Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: This Year in Movies [that I saw]

Everyone's going to be doing their own thing about this time. Talking about the best movies, which direction awards season is bound to swing, and also the worst movies released.

While every other list says how great Gravity and 12 years a slave were (they're not the kind of movies I typically see), I want to cover the movies I've personally seen this year and my personal favorites out of that selection.

When I had a massive pool to sift through in 2010, I went hog-wild with statistics, trying to figure what drew me to see certain movies. Since then, I've had less to go on so it's not worth the effort.

In 2011, I also started keeping track of how many new movies (in general) I see every year.
I did not crack 100 this year, but that's perfectly fine.

But these are the ones worthy of mentioning because they were enjoyable and/or impacted me in a notable way.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- book & movie, I could relate to majorly
  • The Lucky One
- enjoyable
  • Dr. Zhivago
 - very well done epic picture
  • The Graduate
- Dustin Hoffman is officially one of my favorite actors and I'll never look at Mr. Feeny the same way again :-P
  • Minority Report
- nerdgasm! hands down my favorite Philip Dick adaptation
  • Ruby Sparks
- made me regret what I've put my characters through
  • People like Us
- enjoyable
  • Morning Glory
- enjoyable
  • The Gay Divorcee
- great song & dance, funny, but "The Continental" was overlong
  • Saving Private Ryan
- how the heck did people get out of this alive?
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
- so respectably put together, thanks to Clooney
  • Coyote Ugly
- loved this one!! future DVD purchase
  • Life of Pi
- see this once and I dare you not to feel something
  • Superman
- I still prefer Marvel but I gotta admit, this was really, really good.
  • Sleepless in Seattle
- enjoyable in a warm & fuzzy way
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
- indescribably trippy, worth a visit next year
  • Seven Psychopaths
- still enjoying this one a lot
  • Jack the Giant Slayer
- the most pleasant film I'd seen in a long time, sets the bar for future fairytale adaptations
  • Skyfall
- I need to see more Bond movies, but this is a true moviegoer's movie


As for my theatrical selections this year, I saw 13 movies this year.
Apparently, I put the 13 in 2013 the way I put the 12 in 2012 last year.

Most of them were really good movies. I never gave anything less than a B. (If I hadn't read Percy Jackson before seeing the movie, I might not have been as kind to it). All but three of them were rated PG13 and of those three, two of them were the only animated movies I saw this year.

Most of them were among the movies I planned to see when the year began. I think the only one I missed was "Hansel & Gretel," but I suppose I could always risk getting it on DVD :-P

"Warm Bodies, "Epic" and "Now you see me" pulled in me the old fashioned way: I saw their trailers in the theater and I made a mental note that I wanted to see them. Not a single disappointment among them. If not for them coming so early in the year, two of them would be in my top 5.

"Star Trek Into Darkness" and "Frozen" sounded really good, but we needed the extra push to get us to the theater. Absolutely worth it.

Regarding the super-hyped blockbusters, they went pretty well.
I was somewhat disappointed with "Iron-Man 3," particularly the final 20 minutes, but it came through in the parts that mattered. Of the two Marvel films, though, "Thor: The Dark World" was better executed as a whole.
The following "Hobbit" film, as I previously mentioned, I didn't like as much as its predecessor, but I might reflect on it better when I see how it all ends.

In the book-to-movie adaptation department, there were hits and misses.
Most people considered "The Host" a major miss. Some of it could have been handled better, yes, but for what it was, I enjoyed myself.
It also got me hooked on "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons. It played during the end credits and finally made it to radio a couple months later. One of the best songs on the radio this year (their song "Demons" is great as well).
I considered the 2nd Percy Jackson movie a miss, but if I spent enough time with their version of the story, perhaps I'll become more lenient.
"The Great Gatsby" was an exaggeration of its source material, yet it encompassed a time in American history that was larger than life. No wonder Owen Wilson's character in "Midnight in Paris" loved this period so much. It had its good points and bad points, but at the top of the good points, Jordan Baker inspired my latest hairstyle.

Then the 2nd "Hunger Games" finally came to theaters and it blew the competition in this genre wide open.

But the year started on an epic note with "Les Miz." (Btw, how the heck did this not win Best Picture?) 

My top 5:

5. Warm Bodies

It reminded me a lot of what I loved about the world of "Twilight." It was a re-imagining of an old genre, rendered 10x (if not 100x) better. It had a really good soundtrack of music old and new. You really pulled for this Romeo & Juliet storyline to not end in tragedy. And it tied up the loose ends a lot better than most movies, which tend to drop the ball in the third act.

Nicholas Hoult

4. Now You See Me

It was an incredible ride from start to finish. Memorable characters, all but one (Dave Franco) were played by actors I knew well and loved in their previous work. Clever and hilarious writing. However improbable it seems, I really didn't care because it was worth every moment.

a DVD purchase in the future (maybe when it's down to $10)

3. Star Trek Into Darkness

Trekkies can get up in arms all they want about KHAAAAANNN!!!, but most sci-fi film lovers have acknowledged this movie's awesomeness. Kirk and Spock remind us of one of the greatest bromances in the history of bromances.

Benedict Cumberbatch (and the renewed possibility of adding his series "Sherlock" to my ever-expanding queue of "Sherlock Holmes" adaptations).

2. Frozen

Great adaptation from the fairytale genre. Defying the logic of all Disney movies before it with self-confidence as the reoccurring theme, speaking against relationships forming within 10 minutes of meeting, and sisterly love trumping the same old "happily ever after" of boy-meets-girl.

a future DVD purchase, respect for Idina Menzel (who I only knew as Rachel's mom, Shelby on "Glee"), and the hope "Let it go" (her version, not Demi Levato's) wins for Best Original Song.

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It did justice to the book and built on its predecessor really well. Old friends continue to grow and mature alongside a colorful cast of newcomers. Absolutely captivating in the best possible way.

Additional admiration for Jena Malone and (possibly) a soundtrack acquisition in the future. The songs during the credits by Coldplay and Of Monsters and Men maintained the vibe of the movie and kept you in it for a future extra moments.

And so, I end this in saying Happy New Year!

Next year, I'll get through the remaining 45 movies on my countdown, bring updates about awards seasons and, of course, reviewing more theatrical releases.

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