Best Original Movie
This year was a great year for the promotion of gender equality in Hollywood. Gravity had a very entertaining ride. The story wasn’t too original or inventive but the technical aspects of the film and the special effects really put it over the top. One of the few movies that I felt was NECESSARY to see in 3d. More on gender inequality in my review of Hunger Games- Catching Fire.
I feel a little dirty labeling a Tom Cruise movie as the best of 2013, but strangely enough his cliche intensity was perfect for this role, and luckily never over the top. More importantly, though, Oblivion was visually very beautiful – it resonated with the part of me that loves the polished futuristic look paired with a sparsely populated post-apocalyptic Earth. The story was perhaps just decent, but the score, an original created by M83′s Anthony Gonzalez, was fantastic and solidified the film’s spot at the top of my list.
Hunger Games – Catching Fire
I can’t say enough about this movie. Catching Fire is simply a compelling movie and Jennifer Lawrence seems to effortlessly portray a character haunted by PTSD who unintentionally becomes the face of a revolution in a post-civil war America in the future. Now, there’s another narrative that this movie is helping to destroy, and that is the notion in Hollywood that a woman can’t lead a film franchise. The amount of gender inequality in American cinema is staggering. The Huffington Post recently posted an article explaining just how bad it is – 14% of the 50 highest grossing films starred female leads, while men dominated with 64%. Hollywood is also very good at making bad excuses that externalize the blame for their crap quality. “People don’t want to see it” is a common one I’ve heard. I think a lot of it is self-fulfilling, so shitty scripts get written when the people writing them insert their own biases which makes people not want to see it. It’s not that a woman is in the leading role, it’s just a shitty movie. Catching Fire, and Gravity to a lesser extent, are helping shatter that myth.
The World’s End
The last movie of the Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End, is my 2013 pick of best movie continuation. Sure it’s no Hobbit, Star Trek or Hunger Games. But the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movies hold a special place in my heart and their amazing job of genre blending and humor made the third in this trilogy a much anticipated movie for me, as well as for a lot of people I suspect.
I loved this movie. Of the three, my favorite probably will always be Shaun of the Dead. That being said, that doesn’t mean this movie was any the lesser. A movie about a washed up guy trying to relive his glory days and then having to fight with alien robots definitely make this movie a perfect fit with the others.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
If you enjoyed the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, then you will certainly enjoy its sequel.
Star Trek into Darkness
With an all-star cast, Star Trek into Darkness delivers the next great installment in the re-envisioned Star Trek universe.
Thor: the Dark World
The second installment of the Thor movies is easily one of the best movies released in 2013. Despite the lack of Kenneth Branagh as director, this movie was pulled off with the same finesse as I’d expect of the Shakespearean actor. The Dark Elves were, perhaps, one of my favorite villainous groups of all time.
The Hunger Games – Catching Fire
There was no shortage of great sequels at the box office in 2013, but Catching Fire takes the top prize for me. Though there were various discrepancies from the book (and those always stick out to me), the movie was captivating and the imagery was breathtaking. Like the rest of the internet, I have an enormous woman crush on Jennifer Lawrence (especially because of what she stands for) and I think that she has given young women everywhere the role model they needed, both as Katniss and as Jennifer. Katniss is a real hero, one who does what she has to even though every fiber of her being is against it and she is having a very real and very intense personal struggle. We owe a lot of this to the wonderful storytelling of Suzanne Collins, but Francis Lawrence gave it life in a spectacular fashion. To me, this sequel outshines The Hunger Games.
The World’s End
Oh, there are so many movie soundtracks I love. So…so many. But the 2013 winner for me was the soundtrack to accompany the final and glorious completion to the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy-The Worlds End. Not only does it have a great sound, but it pairs the movie so well.
This movie is a tale about a washed up man who tries to relive his glory days with his friends (who have all moved on with their lives) to try to do the Golden Mile – an epic pub crawl in their home town – then aliens get thrown into the mix (as they do).
The great thing about this soundtrack is it pairs the theme of in-the-glory-days-past Gary King (played by Simon Pegg) with late ’80s and early ’90s Britpop. Whether this is your sound or not, the pairing is flawless.
Anthony Gonzalez’s score for Oblivion provided the final push the movie needed to make it to the top of my list for 2013. The music fit the plot and setting perfectly, with ethereal and fantastic (in the literal sense of the word) aspects that would cause the listener to imagine a world much like the one seen in Oblivion had the film’s creators not already presented it to us. Of course, it helps that I am already a fan of M83. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to see the film’s title track performed live this summer. Susanne Sundfor’s vocals are nearly as big as the movie itself, which is a significant factor of why the song worked so well.