London Film Festival 2014 – Our Top 5

The BFI London Film Festival is finally over for another year. After 2 weeks permanently parked on a movie theatre pew, The Sloth’s eyes are bloodshot and we have callouses around our nether regions. Never mind that, we hear you cry, what was good?  Drum roll please. In reverse order, here’s our top 5 to look forward to in months to come:

kelly-cal-poster5 Kelly & Cal.  WHY DOES JULIETTE LEWIS NOT GET MORE WORK? IT’S A DISGRACE! The Sloth LOVES Juliette, so we were delighted to see her in this bittersweet dramedy of an unlikely friendship between two outsiders. A small film with a very big heart. Seek it out.

 

Foxcatcher poster

4 Foxcatcher. Arriving with more critical fanfare than a trumpeter’s convention, frankly this was never going to live up to the hype. But it’s a cool, mesmeric, understated psychological drama with terrific turns from Channing Tatum (potential contender for The Sloths’ New Favourite Actor – how did Mr Step Up suddenly get so good?) and Steve Carrell.

 

MrTurner_Final3 Mr Turner. A biopic of the acclaimed painter sounds, let’s be honest, somewhat dull. But in the hands of Mike Leigh this is unexpectedly witty, warm and wonderfully entertaining. Add in Timothy Spall’s marvellously bestial, grunting, porcine performance and you’ve got a winner.

 

white god2 White God.  Dog pound strays turn nasty on their human captors. Mad as a bucket of frogs metaphorical critique of state oppression that starts out as Lassie and ends up 28 Days Later meets Planet Of The Apes. Nutty and sublime in equal measures. Deservedly won canine star Hagen the Palme Dog. We’re wondering how the director explained his motivation.

 

whiplash1 Whiplash.  Does what it says on the tin. A thrilling, demonic, whirlwind tale of musical obsession with terrifyingly good (and downright terrifying) performances from stars JK Simmons and Miles Teller. It drew not only applause but cheers at the press screening.  Stonking.

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Most Romantic Films That Make You Want To Travel…

Please welcome back The Sloth’s regular guest bloggers Lovestruck.com, who are in holiday mood.

With the summer holidays now firmly in our sites and our sunnies and shorts dug out from the back of our wardrobes, here at Lovestruck.com, we couldn’t help thinking of romance and more specifically, the most romantic films of all time set in foreign climes. Here are our top choices:

amelie-posterAmelie (2001). Location: Paris.
How we love, love, love this French flick about a Parisian waitress (played by Audrey Tatou), who wants to make other peoples’ lives better, while struggling with her own loneliness. Cute and delicate, Amelie is funny, touching and has the most fabulous backdrop. The film is set in the 18th district and makes us want to hop on the Eurostar right this second and go and drink wine in the sunshine on one of the cobbled streets. Our top quote: “A woman without love wilts like a flower without sun.”

94_d_60879_0_UnderTheTuscanSunUnder The Tuscan Sun (2003). Location: Tuscany
Do you ever consider jacking it all in and heading off somewhere beautiful and starting all over? In this film, a recently divorced writer (played by Diane Lane) impulsively buys a dilapidated Tuscan villa where she begins a romance with the Italian local Marcello. And while that romance doesn’t last, she eventually meets an American on holiday proving that love can strike at a time when you least expect it to. Our top quote: “Signora. Please stop being so sad. If you continue like this, I will be forced to make love to you. And I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife.”

before-sunrise-movie-poster-1995-1020190611Before Sunrise (1995). Location: Vienna
This romantic drama, directed by Richard Linklater follows a young American man named Jesse (played by Ethan Hawke) and a French woman Celine (played by Julie Delpy) who meet on a train and get off in Vienna. They spend the night wondering around the city, getting to know each other. Witty and poignant, it is an unabashed look at romantic love.
Our top quote: “Isn’t everything we do in life the way to be loved a little bit more?

Lost-in-Translation-Posters-lost-in-translation-1041742_1200_1850Lost In Translation (2003). Location: Tokyo.
This is a study of two lost souls who come together and spend a few days together in Tokyo. Bob (played by Bill Murray) is a jaded, ageing actor and Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson) is beautiful and bored waiting for her husband. The pair form an unlikely bond and realise their friendship might be something more. Beautifully shot, the film also balances humour and poignancy. Our top quote: “The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

vicky-cristina-barcelona-movie-poster-2008-1020412324Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Location: Barcelona.
Woody Allen helms this flick about best friends played by Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson, who travel to Barcelona and become enamoured with the same man. Things get much more complicated when his unstable ex then comes to stay. Anyone who needs some escapism (and to see some beautiful views of the city) needs to check this out pronto. Our top quote: “If you don’t start undressing me soon, this is going to turn into a panel discussion.”

What do you think of our choices? Do you have some of your own? Tell us @lovestruck

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5 Cannes Film Festival Movies We Can’t Wait To See. And 1 We Can.

The 2014 Cannes Film Festival is finally over and what a couple of weeks it was. The hoary old Exependables drove a tank down the Croisette, Nicole Kidman’s Grace of Monaco toppled Naomi Watt’s Diana for title of Most Vilified Portrait Of A Royal and Conchita’s beard worked the red carpet.

But what about the movies? There appear to be some corkers coming up.  Here’s what The Sloth is most excited about.

 foxca  1)      Foxcatcher.        A curious true story of an eccentric millionaire whose mentorship to two wrestling brothers took a sinister turn. Roundly lauded for its performances, led by Steve Carrell playing majorly against type, supported by Channing Tatum (how much has Channing blossomed since his early days as beefcake brawn? Good work, son!) and Mark Ruffalo, WE NEED TO SEE IT NOW!!  WE’LL PAY GOOD MONEY!!

 

maps2)      Maps To The  Stars. It stars Julianne Moore, what other reason do you need? Oh, allright then. This satirical skewring of Hollywood, from David Croenberg, also features Robert Pattinson as a chauffer / actor wannabe thinking of converting to Scientology ‘as a career move’.  Convinced?

 

silas3)      Clouds of Silas Maria.  Juliette Binoche, Chloe Grace Moritz and Kirsten Stewart all in the same film? In a tale of up and coming starlet vs. older actressy diva? We’ve not felt so much overwhelming girl power sass since Geri pinched Prince Charles’ bum.

 

rover4)      The Rover. From David Michôd who directed the fabulous Animal Kingdom. Guy Pearce gets bloodied and beaten up in a distopian Australian outback. The ‘roos are the least of his worries.

 

 

Deux_jours,_une_nuit_poster5)      Two Days, One Night. Yes, it’s a depressing French social realist drama, but it stars the ever-fabulous Marion Cotillard doing her best to look dowdy. And the Oscars do love dowdy…

 

So now for the one we’re not so fussed about:

witer

1)      Winter Sleep.  It won the Palme D’Or, so such a declaration of sacrilege will doubtless get us hunted down by the French Film Police. We’re sure it’s very good, really we are, but 3 HOURS 16 MINUTES LONG?? That’s way beyond numb bum, that’s entering DVT territory. A trip to the movies should not necessitate flight socks and in-seat yoga. Doors to manual, The Sloth is leaving.

What catches your eye? Let The Sloth know.

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Lovestruck’s Top Five Summer Date Movies

Popcorn? Check. Drink? Check? Hot date? Check. Here at Lovestruck.com, we know that the cinema doesn’t make a particularly great first date because you don’t get to talk much. However fast forward to dates two or three and who doesn’t enjoy sitting next to someone they like in a dimly lit room, watching a film they have been dying to view for ages?

We have picked out our top five choices for films coming out in the coming months:

godzilla-posterGodzilla
Release date: May 16

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche

Lovestruck Lowdown: This project, a reboot of the movie-monster franchise has been years in the making and promises incredible special effects. Helmed by Gareth Edwards, and with a stellar A-List cast, we have high hopes. The added bonus is research shows that scary films will bring you close to your date, so don’t be afraid to grab them during the frightening parts!

 

edgeEdge of Tomorrow
Release date: May 30
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Jeremy Piven, Bill Paxton

Lovestruck lowdown: Tom Cruise is back with a follow-up to 2013’s “Oblivion” with another futuristic sci-fi flick about a soldier caught in a time loop ending with his death each time. Directed by Doug Lima and adapted from the Japanese novel “All You Need is Kill”, we expect this to be one more for the boys, but high drama often makes a great date flick.

 

fault-our-stars-movie-posterThe Fault In Our Stars
Release date: June 20
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Natt Wolff

Lovestruck Lowdown: It’s going to be a weepy one, so make sure you have some tissues at the ready! Two years after publication on John Green’s love story, which was a bestseller in the young adult fiction market, the film has been adapted to the big screen. It tells the story of two cancer sufferers who meet and fall in love at a support group. We did warn you…

 

jerseyJersey Boys
Release date: June 20
Starring: Christopher Walken, Freya Tingley, Jeremy Luke, Katherine Narducci

Lovestruck Lowdown: More than eight years after it first premiered on Broadway in the US, the musical account of the life of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons heads to the big screen, under the direction of the legendary Clint Eastwood. If you haven’t seen the stageshow this looks set to be a great flick, although not for musical-haters (for obvious reasons!)

 

tapeSex Tape
Release date: September 5
Starring: Jason Segal, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black

The Lovestruck lowdown: Director Jake Kasdan reunites with Diaz and Segal (who he worked with on “Bad teacher” for a crazy tale of a married couple who decide to add the spark back into their romance by making a sex tape. The plan goes horribly wrong when Jay, played by Segal, syncs it to his cloud, meaning that all their friends will be able to view it on the iPads they gave them for Christmas. We expect this to be a laugh-a-minute, fun date film.

 Any other films you are looking forward to seeing on a date night?
Tell us @lovestruck

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Top 10 Pieces Of Dating Advice From Films

Dating is a complicated business, no? But once in a while, as well as a good laugh and entertainment value, films will offer some useful dating advice, whatever your love story. Lovestruck.com have ‘pick n mixed’ their top 10 love quotes from the films we all know and love…

1. Settling for anything but Mr or Mrs Right:

“I don’t want to be someone you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone anyone settles for… Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it. Isn’t it? – Walter (Bill Pullman) Sleepless in Seattle.

Ryan Gosling And Rachel Mcadams The Notebook 2

2. When you’re starting a long-distance relationship:

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard. We’re going to have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want to be with you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.”  – Noah (Ryan Gosling) in The Notebook  

 

3. Worrying before a first date:

Katniss “How do you make people like you?”
Cinna: “Well, you made me like you.”
Katniss: “That’s different, I wasn’t trying.”
Cinna: “Exactly. Just be yourself.” – Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games  

4. For accepting your partner, warts and all:

“When you love someone, you love all of them… you gotta love everything about them, not just the good things, but the bad things too. The things that you find lovable and the things you don’t.” – Estelle (Shirley MacLaine) in Valentine’s Day

5. Why it’s important to take risks:

“I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” – Baby (Jennifer Grey) in Dirty Dancing  

muppets-kermit-miss-piggy_l

 

6. On getting over a break-up:

“Only time can heal your broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.” – Miss Piggy in The Muppets

 

7. Thinking positively about your love life:

“Sometimes despite your best efforts otherwise, life will give you lemons…when that happens, you have two choices friend, you can wear a sour face or make lemonade.” Burke (Aaron Eckhart) in Love Happens  

8. When you are treated badly:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” Bill (Paul Rudd) in the Perks of Being A Wallflower  

he_s_just_not_that_into_you09

 

9. When he doesn’t call:

“If a guy doesn’t call you – he doesn’t want to call you… no exceptions.”- Alex (Justin Long) He’s Just Not That Into You

 

10. Why it’s important to keep it real:

“In desperate love, we always invent characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform a role we created in the first place.” – Elizabeth (Julia Roberts) in Eat, Pray, Love

Do you find a quote to suit? Do you have any to add? Tell us @lovestruck

Need date movie ideas? Check out The Sloth’s latest recommendations Cuban Fury and Her.

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Never Mind The Oscars, It’s The Slothcars

It’s Oscar time again! Cue big frocks, cringeworthy speeches and Jack Nicholson letching over the new young starlet du jour. Eew.

What a stonking year. So stonking that numerous films which surely would have been Oscar front runners in any other year have been shunted aside. To rectify this, The Sloth is awarding our very own Slothcars to the unlucky but deserving few whose nominations presumably got lost in the post. Please don your dickie bows as the red carpet is lined with paparazzi and the limos are arriving, bearing The Cumberbatch fighting off a selection of Cumberbitches, Lady Gaga wearing her own intestine and Gwynneth, who is already tearfully thanking God and Mumsnet. Oh, and Emma Thompson started too early and is chucking up in the loo.

Cue drum roll…

douglasBest Actor: Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
We’ve already roundly sounded off about the homophobic disgrace that is Hollywood refusing to release this theatrically. Thankfully the UK saw sense. Douglas’ warts and all turn as the King of Camp is hilarious, tragic and totally devoid of vanity.

 

adeleBest Actress: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is The Warmest Colour
The year’s most controversial film until that canny Mr Von Trier showed up. The tabloids devoted sweaty column inches to the flesh pressing, overshadowing her remarkably natural and uninhibited performance. Bonus points awarded for impressively snotty crying scenes.

 

lostBest Director: J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
“So J, you’ve got a boat and you’ve got Robert Redford who doesn’t talk. Make that last 100 minutes”. Would you have wanted that brief? Hats off to Mr Chandor for keeping every single one of those 100 minutes nail bitingly gripping.

 

trouserBest Song: Please Mr Kennedy, Inside Llewyn Davis
We nearly ate our own toes when this wasn’t nominated, apparently due to some ridiculous Oscar small print rules. When Trousersnake busted this out we simultaneously sung along and laughed like a drain, resulted in a near-death-by-popcorn-experience.

 

rushBest Film: Rush
Tension, drama, humour, tragedy, thrills, spills. What more could you want from 90 minutes in a cinema? What’s that? Racing cars? Bingo, you got them too. Why this exceptional film received ZERO nominations is a travesty of the highest order. Makes us proper cross.

 

So that’s it. What do you think was overlooked? Let us know. In the meantime, all that stomping about the stage has left us starving so we’re off for a kebab with SJP. Laters.

Want more? Read The Sloth’s thoughts on the BAFTAs here.

 

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Does sharing the same taste in films create better harmony in a relationship?

Asks Lovestruck.com’s Emma Draper.

Please welcome The Sloth’s special guests lovestruck.com, who will be bringing you thought provoking articles on love and film. 

movie dateSo she loves dreamy rom coms that end with a big fat happily-ever-after and you adore action thrillers, with a bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure? He worships the world of Woody Allen, while you think Steven Spielberg is the best director in Hollywood? Here at Lovestruck we know that many things can make or break a relationship but just how important is film taste?

My friend, let’s call her ‘Susie’, started to get serious doubts over a chap she was seeing ‘Mike’ when he talked about wanting to see The Human Centipede. When he then admitted that he thought the film sounded like ‘a laugh’, she winced, made her excuses and promptly dumped him the next day.

‘I mean there’s nothing wrong with a bit of horror, but seriously, “a bit of a laugh” – this is a film where people are SEWED together,’ she ranted down the phone.

Me? I’m not so bothered about my boyfriend’s film tastes, which vary from thrillers to period dramas and everything in between. Basically whatever gets good reviews, wins awards and is recommended by friends. But for some people film is a more important part of their identity and there are even a number of online dating sites specifically for film lovers. Will you end up dating a Trekkie or Lord of the Rings lover? Who knows?

Watching films together (presumably you have to agree what you watch first) has surprising benefits to existing couples. Just this week a study at the University of Rochester concluded that couples that watch romantic movies together then analyse them have 50 per cent a lower divorce and separation rate than those who don’t.

Ronald D. Rogge, an associate professor of psychology said: “A movie is a nonthreatening way to get the conversation started. It’s really exciting because it makes it so much easier to reach out to couples and help them strengthen their relationships on a wide scale.”

However, not all studies are on-board with this idea. A poll in Australia said that romantic comedies should be avoided because they give couples unrealistic views of relationships. One in four Australians said they were now expected to know what their partner was thinking while one in five of those polled said it made their partners expect gifts and flowers “just because”.

“It seems our love of rom-coms is turning us into a nation of ‘happy-ever-after addicts.’ Yet the warm and fuzzy feeling they provide can adversely influence our view of real relationships,” said Australian relationship counsellor, Gabrielle Morrissey.

What do you think? Are films an important part of your relationship? Do you look for someone with similar tastes in films to you? Let us know @Lovestruck

Want more from lovestruck? Check out their top 10 movies with dating advice.

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BAFTA, BAFTA, Read All About It

Did you watch the BAFTAS? Channelling the best Spirit of Emma Thompson we armed ourselves with a glass of liquid refreshment and sat back to enjoy / cringe*. Some winners pleased us, some disappointed us. And we weren’t sure about Brangelina’s Posh ‘n’ Becks circa ‘99 matching tuxes look. Fashion Police aside, here’s our take on the main results. *see Spirit of Emma Thompson

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)american-hustle-j-_2769653a
Nominees: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Ophra Winfrey (The Butler), Julia Roberts (August Osage County), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Reeeally? We love Jennifer, we do, but she can do ‘suburban psycho’ in her little finger’s beauty sleep. And she never bothered showing up, delegating a vague list of generic thanks. Come on, BAFTA, that gong belonged to Lupita Nyong’o and you, and she, and The Sloth knows it.

Best Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
bakharNominees: Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Matt Damon (Behind the Candelabra), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)

DELIGHTED with this! A barn-storming performance from a non-professional actor. And he seemed like such a sweetie! All the more kudos to his charismatically nasty onscreen presence.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Blue-Jasmine-Cate-Blanchett-2Nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)

Fair game. Queen Cate had this sewn up when Blue Jasmine released back in August, long before Mary Poppins was even a twinkle in Emma’s slightly sozzled eye. Plus which, Cate is way too scary to have given it to anyone else.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
Chiwetel-Ejiofor--12-Years-a-SlaveNominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)

He knew this was coming. He did everything but install a chaise longue and ice bucket on the podium. But we’ll forgive him a somewhat luvvie-ish acceptance as it was truly deserved. That scene of resignation / defiance as Solomon reluctantly joins his fellow slaves in song still gives us goosebumps.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
alfosnoNominees: Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O Russell (American Hustle), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Tough call between Alfonso and Steve, but probably the right one. Turing two actors, a green screen and an army of computer geeks into a tale of emotion, suspense, shock and awe takes one heck of a director’s vision.

Outstanding British Film: Gravity
2013_gravity_movie-wideNominees: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom / Philomena / Rush / Saving Mr Banks / The Selfish Giant

Interesting loose definitions of British. The Sloth clearly nodded off whilst Britain conquered most of the Western World. Note to self to update our old Geography textbooks. Had we been in charge of this category it would have started and ended with The Selfish Giant.

Best Film: 12 Years A Slave
12-years-a-slaveNominees: American Hustle / Captain Phillips / Gravity / Philomena

Well it had to be. Having sidestepped the two horse race by assigning Gravity the random gong above, 12 Years was cleared for a straight romp to the finish. Certainly a better solution that the Golden Globes American Hustle wimp-out-shocker

Rising Star Award
millersFinally, we must mention Will Poulter’s Rising Star award, as voted for by the public. From Son of Rambow to Wild Bill to We’re The Millers, we’re glad to see he won by juggling some sizeable balls.

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And Now, The End Is Near… It’s The Sloth’s Pick of 2013!

What a year, kids! You wait aeons for a good film, then six dozen show up at once. 2013 is being roundly hailed as a fine cinematic vintage and The Sloth has to agree. After much head scratching (partially solved by a good dousing of flea powder), in reverse order we’ve settled on the following as our top 10. What made your list?

enough

10. Enough Said. We said goodbye to James Gandolfini and this showed why he will be sorely missed. Normally the words ‘romantic’ and ‘comedy’ in the same sentence bring The Sloth out in a cold sweat, but this was sweet, honest and truly funny without ever being sickly.  A treat.

 

mud

9.Mud. The unstoppable McConaughaissance continued with Dallas Buyer’s Club rounding off a spectacular year. But for sheer Boy’s Own exuberance, Mud gets our vote for almost persuading The Sloth that camping out in the wilderness is a fun idea. Almost.

 

pines

8. The Place Beyond The Pines. No Top Ten would be complete without The Gosling. He peaked early in this audaciously cool three act tragedy – best forget about that other Only God Forgives nonsense. Also features Man-On-A-Roll Bradley Cooper, proving he was more than just a hungover face.

 

prisoners

7. Prisoners. Jake Gyllenhaal with  a nervous twitch  and potty-mouth! Hugh Jackman as a closet psycho! Paul Dano barricaded into a shower! Way darker than Hollywood normally ever ventures, Prisoners was a properly chilling slice of neo-noir.

 

 

liberace

6.Behind The Candelabra. Funny, sad, camper than a row of pink polka dot tents and with outstanding performances, the only downer was that homophobic Hollywood refused to give it a theatrical release. Thankfully the UK is more enlightened. And did we mention Matt Damon wears sequinned budgie-smugglers?

 

filth

5. Filth. Oh yes, this is what we want. Gleefully outrageous from start to finish, James McAvoy’s career best performance leaps out the screen and punches you in the face. The Sloth nearly passed out from the alcohol fumes but doggedly hung in for the sex & drugs.

 

philo

4. Philomena. Steve Coogan’s been busy. With this, The Look Of Love and Alan Partridge Alpha Papa he was hardly out of  our bi-focals. But top of his pile is this funny and angry tale of Catholic Church wrongdoings. AND you get Judi Dench to boot.

 

 

rush

3. Rush. Cars! Noise! Adrenaline! Excitement! Big Crashes! Far more than the sum of its parts, Rush captured the intensity and exhilaration of the race track as well as the devastating danger. With sporting rivalry drama thrown in. We left the cinema reeling. Then drove home way too fast making brmm brmm noises.

 

selfish

2. The Selfish Giant. We surprised ourselves by putting this at number 2, it’s so painfully, grimly bleak. But we remember sitting in stunned silence at the end, unable to get up from our seat. Devastating. The year’s most affecting film by a country mile.

 

 

gravity

Drum roll please…. at Numero Uno we have…. Gravity! Yes, we’ve banged on about it forever, but it’s SO GOOD. Thrills, spectacle, emotion, humour, what more can you ask? AND you needn’t bother learning to be an astronaut to see what space is like. Bonus.

 

So that’s all folks. 2013 has been good to us but there’s plenty more to come in 2014: 12 Years A Slave; Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom; The Wolf Of Wall Street; Foxcatcher. Don’t know about you, but The Sloth can’t wait! 

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