*The awesome ensemble cast of Lone Survivor, released Dec. 27th 2013
2013. Wow. What a year in movies. I'm not sure if it's because I have been paying attention more or able to digest film differently, but 2013 has definitely stood out in my mind. Even still, there is a large amount of films (detailed below) that I still intend on seeing. This is my list with some notes on the pieces that impacted me the most (in order of release date).
Oblivion - Very fun, compact, visually appealing movie. It had a succinct story and reminded my why Film can never go as in depth as TV (A la Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad). Nonetheless, it was very entertaining and worth a random evening viewing
Mud - This movie was probably my favorite of the entire year. Honest, coming of age drama, action, and nothing works out the way you'd hope, yet still satisfying. Everything I love about independent films, yet still very relatable to the general public. Director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories) continues to impress. I hope to one day make movies like him.
Gatsby - Would've been high on the list in other years, but didn't exactly astound me in any way. However, the scene in the hotel between DiCaprio and the other three main actors is especially great. Also, the garden house filled with flowers.
Epic - This was a fun little piece, however, I wished they had just nixed the goal to appeal to the family demographic and just made an epic adventure movie like it wanted so badly to be. Give me Lord of the Rings in an animated animal kingdom? I'll take that any day.
The Kings of Summer - Really fun film with a few flaws, but it was so charming that we didn't care. Watch it one day when it appears on Netflix streaming.
World War Z - I would've liked this movie a lot more had I come into it without seeing the trailer. Also, Brad Pitt's character never worried for a moment and so we as an audience didn't either. Really brings into question the idea of "raising the stakes" for your character in terms of performance.
The Way Way Back - This comedy in a way captured all the things about teenage life that were disappointing for me, but did it with a heart. Sam Rockwell is great. Although, the hot girl would never go for this nerdy of a kid in real life. Sadly. Nice fantasy though.
Place Beyond the Pines - I hated the first 40 minutes of this movie. The next day I wasn't sure. Two days removed, I realized how much it affected me and totally appreciated it. An expert example of a film not exactly being "fun," yet still worthwhile. Without a traditional narrative, this movie was like a dark, modern day East of Eden.
Rush - I would consider this the most complete movie of the year. It captured me from moment one and carried me along until the credits finally rolled. Wonderful score, great actors, and an awesome story based in truth. Also, you don't even have to care about formula one racing to love it.
Gravity - This was more of an experience than a movie. That's all I'm going to say because you've either seen it, or you didn't want to see it enough that you've already ignored the hype.
Short Term 12 - Great drama rooted in its lead actors. It would never win an Oscar in any year, but was so solidly good at being good that I think I'll remember it for a long time.
Her - Actually sort of disappointing. I was very enthralled by the trailer, but couldn't get passed the mechanics of it. I felt as though the screen writing was visible and not entirely seamless. That being said, great performances, and I really want Joaquin Phoenix's gaming system!
Lone Survivor - Very surprising as at first it seemed like it was going to be just another war movie. It ended up being Friday Night Lights goes to war, and in great ways. Definitely did not expect the tears on my part at the end. Great film devoid of 'war-porn' that could anchor many discussions. Perfect way to cap off a brilliant year.
Upside Down - I was so excited when I saw the trailer, but it was too far in advance and I sort of forgot about the movie only to never see it. Hmm.
List of movies I still need to see!
The Spectacular NOW
Man of Steel
Wolf of Wall Street
12 Years a Slave
*I have intentionally neglected to see the first two Hobbit movies in order to marathon all three as one big magnum opus. It will require coffee, concentration, and meal breaks, and frankly, I hope I don't die.