Your Friendly Neighborhood Movie Blog
The end of 2013 is here, and it was a great year for film. Several box office successes, along with new personal favorites. I can’t wait to see 2014’s mega-list of movies being released. So here are my Top 10 favorite films of 2013:
1.) American Hustle
American Hustle was a brilliant film. David O. Russell keeps his winning streak alive with a top-notch cast, and a very clever and well-written story. The ensemble of stars were all equally-likeable from start to finish, and gave very believable performances. Set in the 70’s, I can compare it most notably to Goodfellas, whether it be the character’s monologue narrations or the perfect fit of a soundtrack (even a certain cameo’d gangster). American Hustle is easily deserving of the nominations it has and will receive this awards season and I hope it gets all the recognition it should.
2.) Iron Man 3
How do you successfully pick up where a huge movie like The Avengers left off? Marvel knows how to keep making this franchise work undoubtedly well. Taking the place of Jon Favreau who directed the first two Iron Man films, Shane Black tests his hand at the helm. I found the movie to be slightly darker than the first two, but at the same time just as funny. While a lot of people were disappointed with the way Iron Man 3’s main villain was portrayed (or not portrayed), Black payed homage to the story-telling of its predecessors, using the “mask of evil” routine which I enjoyed seeing happen once again. Iron Man 3 delivers, and far from disappointing.
3.) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I’ll start by saying that I was not expecting much from the first Hunger Games movie when it first hit, but was pleasantly surprised. Going into Catching Fire, I had expectations set to be at least as good as the first, if not better. The reviews were in and there was nothing but positivity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; this is the exact type of sequel The Empire Strikes Back gave us. Everything about it is bigger; new and expanded settings, more foes and allies while still revolving around the main villain, and a story that leads into the next installment with a cliffhanger. Catching Fire delivers and will definitely be hard to match.
4.) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
A fair amount of people were disappointed with Peter Jackson’s first part of the Hobbit trilogy, for whatever reason they may have had. The Desolation of Smaug takes a completely different turn. At times it’s a bit drawn out and left me wondering if trying to meet the run-times of the Lord of the Rings movies is even worth it, without as much of a story to split into three whole films this time around. The movie itself is beautiful, and the animation of Smaug is some of the most menacing and realistic I’ve seen to date. I think that this is another sequel that topped its predecessor, and I cannot wait for the grand finale next Christmas.
Ron Howard’s Rush was a phenomenal picture. The plot was gripping, the acting was terrific, and I think that it could’ve been a little more popular and received better box office numbers if it were released later in the Fall than in late September. But that didn’t prevent it from being nominated for 2 Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor going to Daniel Bruhl Each race was shot beautifully, the relationship between James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Bruhl) was portrayed very well, and overall Rush was a very refreshing film.
6.) The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street was a very entertaining film. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, telling Belfort’s true story of rise and fall from financial power in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It is vulgar, graphic, and keeps you on edge over the course of its impressive 3-hour runtime without missing a beat. Up for Best Picture, Best Actor & Director, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes home at least one.
7.) Star Trek Into Darkness
I loved the Star Trek film from 2009. I thought it was a great way to reintroduce the franchise to the big screen after 7 years, with a fresh new ensemble cast and directed by J.J. Abrams, who did a great job with it. Four years later is when we got a sequel to it. And it was just as great. Stunning shots, great action and bringing back to light one of the franchises’ most well-known villains; it really hit the jackpot.
The hidden gem of 2013, I like to call it. Oblivion is set in post-apocalyptic Earth, starring Tom Cruise as Jack Harper, whose mission is to recover the remaining resources left behind on the planet. He runs into a resistance group, led by Malcom Beech (Morgan Freeman). A great, refreshing addition to the sci-fi genre, it went overlooked critically and financially, but was one of my favorites of the year.
9.) 12 Years a Slave
Remarkable filmmaking. Steve McQueen delivers a brutally touching picture that tells the story of Solomon Northup (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a black freeman in the 1840s who is abducted and sold into slavery. The movie shows the events taking place over the course of his twelve years as a slave, and how he fought to regain his freedom. Definitely deserving of Best Picture award, as well as Director, Lead and Supporting Actor.
10.) Man of Steel
The latest installment of the legendary Superman character, Man of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan, and scored by Hans Zimmer. Talk about a trio of geniuses. Man of Steel is set to be the starting point of DC’s upcoming crack at a Cinematic Universe, pooling together a bunch of different characters. It was stunning to watch, with great effects and action sequences, and I can’t wait for what the future of DC has in store.
Like I said; Bring on 2014!
Written by Josh Sazin on December 31st, 2013.