Kyle's Career Filmstrip: TV Series and Movies

Dec 31, 2013

From bad to best: 2013 at the theater

Movies both delighted, disappointed this year

Dec. 31, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Still, certainly all is not lost for original storytelling, not as long as Alexander Payne, Spike Jonze, Alfonso Cuarón and Woody Allen are around.

As with every year, the year in film was full of good and bad. But whether one “likes” a movie is largely defined by expectations. It's why movies that seemingly came out of nowhere like “Fruitvale Station” and “The Spectacular Now” are regarded with heightened fondness in retrospect, while middling movies like “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “World War Z,” and “Elysium” seem even more woeful in the critical rearview mirror.

With that in mind, here's my compilation of the best, worst, pleasantly surprising and disappointing for 2013.

Top 10 Films

Best Film of 2013: “12 Years a Slave”— It's everything that Quentin Tarantino claimed “Django Unchained” to be. But, it's far more than shock cinema. Director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s eponymous 1853 autobiography is at once both straightforward and layered, unsightly and gorgeous, disheartening and uplifting. It's an extraordinary illumination of America's “peculiar institution.”
 
2. “The Wolf of Wall Street”— Director Martin Scorsese does Scorsese 2.0

3. “American Hustle”— Director David O. Russell does Scorsese 1.0

4. “All is Lost”— Robert Redford’s sailboat is damaged by a floating shipping container full of sneakers. No, this isn’t a documentary.

5. “Only God Forgives”— Nicolas Winding Refn apes Kubrick, including the old ultra-violence, plus Kristin Scott Thomas as a lewd potty mouth? Sign me up.

6. “Her”— Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls for the female voice of his computerized personal assistant. I like to imagine this as an unofficial sequel to “The Master.”

7. “Captain Phillips”/“A Hijacking”— A dual entry — one an American film, the other Danish — with similar subject matter. This ain’t “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

8. “Gravity”— Director Alfonso Cuarón does “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Sandra Bullock does Ellen Ripley. And George Clooney does “Ocean’s Apollo 13.”
 
9. “The Spectacular Now”— From the writers of “(500) Days of Summer.” Kyle Chandler has appeared in four of my Top 10 films between this year and last. Maybe I oughta start remembering his name.

10. “Fruitvale Station”— A first-time feature filmmaker and a cast of knowns and extras shed light on a real-life incident horrible police brutality.

10a. “The Unknown Known”— Call director Errol Morris’s latest talking-head doc “The Fog of Rumsfeld.” Also call it utterly engrossing.
 
The Best of the Rest (alphabetical)
“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Fast & Furious 6,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Man of Steel” [yeah, I said it], “Monsters University,” “Nebraska,” “Rush,” “Stoker,” “The World's End,” “You're Next”

http://www.sanfordherald.com/news/x1401027823/From-bad-to-best-2013-at-the-theater

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