Thursday, January 02, 2014
My Top Movies for 2013
I initially thought this was gonna be a short list, as bad a year as it was though, a solid phalanx of quality managed to break on thru the current appalling zeitgeist. So in no order of preference, my top movies for 2013.... The Great Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio is the great striver of modern cinema, in every single one of his movies he plays someone who desperately wants to exceed his own modest circumstances...so all glitz and decadence aside who else you gonna get to play Fitzgerald's quintessential jazz age nouveau riche social climber? This is The End: Its a tedious axiom with me that Hollywood hovers on the brink of annihilation...the canary in the coal mine will always be when the comedies start becoming bloated self indulgent junk. Thank Ghod Seth Rogen and crew haven't yet gone over the hump, if and when they do, then we will know for sure it's time to lock the bunker doors behind us. Much Ado About Nothing: Joss Whedon is ace's high with me, anyone willing to whomp together a Shakespeare adaptation out of bits and pieces shot in his own home is a Man of Destiny. Besides when is anyone gonna cast Amy Acker and Alex Denisof in serious classical parts any time soon?? Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself! Granted the documentary glossed over Plimpton's acceptance of CIA money at the Paris Review...On the other hand anyone will to go a round with Archie Moore in all his martial glory whilst weeping all the while well deserves a lavish biographical documentary. The Heat One thing I like about Sandra Bullock, she knows that comedy requires pacing & inspiration and as such she has never been reticent to let someone else(say Melissa McCarthy)share the limelight when laughs are on the line. Its a lesson a lot of serious All Up Male Comedians have yet to learn.... Pacific Rim: If I had to pick one monster movie this summer, I'll go with Del Toro's every time. My only regret is, it didn't make anywhere near the money that The Man of Steel or Iron Man III or even The Lone Ranger made.... We're the Millers: Even as the rest of Tinseltown crumbled, forty year old comedienne's staged a comeback, Bullock and now Jen Aniston whose aging stripper turn in the above drug comedy could have been lame but instead sparkled...female experience seemed to have mattered last summer for once. The World's End: Repeat After Me, SIMON PEGG IS OUR LAST HOPE...and if he can't do it, NICK FROST IS REALLY REALLY OUR LAST HOPE!! Kick Ass 2: This was literally the only sequel I could get behind all year long, in a perfect world Chloe Grace Moretz would graduate to a "Hit Girl" franchise all her own, something guaranteed to give movie critics the Screaming Bedspins. But truly Ms Moretz et al have a gift for serious movie mayhem that puts them way past the self indulgent pikers cluttering up all these goddamned Big Ticket Superhero Movies.... The Way Way Back: This was no "Moonrise Kingdom", but it is a bravura performance by Sam Rockwell and a sort of drunken love letter to the vanishing world of South Shore down market tourism. At long last Marshfield Ma gets it's close up. Gravity: Microgravity gets its close up too...who knew a straight version of modern space travel could be this exciting? Who knew George Clooney could really play it straight? I mean how long has it been since he wasn't wallowing in self parody?? And Sandra Bullock? Amazing, how did she wax those stems in zero gee??? All is Lost The Last Great Silent Film Performance and it is courtesy Robert Redford....I mean Chaplin was noisier in "Modern Times" for Ghod's Sake! Bad Grandpa Johnny Knoxville makes me laugh, I can pay him no higher praise. Normally I don't care for Jackass when they do setpiece sketches, but this was thoroughly inspired from start to finish....kudos to Knoxville's faux grandson, Jackson Nicoll the kid has a poker face worthy of Keaton. Kill Your Darlings: Second best straight drama I saw all year. Lucien Carr's story, he First Beatnik, the Great Introducer, hooked Kerouac up with Burroughs and Ginsberg and then, his task done, he murders his tutor and ends up a suburbanite...A quintessential American Story...and the only reason it got made is because a High Profile British Actor named Daniel Radcliffe yearned to play a young Allen Ginsberg Nebraska: BEST drama I saw all year...and sadly it was my life for the past four years one way or another, it's also Bruce Dern's Legacy and his last best bid for legitimacy. Saving Mister Banks: Only the Disney Organization has the chutzpah to cannibalize one of their classic musicals (one I myself never cared for) to create a much darker musical that I did like...I even bought into the tacked on Happy Ending! The Wolf of Wall Street: I think this is Scorcese's idea of a Tarantino Movie, loud self indulgent, loaded with amazing performances...it doesn't break much new territory but it's a helluva ride and Leonardo DiCaprio's second manic striver in less than a year...Oh and Jonah Hill, he is has all of John Belushi's raw acting talent without the catastrophic personal choices...he will go far I assure you all.