Top Ripples of 2013

It’s not easy to rate a whole year’s experience by Ripples, unlike a two-hour movie. However, here are some stats I’ve compiled for my own records.

Ripple Effects is all about books and movies. For me, watching a movie definitely is a much easier activity than finishing a book. So far this year, my movie number is around 100, almost three times as many as books I’ve read. They include movies I’ve watched on the big screen in theatres, at TIFF, and on DVD and Blu-ray formats at home. But I’m sure there are still a few I’d forgotten to jot down.

I’ve written 16 movie reviews on Ripple Effects this year, and they are not all 2013 releases. This number represents only a dearth of my film experience. From this small collection, there are two that I’ve given 4/4 Ripples (I’m sure I’ll add some more in this Award Season):

12 Years A Slave

These two came close, with 3½ Ripples:

Before Midnight
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (TIFF 13)

And several more with 3 Ripples. Click here to my review list.

For my trip to Toronto to attend TIFF in September, definitely a 4-Ripple experience.

Many of the movies I watched this year are “catch-up’s”. They are cinema classics I’d missed over the past decades. These are films that I’d long wanted to see but had not the time or the chance to. Yes, this ‘catching-up’ activity is a most enjoyable time for me. They don’t make movies like these anymore. No CGI, no colours even, yet we can see a kaleidoscope of characters, fantastic scenes and poignant human conditions. So, Top Ripples go to:

Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni (1953), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8½ (1963)
Victorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952), Rashomon (1950)
Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957)

Some others are book-related. Before the newest remakes come into being, I’d like to experience the original version, like:

Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940)
Elia Kazan’s East of Eden (1955)
John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Still other films I watched and/or rewatched to prepare for or just to go together with what looks like is their latest version, or homage, if you will, like the following to coincide with Before Midnight (2013):

Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives (1992)

Or Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) to go with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine (2013)

Along the way during this rewarding movie-watching year, I’ve discovered some foreign language films, two in particular stand out: Korean director Chang-dong Lee’s Poetry (2010) and Secret Sunshine (2007)

As a freelance reviewer, I continue to be a contributor to Asian American Press as their film and arts guest columnist. Further, and this I’m really excited about, my feature article on the Canadian-Korean playwright/actor Ins Choi was published on the December 4th issue of Curator Magazine.


Even though I’ve only read a small number of books compared to movies watched, I’m glad I’d completed a major challenge, and that’s reading Proust. It’s definitely a 4-Ripple experience for me, despite having had to slash my way through thickets and at times, find my way out of a literary labyrinth. My post on this first taste of Proust was featured on WordPress’s ‘Freshly Pressed’. Now that’s the bonus madeleines on top of an already savory meal.

Another book I hold high esteem is Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer, a Read-Along I hosted earlier in 2013. I’d enjoyed the camaraderie of reading the same book with others, and the discussion of ideas. Finishing a book or not is not as important as taking part in the journey, even for a little while, as we share our thoughts. 4 Ripples.

For old acquaintances and new friends I’ve made in the blogging world this year, I must give another 4 Ripples. This is the major reward of blogging. To all the new blogs and sites I’ve discovered, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our mutual visits.


As for posts, looks like my “Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey” has taken over “Memorable Movie Love Quotes” as the most popular these days. And I can understand why. Let’s get ready for Downton Season 4, coming up in just a few days.

And for my adventures as a nature paparazzo and bird-stalker, I give them nothing less than Top Ripples.

To 2014, I have a few ideas. This may involve a bit more individual studies, and researching into topics that have interested me for some time. Yes, films and their influence in our postmodern culture, into that topic I will continue to delve. So there you have it, more books and movies to share with you all. As always, I invite you to come by the pond and throw in your two pebbles. I cling on to my motto: “Serenity is golden, but sometimes a few ripples are needed as proof of life.”

To All, a Four-Ripple 2014!


Published by


If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

37 thoughts on “Top Ripples of 2013”

  1. I like this one very much, Arti. It reminds me of some of my favorites from your posts and some you introduced me to. Nebraska didn’t stay here long enough for me to catch it — I’m hoping it returns come Oscar time. And Bonhoffer is still on my TBR list — wouldn’t have discovered that one without you!

    Looking forward to following your thoughts on Downton 4! Coming soon! THAT’s the way to start the new year off right!


    1. Jeanie,

      Isn’t it exciting… after a whole year’s wait, Downton comes in just a week’s time. Sure is a good new year’s kick-off. Thanks for your support in 2013, and for keeping such a colourful and artsy blog yourself. All best wishes for the New Year!


  2. I don’t have a rating system on my blog so I often have to review all of my posts from the year to come up with a “best of” or top of the year post. Sometimes, in hindsight, I don’t like a book as much as I did when I first reviewed it. Funny, when that happens.


    1. Ti,

      You’re right about changing our mind. I have that too with movies usually. That’s why I like to rewatch them. Not that one opinion is better than another time’s, it’s just we could react differently according to our mood and circumstances. Thanks for stopping by… I’ve enjoyed our mutual visits through the years. All the best for 2014!


    1. Bellezza,

      LOL! A little taste of my own medicine? Thanks for your support and visits through these years. If not because of your encouragement, I wouldn’t have continued with Proust, Vol. II. And I believe it was on your blog that I first got motivated to read Bonhoeffer. I look forward to more of your reviews in the new year. All the best in 2014, my friend! 🙂


  3. Hey Arti, happy holidays. You and I are on the same page about 12 Years a Slave. I thought it was brilliant. I have yet to see Nebraska, but my niece was keen on seeing the Walter Mitty film I vented about on your site some months back. So I saw it while I was recently in California. It is not a terrible film, but it is forgettable fluff. Tomorrow I’m seeing The Wolf of Wall Street. I have high hopes for that one.


    1. LA,

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy Nebraska. Do catch it if you can. As for Walter Mitty, I was all excited about it but then I read some reviews and I thought, maybe I should wait for the second run. However, I know which one I will definitely see soon: Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. And to you too, a Happy New Year!


      1. I enjoyed Inside Llewyn Davis very much! It’s not a masterpiece, but its another very good film from the Coen Brothers and as a New Yorker, I loved how they recreated Greenwich Village in 1961.


    2. LA,

      You know, to prepare for it, I’d been listening to the soundtrack, and watched the doc “Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation” Have you seen it? I think it’s wonderful cause they interview some of those 60’s folk singers like Judy Collins, Carly Simon… etc. Susan Sarandon narrates.


  4. You certainly have seen many movies! I don’t know if I saw more than 6 … I rarely watch them on TV and we don’t have a VCR, Blue Ray or any other gadget to watch them. We did drive to Nashville for Christmas and the day after we went to see 12 Years a Slave. I had bought the exact replica of the 1854 book when I was in New Orleans and liked the book very much. I thought the film was true to the book, shortened of course, but it kept the same feeling. I read a lot more than watch movies, as I read daily. I just finished an Agatha Christie “Murder in Retrospect.” I have many of her books that I have not read and keep them for special occasions. This afternoon I was looking for a book by Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose and realized that I could get his “Life and Speeches” in my Kindle book, free, so I did. This I shall read next.


    1. VB,

      I’d like to read Solomon Northup’s memoir, one of these days. I like the Penguin edition cover page, with the character running. Yes, it’s much easier to watch a movie than read a book, for me a really slow reader, albeit I must say, I’m a book lover. So you see my frustration. There are so many titles I want to read, but so little time. And just recently I got the iPad Mini, and it’s one excellent eReader. I’ve been downloading free library eBooks and Audiobooks, and reading free magazine articles through the Newsstand App. So you can see I’m swamped with reading materials. 😉


  5. Hi Arti, we saw Hunger Games 2 on Christmas Eve at the cinema, the whole family enjoyed it – easy watching, my brother came home and has read all three books one after the other!
    Wishing you a 4 ripple New Year 😉


    1. Charlotte,

      Glad to hear you’d had a great family time watching Hunger Games 2 together. Happy New Year to you and your family, and all the best in your singing career!


  6. And a 4-ripple 2014 to you too Arti. As usual I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews – after I’ve seen the movies! You are the first place I check as I prefer not to read reviews before I see movies so that I can go in as fresh as possible.

    I’ve seen Downton Series 4 – having ordered it as a DVD – except for the Christmas special which seems not to have been released yet. I look forward to your commentary on this season – about which I’ll say no more!

    In my Christmas letter for 2013 I noted the following as my favourite viewing of the year: Barbara, Amour, The life of Pi, Before midnight, In the house and Blue Jasmine. I included a few television series too – Denmark’s Borgen, Israel’s Prisoners of war, and Australia’s Redfern now.

    Anyhow, again, Happy New Year to you. I will enjoy seeing you around the traps!


    1. WG,

      Thanks for your visits. I’m always glad to hear comments from fellow movie buffs. Glad too that you read my reviews after watching the film without being influenced by me. I’m most excited to see that often we hold similar opinion about movies. The ones you mentioned as your faves are almost all mine too. I love the German film Barbara (don’t you think the ending reminds you of Casablanca?) I don’t think In The house has been shown here. Another good one is the Danish film The Hunt. Have you seen it? Also, I would add Prisoners (with Hugh Jackman) as one of the year’s best. And yes, just a few more days to Downton S4. Will see if we concur. Have a great year!


  7. Here is my take on 2013 movies. I haven’t seen some of the Oscar favorites yet.

    Favorite movies:
    Hunger Game—Catching Fire—It has great action, story, characters. So it’s not just Jennifer Lawrence.
    All Is Lost—In a year with lots of movies with survival themes, this is my favorite. I am a huge Robert Redford fan and his stoic determination is perfect for this lost at sea classic.
    Star Trek –Into the Darkness—Just a fun flick and I love the cast.
    Thor, The Dark World—Another fun flick. I love anything with Natalie Portman in it.
    Conjuring—the scariest movie I’ve seen since the Exorcist.
    20 Feet From Stardom–a great documentary about backup singers for such music legends as the Stones, David Bowie and Lou Reed.

    Most Disappointed Movie—The Heat—I laughed once. Can’t believe a movie with Sandra Bullock can be that awful.

    Movie I slept the best in—Blue Is the Warmest Color—I didn’t care about the characters to start and slept through the whole thing.


    1. Bob,

      Yes, Robert Redford deserves an Oscar nom. All is Lost is one of my 2013 faves too. I gave it 3/4 Ripples, so it’s not mentioned here in my post. I heard Hunger Game 2 is good. But I’m not one for the fantasy/adventure sequels, so I admit I haven’t seen this series. Star Trek Into Darkness I did see mainly because of Benedict Cumberbatch (Khan). I’m a fan of the original TV series, so haven’t watched that many Star Trek movies. As for your sleeper, LOL! You missed the 12 mins. highly controversial segment then.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your list!


  8. Arti, I don’t go out to the movies very much. I usually wait until they are on DVD. But I did see The Book Thief and liked it very much. I would like to see Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks. Now that you have given 4/4 to 12 Years A Slave I am anxious to see that as well. Looking forward to your reviews in 2014.


  9. Ah, here we are at the beginning of a new year. I’m really quite proud of myself. Starting from almost zero makes progress seem remarkable, but 2013 was a year when I saw more films than I have in the past decade. Maybe longer. And, I enjoyed all those I watched – thanks partly to my dependence on your opinions!

    I’m planning to start 2014 with August: Osage County. They delayed the open, and it won’t be in theaters until after January 10th, but that still puts it in January and meets my resolution for one film per month! How’s that for a resolution? 😉


    1. Linda,

      I’m waiting for August: Osage County to screen here. All ready for it since I’d even read the script for the play just to have a first-hand look before being influenced by the actors. You’ll really enjoy reading the play, it’s deeply funny, and poignant. I’m glad you’d ventured out to see more movies in 2013… and that’s quite an exponential increase in numbers.

      Another film I highly recommend and I know you’ll love is Inside Llewyn Davis. Did I remember correctly you’d visited a cafe where Peter, Paul, and Mary sang during the 60’s? Well, this film you must see. It’s about the folk music scene in Greenwich Village during the 60’s, focusing on a struggling singer.

      As for your 2014 resolution, that’s the easiest, most keepable one I’ve ever heard. And with all the encouragement and support you get from Ripple Effects, I’m sure you can be successful, and be glad you did at the end of the year! 😉


  10. It’s so good to be back here and be astounded at the breadth of your movie watching and book reading. Just brilliant. I am eager to see “Nebraska” and “12 Years a Slave.” I just watched the 1991 “Tout les Matins du Monde” this week and highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

    I am now reading Proust for the first time and am in the middle of Swann’s Way. It is rapturous reading, though very difficult, as you say in your post about it. It is rich with rewards, and I find that reading it slowly is absolutely necessary. This is good for me, since I’m a slow reader! Yet no matter how many times I reread certain passages, I do not understand them 100%. Somehow I get the gist though, and his details and insights are some of the most resplendent of my life.

    Happy New Year to you!


    1. Ruth,

      Such a joy to have you by the pond! Thanks for your always kind words. Yes, do seek these two films out, I’m sure you’ll love them. There are also others that I find exceptional, like Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, and All Is Lost. Another one I haven’t seen but will definitely be watching is Coen Bros’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

      Glad to hear you’re deep in Proust. You’ll soon find ‘getting it’ 100% is impossible; the most enjoyable is just be lost in it and experience the literary-turned-visuals in your mind’s eye.

      And thanks for the recommendation of “Tout les Matins du Monde”. I haven’t seen it and will now seek it out.

      Again, good to see you and all the best for a wonderful new year ahead!


  11. I didn’t comment on what I thought one of the most important bits of your post because I got caught up in Curator, and started thinking, “Hmmmmm……”

    First, congrats on your publication! That really is wonderful. And thanks for sharing it here. I need to begin submitting somewhere, and Curator looks like it might be a fine place to start. Whether anything gets accepted is beside the point. I just need to get over the first hump, which is actually submitting!

    Here’s to a year of broadening our horizons – in more ways than only our blogs.


    1. Linda,

      Yes, you’ll love the idea behind the International Arts Movement (IAM) originated by Makoto Fujimura. CLICK HERE to the Fujimura Institute and you’ll see what I mean. Curator is their online magazine that opens to submissions. They also have another publication, a beautiful Journal, Image, I think I sent that to you before, but here it is again. Do explore these links. I can see 2014 is going to be one exciting year. 😉


  12. Happy, happy 2014, dear Arti! It’s so lovely to come here and find a movie or three that I might actually want to watch! I’ll be taking particularly note of your classic cinema choices, as I enjoy most of all films before 1970 (a turning point in violence, somehow). And I’m so delighted you loved Proust – as a huge fan myself, it’s always wonderful to find another reader who can brave the bits of thicket and wilderness to reach the enchanted palace. 🙂


    1. litlove,

      You might be aware that those book to film adaptations all have new versions in development in the next few years, that’s why I want to see the ‘original’ first. I really enjoyed them… esp. East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. Currently, there are a few exceptional movies, contenders for nominations in the next Oscars. You must see 12 Years A Slave, done by the British director Steve McQueen, starring a British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. As for Proust, I must say it’s quite a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect his writing to be so personal, psychological, sensitive, and candid.

      Thanks for your visits and support in 2013, litlove, and all the best to you and yours in the New Year!


  13. I’m a bit late getting here, but Happy New Ripples to you Arti. What a lovely review post. I must admit to not having seen most of those movies. I don’t get to the movies all that often- although will be going today to see Saving Mr Banks. I’m not even sure that Blue Jasmine has ever screened in my small town. I want to try and read Proust one time, but will have to wait til the rest of my life slows down before I can even attempt such a task I think.


    1. Thanks Louise. And the same to you! Hope you’ll have a chance to see Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett looks like a lock-in for an Oscar. As for Saving Mr. Banks, while it’s an enjoyable film, I read about how inaccurate it is in portraying what actually happened. O well… there we go again. I Just might write up a post if my mood swings that way. That one together with Philomena.


Leave a Reply to Arti Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s