Monday, December 30, 2013
Cindy Prascik's 2013: A Movie Year in Review
Dearest Blog, if my count is correct, in 2013 I saw 74 movies that I hadn't seen before. Following is a list of my favorites on the year, as well as a few moments that stand out for me...for better or for worse!
Two important notes:
A film's placement on this list won't necessarily reflect its original rating, as time and repeat viewings favor some films, while others don't fare as well.
This year in particular, it seems my list is distinguished as much by the films I didn't see as the ones I did. Know that Dallas Buyers' Club, 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyen Davis, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Kill Your Darlings, to name a few, are not willful omissions, but rather movies that just didn't play anywhere I could get to them.
So...without further ado... *drumroll* ...my top ten!
10. The Croods
This offering from Dreamworks Animation isn't quite How to Train Your Dragon, but it's a heartwarming family tale that is so gorgeous to look at it moved me to tears a couple times when I saw it on the big screen.
9. The Great Gatsby
The most recent film version of this literary classic is driven by yet another extraordinary turn from the always-spectacular Leonardo DiCaprio, who deserves a best actor nod here as much as for The Wolf of Wall Street. It also features some of the most stunning costumes and set pieces to be found at the cinema this year, a true feast for the eyeballs.
8. Pacific Rim
An old school monsters-versus-aliens epic, Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim was a big screen must see, distinguished by fantastic effects and a rousing performance from Idris Elba.
7. Now You See Me
Seemingly summer's only offering that wasn't a prequel, sequel, or reboot, Now You See Me is blessed with a great cast and a fun, original premise. It grabs your attention and never lets go.
6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Upon first viewing, this was a bit of a disappointment to me, but it's grown on me enough to earn (back) a spot in my yearly best-of list. The addition of a useless female character is offset by my affection for the franchise and, especially, the magnificence of the titular dragon himself. (Disclaimer: The Hobbit has also been aided and abetted by the presence of two of my favorite screen hotties: Aidan Turner and Luke Evans! Shallow much? I know.)
5. Dead Man Down
Terrific performances from Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace anchor a well-crafted, at times brutal, movie that's smart, deliberate, and tense from beginning to end.
4. American Hustle
The year's strongest cast delivers uniformly excellent performances in an exciting film full of twists and turns, laughs and tears.
3. Star Trek Into Darkness
With 17 big-screen viewings, the most recent installment in the Trek franchise wins 2013's "favorite obsession" award, a sequel I loved even more than its predecessor.
2. Metallica Through the Never
One of just two movies to receive a perfect nine of nine Weasleys in 2013, Through the Never is mostly just a concert film with a little extra mustard on it. What a concert film it is, though, boasting a career-spanning setlist from one of the world's top metal bands that sounds a-maz-ing in digital surround sound. Undoubtedly the most fun I had at the movies this year! *horns up*
1. The World's End
My other perfect score in 2013 went to my most-anticipated film of the year, high expectations not crippling this one as they so often do. I named The World's End my number one the minute I saw it and, frankly, nothing else ever came close to dislodging it from the top spot. I stand by each and every glowing remark in my original review of this final installment in Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, with one exception: at the time, I gave Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan credit for doing the acting heavy lifting, while Simon Pegg was the funnyman this time around. Having watched the film dozens of times since its July release, I have to amend my assessment of Pegg's work to give credit for one of the best all-around performances I saw this year, as heartbreaking as it is hilarious. It's a shame neither he nor the film is likely to be nominated for any major awards, though they're turning up on plenty of best-of lists by bloggers, magazines, and online movie sites, folks who don't get paid (or paid off) to tell you what's good and what isn't. The World's End masterfully blends comedy, drama, and sci-fi/fantasy, a perfect film that easily tops my list.
And now 2013's tidbits and also rans:
It broke my heart a little to have to cut Elysium from this list. Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks also had a fair shot at making it right up to the last, but in the end I think I liked The Croods better...by a hair.
Weirdest Cinema Experience: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's porno that's not really a porno (Don Jon).
Most Criminal Waste of Fine Actors (tie): Paranoia (Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford)/The Counselor (Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt).
Best Movie You Totally Missed: Phantom. (It lasted a whole seven days at my cinema.)
Hottest Cinema Vampire: Gemma Arterton (Byzantium).
Funniest Coincidence: Peter Capaldi credited as "WHO Doctor" (World War Z) just weeks before being named the new Doctor Who.
Best/Worst Gag: Hansel (Jeremy Renner) gets Diabetes from too much candy (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters).
Best Cameo: Backstreet Boys (This is the End). I may or may not have jumped out of my seat and *squeed* out loud!
Most Horrifying Idea Ever: Running, climbing zombies (World War Z).
Most Curious Choice That Actually Worked (Against All Odds): Gary Oldman as Elvis (Guns, Girls & Gambling).
Worst Film of 2013: Only God Forgives (but I doubt even He can forgive this mess).
So, kids, there you have it, my thoughts on the year that's ending. 2014 promises to be extra-awesome, with no less than three big-screen outings for my favorite, Mr. Leonard Gary Oldman, so I'll see you at the movies!
Until next time...
Let's Boo Boo!