In Our Opinion

FIR Top 10s, 8s, 6s, etc. of 2013

By • Jan 26th, 2014 •

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Glenn Andreiev

MY 10 FOR 2013! 5 MOVIE CHARACTERS I’D INVITE TO DINNER AND 5 MOVIE CHARACTERS I’D BLAST TO MARS!

A great movie supplies audiences with characters so fascinating, either good or bad, that we’d want to meet them for real. A poorly made movie troubles us with characters so clichéd and irritating, we wish they’d get a one way ticket to another planet. The cinema of 2013 gave us five great dinner guests and five annoying, well, jerks.

DINNER GUESTS:

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Like the Goodfellas, Bill the Butcher and Jake LaMotta, Martin Scorsese unleashes another lethal rule-breaker that hypnotizes the viewer. Is this finally going to be Leo’s Oscar?

“Our Man” (Robert Redford) in ALL IS LOST- Redford as a resourceful, driven senior on a sinking boat gives us one helluva one man show!

Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett) in BLUE JASMINE. This talkative ex-socialite might dig into one’s nerves, but Woody Allen makes her fascinating to listen to/look at.

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) in THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. McConaughey gave his all (and lost 47 pounds) to play an AIDS victim fighting for defenseless fellow sufferers.

Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) in AMERICAN HUSTLE “J-Law” based her performance of this captivating Jersey loser on the “Jersey Housewives” of Reality-TV-land fame.

SEND THESE KOOKS TO MARS!

Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston) in WE’RE THE MILLERS. Aniston phones in her performance in a foul-spirited comedy that jumps on THE HANGOVER shock bandwagon.

Superman (Henry Cavill) in MAN OF STEEL. Superman’s emotional range is limited to him bellowing “Arrgh!” a lot and being massively violent.

Everybody in MOVIE 43. Seth McFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Dennis Quaid and loads of other unfortunate talent appear in this constantly misfiring satire of the movie business

Medea (Tyler Perry) in TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS. We can’t get enough of Tyler Perry in drag barking his untalented lungs out. Oh yes, we can!

Walter Hill, director of BULLET TO THE HEAD. Very sad to see this once great director (of HARD TIMES, THE WARRIORS and STREETS OF FIRE) mastermind this by-the-numbers rehash of the old “vengeful cop” story.


Victoria Alexander – Top 10

1. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR. Takes first place because I finally understood the obsessive eroticism of lesbian sex and relationships. Even if the two stars were faking it (and wearing plastic vaginas).

2. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Brilliant fully-realized performance by DiCaprio with energy, sexual vitality and hubris. A future Scorsese classic. I paid to see it again.

3. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. Fearless McConaughey (who was extraordinary in KILLER JOE) goes completely into his character’s psyche. So stoned Woodroof never had a “happy ending” with his AIDS buddies?

4. GRAVITY. It felt like space. I paid to see it again in IMAX.

5. 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Michael Fassbender. As long as he doesn’t do a rom-com he can do no wrong.

6. SPRING BREAKERS. James Franco!

7. BLUE JASMINE. I still deplore Allen’s sexual politics but he has given Blanchett a devastating, deep character to explore in all its ugliness.
And now that we know Mia “allegedly” lied to Woody about who the father of her son was, a thimble of compassion goes out to Allen.

8. THE ART OF KILLING. Terrifying. I thought about it for weeks.

9. AMERICAN HUSTLE. All my focus was on Amy Adam’s half-exposed breasts. None of male characters noticed!

10. THIS IS THE END. James Franco, again. The entire cast was fantastic. And Franco playing those gay rumors, telling the audience, “So what?”


Roy Frumkes

Films are in the order in which I saw them rather than representing their relative value (unless I make specific references). DVD/BluRays are in the backward order in which I saw them.

DVD & BLURAY releases:
3 FILMS BY ROBERTO ROSSELLINI STARRING INGRID BERGMAN – CRITERION
ACROSS THE BRIDGE – VCI
PINA (AND 3D VERSION) – CRITERION
WAKE IN FRIGHT – ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, DIRECTOR’S CUT – WB
HAMMER’S RESTORED DRACULA – IMPORT
LIFEFORCE – SHOUT!
THE DEVIL BAT – KINO

Films:
TRANCE
THE GREAT GATSBY (3D ONLY)
STAR TREK; INTO DARKNESS
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN
THE WORLD’S END
GRAVITY
FAST & FURIOUS 6
BLUE JASMINE
HER
THE WEREWOLF OF WALL STREET

Failed Films:
THE GREAT & POWERFUL OZ
JAYNE MANSFIELD’S CAR

Performances:
LEONARDO DICAPRIO (THE YEAR’S BEST PERFORMANCES, IN BOTH THE GREAT GATSBY & THE WOLF OF WALL STREET)
NORA ARNEYDER (MANIAC)
TRACY WILLET (ANIMOSITY)
JAMES WOODS (WHITE HOUSE DOWN)
ENSEMBLE (THE WORLD’S END)
DOMHNALL GLEESON (ABOUT TIME)
MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ (FAST & FURIOUS 6)
KATE BLANCHET & SALLY HAWKINS (BLUE JASMINE)
PHOENIX & JOHANSSEN (HER)
LAWRENCE & DI NIRO (AMERICAN HUSTLE)
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (12 YEARS A SLAVE)
THE TWO KIDS (MUD)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG’S TRANSLATER AFTER SANDY HIT

Screenplay:
(THE YEAR’S BEST SCREENPLAY) THE WORLD’S END
MUD
VIOLET & DAISY
WORLD WAR Z
HER
BLUE JASMINE
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Editing:
WORLD WAR Z
THE WORLD’S END
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
THE GREAT GATSBY
RUSH
IRON MAN 3
FAST & FURIOUS 6

Art Direction:
PACIFIC RIM (COSTUMES)
THE GREAT GATSBY
FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY
FAUST

Direction:
EDGAR WRIGHT (THE WORLD’S END)
NEIL JORDAN (BYZANTIUM)
GEOFFREY FLETCHER (VIOLET & DAISY)
BAZ LUHRMAN (THE GREAT GATSBY)
MARTIN SCORSESE (THE WOLF OF WALL STREET)
DAVID O. RUSSELL (AMERICAN HUSTLE)
JUSTIN LIN (FAST & FURIOUS 6)

Special Effects:
GRAVITY

Make-up:
(THE YEAR’S BEST MAKEUP) FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY
EVIL DEAD
THE WORLD’S END
FAUST

Straight to DVD:
THE NUMBERS STATION

Sound:
TRANCE
MAN OF STEEL
PACIFIC RIM
RUSH
FAUST
FAST & FURIOUS 6
12 YEARS A SLAVE

3D:
THE GREAT GATSBY
METALLICA
GRAVITY

Documentary:
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN
CANNERS (MANNY KIRSCHEIMER)
THE ACT OF KILLING

Exploitation:
AFTER SHOCK
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Title Sequence:
THE GREAT & POWERFUL OZ (IN 3D)

Locations:
RUSH
FAUST

Bad Titles:
FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
RUSH
SAVING MR. BANKS

Moments:
DICAPRIO TURNS TO THE CAMERA (GREAT GATSBY)
“ENOUGH WITH THE METAPHORS” (STAR TREK)
THE REVEAL IN THE BATHROOM (THE WORLD’S END)
BRAD PITT’S CELLPHONE GOES OFF (WWZ)
“YOU’RE GOING TO A BETTER PLACE” (ALMOST HUMAN, EPISODE 2,11/18)
ROSARIO WALKS OUT OF THE BATHROOM… (TRANCE)
PHONE CALL (ACT 3 – BLUE JASMINE)

Music:
THE HOST
TRANCE
MANIAC
STAR TREK: INTO THE DARKNESS
MAN OF STEEL
FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY
RUSH
HER


Ben Peeples

The Best Films of 2013

1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE
The other side of just about every other movie about slavery. Its greatest accomplishment is not sugar-coating the proceedings. There is no sense of closure or any sentimentality, and coupled with powerful performances, it becomes a truly great, haunting drama.

2. FAUST
Few movies will get under your skin the way this one does. It’s at once so terrifyingly strange and disorienting to watch that it becomes weirdly beautiful, without ever becoming overly indulgent.

3. BLUE JASMINE
After the clunker that was FROM ROME WITH LOVE, Woody Allen delivers with an uncomfortable, often funny look at a person who is slowly falling apart at the seams. Cate Blanchett is eerily good in her performance.

4. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
The story of a man having the time of his life while walking on the backs of the people he stole from, thankfully not given the predictable, moralizing narrative that would have lessened its impact. Just five seconds shy of three hours, and it needs every bit of its runtime to tell its story. Its also one of the most debauched, explicit mainstream American films in years.

5. BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
Instead of a run-of-the-mill biopic, Steven Soderbergh told a disturbing, slow-burn story of control and the desire for eternal beauty.

6. THE WORLD’S END
The final part of a loose trilogy that began with SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg make a more emotionally mature and surprisingly gut-wrenching story that’s as much about a directionless man who refuses to grow up dragging his friends down with him, as it is about homaging classic sci-fi and horror.

7. GRAVITY
Much like last year’s THE RAID, this isn’t so much a story-driven movie as it is a giant, intense action sequence. Thanks to its brisk pace and short running time (83 minutes without closing credits), it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

8. AMERICAN HUSTLE
Although it strays VERY far from established fact, David O. Russell’s improv-heavy slice of the 70s is a blast nonetheless. Amy Adams continues to amaze in diverse roles, and Jennifer Lawrence has solidified herself as a bonafide talent.

9. MUD
With just three features under his belt, director Jeff Nichols has set a solid track record. Authentic small-town flair and great performances all around.

10. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Derek Cianfrance again proves how adept he is at making sprawling yet intimate stories of cause and effect. Although it becomes a little too blunt in its last segment, it has an undeniable power.

The Best Blu-Ray Releases of 2013

1. SAFETY LAST! (CRITERION)
‘The Third Genius’ finally gets the Criterion treatment, starting with his most famous outing. Ninety years later, its still full of harrowing and clever slapstick. The supplements show a great deal of promise for future Harold Lloyd/Criterion releases as well.

2. ON THE WATERFRONT (CRITERION)
After the outcry over ANATOMY OF A MURDER’s aspect ratio, Criterion opts to give viewers a staggering THREE aspect ratios for Elia Kazan’s classic.

3. NOSFERATU (KINO)
Kino has had quite a good track record with hi-def presentations of classic silents, and this is no exception. Definitely the best home video presentation of Murnau’s definitive horror movie.

4. LIFEFORCE (SHOUT!)
Tobe Hooper’s bizarre, big-budget spectacle is finally given a solid home video release, with nifty behind-the-scenes features and some fun interviews. This is one that should make its way into the pantheon of cult classics.

5. SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE (FLICKER ALLEY)
Flicker Alley’s excellent Cinerama releases continue into 2013, and although SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE itself has some slow spots in the second half, the release contains demo disc-level picture quality and a great promotional Cinerama short.

6. THE BIG PARADE (WB)
Quietly released at the end of the year, Warner’s release of the most financially-successful silent film ever made gives one hope that more silents like THE CROWD or GREED could be on the way. Additionally, this release includes MGM’s great 1925 studio tour, which shows the day-to-day operations of the studio during its formative years.

7. HALLOWEEN: 35TH ANNIVERSARY (ANCHOR BAY/STARZ)
Although it doesn’t carry over all the material from the 1994 Criterion laserdisc, this release finally gives us an accurate hi-def transfer (supervised by DP Dean Cundey) and sound mix.

8. CITY LIGHTS (CRITERION)
Criterion and Chaplin have been a match made in heaven. Finally in its original aspect ratio, Chaplin’s most celebrated feature has never looked better, and the on-set home movies give a fascinating look at Chaplin’s unorthodox, perfectionist directing methods.

9. THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION (SCREAM FACTORY)
Coupled with HOUSE OF WAX, this is a great package for any horror enthusiast.

10. AKIRA (FUNIMATION)
Finally back in print, Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic has always felt very much at home in hi-def.

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