Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Best Movies (New Release) of 2013 list

13 best films of 2013

1. The Colony:
I happened about this trailer one night on youtube and thought it looked good. I ended up looking up the director, and thought his other two films looked interesting. I watched his political thriller Civic Duty first, a pretty good movie starring Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause.

This was my favorite movie of the year by a wide margin. This post apocalyptic sci-fi horror film is a well done medium budget film. For a Direct to video release it has two bigger named actors in Laurence Fishbourne and Bill Paxton. Taking place on future earth that has become a frozen wasteland (I like to think of it as earth during the film Sunshine). It is a grim life for the few survivors left in the underground colony. One of the other colonies has gone dark and a small team is sent to find out why. What they find are monsters born of the wasteland.

2. Gravity: I think this is the best movie of the year. Not my favorite clearly, but it is a movie to be celebrated. If this movie didn’t work for you my only thought is you didn’t approach with the right attitude. This movie requires that you place yourself in the shoes of the main character. Amazing use of music, effects and 3D makes this a complete experience. Maybe some of the story was cheesy damn this was an intense movie. Up there with Boyle’s Sunshine in managing to make space travel look as scary as it really is. (last time I will relate a movie to Sunshine promise) Much like Brad Anderson’s The Machinist, I don’t think this movie could possibly has the same effect on TV. Sorry if you missed it on the big Screen.

3. Stoker: Oldboy director Park Chan Wook’s first English language film is as weird and off color as a David Lynch movie. Remember how odd the acting felt in Twin Peaks? Nicole Kidman and the whole cast act so strangely (but perfect for the odd feeling of the movie) it left me wondering how odd the performances in his Korean films probably are to the people who speak the language.

This is a 100% arthouse horror film that is finely directed for details. I am glad I saw it in the theater. I laughed a lot, but noticed most of the audience was not as amused as I was.

4. Anti-Viral: If this movie was not directed by the son of famed Canadian director David Cronenberg it still would have compared to the elder’s work. It is a weird, creepy body horror film about the power of celebrity and all the creepy things fans do to get closer to the stars. A super bizarro film that takes place in a future where restaurants serve cloned meat of movie stars, and fans pay top dollar to get the illness and diseases of famous people. Strong Debut I hope both Cronenberg directors keep it weird going forward.

5. Blue Jasmine: Every couple movies Woody Allen makes a movie that has all the critics saying that he is back. My favorite of the more modern Allen movies still have to be the Sweet and Lowdown and Match Point. That said this movie is really well written, the thing that makes this movie really great is the performance of Cate Blancett. She better get an Oscar nod.

6. Dredd: This one came out of nowhere for me. I was mildly into the comics, and of course hated the 80’s Stallone movie. After the second person whose opinion I really respect suggested I see it, we ended up just watching it that night. This is mega-city of the Dredd comics stripped bare, told simply and perfect with maximum brutality. Karl Urban is amazing as Dredd never taking off his mask, the dystopic look is simple but very well done.

It is clear that this movie was influenced by the Indonesian action movie “The Raid.” That is smart since the Raid and Rambo IV are to me the best action movies of the century so far. Trailer says 2012, but I think it was delayed right?

7.Mud: One of the best movies I watched in 2012 was arthouse thriller Take Shelter, (I thought it was a horror film) so when the director had a new movie I jumped on going to see it. Mud is a strange southern crime drama with several intense performances. Matthew Mc. Is on a serious run ( Magic Mike, Killer Joe and this one). Note to mention that the kid in the movie wore a Fugazi shirt. For some reason this movie reminded me of Stand by Me. Not sure I can explain that feeling.

8. Pacific Rim: I expected this to be number one. Frankly this was my favorite director with Kaijus fighting massive robots (not really robots as they are driven by pilots but whatever). I did think that it was awesome, and good enough to see twice. I love the mythology, the unspoken back story and the world they created. Thanks to the box office in China we will probably get a sequel! I’ll be there opening day.

9. The Four: Super crazy kungfu fantasy movie directed by the Fist of Legend Director Gordan Chan. …

10. Tai-Chi Hero: This is the second film in a trilogy that was filmed all at once in China. The first one was a totally insane kungfu steampunk wuxia fantasy crossover. The main character has this strange birthmark, and if it gets hit, he turns into this supernatural maniac. The sequel takes place right after the first one. The music is kinda awful, but really fun stuff. If you are a fan of silly, weird Kungfu movies this one has a vibe of early 90’s Wong Jing movie (New Legend of Shoalin, Kungfu Cult Master ) you can’t go wrong.

11. The Last Stand: I give credit to Ahhhnold a lot of credit for choosing this script and director for his first starring role back. Too bad the movie bombed. This movie is funny, and has great action scenes. I loved it.

Fruitvale Station: Powerful real life drama, the story of the last day of man’s life before he was murdered by a transit cop in Oakland. Based on true story, and it features an amazing performance by Michael B.Jordan. Total tear jerker.

Prisoners: Yeah this was a horror movie. I am sure it was marketed as a thriller, but it was a horror movie. This suspenseful well plotted mystery has a great cast all pretty much turning in really solid performances. Maria Bello’s character was kinda shafted in the script, but Hugh Jackman really brings it.

Honorable mentions: World War Z, Elysium, Oblivion, Place beyond the pines, Iron Man 3, Europa Report

There were several movies I wanted to see that might have made the list. I wanted to see all these and didn’t get around to it. They are…

The Grandmaster (Hong Kong), 12 years a Slave, Would You Rather?, Upstream Color, Snowpiercer (Korea), Ender’s Game, Drug War (Hong Kong), New World (South Korea), 47 Ronin, The King of the Streets (China), American Hustle, Out of the furnace, The new Coen Brothers movie.


Daniel Leavitt said...

Saw both 47 Ronin and Enters Game. Really enjoyed Ender... even though there were significant storylines omitted for time, the screenplay felt true to the story.
As for 47... man, I was disappointed. Was expecting a lot more substance, and felt there were too many lulls between the "good stuff" and the good stuff was glanced over. That super cool-looking guy with the skeleton tatts? He's in the movie for like three minutes. He's a doorman or something.
I've heard it had significant problems getting completed, but I think a lot of cool shot ended up on the cutting room floor.

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