, UK, John S. Baird)
  304.  Ran (1985, Japan/France, Akira Kurosawa)
  305.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011, US, Michael Bay)
  306.  Jánošík (1921, Slovakia, Jaroslav Jerry Siakeľ)
  307.  Vigilante (1982, US, William Lustig)
  308.  Trumbo (2007, US, Peter Askin)
  309.  The Yellow Sea (2010, South Korea, Na Hong-jin)
  310.  The Fifth Estate (2013, US, Bill Condon)
  311.  Blue Jasmine (2013, US, Woody Allen)
  312.  Captain Phillips (2013, US, Paul Greengrass) 

  •  The Psychopath (1966, UK, Freddie Francis)
  •  The Skull (1965, Freddie Francis, Freddie Francis)
  •  The House at the End of the Street (2012, US, Mark Tonderai)
  •  Escape Plan (2013, US,Mikael Håfström>)
  • Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011, US, Liz Garbus)
  •  Child’s Play (1988, US, Tom Holland)
  •  Hard Candy (2005, US, David Slade) 
  •  The Selfish Giant (2013, UK, Clio Barnard) 
  •  Like Someone in Love (2012, France/Jaan, Abbas Kiarostami)
  •  The Intruder (1962, US, Roger Corman)
  •  People on Sunday [Menschen am Sonntag] (1930, Germany, Robert Siodmak)
  •  The Reconstruction (1970, Greece, Theo Angelopoulos
  •  The Passion of Joan of Arc [La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc] (1928, France, Carl Theodor Dreyer) 
  •  Man with a Movie Camera  [Chelovek s kinoapparatom](1929, Soviet Union, Dziga Vertov)
  •  The Hunter (2011, Australia, Daniel Nettheim)
  •  Identity (2003, US, James Mangold)
  •  Kuhle Wampe (1932, Germany, Slatan Dudow)
  •  The Crimson Rivers (2000, France, Mathieu Kassovitz)
  •  Shame (2011, UK, Steve McQueen)
  •  The Phantom Carriage (1921, Sweden, Victor Sjöström)
  •  Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013, US, John Luessenhop)
  •  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, UK, Peter R. Hunt)
  •  The Devil’s Rejects (2005, US, Rob Zombie)
  •  Before Sunrise (1995, US, Richard Linklater)
  •  Before Sunset (2004, US, Richard Linklater)
  •  Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, France, Robert Bresson)
  •  Fanny and Alexander (1982, Sweden, Ingmar Bergman)
  •  Le Week-End (2013, UK, Roger Michell)
  •  Bande a Part (1964, France, Jean-Luc Godard)
  •  Before Midnight (2013, US, Richard Linklater)
  •  Thor: The Dark World (2013, US, Alan Taylor)
  •  Philomena (2013, UK/US/France, Stephen Frears)
  •  Dead Presidents (1995, US, Allen Hughes/Albert Hughes)
  •  Footprints on the Moon [La orme] (1975, Italy, Mario Fanelli)
  •  Born & Bred [Nacido y criado] (2006, Argentina, Pablo Trapero)
  •  A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (2012, UK, Bill Jones/Jeff Simpson/Ben Timlett)
  •  Seduced and Abandoned (2013, US, James Toback)
  •  Bullhead (2011, Belgium, Michaël R. Roskam)
  •  The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006, Ireland/UK/Germany/Italy/Spain/France/Belgium/Switzerland, Ken Loach)
  •  Gravity (2013, US, Alfonso Cuarón)
  •  Godzilla [Gojira] (1954, Japan, Ishiro Honda)
  •  Fear Eats the Soul [Angst essen Seele auf] (1974, West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  •  Katalin Varga (2009, Romania/UK, Peter Strickland)
  •  Wuthering Heights (2011, UK, Andrea Arnold)
  •  The Butler (2013, US, Lee Daniels)
  •  In Fear (2013, UK, Jeremy Lovering)
  •  Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013, France/Belgium/Spain, Abdellatif Kechiche) 
  •  The Face at the Window (1939, UK, George King)
  •  The Lodger (1944, US, John Brahm)
  •  Leviathan (2012, US, Lucien Castaing Taylor/Verena Paravel)
  •  Sweetgrass (2009, US, Lucien Castaing Taylor)
  •  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, US, Francis Lawrence)
  •  Singin’ in the Rain (1952, US, Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly)
  •  Three Colours Blue (1993, France/Poland/Switzerland, Krzystof Kieslowski)
  •  Three Colours White (1994, France/Poland/Switzerland, Krzystof Kieslowski)
  •  Three Colours Red (1994, France/Poland/Switzerland, Krzystof Kieslowski)
  •  Lola (1961, France, Jacques Demy)
  •  Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967, France, Jacques Demy)
  •  Metropolis (2001, Japan, Rintaro)
  •  Tokyo Gore Police (2008, Japan, Yoshihiro Nishimura)
  •  Spring Breakers (2013, US, Harmony Korine)
  •  Saving Mr Banks (2013, US, John Lee Hancock)
  •  Involuntary (2008, Sweden, Ruben Östland
  •  A Woman Under the Influence (1974, US, John Cassavetes) 
  •  Kill Your Darlings (2013, US, John Krokidas)
  •  Blood On Satan’s Claw (1971, UK, Piers Haggard)
  •  Dead of Night (1945, UK, Alberto Cavalcanti/Robert Hamer/Charles Crichton/Basil Dearden)
  •  Nebraska (2013, US, Alexander Payne)
  •  Semi-Pro (2008 US, Kent Alterman)
  •  Haxan (1922, Sweden/Denmark, Benjamin Christensen)
  •  Mud (2012, US, Jeff Nichols)
  •  Winter’s Bone (2010, US, Debra Granik)
  •  Beyond the Hills (2012, Romania, Cristian Mungiu)
  •  Elf (2003, US, Jon Favreau)
  •  I Wish [Kiseki] (2011, Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)
  •  Anchorman 2 (2013, US, Adam McKay)
  •  Seven Murders for Scotland Yard (1971, Italy/Spain, José Luis Madrid)
  •  Stories We Tell (2012, Canada, Sarah Polley)
  •  Ink (2009, US, Jamin Winans)
  •  The History Boys (2006, UK, Nicholas Hynter)
  •  Throne of Blood (1957, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  •  Oblivion (2013, US, Joseph Kosinski)
  •  The Only Son (1936, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu)
  •  God Speed You! Black Emperor (1976, Japan, Mitsuo Yanagimachi)
  •  The H Man [Bijo to Ekitainingen] (1958, Japan, Eijii Tsuburaya & Ishiro Honda)
  •  No Regrets for Our Youth (1946, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
  •  Giants and Toys [Kyojin to gangu] (1958, Japan, Yasuzo Masumura)
  •  The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959, Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
  •  The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959, Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
  •  The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer (1961, Japan, Masaki Kobayashi)
  •  Lady Snowblood [Shurayukihime] (1973, Japan, Toshiya Fujita)
  •  The Black Camel (1931, US, Hamilton MacFadden)
  •  Alone Across the Pacific [Taiheiyo hitori-botchi] (1963, Japan, Kon Ichikawa)
  •  Gate of Hell [Jigokumon] (1953, Japan, Teinosuke Kinugasa)
  •  Tokyo Olympiad [Tōkyō Orinpikku] (1965, Japan, Kon Ichikawa)
  •  47 Ronin [Shijūshichinin no shikaku] (1994, Japan, Kon Ichikawa)
  •  Whisky Galore! (1949, UK, Alexander Mackendrick)
  •  Rogue (2007, Australia, Greg McLean)
  •  Sexton Blake and the Hooded Terror (1938, UK, George King)
  •  The Living Skeleton [Kyuketsu Dokurosen] (1968, Japan, Hiroshi Matsuno)
  •  The Blind Woman’s Curse [Kaidan Nobori Ryū] (1970, Japan, Teruo Ishii)
  •  Silence [Chinmoku] (1971, Japan, Masahiro Shinoda)
  •  Le Skylab (2011, France, Julie Delpy)
  •  All is Lost (2013 US, J.C. Chandor)
  •  Bullet Ballet (1998, Japan, Shinya Tsukamoto)
  •  Robot & Frank (2012, US, Jake Schreier)

  • Comments

    1. Replies
      1. I know, I didn't think anything could top some of the Japanese classics I'd watched over the past year until I was recommended Will Ferrell's opus. There are some works of art for which superlatives aren't adequate.

        I decided to show I'm not a snob and dip into some mainstream comedy. A friend lent it to me as it's her favourite film ( ...) . Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

    2. Ha - this just cropped up in a google search for '7 Murders for Scotland Yard.' I take it the sacrifice you're referring to was not your friend.

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