2013 was pretty excellent for movies. It was a pretty difficult process trying to narrow it down to my five favorites, considering I haven’t even seen everything I wanted to from last year yet. I’ll try it anyway though. Enjoy.
#5: The Conjuring
This movie had me falling, and falling and falling into my seat. By the end my teeth were gritting and I was gripping the seat handle. It’s nice to see a genuinely creepy movie about hauntings and demons without the tired found-footage formula. Director James Wan is becoming a master of this (Insidious). Try this one out with no lights on and the sound way up.
#4: The World’s End
I was upset to hear the Cornetto Trilogy was coming to an end, but the way these guys ended the world made me feel a whole lot better. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost know just what they’re doing at this point and Martin Freeman is a very welcome addition. If you liked Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, you’ll love this one.
#3: The Wolf of Wall Street
Critics are divided on this beast. Clocking in at a minute under three hours, this epic shows the horrors and humor of the Wall Street boom of the 1990’s through the eyes of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s brilliant Jordan Belfort. Those that enjoyed Jonah Hill‘s performance in Moneyball, get ready for another surprise. Scorsese flexes all his directorial muscles and his whole filmography shows up at some point in the movie.
#2: 12 Years a Slave
Cringe. Just thinking about this movie reminded me why I love the art of film…and hate it at the same time. I’ve never been this close to vomiting in a movie theater, but certain scenes made me physically ill. They go on and on and on. By the end though, you feel like you took the whole agonizing trip alongside the main character. This one is going to sweep pretty heavily at the Oscars. Best Actor. Best Supporting Actress. Best Adapted Screenplay. Best Picture. Guarantee it.
If you saw this in 3D, I’ll bet you forgot about Avatar. Not that that movie was that awesome, but this was the first time I sat in a theater and felt that I had been missing something in the technological advancement of 3D in film. I loved this movie and its use of 3D so much in fact, that I went and bought a 3D-TV (you should too before they stop making them; trust me). Director Alfonso Cuaron continues to build his stellar resume (Children of Men) and Sandra Bullock does the stranded protagonist (ala Tom Hanks in Cast Away) so well, that I feel she has a very strong chance to win Best Actress again. If you have the means to see this in 3D (even if you don’t really like seeing movies in 3D) do it. It’s absolutely worth it.
Mud – Alright, alright, alright. McConaughey kills it. See this movie.
Frances Ha – Noah Baumbach finally gets it together and channels Woody Allen.
American Hustle – I liked this movie a lot more until I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. No one does Scorsese better than Scorsese but O. Russell is getting there. Big fat (in two ways) performance from Christian Bale as well.
Biggest Turds of the Year:
I tried really hard to steer clear of turds this year, but sometimes you can’t help but stepping in huge piles of it: The Great Gatsby, The Internship, A Good Day to Die Hard.
Still Want to See:
Too many to mention, but I’ll try anyway: Enough Said, Captain Phillips, Inside Llewyn Davis, Fruitvale Station, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Philomena, Blue Jasmine, Rush, Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
If you’d like to track all the little things I have to say and more reviews, you can follow me on Twitter: @sheldonspanjer