PGCMAs: Best Foreign Film, Best Action Film, and Best Sequel/Prequel/Remake (2013)

Posted: February 2, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2013*The above image represents 2012’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Best Foreign Language Film

Thanks to a local independent theater, I’m finally able to have an award for foreign movies. I didn’t see many in 2013, but the ones I watched deserve to be celebrated.

A Touch of SinSpanning four different stories, A Touch of Sin is an ambitious film which examines the theme of violence in some really interesting ways. The film also features some well-staged scenes and good performances.

Blue is the Warmest ColorOf the three foreign films I saw in 2013, this one is certainly the most praised. The Palme D’Or winning film chronicles the romance between two young women in a very realistic manner through all the highs and lows.

The HuntA film about a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student could have easily veered into sensationalized territory, but The Hunt never goes there. This film is instead a detailed enactment of what would happen in this situation. Mads Mikkelsen also gives a great performance.

And The Winner Is…

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Blue is the Warmest Color

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I didn’t love the film quite as much as a lot of my peers, but I also can’t deny that it’s a film which more or less succeeds in all of its goals. This is a very honest portrayal which feels authentic. The film never feels manipulative and both actresses give fantastic performances.

Best Action Film

Again, I’m looking for a balance between being a great film and having great action.

Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsEven if the larger themes of the story don’t appeal to you, The Dark Knight Returns still works as a badass action movie. Shootouts, chases, fights, an epic battle with Superman, and it all has a brutal edge too.

Captain PhillipsThis may lean closer to drama than the other nominees, but there’s enough action here for it to qualify, especially since the action is exceptionally well-staged. The two chase scenes early on are fantastic as is a well-staged climactic shoot-out.

ElysiumA science-fiction action film which not only doesn’t neuter the violence, but also has a story and ambitions beyond visceral entertainment. It may not be perfect and its set-pieces may not be flashy, but this is an undeniably solid action vehicle made with skill.

Iron Man 3Though it may not be the best of the Iron Man films, 3 certainly has the best action. Big set-pieces like the attack on Tony’s mansion and the plane sequence stand out, as does the smaller stealth scenes. I also like how the final fight doesn’t resort to Iron Man fighting a bigger Iron Man.

Man of SteelThe film opens with some exciting action on Krypton and climaxes with an epic battle between Superman, Zod’s technologies, and Zod himself. Between that, there’s also some cool stuff in Krypton and an exciting shootout on board Zod’s ship. Best of all, the film still cares about the story and isn’t afraid to go a while without an action scene.

And The Winner Is…

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Man of Steel

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This was a tough call between the two DC comics based films. The Dark Knight Returns likely has a higher action to story ratio, but Man of Steel has unique action. I’ve never really seen super powered faces colliding this way in a live-action film and to see it brought to life is quite exciting. On top of that, Man of Steel is a blockbuster with genuine ambition, and in an area where so many superhero films are content with mediocrity, I’m grateful for what Zack Snyder did here.

Best Sequel/Prequel/Remake

Everyone is quick to complain about lack of originality in Hollywood. There’s a valid point there, but I also think there’s a real skill to effectively continuing a series. This award is for the films that did it the best. Being a good film is important, but the focus is more on how the entry advances the series.

Before MidnightThe Before series is highly beloved by fans and given the wait between films, expectations were high for the third installment. Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy more than delivered. This is an entry which expands their story, touches on new themes, and feels both fresh and familiar at the same time.

Insidious Chapter Two I suspected Insidious Chapter Two would be a cheap cash grab, but the film actually advanced the mythology in interesting ways. The backstory took some interesting turns and ends the story of the main family in a very satisfying way.

Iron Man 3If nothing else, Iron Man 3 deserves credit for showing an Iron Man sequel could work. Though not perfect, Iron Man 3 took some interesting turns and has the best action scenes of the series.

Man of SteelI liked some of the early Superman films, but I never really loved one until Man of Steel. This is the type of film that takes its character in no directions and while there are certain similarities to Superman and Superman II, the execution is very different.

The World’s EndThough not “technically” a sequel, The World’s End is the finale to Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s “Cornetto Trilogy”, which has been the best comedic series of the last ten years by far. The World’s End is a funny and fitting end to such a series and it deserves the nomination.

And The Winner Is…

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Before Midnight

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I almost wanted to give this to Man of Steel since it’s my favourite Superman film, but I can’t deny the greatness of Before Midnight. This is a film which continues the legacy of Jesse and Celine in ways which are surprising and fitting. It’s a film which is true to the formula of the series without being a slave to it. It’s a film where the characters are clearly the ones we love but have grown since we’ve last seen them. In short, it’s a perfect sequel.

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