Friday, January 10, 2014

movies of 2013... not the best, not the worst

Okay... so this post is forever long.  This is a prime example of not writing to be read, but writing to write, because there are 64 quick reviews below.  Yes, I said SIXTY FOUR.

I don't expect really anyone to read all the way through, but more of a perusal, stopping on certain titles they wanted to read about... but I wanted a recap of the movies I have seen for the first time in 2013... we looked at my picks for the worst viewed movies of the year... coming in a few days, the Really-Good, Almost Great Movies of 2013, then my picks for the Ten Best Films I Saw in 2013... plus the Golden Globes on Sunday Night!  Boy do you have a lot to read.

So, here's a lot of movies, and a quick word about them, written in alphabetical order for your convenience...

American Reunion (2012)... From my review: " The entire cast is back, and though its more of the
same, its fun watching the characters try and act like adults for once. Rated R for lots of bad things, like the first one."

The Artist (2011)... A "silent film", in black and white, its stylish and well done.  That said, its a chore to watch, and shouldn't have won Best Picture... I would have given it to The Descendants, or even Midnight in Paris, both superior films (I've seen The Artist once, not likely to ever watch it again)

The Bourne Legacy (2012)... I like Jeremy Renner, and he really makes this movie what it is.  Its hard to see a Bourne movie and not see Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, but Renner pulls it off (playing a contemporary, not Jason Bourne).  The addition of Ed Norton only makes it better

The Call (2013)... This is that WWE Studios film that has Halle Berry as a 911 operator and Abigail Breslin as a kid who gets kidnapped... and let me tell ya... I was expecting a pile of crap, and I got a pile of... well, decent filmmaking.  Its not as bad as you think, I promise.  I actually kinda liked it.  Probably gets my "Way Better Than I Expected" Award for 2013.

The Campaign (2012)... Its silly to say that The Campaign, with Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell, is silly.. but it is.  Its just silly.  There are better silly movies out there. 

Chronicle (2012)... Three students find a glowing rock from space, gain superpowers.  Its more about teenage angst with added powers more than anything... it starts strong, then kind of gets predictable. 

Coma (1978) ... Kinda creepy 70s thriller about a hospital program with sinister intentions, and the nurse that stumbles upon the truth.  A little dated, but worth a watch.

Death Race: Inferno (2012 )... Forgettable prequel to the revived Death Race franchise with Jason Statham.  Still, kinda fun, if not ridiculous in its premise.

Elysium (2013)... Sweeping and grand, its a sci/fi tale with a believable, bulky Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley as an awesome bad guy...  Jodie Foster co-stars, with some weird accent.

Everything Must Go (2010)... Will Ferrell in a semi-serious role about a guy who gets thrown out and ends up camping out on his own yard, befriend a black kid in the neighborhood to help him out.  Its a very underrated, and I'm afraid, forgotten film by now...

Extreme Measures (1996) ... Hugh Grant is a doctor who finds out that Gene Hackman, another doctor, is doing bad stuff and I don't remember the rest of it.  It's watchable, but not imperative.

Flight (2012)... from my review: "Its got language, its got tons of drug use, some boobies right off the bat, and a depressing downward spiral of a man who seems like a good man. A good man doing very bad things. Verdict? If you can handle it, its definitely worth a watch, just once. I'll probably never see it again."

Future World (1976)... Forgettable sequel to the far superior, and creepy, "Westworld" from 1973.

Gangster Squad (2013)... Good cast is wasted on what I thought was an overly ambitious movie. Tried to be more than it was. Eh.

Get the Gringo (2012)... Mel Gibson returns in this tale of corruption and so forth in a Mexican prison.  It got good reviews overall, but I personally found it lacking.

GI Joe: Retaliation (2013)... Not as silly as the first one, plus The Rock, makes it better. Not great, but passable.

Gone (2012) ... I love Amanda Seyfried, though I don't know why... her body of great work is being overshadowed by her body of crap work.  And this movie didn't help at all... and I'm really afraid to watch "Lovelace".

The Good Student (2006) ... I actually don't remember anything about this movie, or even who's in it, other than I think it was so-so

Grown Ups 2 (2013)... You really, really have to like the first one to enjoy this film. I mean, the cast is the same, save one (paging Schneider, Rob Schneider) who is not even alluded to in this one. Same
gags, same pointless storyline that goes nowhere. The first one is a guilty pleasure for me, and this one is much the same.

The Heat (2013)... Sandra Bullock AND Melissa McCarthy?  Instant classic.  In a Bridesmaids-type humor, this is a really funny flick, but full of language, 99%  of it from Melissa herself. 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)... Easily better than the first one, with an unbelievable dragon onscreen.  Still, its a long, long movie, and seems like it stops right as its really revving up.

Hugo (2011) ... Animated film directed by Martin Scorsese.  I wanted to like it.  I was bored. Really bored.

Intolerable Cruelty (2003) ... George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in this Coen Brothers vehicle, probably one of their least acclaimed ones, though its kind of fun and clever.

Jack Reacher (2013)... Tom Cruise is in this phase where he is doing sci/fi action future film after sci/fi action future film... this one may not be set in the future, but its all about him being the mysterious hit man get-it-done cooler guy... and for what its worth, its pretty good.

Jeff Who Lives at Home (2011)... From my review: Expecting a comedy, I was quite surprised when I discovered it was more of a drama... a dramedy, if you will. And, I was also quite surprised how much I enjoyed this film... it all rests on the charm of Jason Segal, who pulls it off well.  Plus, its got Judy Greer, and I love me some Judy Greer.

Kick A** 2 (2013)... I liked the first one, and I liked the feel of this one... the addition of Jim Carrey was great, despite his whining about it afterwards.

Killing Them Softly (2012)... Brad Pitt is... something.  An assassin?  A hit man?   I saw this last week, and I don't remember much about it. It was that forgettable. 

The Last Stand (2013)... With Ah-nold headlining a film for the first time in forever, he really seems too old to do this kind of movie... and he kinda is.  And this doesn't work on any level.  Its stupid, its ridiculous, and its poorly written... yet, I was entertained.  Maybe its Johnny Knoxville, who knows, but I would say its worth a look.  Keep your standards low, and you won't be disappointed.

Lincoln (2012)... From my review: "Its definitely a talkie.. a lot of talking. A lot of talking. A lot. So, don't go into it sleepy, as you will lose yourself amongst the chatter of slavery and freedom and government and war. Even Danny D-Lewis' immaculate performance as Lincoln becomes secondary to the story after a while."

The Lone Ranger (2013)... A little longer than necessary, its not a bad movie... but Johnny Depp is what hurts this film the most. Here's my review from July.

Machete Kills (2013)... Takes the awesome, craptistic premise of the original and makes it more awesome and far more craptastic.

Major League 2: Back to the Minors (1998) ... Oy.  I mean... so bad.  So, so bad.

Man of Steel (2013)... Sigh. I wanted this to be so good. I wanted this to be good. I really did. Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, is Lois Lane, and I thought this film took Lois in a terrible direction. Amy did awesome, because she's Amy, but the character was terrible. Michael Shannon, normally a sure-thing in a movie, is wooden and reading from a cue card as Zod, the bad guy. Kevin Costner is a talking 2x4. Its overly long, and the ending climactic battle is great for the first, oh, 45 minutes of it... then you start realizing that two dudes, Zod and Supes, are pretty much destroying an entire city, more than the bad guys in Marvel's The Avengers in their final battle. I wanted to like it, I really did, and I promise, you, I tried.

Me, Myself & Irene (2000) ... My friends Amarylis By Mornin' and Hurricane Rhett live and die by this movie, telling me how hilarious it is, how much they laughed, how it was the funniest movie hahaha... and... my verdict?  Eh.  I laughed here and there.  But overall, it's just a mildly amusing. 

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)... Cute, but too quirky for its own good

Mud (2013)... Though I thought Matthew McConaughey was great, I didn't find this good movie to be the great, stellar film that so many critics did.  Seen it once, I'm done.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)... The White House was in trouble with this one and the next film listed. Gerard Butler has to save President Aaron Eckhart, and this has much more of a serious tone.  Enjoyable.  But don't miss the next film, which is...

White House Down (2013)... This time, its Channing Tatum saving President Jamie Foxx, with a predictable twist on the identity of the bad guy.  More fun, due to Tatum and Foxx's snappy chemistry, though the plot isn't as good as the aforementioned Olympus. (out of alphabetical order, but I thought it fit well here)

Pacific Rim (2013)... Big Robots battling Monsters! There's a plot here somewhere (maybe?) but who cares. You don't watch this for plot, you watch it for big robots beating up monsters.

Parental Guidance (2012)... Billy Crystal and Bette Midler keep the grandkids for the weekend.  Hilarity ensues.  Well, attempted hilarity... they do try. 

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)... Great performances by Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, but was a little long and dragged a lot.

Presumed Innocent (1990)... Harrison Ford goes to Paris with his wife, and she ends up dead--naturally, he's the main suspect.  This film is fast paced, its clever and its worth a real watch... despite its age, it holds up well.

Project X (2012)... From my review: Don't watch this movie. Its a "found footage film" about a party
that gets way out of control... and I got through the first 10 minutes of it and couldn't deal with it.  So much language, so much drinking, just too much depravity at a too rapid pace.

Rock of Ages (2012)... The attention was on Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, but the story is Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta, as rock star crossed lovers-to-be... the appeal is all the 80s music sung by the cast. Pretty good, better than I expected.

Savages (2012)... This is a tough flick, focusing on drug dealers who get caught up in the wrong sort of people... but I liked it.  A little too much violence and sex, but still, I thought it was great storytelling, if not a little too gritty.

Scarface (1983) ... Heralded as one of the all time great films, I tried three times to watch it.  I fell asleep all three times.  Once, I was actually tired. 

Skyfall (2012)... Solid James Bond movie.  I have never been a huge fan of James Bond--I don't dislike them, in fact, I've liked the ones I've seen, I've just never made it a point to watch them--but Daniel Craig really shines in this one.

Snow White Movie 1: Mirror Mirror (2012)... The ONLY reason I liked this movie was Lily Collins. Full review here.

Snow White Movie 2: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)... One of a few reasons I didn't like this movie was Kristen Stewart. Full review here.

Taken 2: Qui Gon Boogaloo (2012)... Don't see this film.  See the first one. The first one is fantastic. This is the first one, just not as good.

Ted (2011)... Ted is a pot smoking, gettin' it on, drinking, cursing teddy bear, first belonging to, then rooming with Mark Wahlberg.  In every way, its wrong... but hilarious... but I have no interest in seeing it again.

Thats My Boy (2012)... From my review: "This film is not good. It has its funny moments every now and again, and the addition of Vanilla Ice as a major character, playing a parody (though its probably close to real life) of himself, is a major plus. Maybe more films should have Vanilla Ice in them."

A Time to Kill (1996)... Somehow, I missed this film when it came out... me being a John Grisham novel adaptation fan, I was excited to sit and watch it start to finish.  Its not perfect, but its well done.

Think Like a Man (2012)... Steve Harvey introduces and narrates this tale which, while not a great, or even good, film of any kind, its light and fun enough to pass as background noise, or even one of those "okay, nothing else is on, I can do this for a while" moments.

30 Minutes or Less (2011)...  Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari co-star with Danny McBride in this comedy about a dude who gets a bomb strapped to him by two dimwitted criminals in order to rob a bank.  Lame, not funny, and you'll be wishing the movie were over in less than 30 minutes.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)... Better than the first one, which wasn't bad, but is one of my least favorite Marvel flicks.  But we all know Loki is the real reason these films work.

Triple Dog (2010)... So this was on Lifetime... about three chicks at a slumber party investigating the suicide of another chick and... well, it was on, okay?!  Leave me a alone.

2 Guns (2013)... Mark Wahlberg AND Denzel?  Gold.  This won't win any awards, but its funny, its a solid action and its got some good story to it... a high re-watchability factor.

View from the Top (2003) ... Way back in the day, Gwyneth Paltrow starred alongside Christina Applegate and Mike Myers in a film about girls going to stewardess school.  If that description doesn't grab you, nothing will... this film is a turkey.  I laughed maybe once, twice, if that... then again, maybe not. 

Wanderlust (2012)... From my review: I wanted to like this movie alot, with Paul Rudd and Jennifer
Aniston, as a couple who ends up in a strange commune in Georgia. Mildly funny, but it wasn't what
I wanted it to be. Eh.

The Watch (2012) ... An ensemble cast of Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and more star in comedy/sci-fi movie that had loads of potential, but seems wasted with bad jokes, a thin plot and the whole thing just falls apart as it goes along.

Wimbledon (2004) ... Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst, when she was relevant and awesome, find themselves in court.  In LOVE COURT.  In a love TENNIS COURT... Hey, these are the jokes.  Weak and forgettable.  The jokes and the movie.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)... Drugs.  506 F-words.  Boobs.  That's the entire movie.  Like most Scorsese films, I can say that I've seen it, I was entertained, it was a good enough movie... but I'll likely never watch it again.  As my friend Tommy Mac would say, "I watched American Hustle.  I was subjected to The Wolf of Wall Street."

The Wolverine (2013)... Honestly?  I liked the first Wolverine--I know that makes me in the vast minority... that being said, I thought this was one really well done... Hugh Jackman obviously loves playing Logan, as he keeps doing it... like RDJ's portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man, Logan is Jackman's character now...

So.... there ya go.  Did you make it this far?  Its okay if you didn't, I won't be upset... what do you think?  Disagree with anything I said? 

Keep checking back... more of the best of 2013 is coming soon, including the best movies of the year, books read in 2013, and my favorite posts of 2013...

(8,884 words so far in #500words per day challenge, 11,116 words to go for #20KinJanuary)

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