As part of our look at the year that was, BroJackson’s film contingent chimes in with their thoughts on what 2013 had to offer.
5. “Before Midnight” – The completion of possibly my favorite trilogy of all time shows a change of pace from the first two, sticking mostly to the same format of long conversations between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy while exploring wholly different themes.
4. “Fast and Furious 6” – Now that the franchise has found its footing and turned away from the street racing aspect that simply was not as thrilling as the car heist aspect they have recently adopted, this film makes two successes in a row for the series. While it may not hold as much substance or meaning as other films released this year, movies are made to entertain their audience, and this one does entirely.
3. “The World’s End” – Apocalyptic movies seemed to hit it big with me this year. Admittedly, I was biased going into this movie being as big a fan as there is of the Cornetto Trilogy (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End”). But the movie met and exceeded my expectations, proving once again that their is no group better at making an hilarious comedy that is also surprisingly moving and has a creatively intricate storyline than the combination of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright.
2. “Prisoners” – I’ve seen others say this movie had a slow pace. I, however was captivated the entire time, particularly by the tone of the movie and the incredible leading performances of Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.
1. “Gravity” – Seeing this in IMAX 3D was easily the best movie-going experience for me. The beautiful direction, improbable long takes, subtle score, and fantastic solo performance by Sandra Bullock (who I wasn’t crazy about until this film) makes it my favorite of the year.
5. “Pain and Gain” — This was the shit.
4. “Spring Breakers” – If there’s a film more scathing in its depiction of entitlement and the lengths people are willing to go to for their American Dream than Michael Bay’s “Pain and Gain,” it’s Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers.” They’re unrelenting, provocative, and feature two of the year’s most entertaining performances in Dwayne Johnson and James Franco.
3. “Like Someone In Love” – Abbas Kiarostami is one of the best working filmmakers in the world. A relatively simple story about a call girl and an elderly patron, digs deep into relationships and love, both familial and sexual.
2. “Mud” – I love everything about this film. Matthew McConoughey is tremendous and rightfully receives a lot of praise, but it’s his younger co-star, Tye Sheridan, that owns the movie. Writer-director Jeff Nichols captures a wide array of experiences (first love, friendship, adolescence, the rural South) with great authenticity.
1. “Before Midnight” – I could watch Richard Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy explore these characters and their relationship forever. This was a strong, complex, and emotionally pulverizing chapter for Celine and Jesse and I hope that we haven’t seen the last of them.
5. “Stand Up Guys” – This is a very sweet little “if you want to make them laugh, make them cry” movie. Christopher Walken’s is heartbreaking here as a tired old gangster who has been charged with killing his best friend (Al Pacino) within 24 hours of picking him up from jail. I usually hate ambiguous endings, but this one was pretty satisfying.
4. “Mud” – This movie reminded me of a less arty, more accessible “Beasts of the Southern Wild” or a warm weather “A Simple Plan.” The same poverty and squalor, the same sense of pervasive hopelessness, the same desperation to connect with a loved one and then get the hell out of town. A great movie.
3. “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – This movie lasted 2.5 hours and I could have watched another three. It started fast and never stopped running at a heart-pounding pace. I was sore from being so tense when it finally ended.
2. “Oblivion” – In general I am not a fan of Tom Cruise but dammit if I don’t really, really, really like his movies. “Oblivion” plays like an haute couture, live action “Wall-E.” Meanwhile, the action sequences play out like bleached versions of “Tron: Legacy,” which makes sense because the same guy directed both movies.
1. “The World’s End” – I love Wright / Pegg movies because you can count on a couple of things: (1) the characters are cartoony versions of real people; (2) outsized, overstated use of camera effects like zooms and smash cuts; and (3) you genuinely have to suspend your disbelief while you watch these movies. Even so, it’s not the circumstances that make the movie so enjoyable, it’s the cartoon characters playing out the cartoon circumstances as if they are completely real.
While I didn’t love “Saving Mr. Banks,” the monologue that Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) delivers to P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) at the end of the movie, the one that earns him her trust and ultimately, the rights to make a film of her story is amazing. It’s deceptively quiet but it’s way more powerful than a big explosion. It’s one of those scenes that I’ll rewind and watch several times once it’s DVR-able.
Is there anything left to be said about James Franco’s genius performance in “Spring Breakers?” Probably not, but it bears repeating. I also thought Sharni Vinson’s work in “You’re Next” breathed much needed life into the horror heroine and reminded audiences that horror is more fun when the hunted is just as smart (and in this case smarter) than the hunter.
Favorite Moments: Eddie Strait
Of all the things James Franco’s ever done, his monologue about all his shit, followed by his rendition of Britney Spears’ “Everytime” in “Spring Breakers” might be the two best moments of his entire career . . . Alfonso Cuaron re-established his technical superiority with the dizzying, thrilling opening long take in “Gravity” . . . ”Pacific Rim” wasn’t quite the return I was hoping for from Guillermo del Toro, but Rinko Kikuchi’s flashback tapped into the mix spectacle and humanity that del Toro does so well.
Most Overrated / Underrated: Joey Rosace
“Now You See Me” – The film thought it was so smart with its cheap final twist, which completely negated the entire movie for me.
“The Hangover Part III” – Received quite a lot of hate but was lightyears better than Part II.
Overall thoughts: Kat Gotsick
I tend to be one of those people who has checked out of contemporary movies because I’m turned off by too-soon reboots and too many sequels, hence I see most contemporary movies on plane rides to Singapore and back. But I’m intrigued by the buzz around “Gravity.” My friends who have seen it have described it as less of a movie and more of an amusement park ride. The way they talk about it and the things that they say make it seem as if there are new possibilities for movie lovers–an opportunity to create a new era of movie-going experience. I’m very interested to see whether and how Hollywood responds