Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top 13 Best Movies of 2013

Behold fellow geek readers, the Top 10 (I mean, 13) list of them all (at least for last year). 2013 was a very peculiar year in cinema because it gave me the toughest choices for top ones I had try my hardest to bring the list down to 10 but I just couldn't do it at all. Seriously, I was up for like 78 hours trying to choose between these movies for best ones of the year. Around 56, I lost track of time, and fought myself for whether or not Howard the Duck was a masterpiece or epic fail of movie making. I got it together, don't worry, I remembered it was a masterpiece...*gosh my grammar is terrible..

Back to business, 2013 offered some of the biggest surprises since around 2007. It gave us one hell of an adrenaline ride in space, a much needed reboot, an almost fairytale like adventure, and so much more. My list will be debated among people because I include films that are generally not accepted as top 10 quality, but they have geek points that push them to that limit for a geek blogger like me. Just hear me out and feel free to bash me in the comment section.

13. The Heat 

This movie brought out the funny version of Melissa McCarthy, while proving that Sandra Bullock is still funny. We get to see guy buddy cop movies every year with various actors trying to create something new and funny but most are forgettable. Now, having a high concept comedy revolving around female leads as cops was a great thing to go for, having a really solid script with a fantastic cast that pushes their own limits in the right way. Overall, a great cop comedy that blew some new life in the genre.

12. The Spectacular Now

High school love stories are a dime a dozen with getting it right. Many are imitators of John Hughes movies that just don't capture the charm or love, but The Spectacular Now did just that. It has a darker story to tell in the genre but manages to make a love story happen out of it perfectly. Miles Teller has not been able gain my approval at all over the last couple of years, even managing to work his way into the Top 10 Worst List in 2013 as well. He made Sutter lovable beyond the extent I would ever think. He wasn't the only character that was fantastic. Shailene Woodley made Aimee, the nerdy girl, so innocence in her own way. I really liked both characters together because they had such amazing chemistry. This was a surprise for the year I strongly welcomed.

11. Out of the Furnace 

Destined for greatness with an all-star cast including Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Willem Dafoe. Out of the Furnace raised the bar, in my mind, because of that fact. The opening scene with Harrelson set the tone of the film perfectly. I don't think I have hated a character so much, so quickly. and couldn't wait to see what would happen to him. The film had one hell of a great narrative of the steel town brothers, Rodney (Affleck) and Russell (Bale), who go down vastly different paths that cross at a point where both lives are greatly affected. The tone of the film is vastly intriguing with how this culture works compared to other areas of the world. This film will have trouble finding a market based on its pacing and storytelling way but it is one memorable film.

10. Star Trek Into Darkness 

Star Trek fans have always been a hard pleaser when it comes to the movies over the years. J.J. Abrams did one amazing film back in 2009 with the reboot. Everyone was like a younger version of the original stars. It was uncanny good at times. The sequel talk always had weary folks commenting how are they going to top Wrath of Khan. Would they do remake? Original story? Well, I believe they made one great sequel that was full of action, character development, amazing SFX, and everything in-between. The villain reveal of Khan (yes I said the twist but it's been out for over 6 months. All sshhh talk is nulled out) was expected and was great. Benedict Cumberbatch was fantastic as a villain in any way you look at it. It was edgy but reclaimed some of the nostalgia of the original Khan villain and film itself. I don't know how Trekkies could have voted this lowest on the list at a recent con? Craziness

9. Prisoners 

Let me start off by saying I've been one huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal since Donnie Darko and Zodiac. I walked in this movie being a little prejudice because of that, but I was blown away at the film as a whole. This is a movie that you leave not feeling right (in a good bad way...does that make sense?) because it makes you think about things differently. Gyllenhaal and Jackman were superb as their characters, Detective Loki and Keller. Gyllenhaal playing Dect. Loki was so memorable because of his mannerisms and way of thinking. I still to this day want to see more of a backstory to him. Jackman as a father that will go to any length to find his daughter tears you up inside because you have to decide if what he is doing is right or wrong. A gut wrenching drama that makes you leave uneasy is doing something right in my book. Great story that was made better by the incredible acting abilities shown on the main cast including Paul Dano.

8. The Place Beyond The Pines

Ryan Gosling is a hit or miss with people. Some believe he has been doing the same faced character for the last couple of years. Others believe he is actually brilliant in his own ways with these characters. I am one of the people in the latter. I will admit I'm a fan of Gosling since way back but not as big as my girlfriend. This guy could just stand there and smirk and say "hey", her jaw is dropping, he got it going on. Oh I love her. Naturally, with the director of Blue Valentine (a great movie itself) directing this, I was excited to see a epic film about a bank robber and a rookie police officer and their legacies. Gosling and Bradley Cooper did great jobs filling the characters with emotion we likely wouldn't have seen with others. The plot is just a great thinker because it shows how our actions in life will have affects on our children's future. This story worked great with it's excellent supporting cast including the up and coming Daniel Dehaan. The way the story switches main characters midway was different and actually worked well with the pacing in it.

7. Man of Steel 

Superman will always be a powerhouse moral character in comics, but this movie drove new edgy ideas into the fans heads about the man in tights. I have a few films I've chosen for the top best list that others will have on their top worst list, Man of Steel being one of them. It's been a long time since a comic movie has divided fans this big. For a movie to do that means it was successful in some shape or form. Man of Steel was a huge step-up in Superman mythos because it brought a character living with a 1930's mentality to the 21st century. Superman has to adapt to the times and he has done so with this movie. I've been wanting a superman movie where we see more than one punch and now I have it. Now, destroying a city and killing millions wasn't really what I meant by that but hey we are getting there. It brought life into the DC side of things with a great story with perfect casting. Henry Cavill was pretty much great as Clark Kent/Superman. They made him more manly and cool. Michael Shannon has always been a great villain, I tend to find it strange with him in hero/normal good spirited roles. The man has that look of a crazy villain. I think of Man of Steel as DC's version of Iron Man. It brought the character new life and started something much bigger than itself, a shared universe. Let's see what DC can do next shall we.

6. Rush

Auto racing movies are a hard thing to nail down. It's not a very publicly accepted sport for a movie. Especially Formula One racing. Not a very american sport. So to have a big hit movie involving it you need a great script, cast, and direction. Rush nailed all of them dead center! The story is one not many know about but made you interested in it from the beginning. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl were perfectly cast as James Hunt and Niki Lauda respectfully. The story of their rival is a great story told on film. Director Ron Howard knows how to grab your attention and do great race scenes that keep you in the movie. The atmosphere of the 70s is perfectly filmed all throughout. A great addition to the racing movies because we needed one with more heart and better well everything.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I like the first one somewhat, its not terrible. Going into Catching Fire was a bit weary in my mind but man was I blown away. A huge step up from the first one in every way. The acting was so much better throughout by everyone including Josh Hutcherson. He was a big weakness in the first one. The addition of Francis Lawrence as director was a wise decision by the producers because he was proven to understand the atmosphere, characters, and pacing of the book for the big screen. The story was filmed with some high-octane action sequences we aren't used to seeing in big anticipated films. We usually get the shaky cam (like the first film) and generic thrills. Those are erased from this one with much needed refreshment. I was just so into the film until the very end and left with wanting more and more. You know a movie is good when you get though 2 1/2 hours and want more.

4. This Is The End

High-concept movies are a huge love for me. This Is The End is no exclusion! A movie about real-life movie stars surviving in an apocalypse with a lot of humor. That is golden idea for comedy and action fans. Seth Rogan and James Franco are great together, but having the whole group together was just amazing. This film is full of comedy genius because of the idea of them being themselves in this environment. A few pleasant surprises was Craig Robinson and Danny McBride stealing the show. I was greatly impressed with both of them. Another big thing was the special effects. They were on par with some the best action/sci-fi movies. Overall, a great comedy/action film with great acting, special effects, and story. Also, a special appearance by a person will make you laugh so hard for minutes.

3. Captain Phillips 

Tom Hanks is a true gem in cinema. His portrayal of Captain Phillips was unbelievable to say the least. Now, the facts of what really happened in 2009 off the coast of africa will carry a lot of controversy. Even so, Director Paul Greengrass has made one hell of an intoxicating thriller on all levels with a very character driven film. Tom Hanks is an actor we know can act from past experices with him, but seeing him play a normal man taken by pirates and his heroic acts is stunning. He had a scene towards the end with him in shock that was so compelling it made you feel the pain and fear all the way. The tension the entire movie is just crazy and keeps you on edge the entire time. It's not a traditional action movie at all and with great reason. It's a character driven film that has moments of action needed for us to feel and see the way he reacted. We also put a face and background to the pirates we haven't seen before on film. It's almost a sense of Stockhom syndrome towards the pirates because they are human not evil heartless people. There is a scene between Hanks and lead pirate, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), about being a fisherman and kidnapper, where he simply replies "Maybe in America". That is powerful. They both deserve to be in the running for oscars with there roles. I truly gripping human movie. 

2. Mud

My inclusion of Mud will throw some off, but if you have seen this movie you will understand. Mud was something really special we don't get to see enough of, or done right. A coming of age film with a fairytale feel to it, set in Arkansas. The atmosphere of this small town and it's people is familiar but has a certain beauty not seen anywhere else. The story of reuniting lost lovers but with a big twist in their story is different and appealing to watch. Matthew McConaughey as the the title character is magical because of his charming and alluring way he portrays him. He has definitely stepped up his skills in the last couple of years. Director Jeff Nichols captured the warm, lush Mississippi river area with such perfection we feel right at home. The boys were great actors for being so young and best part is they felt like they were the dirt bike riding country boys. Likely because they are exactly that type. The entire suppoting cast was just perfect down to the bad guys. The scenes shared with Matthew and the boys is so natural. I left the theater wanting to see more of this world and its characters. A truly fantastic film that should be seen more than it is.

1. Gravity

Ok, the number one, numero uno, nummer eins, The big shot, the...lets just get to it! Gravity topped off the list of best movies of 2013 by a long-shot. It had me from the first trailer and resonated until I saw it in the grand IMAX 3D. Director Alfonso Cuaron has made a masterpiece of the 21st century with a space drama of epic portions. I can go on for hours talking about how amazing this film is but I will tune it on down for everyone. Movies that are game changers don't come very often and are a spectacle when they do and Gravity has all the checks across that list. I sat in the theater feeling like a child looking up at space for the first time and seeing something bigger than me with so much wonder. I've never seen a movie capture that emotion for me before. With a limited cast of just Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, you are in for laughs, tears, and moments of awe. Bullock proves to everyone how amazing she can truly be in serious roles. We are along the ride with her and understand how she feels because she is the intro point in the movie for us (the viewers). The emotions on screen are so human and lifelike. I had a mini-panic attack (in a good way) the entire film because of everything working in sync precisely perfect to the Tee (T? Tea? hmmm). The time of special effects I will recommend this film to every single person I meet without hesitation. There is only so many things that around in a lifetime that must be seen at least once. Movies aren't usually on that list, but Gravity is a extraordinary exception. I just want to say thank you Alfonso Cuaron for bringing back my childhood wonder once again.

There's the list folks. Don't get me wrong, there was tons more of amazing movies that just almost made the list but please tell me below what they are. Did I make you mad because of a certain film? Blast away please. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from all of you guys.

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