Watch out! - Page 2

THE YEAR IN FILM: Films in 2013 favored solo peril, moody self-discovery, and greed-fueled plunges
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COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish — a documentary investigating the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer at the jaws of a male orca named Tilikum — also brought a tale of isolation to the forefront. It's capped with a lingering shot of the giant animal hovering, motionless, in a solitary-confinement tank. Home sweet home. Thoughtful and provocative, Blackfish avoids sensationalism, adding interviews with killer-whale experts to its slate of ex-SeaWorld employee talking heads. It's not simply an exposé of a specific attack, though it does contain footage shot just before the Tilikum incident. It's an indictment of an amusement-park industry that puts profits above the safety of its employees, and tries mightily to turn intelligent, unpredictable animals into goofy attractions.

And greed, as it happens, was another big theme for 2013. It's a topic that lends itself to high-energy tales of ill-gotten gains and dramatic tumbles, with stakes as meaningless as the designer handbags snatched from Paris Hilton's closet by Sofia Coppola's Bling Ring bandits — or as huge as the political careers toppled by the antics of American Hustle's con artists and slippery FBI agents. Nowhere was this familiar story arc so gleefully explored than in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, which — like Bling and Hustle — was based on a true story. Even better, its tale of 1990s stock-market swindling is based on the book written by the fiend who lived it (Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio), and shot by Martin Scorsese with top-of-his-game panache.

In a parallel universe, someone might make a film casting Belfort as the villain. Here, he's the obnoxious, thieving, narcissistic, witty, scheming, drug-gobbling douchebag you hate to love. What the hell am I watching? The birth of an antihero, 2013-style. *

 

CHERYL EDDY'S TOP 10

1. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway/UK)

2. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, US/UK)

3. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, US)

4. American Hustle (David O. Russell, US)

5. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, US)

6. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria/US)

7. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, US)

8. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, US)

9. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski, US)

10. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, US)

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

 

Blackfish (Gabriela Cowperthwaite, US); Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, France/Belgium/Spain); Drug War (Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong); Nebraska (Alexander Payne, US); The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, US)

 

FAVORITE MOMENTS

 

Leonardo DiCaprio vs. the stairs, The Wolf of Wall Street

"Let's boo-boo." — The World's End

Mastodon's "cameo" in Monsters University

Louis C.K.'s ice-fishing story, American Hustle

Judi Dench explains the plot of Big Momma's House to Steve Coogan, Philomena

"I wanna rob!" — Emma Watson, The Bling Ring

Sun Honglei's transformation into "Haha," Drug War

Jem Cohen's musings on Bruegel, Museum Hours

"Everytime" musical number, Spring Breakers

John Goodman's "Santería" speech, Inside Llewyn Davis John C. Reilly's cameo, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

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