The Year In Film: 2013

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-When we look at the years in film, there are many years that have interesting movies that don't age well and controversial pictures. 2013 is one of those years. I spent a lot of time at the theaters in 2013, and a majority of the movies that I watched honestly weren't that enjoyable. With that being said, it's our duty to cover years in film, and that's why we are here today. Is 2013 the worst year for films this decade? Let's take a look.

2013 only had a few films that stood out and remain great to me even after watching it a few times. Of the five films I chose, there is one that has actually made my list of worst movies. Here are my choices.

My first choice is Now You See Me. This is one that makes my top lists whenever I can manage it. For those who aren’t familiar with this movie, it’s about four magicians (The Four Horsemen) who perform magic shows, but rob banks and give the money to their audience. What makes this so great is the constant switch between an illusion and what’s really happening. They share some of their “secrets” that makes us believe it really is just a show, but the twist comes when a real bank in Paris is being robbed. There is not one dull moment and as soon as you (the viewer) think you know what is going to happen next, it switches up and you’re left wondering again and again. It ends with a great twist! As for the cast, it couldn’t have been better. Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco and Woody Harrelson make up the magicians and Morgan Freeman is the illusion exposer, while Michael Caine is the millionaire sponsor, and Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent are an FBI agent and Interpol. The casting was on point. Each worked closely together amongst themselves and as a whole group so the dynamic and chemistry was noticeable and great. They each played their role in a believable way and executed a complicated and multilayered story very well. This is definitely a must see for those who haven’t yet and exciting enough to watch again for those who have.

My next choice has to be 12 Years A Slave. I watched this on the plane coming back to Vancouver from New York and I was an absolute basket case as I watched it. I was infuriated and emotional throughout the entire movie and I was shocked this was based on real life events! First of all it’s based on a true story about a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Louisiana. This film is powerful, it’s poetic in a way and nothing short of a realistic, heart wrenching, and an anger inducing account of the injustices that black people faced in America. No detail was spared from dialogue, to graphic portrayals of abuse and torment to costume design and scene settings, it all worked together to make each viewer feel and see (as much as possible) how prevalent racism was/is and how barbaric and privileged whites were during that time. This movie did an absolutely fantastic job of highlighting an aspect of American history that many would like to “hide” or ignore. 12 Years A Slave was without a doubt, the best movie of the year. 

Of course, I have to mention Wolf Of Wall Street. The infamous Martin Scorsese released this over the top, crazy and somewhat exciting story of materialism and greed and how it can leave you empty. For everything I liked about this movie, there’s also something I didn’t, which surprisingly left me objectively realizing that this is a very solid film and a great one to add to Scorsese’s catalog. I liked that there was a prevalent storyline of perseverance, motivation, and success, and I like that we see Belfort (Dicaprio’s character) face some career downfalls but bring himself back up and reach goals. His pep talks are inspirational and his ability to boost and maintain morale in his company is something to marvel at. What I thought was a bit excessive was the constant drug-use, the infidelity and the obsession with money. The movie is fast paced and there is so much happening all the time, you can’t help but be engaged the whole way through. I think what makes this so appealing is viewers can live vicariously through these characters for the duration of the movie and then appreciate their normal lives after. Overall this was a great movie and one of Dicaprio’s best performances. 

My next choice is The Hunger Games – Catching Fire. I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games franchise. I think each installment was perfectly executed in the development of the whole story and not one was a disappointment. Catching Fire was exactly that, as it picked up where the first left off, developed, and ended where the first film left off and built a new storyline for the next two sequels. I’m not a huge fan of Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) or Woody Harrelson but I did appreciate Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks as well as the other supporting roles. There was a good variety of acting skills and the cast complemented each other well. As for the storyline, it was great! This time they are on a victory tour and after a run in with President Snow, Katniss’ has to try and calm down a potential uprising. As her and Peeta go from district to district we see that her bravery and selfless acts of love for her sister and Peeta are so inspirational to the people. I do like that this is a story of “staying true to your beliefs” and not conforming to a system regardless of consequences. I also really like Lenny Kravitz’s character “Cinna” and the costume designs are not only something to anticipate but a highlight. This was another great film of the year. 

As I said there were a few movies that I really appreciated in 2013, and the above films were the highlight, however there was one movie that I watched but didn’t like at all. Pacific Rim is that film. The storyline seemed to be a hybrid of Aliens vs. Predators and Armageddon but the humans who use machines are paired up and use these machines as puppets in this war against sea creatures. I think where this movie loses the audience is that it layers too much in such a short time and there is no coherence with each. We understand that the pairs of humans work together with each other while using these “machine puppets” and we suddenly see that they can also access each other's memories and minds. I found myself giving up on the movie entirely about 45 minutes in and only watching it for the action and effects (which were okay at best). This isn’t a movie I would ever watch again and  I wish I could have my 2 hours and 10 minutes back! 

There you have it. The best and the worst of 2013. While some years saw dozens of very solid movies, this year wasn’t one of them, with just a handful that should be remembered. 2013 is to thank for one of the best true story movies of all time and that is never a bad thing!! 

For me, I like some 2013 films. One of those being Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. It was a thriller about a man desperate to find his daughter while the police investigation stalls and he takes matters into his own hands. HER starring Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix was probably my favorite film of the year. I just thought the concept of having an artificial intelligence become something of importance to its owners was interesting. It was even more interesting that the lines between real and fake become blurred. It's a reality I can see coming to us in the near future.

About Time is a romantic comedy about a kind of dorky guy who has a special ability to travel back in time. He uses this to get the girl of his dreams after many failed attempts. I also liked most of the horror films we got this year. There was nothing too innovative besides a couple new concepts but still entertaining overall. Some of my favorites were:

Evil Dead
The Last Exorcism Part II
The Conjuring
Warm Bodies
Insidious 2

The Purge was also interesting. It raises the question is this a possible reality to ban all killing except for one day out of the year to kill all you want? Maybe it's not too far off. World War Z was actually enjoyable. I usually hate zombie movies, especially the funny ones, but this was intense, full of action, and showcased aggressive zombies. 

Pacific Rim was an okay movie to me. I wanted a sequel and most of all, it only made me want a Voltron movie. Overall, 2013 was solid, but nothing special.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-For me, 2013 was more of a negative year than anything. I was constantly at the movies, and I rarely enjoyed the films I watched. I personally didn't mind movies like Fast And Furious 6, Pain and Gain, G.I. Joe Retaliation, Snitch (The Rock was on fire this year, this was his crossover year into being THE guy in Hollywood), the tough to watch Fruitvale Station, The Best Man Holiday, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, The Wolf Of Wall Street, 42, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and a few others, but for the most part, a majority of the films just didn't do it for me. There was the overblown Tyler Perry film Temptation, the absolutely dreadful Oscar nominated Forrest Whitaker led picture The Butler, which was a hit to many, but not to me, and most of all, the ridiculous 12 Years A Slave. You might be surprised to see me so negative on two Oscar winning and nominated black films, but they tend to represent the imagery I hate to see in these films. I'll explain.

For The Butler, the story of a man who served presidents for years was noble in concept, but watching a black man who is a server and butler criticize and nearly disown his own son for becoming a Black Panther was tough. No doubt in my mind, the terrible directorial skills and vision of Lee Daniels helped to create that. Then, with 12 Years A Slave, the question had to be begged: why is it that the only black films that really get love during this time by the Oscars had to feature blacks in positions of submission or as slaves? Sure, I'm nitpicking on my personal feelings, but to see the brutality that was captured in 12 Years A Slave, it really didn't show much different that we hadn't seen already in numerous films about slavery. The acting was good in the movie, but it felt rather empty watching this movie for numerous reasons. It did capture the emotions of those who it was intended to capture, but for me, I could do without it.

As for other movies that missed the mark, Halle Berry returned with another terrible film in The Call, Will Smith and Jaden Smith gave us a film was didn't need in After Earth, Tyler Perry gave us the unnecessary A Madea Christmas, and that's not even the worst of it, honestly. Pacific Rim looked cool at first, but ended up being terrible. It was a sloppy film that needed more cohesion and the effects weren't enough to really carry it. Oblivion was pretty bad, Scary Movie 5 was another unnecessary sequel, The Hangover 3 was another unnecessary sequel, I really wasn't a big fan of The Purge or This Is The End, and I thought Man Of Steel was just decent. This was a solid year for children and their films, as Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, Monsters University, The Smurfs 2, and others delighted the audience it was intended for.

Denzel delivered a solid performance in 2 Guns, Paula Patton searched for love in Baggage Claim, Anchorman 2 wasn't too disappointing, American Hustle was solid, but all in all, 2013 is simply a middle of the road year for film. It had some good movies, a few great ones, a lot of just decent or subpar films, amd a fair amount of bad movies. 2013 was interesting, to say the least.



Popular Posts