Tag Archives: Alfonso Cuarón

2013’s Top Nine

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So here they are, my best of 2013. I’ll allow my two-month demurral and the list’s incompleteness (who does a top nine?) to speak for the sort of year I had in the theaters. Still, I saw enough to have an opinion and I’m going to share it with you.

Enjoy.

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Gravity (2013)

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If you were to name the five chief motivations for making a film, it seems inevitable that “showing people the formerly unseen” would be in the mix. And with the profusion of new technology in film, this desire to create from imagination tends to result in pure fantasy; characters and places that are, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Not that I’m complaining. This trend has led to a golden era of fantasy film, and a collection of worlds most of us would give a kidney to visit. What have been neglected are the films intent on revealing not just the astonishing, but the astonishingly real. Gravity is one. It endeavors to show us a world that exists a hundred miles straight up, where you and I will never go. A world where our textbook understanding means little, and death and beauty are braided together, indistinguishably linked.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two (2011)

There’s a tendency to think of film as a superior medium or art form to television. To think of it as (mostly) having more integrity. While this may be true to an extent, one arena where film simply can’t compete is in subtle, measured character development. TV shows like Six Feet Under or Breaking Bad utilize their serial nature to not only develop characters within episodes, but across immense, series-long journeys. Film rarely has the ability or opportunity to challenge TV in this regard, which is what (among many, many other things) makes the Harry Potter franchise so unique. While the films have created a truly remarkable reality from the internationally-celebrated source material, it is our personal investment in the journey that matters most. Watching these characters grow together, learn, experience hardship and be heroic is a nearly unparalleled experience, and in the latest and last, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, that experience closes in an at once immensely satisfying and desperately harrowing finale.

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Children of Men (2006)

Fifteen minutes or so into the film I started thinking about stories like 1984 and Brave New World. Dystopic futures that motivate us to get some perspective on the state of the world and the state of the potential future. The film takes place 30 or 40 years in the future in a world where women can no longer have children. Everything comes into light when the human race is about to end, and obviously instead of making the necessary changes, we would fall into a massive downward spiral of fear and violence. Smart and thought provoking and very relevant.

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