2013 has been a fantastic year for cinema, with great films likes Gravity (CuarÃ³n, 2013), 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013), Upstream Colour (Carruth, 2013) and the Herzog produced documentary, The Act of Killing (Annonymous, Cynn & Oppenheimer, 2012) all debuting -whether on national release or at film festivals. However, none of the aforementioned made my cut, despite their obvious brilliance.
Right, let’s get started
That’s correct, straight in at number ten isn’t any one film but Keanu ‘Cool Breeze’ Reeves himself, who starred in -count them -three films this year (not including a certain documentary). Now, bask in that glory. The first, and despite my obvious man-crush on this delightful human being, was the abominable, Generation Um (Mann, 2012).
Not even ‘Cool Breeze’ Reeves could rescue this mess of a film, about twenty-somethings doing lots of drugs and having frivolous sex -the horror!
No, in one scene we even bare witness to Reeves’ character receiving a blowjob, rather unwillingly I might add, and the whole time his facial expression remains stoic and unchanged -until his inevitable cum face. It is a terrible scene in a terrible film. Incidentally, Reeves has no beard in Generation Um now I’m not saying the strength of a Keanu film rests upon his facial fuzz, but the man does give EXCELLENT beardage.
Second then, is Keanu’s directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi (Reeves, 2013) a film which is, at worst, a solid genre film, albeit one that features an international movie star. Yes the story is formulaic and predictable, but the martial arts themselves are the film’s real star -and not forgetting Chen Hu as Tiger Chen Linhu. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the fight sequences are choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping -fight choreographer on The Matrix (The Wachoski’s, 1999) -but credit to Reeves, who directs all of the action sequences with great competence and pizazz.
Also, like an aspiring Eastwood, this marks the debut of an un-showy director, Reeves may never reach the heights that Eastwood has but whatever Reeves’ detractors might say, he is a man that continues to push himself creatively.
What’s more, while his role in this film is hardly terrific -he’s no Hans Gruber -it is notable because it’s one of the few times where the actor has played against type, as the villain. So here, he’s not just pushing himself in terms of directing a film but also as an actor. Actors are often called brave, but few take the risks that Keanu has in his career -just look back at his filmography and be amazed -he is irrefutably, far more than just a pretty face.
The third film in my Keanu lovefest, is the film that The Guardian was eager to write-off before it had even debuted. True, it underperformed upon its release in Japan but 47 Ronin (Rinsch, 2013) was never going to be a film of great historical accuracy. But more importantly, it featured Keanu returning to a big-budget action affair, to kick the asses of mystical beasts, witches and ninjas everywhere -and let’s not forget he also got to wield a big bloody sword, which is not a euphemism for his penis, despite what you might be thinking.
What’s more, the bearded one looked the absolute balls and despite the Guardian’s repeated naysaying, there was at least one ticket sold on Boxing Day and I’m willing to bet, a good few more.
The Man of Tai Chi:
And we’re off, time for something completely different oh wait.
Side by Side (Kenneally, 2012)
Ok, so I’m not quite ready to depart from the Keanu love-fest yet, but this film unquestionably deserves its spot. Directed by Christopher Kenneally, Side by Side, is a documentary about the demise of celluloid and the rise of digital filmmaking. Kenneally might be credited as the director, but arguably the film’s real creative force was the film’s producer and interviewer -that’s right, the one with the majestical beard, Keanu Reeves. As Anne Billson writes in her article on Keanu, it has been easy for critics to mock ‘Cool Breeze’ Reeves, but few other producers could have arranged a documentary that features interviews with heavyweights like: Martin Scorsese, James Cameron (twat), David Lynch, George Lucas, David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh. For a film enthusiast, there was no better film documentary in 2013 and if nothing else, it demonstrated the obvious respect that Keanu’s peers have for the totally bodacious human being.
Side by Side:
Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor (Hurran, 2013)
Yep, that’s right, a TV series in my top ten! The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who was given a theatrical release and deservedly so; with the return of David Tennant, and John Hurt as the Doctor who ended the great time war, the Day of the Doctor was fantastic fun. However, it was Matt Smith’s star that shone the brightest, the man is one of the most talented British actors to emerge in recent years and he’s certainly my favourite incarnation of the Doctor. It’s been ages since we saw a proper Doctor Who film and this was spectacular fun for fans new and old.
Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor: