The Top 5 Action Scenes of 2013

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All things considered, 2013 was a pretty great year for cinema. But it was a particularly good year for action film fans. With a few exceptions, most action that I saw in movies was pretty competently shot and edited. I was dazzled by the martial arts of Man of Tai Chi, gripped by the boat raiding of Captain Phillips, and temporarily entertained by the barrel-riding of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But even beyond those moments, there were a few action scenes that really stuck out to me. I think of them as the scenes that gave me a “holy shit!” moment, prompting me to exclaim (internally or verbally) disbelief at what I’d just witnessed.

After the jump, you’ll find my personal top 5 Action Scenes of 2013. You will disagree with them! I know the other guys at /Film already have. Thus, I heartily encourage you to share your own choices in the comments, and celebrate the year of action films with me.

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Golden Globes

While most of the West Coast was still curled up in bed, Aziz Ansari, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde got up bright and early this morning to announce the nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globes.

12 Years a Slave and American Hustle led the film nominations, with an impressive seven each. The latter didn’t get nearly as much recognition at yesterday’s SAG awards announcement, but the former is crystallizing its status as the one to beat this year. Nebraska also came in strong with five nominations, while Captain Phillips and Gravity picked up four apiece.

Meanwhile, House of Cards and Behind the Candelabra topped the list of TV nominees, with four nods each. Breaking Bad, if you were wondering, got three. On the comedy side, Parks and Recreation, Girls, and newcomer Brooklyn Nine-Nine picked up two each.

Read the full list (with announcements still in progress) after the jump.

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‘The Act of Killing’ Tops Sight & Sound 2013 Poll

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End of year lists can be great for highlighting stuff you may have missed, and the annual poll from UK film magazine Sight & Sound, one of the first 2013 year-end lists out of the gate, has a number of films included that are worth tracking down. The magazine polls over 100 “international critics, curators and academics,” taking a top-five list from each. The magazine’s list of top films (with some tied for a couple berths) is generated from those votes.

Documentary The Act of Killing, which follows as men responsible for genocidal killings in Indonesia confront and recreate their crimes as film scenes, took first place by a margin of five votes. Gravity and Blue is the Warmest Colour are the second and third place choices.

The full list is below, complete with trailers for each film, so you can be introduced to whatever films on the list are unfamiliar. Read More »

Aningaaq-1

In Gravity, only a few moments that are not focused entirely on the experience of Sandra Bullock‘s character Dr. Ryan Stone. One takes place when Stone attempts to contact help via radio, only to contact someone completely unable to assist her. The conversation, while divided by a language barrier, is deeply moving, as Stone and the man hundreds of miles away achieve a strange connection.

The film’s co-writer, Jonas Cuarón, made a short film, Aningaaq, depicting the other side of that conversation. You can watch it in full below. Read More »

gravity-vfx-breakdown

Gravity has not only some of the best effects of the year, but some of the best effects we’ve seen, particularly with respect to how they’re integrated into the story, and in the way that some of  the digital creations are seamlessly integrated with shots of the few actors in the film.

Over the coming months we’ll likely see more and more info that shows how some of the film’s effects were crafted, and here’s one short video breakdown that details the creation of a specific 3D digital space. Read More »

THR-writer-Roundtable

One of the highlights of each new Oscar season is the set of roundtable discussions created by THR. In each of these, the trade gathers a set of people involved in various films likely to be highlighted in the awards season, and just allows them to talk about making movies. They can be pretty great, especially since one byproduct of awards season is a tendency to talk about superficialities rather than substance, and these talks can really dig into the meat of making movies.

Here’s the new 50-minute screenwriting roundtable, featuring George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Monuments Men), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and Jonas Cuaron (Gravity). Read More »

Kevin Tong - Gravity header

Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity has quickly become one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. At $219 million and counting, with a full awards season run likely, the 3D space thriller has firmly planted itself in popular culture both for this year and years to come. It makes sense, then, that the evil geniuses at Mondo have created an officially licensed poster for the film. And for art fans, the fact it was done by technical master Kevin Tong is even less of a surprise. Check out the full poster below along with a process video. Read More »

Aningaaq

(Note: Spoilers for Gravity follow.)

Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity doesn’t really need extra frills to make it better, but a companion short film directed by Cuarón’s son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón could enhance the experience all the same. “Aningaaq” revisits a key scene from the feature in which Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) happens to make contact with someone on Earth — only from the perspective of the Inuit fisherman (played by Orto Ignatiussen) on the other side.

The short didn’t play in front of U.S. screenings of Gravity, unfortunately, but it could get some added attention as the Oscar race heats up for both it and Gravity. In a recent interview, the Cuaróns took the time to explain “Aningaaq,” and how it came about. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.

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