Brian Henry Martin at the movies

The Best Films Of 2013

Published Tuesday, 31 December 2013
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It has been another exciting year at the cinema and not just for sequels and superheroes. Along the way, we have also been to The Place Beyond The Pines, survived World War Z before eventually finding The Long Way Way Back. In 2013, I found myself sinking at Lincoln, all-a-tis at Le Mis and demanding a divorce from The Big Wedding.

But what has been your best film of the year? Here's my favourite five...

Behind The Candelabra

Michael Douglas dazzled as the outrageous entertainer Liberace with the most surprising screen performance of the year. It was simply astounding to see 'Gordon Gecko' wrapped in a fabulous fur coat and resplendent rhinestones as the extravagantly camp performer.. Director Steven Soderbergh keeps his camera intimate and lowdown, making this feel like a deliciously dark version of 'Through The Keyhole'. And better still it's all done in the best possible taste.

Mud

Huckleberry Finn meets Stand By Me as writer/ director Jeff Nichols created a classic coming of age drama set on the banks of the great Mississippi River. After years of having mud slung at him, actor Matthew McConaughy slung his 'Mud' back at us. McConaughey's performance as the frazzled fugitive on the run is a superior blend of charm and menace. 'Mud' is up grit creek without a paddle, and only his powerful friendship with a river boy can save his soul. This is American cinema at its very best.

Philomena

The indestructible Dame Judi Dench is getting better with age and in this emotional roller coaster every wrinkle on her face is used to great effect as the anguished tracks of a mothers tears. She plays Philomena with great heart, perfectly capturing not only the accent but also that indomitable spirit of a loveable Irish mama. Alongside cynical reporter Steve Coogan, the unlikely twosome make a wonderful double act, developing a powerful bond that is both profoundly moving and very funny.

Gravity

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón painstakingly created a breathless adventure, a phenomenal cinematic thrill ride of sound and vision, which delivered both the majestic wonder of space and the compelling emotions of the human face. Who would have thought that it would be Sandra Bullock's floating tears, six hundred miles above the Earth that would be a defining moment for 3D cinema. Proving once and for all that wearing 3D glasses to watch movies can be more than just gimmicky spectacle but heartbreaking drama too.

Good Vibrations

"See The Best Northern Irish Film Ever This Weekend, " urged the front page of The Belfast Telegraph in March and they were right. Talented twosome directors Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'sa brilliantly captured the alternative Ulster music scene of the 1970's. Richard Dormer is spellbinding in every single scene as Belfast's godfather of punk, Terri Hooley and blasting out of the darkest days of the Troubles is a cracking soundtrack featuring Rudi, The Outcasts and Stiff Little Fingers.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.

Twice.

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