When we first started the Red Band Project, the one thing I knew for certain was that I loved movies. Never did I think that the words that would appear on this blog would ever go beyond my family or a small circle of friends. Oh how funny life is sometimes.
Through Red Band I’ve come to know, read, and respect fellow Hawaii movie lovers; who each have their own unique voices when it comes to writing and talking about films that they see and love. As we finally get set to close the door on 2013 tomorrow with the Academy Awards, I’ve gathered as many of these local cinephiles as I could and asked them to tell us which films they enjoyed the most from the past year. Please enjoy.
Brian Watanabe, Nonstop Honolulu
I wish I saw more movies this year (I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave yet). But from a limited sample size, the one film that stands out for me is GRAVITY. It’s either the biggest small movie ever made or the smallest big movie ever made. An indie spirit in a blockbuster body. A simple story of survival framed in an immersive, big-screen experience.
It’s pure cinema. A film so visually ground-breaking, it shifts the paradigm. Don’t be surprised if you see a 13-minute, continuous space-battle shot in the next Star Wars. In 20 years, this is the 2013 film people will still be talking about.
Ryan Senaga, Red Band Project contributor
I loved Short Term 12 and that’s saying a lot cause I usually hate movies like this. A story about a bunch of social workers for troubled teens. Yeah, totally my action movie, comic book hero thing, right? Much to my surprise, at a certain point in the movie, I was reduced to tears. And I haven’t cried in a theater since E.T. phoned home. Yeah, I’m old.
Suzie Setzler, Inside Out Hawaii
My favorite film from last year was Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Not only was it visually stunning with gorgeous picturesque sequences but the story had heart and I connected with Mitty on a personal level. Essentially, stories that resonate with me are ones that actually alter my perception of life afterward. It’s a tall order, but Walter Mitty achieved this, quietly and beautifully. I guess I just love how the film makes you reflect on life and how you choose to live it. Now, excuse while I book my plane ticket.
Myong Choi, Nonstop Honolulu
I’ve always been a fan of films with a little bit of an edge so while Gravity did blow me away and was the early choice for my favorite film of 2013, I have to go with The Wolf of Wall Street as my ultimate pick. I’m a fan of anything by Scorsese and his team-ups with Leonardo DiCaprio have all been cinematic successes. DiCaprio especially ups his game in this film and gives what I feel was the best performance of the year. Part Boiler Room and part Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street had the most impact on me this year and I can’t wait to see it again.
Ryan Ozawa, Popspotting
For me, it was Gravity. Very few films genuinely qualify as “experiences,” but Gravity unquestionably makes the cut. And for a 3-D film to engross and mesmerize me, a 3-D skeptic, is even more unusual. Not the strongest story, I confess, but nonetheless an achievement in filmmaking, an exhilarating ride, and something that may only reach its full potential on the big screen. I often doubt the long-term viability of the mainstream movie industry, but films like Gravity will keep me coming back to the box office.
And as for my favorite film of 2013? Come back tomorrow when I go toe to toe with The Academy and list my favorite films of 2013 (or just click here).
Once again, thank you to all who contributed!