Yesterday I went into all of the more horrific offerings 2013 had on the table, but it wouldn't be fair to leave it at that because it's been an incredibly stacked year for films this year. It was extremely difficult to narrow this year down to 10 (and I imagine it'd be even more difficult if Dallas Buyer's Club, Her, and Nebraska could have played within 40 miles of my house, so no those won't be on my list because I wasn't able to see them). Also, you will notice (from the movies that have a review on this website, no not every movie I saw this year had a review) that my movies aren't necessarily in the order that I rated them, just because I gave it a higher score does not guarantee it a spot on the list. The reason for this is because I review a movie for what it is, flaws and all, and this is a list of my ten personal favorites, meaning that 7/10 might rank higher for me personally than a 9/10. So without wasting more filler space typing random intro jabber, here were my personal best films of 2013.
Monday, December 30, 2013
While 2013 has been a fantastic year for films, before I talk about my favorites of the year I would like to talk about some of the worst that this year had to offer. Also, a small note before you rage about some of my choices, I didn't just pick movies that were technically the worst, with films like Scary Movie 5 and Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, you knew what you were getting into, there are movies on here that I just deemed as wrong in principle, and extremely disappointing (there are the flat out awful movies too, and some that are both). Here are my top 10 worst movies of 2013.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
What a surprise! When I went into this film I was literally expecting a sentimental-fest trying to force me to have an emotional reaction similar to the Butler and the Blind Side, but instead I got a film that was not only exceptionally well made, but possibly one of my favorites of the year. It was poignant, funny, and incredibly well acted, while telling a truly interesting (and true) background story that is nearly as good as the film that it is the background of.
Hollywood never ceases to amaze me, in just the period of one month they have been able to rip apart two (possibly three once I see Walter Mitty) classic stories and turn them into over-produced, over-budgeted, and over-bloated atrocious blockbusters. However, while the Hobbit could have been redeemable with a long and extensive cut, the only way to redeem the story of 47 Ronin in film form would be to trash this cinematic disaster entirely. While setting a new standard of wooden acting, 47 Ronin tarnishes Japanese culture by turning it into another churn in the rusty old milking machine.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I'm going to start this review off with a cautionary warning to people who don't know much about it but are interested in seeing it, if you can't take a 3 hour movie that has lots of graphic nudity (and sex), cussing, and drug use throughout pretty much the entire film, do not go see it. I cannot for the life of me re-iterate how annoyed I was with many of the dramatic walkouts during my screening, it's one thing to leave and hate the movie, it's another to thwart your self righteousness down everybody else trying to watch the film by making a dramatic exit so everybody knows you don't tolerate that kind of filmmaking. If you are feint hearted, can't stand cursing, of a young age, or you don't like vulgar content in movies this is definitely not for you, you are going to hate, and you are going to tarnish the movies reputation as a bold, well-made (yet heavily flawed) work of cinema as well as most likely ruin the experience for all those around you.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Everyone's always talking about the smaller films of 2013, for good reason they definitely outshone most of the blockbusters this year, but it is worth giving some credit to the films that went all out at being pure entertainment. Here are my top 10 thrill rides of 2013.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Sidenote before I start the review, i'll get back to the top 10 lists a little bit later tonight (I was with family Christmas Eve and Day and so I didn't feel like, nor did I have time for writing. Top 10 of the year will still come New Years Day though). Also, Wolf of Wall Street will be tomorrow, I should be able to get a Mr. Banks review in on Saturday, and a couple of the other Christmas releases throughout the week next week. (No one really thrives on my reviews anyways, so I'm sure the spread entries will be fine. I do the blog more for myself anyways.) Now, onto the actual review.
Inside Llewyn Davis, being a Coen Bros film, was probably my most anticipated film of 2013, and I will say it definitely did not disappoint. There is a distinct blend in the film between comedy and the heavy subject, and it balances out in a way a harmony would, there is some clash, and then resolution. The Coen Bros have done a fine job in the past, and they continued to excellence with Davis.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Continuing my ten top ten lists of 2013 is bringing the best villains in cinema this year. I am going to make this a little different though, and give my top 5 best villains of 2013 and the top 5 worst villains of the year (who honestly, are truer villains, just in a real world sense). So make way for the top (Best and worst) villains of 2013!
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Everyday I'm going to make a top 10 list of something until New Years Day where I will give my top 10 movies of 2013 (this is mostly to give me a bit more time to catch The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Saving Mr. Banks). Today the focus is going to be on directors, actors, and actresses who I felt were the biggest breakouts (meaning fairly new) of 2013.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
David O. Russel has been on a winning streak lately, and American Hustle in no way changes this. The acting is at absurd levels of well done and it may just be Russel's most entertaining outing that he has made. Although the plot can get a little muddied and it's very easy to get lost in the vast enterprise of the whole thing, American Hustle roars loudly with fun thrills and a bustling climax.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review or Why The Desolation of Smaug Represents Everything Wrong With the Filmmaking Industry Today
After seeing the Desolation of Smaug I came up with one thing, the entire movie seemed like what would happen if you let Zach Snyder get his hands on a Middle Earth movie. The Desolation of Smaug is an overbloated action piece that only exists to give Jackson a giant CGI toybox that he can use to make another mountain of cash off of. The Jackson who once had respect for the source material, who cared about the characters and how to develop them, and who tried fervently to create the best film possible is no more, he is now washed in his own corrupt, greedy, ego feeding only off of the new Hollywood blockbuster trend of, "Bigger is better". While the Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug has some impressive CGI and visuals, that is all the film can boast, as it is the pure definition of what is wrong with most Hollywood movies today, in that it is completely style of substance.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I will be completely honest here, I usually am a stickler for people pronouncing words and titles right (I cringe when I hear people murder the pronunciation of words), but I could not for the life of me figure out how to pronounce Philomena until I saw the film. Onto the actual movie, Philomena was an intelligent, finely balanced tune that avoided the pitfalls it so easily could have stumbled upon, and exposes a certain crime that most would have had no knowledge about, while also smartly playing the religious vs. atheistic themes throughout the film.
After seeing Frozen, I am going to say the exact same thing I said after seeing Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled (except with much more enthusiasm, and for real this time), and that is that Disney is back. Despite my initial reference to Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, I have to say Frozen is definitely a good step above each of those films and is comparable to Walt's 90s films such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (although not quite to the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast status some claim it to be). With smart humor, a nearly Disney cliche defying plot, and memorable music, Frozen reigns in as, not only the best animated film of the year by far, but one of the most entertaining outings 2013 has to offer.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
If you read my review of the first movie you would know that I am not the biggest fan, I thought the Hunger Games was riddled with faults that detracted from the overall experience. I will say, Catching Fire takes what was good from the Hunger Games, improves it, and sets fire to the majority of the problems I had with the original. Starting off where the last one left off, Catching Fire ignites and sets a new standard for the young adult genre.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
There have been a good number of films based on slavery, or the era of it, however there has never been a definitive film made that captures slavery as it was, and with 12 Years a Slave, that has now changed. The tale, based off the autobiography written by Solomon Northup, of this film rings utterly powerful and captures the heart and soul of the viewers through this Shakespearian-esque tragedy.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Over all of the sci-fi and young adult films this year, the vast majority of them have been extremely disappointing, while I wouldn't qualify Ender's Game as a disappointment, there is certainly much more potential that could have been reached. Ender's Game, based off of Card's bestseller (a word of the controversy later, after the break), has some exciting visual scenes but ultimately feels to rushed and factory produced to be anything overly special.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I have given my review of the film, but after seeing it twice (the first time in regular 3D, second time in IMAX 3D, definitely worth seeing it in IMAX) I really felt like I should write an in-depth analysis over my interpretation of the film, simply because I want to.
Gravity is a simple film that boasts its message through vivid imagery, while also playing off the emotional fear/suspense of the audience itself. To put it plainly, Gravity is about rebirth, to rise up when life has you beaten and become something new, something stronger, you see this plainly all throughout the piece. There is also a constant struggle going on in Cuaron's film, so many times you will see an attempt to latch onto something that seems so close and you will continually see failure, there is never any immediate success. The film is an allegory of overcoming trials, when gravity pulls you down, you get back on your feet and keep moving.
I'm not sure if it's because I already practically knew what would happen the entire movie from everything the trailers gave away (except the awesome last 20 minutes) or that it just got to hyped, I didn't fall in love with it like I thought I would. Now don't get me wrong, it is a very well made film (I have some issues with the pacing and other parts) but for me, I just didn't get that click that I was expecting, it was still very enjoyable though.
Thousands of miles above the Earth's surface, adrift through orbit, "Gravity" feeds on the oft' unthought of fear of the vast dangers of space. With many movies you'll see a trailer or hype that a film can't live up to, that's the exact opposite of this space epic. Not only does this film steal your breath in jaw-dropping visuals and suspenseful it captivates you to completely emotionally cheer on this woman you have barely known, and dwells subtly (but with complete focus and clarity) on... (Minor Spoiler Warning after the break)
I'll be honest here, being the American I am, I didn't even know that Formula 1 racing existed before I heard about this movie, nevertheless the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, the most I knew about actual competitive racing was there was this thing called NASCAR and people drove around in circles and that Mario Kart was a fun game, however I never actually payed attention to it. After watching Rush I can now say I am entirely intrigued about Formula 1, especially the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda that, from the looks of it (I am not an expert so don't take my word as gospel on this statement), was very accurate in the portrayal of the real people.
I have no words for some the atrocities that I had to view while watching this movie...Identity Thief is a movie starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, and despite some actual good moments in this film, it is a complete loose cannon that has no aim, focus, or direction (and I wouldn't have been surprised if this movie actually lacked a script).
The World's End is the concluding chapter (kind of) of the Cornetto trilogy directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. While the World's End isn't as good as previous movies in the 'trilogy' such as Hot Fuzz, it is still a very solid and entertaining piece of cinema which is filled with mostly smart laughs.
I think a lot of people may be expecting one of my longer reviews for this one but I am going to try and make it shorter, because there isn't much to say except that this is a masterpiece (and although there is a change of tone at the end, and some censorship of the book, I understand why it was necessary because of the time), and mostly I will just offer my counter to a couple of common complaints people wrongly have about this movie.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Elysium takes place on a futuristic, overpopulated, and polluted Earth where all the poor (the majority of the population) live on Earth while all the rich live in Elysium where they can get super nice free health care insta-heal machines while everybody down on Earth gets diddly squat because everybody up in Elysium is a bunch of meanie buttheads who want the poor on Earth to suffer. Ok the second part may not be the actual, "Synopsis" of the movie, but it is exactly what I got out of it and what bugs me the most about the movie. Elysium tries so hard to have a political message that not only does it go overboard, but it fails to realize how you are even supposed to deliver messages in the movie, which is by putting a subtle message into a good story.
The film is a very influential film on many standpoints but I won't really dwell on that and just focus on talking about what meaning I have always gotten out of Pulp Fiction (because honestly this classic has been out for nearly 20 years, do I really need to go to much into how good this film is and such on technical stand points such as acting and such? If you don't know than just know that the acting is great and the screenplay is genius.), and that is the meaningless in American society. The mere opening of the film suggests this with Tim Roth's outstanding opening monologue which leads to a random and meaningless act of robbery with no real justification except for that they could get away with it.
The Hunger Games is one of those films where its overall quality is affected most by not major gaping problems, but many, many small ones which degrade the film into decency at best. While it boasts an interesting premise (albeit an unoriginal one) the movie ultimately fails to deliver to its potential.
After seeing how well this film did at the Oscars (despite my initial disinterest in the trailer), I thought I'd give it a watch. I can say though after seeing this movie I am neither disappointed, but not entirely ecstatic about the movie either. (Especially since I have very high expectations of Martin Scorsese)
I wasn't overly familiar with what happened to Oscar Grant 4 years ago at New Years but that didn't stop this movie from having the immense impact that it did, it is honestly a movie that everybody should see not just because of well made it is but because of its relevance to society today.
This is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story that really ended up getting to me. The movie, although it has a familiar plot, succeeds with great performances, direction, and it never strays from the realism that it immerses you in. This movie was a pleasant surprise in a summer filled with loud, explosive movies and it honestly helped remind me of what some of my favorite movies are like, things that reflect reality and provide something that not only entertains you, but shows you something meaningful and reflective on different aspects of life.