Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The movies of 2013.

Well, much to my chagrin, I did not live up to my resolution to see more movies; I only managed 51 in 2013 vs. 2012's 60. Whatever.

10. The Croods - Perhaps my favorite animated film of the year, with some surprising laughs and lots of heart.

9. This is the End - There seemed to be a lot of end of the world comedies released this year, but this is, far and away, the best; raunchy as hell, but very funny.

8. The Wolverine - Fascinating mix of noir and comic book, enhanced by lovely cinematography and Hugh Jackman's typically strong work.

7. American Hustle - An entertaining saga of con artists and the games they're forced to play.

6. White House Down - Both of the year's 'Terrorists take over the White House' films were enjoyable, but I have to give the edge to this rollicking rollercoaster of a movie.

5. 2 Guns - The electric chemistry between Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg bolsters this lively actioner.

4. Thor: the Dark World - A great leap forward from the first movie, thanks to exciting action, stronger humor and sharp character work.

3. The Last Stand - An engaging mix of action movie and Western and a terrific return to form for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2. Iron Man 3 - Shane Black may never get to make a sequel to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (for some reason), but this follow-up is certainly the next best thing.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street - I'll admit that this needed a bit more time in the editing room, but still a marvelous return to Goodfellas/Casino-style storytelling from Martin Scorsese.

Ten more really good movies:

About Time - Doesn't really take full advantage of its neat premise, but doesn't squander it the way Looper did; a sweet and funny movie about cherishing the time you have.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - Even with the food puns, an amusing, eye-filling follow-up.
Escape Plan - The pairing of Stallone and Schwarzenegger was well worth the wait; exciting and, at times, quite funny.
Frozen - Funny, charming and tuneful; another success from Disney.
Gravity - This may not play as well on a small screen, but a technically astounding (and ultimately, uplifting) film.
Monsters University - Much better than it had any right to be, this Pixar prequel delivers in humor and emotion.
Pacific Rim - Not very original, but very engaging, all the same; exceptional action and good character beats.
Pain and Gain - One would think that 'Fargo as made by Michael Bay' would be a dealbreaker...and one would be wrong.
Saving Mr. Banks - The story of "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers is brought to life through a well-structured script and terrific performances.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Doesn't bear much resemblance to the Thurber story, but still very entertaining and uplifting.

Underrated: The Family, Gangster Squad, Homefront and R.I.P.D.

Overrated: The World's End (Take one unlikable lead character, sprinkle in repetitive conflict and garnish with an ill-advised downer of an ending and you have the perfect recipe for a cinematic roshambo. Seriously, Messrs. Pegg and Wright, what the fuck?)

Guilty pleasures: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Last Vegas and Olympus Has Fallen

Liked it better than I thought I would: Epic

Didn't think this was so bad: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Jack the Giant Slayer and The Lone Ranger

Kind of a letdown: Bullet to the Head, Man of Steel and Red 2

My favorite things in movies - 2013:

Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3

"Breakfast formation!" - The Croods

The bullet train fight in The Wolverine

Christian Bale gets his hair just right in American Hustle...and pretty much everything that follows

The cross-cutting between Father's speech and the rehearsal of 'Fidelity Fiduciary Bank' in Saving Mr. Banks

Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography for Gravity, especially the POV shot of Sandra Bullock spinning out of control

The gang gets a look at the The Old Familiar in The World's End

The initial collapse of society in This is the End

The initial date at Dans le Noir in About Time

Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D.

Johnny Knoxville deploys the flare gun in The Last Stand

The journey of the school paper in The Family

Judy Greer and Ansel Elgort in Carrie

Laurence Fishburne in Man of Steel

The life-to-death transitions in R.I.P.D.

Mary Steenburgen in Last Vegas

The motor home takes a tumble in Anchorman: the Legend Continues

Nicholas Hoult in Jack the Giant Slayer and especially Warm Bodies

Robert De Niro takes in a movie in The Family

Ron Perlman in Pacific Rim, especially his last line

The saga of the Lemmon 714 quaaludes in The Wolf of Wall Street

The segments "Homeschooled", "Middle School Date" and "Veronica" in Movie 43

"Steve! Time to celebrate!" - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, especially his travel-porn shots of Iceland and the Himalayas

The sweded trailer for Pineapple Express 2 in This is the End

Sylvester Stallone's attempted escape from the hole in Escape Plan

The train chase in The Lone Ranger

The W.H.O. climax of World War Z; amongst a weird avalanche of unintentional humor came this genuinely tense and exciting mini-movie

"You are my son." - Man of Steel

Holy shit, was that...?

Hart Bochner in Carrie
Patrick Bristow, Larry Hankin, Tony Plana and Peter Stormare in Pain & Gain
Robert John Burke in 2 Guns
Clifton Collins, Jr. in Pacific Rim
DeRay Davis, Walton Goggins, Joseph Mazzello and the RZA in G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Warwick Davis in Jack the Giant Slayer
Brad Garrett, Zachary Gordon and Gillian Jacobs in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths and Tom Hollander in About Time
Joanna Lumley in The Wolf of Wall Street
Jack McGee and Jon Polito in Gangster Squad
Pruitt Taylor Vince in Homefront
Keone Young in Stand Up Guys

Random thoughts:

- Though a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, Man of Steel left me wondering: if Krypton was about to be destroyed, wouldn't a better punishment for Zod and his followers have been - oh, I don't know - having to stay on the dying planet while the Kryptonian council was kept safe in the dick ships? Then, when they got to a safe haven, they could return the ships to Dr. Wongburger. After all, how else is he to return to Dick Planet?

- Also, I'm disappointed that the one girl from the Fast and the Furious movies is set to play Wonder Woman. There could've been a great gag had they cast Antje Traue (you know, not-Ursa):

Diana: "What is it?"
Kal-El: "Sorry. You remind me of someone."

- One review I read of Mama (might've been from my local paper) posited that "you may think that Jessica Chastain is slumming in a movie like this". I don't think she was slumming in a movie like this. I goddamn know she was.

- Okay, is it just me, or were way too many people soiling themselves about the big reveal of Iron Man 3? Looked at from a certain standpoint, the surprise makes sense. Personally, I have a rule when it comes to surprises like this in movies: just fucking entertain me. The film did just that and, as such, I have no complaints.

- On the other hand, there was a character reveal in Frozen that, literally, came out of nowhere. I mean, was there a need to have a villain in this movie? I sat in my seat going, 'seriously?', so tacked-on it felt.

- This year, I spent a good deal of time shit-talking the animated movies whose ads relied on (outwardly) irritating comic relief or forced gags. (I couldn't really complain about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; it promised cheesy food puns and cheesy food puns it delivered.) Most of the time this year, I was forced to eat crow. The gags of The Croods ended up being much funnier in the context in the film, and while he didn't end up being my favorite character, Frozen's Olaf was more endearing than one would imagine from the trailers. (On the other hand, there was Mub the slug from Epic, who not only managed to be ten times more annoying than he was in the ads, but could easily have been removed from the film with no effect on anything whatsoever. This, in a nutshell, is why Blue Sky will never be Disney. Ever.)

- I care very little about politics and the political leanings of celebrities, but reading some of James Woods' comments about President Obama, you totally get why he agreed to take on White House Down.

- What the bloody hell was up with the ending of Jack the Giant Slayer? I mean, the story mutating into the tale we know and love was a clever touch. What I mean is the final shot: on a field trip, some students are looking at a crown forged from the one that allowed one to control the giants. One kid lingers on the crown a little too long and we see that he bears a strange resemblance to the film's villain, Roderick. Dafuq? Was he a descendant? Reincarnation? Seriously, what the whuh?!

- Stand Up Guys. Last Vegas. Two movies about old friends on one last fling. Neither film was terrible, but given that the stars of both films have nine Academy Awards and centuries of acclaim between them, one can't help but feel heartsick that the best the writers could do was a collection of stale wisecracks.

- The framing device of The Lone Ranger would've been so worth it had we heard the line, "Britt Reid, where are you?", which - I shit you not - would've brought the house down with an audience in the know.

- Cooler post-credits cookie: Evil Dead or Curse of Chucky?

- People who claim to take the 'scientist falling and shooting himself in the head' scene from World War Z seriously fall into the same category as people who claim that Turbo and Planes are two completely different movies: dirty fucking liars.

- I'm still not sure how to feel about Machete Kills. Interesting casting, exciting moments (the return of Sex Machine's gun from From Dusk Till Dawn raised a smile), but it seemed to go on and on. Also, "Winning was only the beginning." is cheesier than any of the in-jokes from either Expendables movie...and you're talking to a guy who eats these references up with a spoon.

- Still, the Dos Equis tie-in ad for the film made me chuckle: "I don't always kill, but when I do, I use a machete."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home