2013 so Far…

Stoker 2013 is now halfway over and over the course of the last six months I saw close to 90 films.  Roughly a quarter of those films I enjoyed well enough to consider among my favourites of the year, about 12 of which I absolutely loved.  In addition, a little over a third of my favourite films so far are films I saw at Hot Docs, if only because I saw so many films during that time period.  With the midway point of the year upon us, I thought that I would take the time to go over my hits and misses so far this year. My undisputed top film of the year so far is the gothic thriller Stoker, which is a bit amazing, considering that I saw the film way back in March.  I recently bought the film on blu-ray and the rewatch helped confirm my love for the film.  Not only did I like the film’s somewhat dark plot, but I couldn’t help look in awe at the film’s cinematography and editing.  I could very easily pause the film at any point just to admire the film’s carefully constructed mise en scène.  This is a film I’ll enjoy watching for year’s to come. A very close second is Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, which is probably the only other film I’ve seen this year that has a guaranteed spot in my top ten at the end of the year.  I loved Before Midnight in a completely different fashion than Stoker and, when it is all said and done, it was my preference for the latter’s subject matter (and visual splendour) that kept it at the top. The film currently sitting at number three of my list is technically a holdover from 2012.  If I saw Stories We Tell when it had its regular release last fall, it probably would’ve been at or near the top of my 2012 list.  However, as it currently stands, it still has a decent place in this year’s list, however it remains to be seen whether or not it will remain there. At number four is Valentine Road, which was my top film of the Hot Docs film festival.  The film only entered my radar after a recommendation and I am quite glad that I managed to see it.  Not sure if the film will end up in my top ten at the end of the year, but I highly recommend that people check it out when they can. Rounding things off, my fifth favourite film of the year is Ghost Graduation.  I saw the film at a festival screening and I don’t know if it will ever surface again (at least before the scheduled English-language remake).  This John Hughes-inspired comedy is an absolute gem and I highly recommend searching the film out. Now sums up my favourite films of the year, however I should probably also touch up on my least favourites.  At the bottom of the pile is Funny or Die’s mock biopic iSteve.  While the website is pretty good at producing short sketches, they should definitely stay away from feature-length films.  Another film I didn’t connect with was the nauseating avant-garde documentary Leviathan, of which I’m happy I didn’t vomit while watching.  Rounding the films I was not too crazy about were the “documentary” Searching for Bill and the somewhat overrated Mama. And that’s 2013 for me so far.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).