By Jordon Hall
The year 2013 had to follow an epic year of 2012, which had monster blockbusters: “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Avengers” and “Skyfall” (which all made over a billion dollars.)
Then you had numerous films that were nominated or snubbed: “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Silver Lining’s Playbook”. The year 2013 had a lot less hype going into this year. We found out we had a new Batman, The Avengers’ cast were all in solo films, another silly “Fast and Furious” movie, Johnny Depp still playing subpar roles, Will Smith playing second-fiddle to his son, Tom Cruise in another crappy scientology movie and the man who played Tony Soprano left us (James Gandolfini).
It is safe to say it was a different year in film, but that doesn’t mean there still wasn’t great movies to see in theaters.
Films I didn’t have a chance to see: “The Hobbit,” “Pacific Rim,” “12 Years A Slave,” “We’re the Miller’s” and “Rush.”
Honorable Mention: “Don Jon,” “The Purge,” “Enough Said,” “The Butler,” “Word War Z” and “Elysium.”
10.) “Thor 2: The Dark World” – This was the best comic book film of the year. The original Thor was a fun ride; more of an antihero flick with a great sibling rivalry as it featured Thor’s brother & arch nemesis Loki as the main antagonist. This time around though Thor is forced partner up with Loki in order to save their family and Asgard. The action was great, and the story stayed true to the comics. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston’s great performances as well helped make this film another great comic book film and the best of this year.
9.) “This is the End” – The best comedy of the year (sorry, “Anchorman” fans.) Anytime you get Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson in a movie you know you’re in for a great time. So many laughs and giggles; if you went to see this movie with your friends it would have made the movie that much more fun because there is so many moments in the film you can relate to. Best comedy of the year.
8.) “Pain and Gain” – Forbes released this past week that actor/professional wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was this years highest-grossing actor with $1.3 billion. So you had to figure that “The Rock” had to show up on here. This film is based off the true stories of body builders turned criminals.
It is directed by Michael Bay, so you know two things already: no good compelling story telling and tons of action. That is literally what you get in this film but Johnson and Mark Walberg are just such great actors (when in the right roles, which they are in this film) that they can take a crappy film and make it a joy.
7.) “Saving Mr. Banks” – A great story on how one of Disney’s greatest characters comes to life. Tom Hanks puts on the best impersonation of the legend Walt Disney and even at the age of 21, this film had me laughing and jumping for joy. The best part of the film is finding out how Marry Poppins comes to life and its inspiration, which might not be what you would be thinking.
6.) “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – What can you say about “The Hunger Games” films already that hasn’t been said? These films are just awesome to watch. The right amount of action, emotion and of course the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence. This film to me is better than the first film and that film was awesome. What I love about this film is Katniss Everdeen, because most movies the protagonist is a male, but for a nice change we get a female being the hero and Lawrence brings it.
This film takes what was great about the original and adds a villain in President Snow that adds a whole new dimension to the story. The addition of Snow brings more anticipation and question to the film. The cliffhanger at the end of the movie was arguably the best ever made in a movie.
5.) “Captain Philips” – You can’t go wrong with any Tom Hanks movie, as this is his second film in the top 10. In this film, for majority of the time the film relies on his acting as he portrays real life Captain, Richard Philips. Even though everybody knew the ending of this film, the way the director sets it up just leaves you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Hanks once again put on an Academy Award winning performance.
4.) “Gravity” – Gravity is very similar to Captain Philips. As both films are based off a hero, in this case Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock,) in a situation where they can only rely on their instinctive actions. I put this over Captain Philips because the film was shorter. Bullock gives her best performance of her career (sorry, Blind Side.) George Clooney adds to this film as he is the only other onscreen character we see in the film. Overall this movie was another that had you on the edge of your seat.
3.) “The Wolf of Wall Street” – One word to describe this film: wow. Martin Scorsese goes all out on his latest film. He brings back one of his favorite actors to work with in Leonardo Dicaprio. Dicaprio does another amazing performance as he plays real-life stockbroker, Jordan Belfort.
Scorsese takes you on this true-life story, for a wild ride that makes you want to become a stockbroker. So over the top that makes you believe this film is fiction, until you read online that every scene actually happened, which is crazy. Jonah Hill puts on a great performance, as he is the comic relief, even though this whole film is a comedy. That is until the very end, where you feel Scorsese’s style in his type of movies. If this movie wasn’t three hours long (a lot of scenes were just too drawn out) it would be best movie of the year.
2.) “The Prisoners” – Holy cow. When I saw this film, I went with three females…big mistake, as all were crying on my shoulder, as I wanted too. This film is just so brutal that it will honestly make your stomach turn. This movie asks the question “how far would you go, if someone took your kids?” and boy does this movie give you answers. Hugh Jackman, who plays the father of the children kidnapped, brings his intensity as Wolverine but leaves out the charisma, which was perfect for his character.
Jackman who honestly deserves an Oscar nomination for his work in this film leads all the most intense scenes. But in my opinion the man who steels the show is Jake Gyllenhaal. He is really starting to come into his own as a leading man in Hollywood. Gyllenhaal, plays the detective on the case to find the missing children and his style of patience, calm and positivity clash with his captain and Jackman’s character, which make for some great scenes. This movie has the best ending I have seen in a film in a long time.
1.) “American Hustle” – Ladies and gentlemen, here is your number one movie of the year by a long shot. When I first saw Prisoners I believed it would have been film of the year. Then walked in Christian Bale, who proves why he is the best actor in the world today.
No matter what the role is, Bale does it better than anyone can as he brings to life New Jersey con artist, Irving Rosenfeld (based on Melvin Weinberg) and instead of being jacked up like he is when he plays Batman, he is as fat as George Katzana!, which is incredible to think. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter) who directs this film brings you a great thrill ride, with a great touch of comedy. There are two lover’s triangles in this film, which all feature Bale’s, Amy Adam’s, Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters.
Once again in this film, Lawrence steals the show, as her interpretation of a married wife, who is an alcoholic that is being cheated on, is just too funny. Her accent of someone who lives in the tri-state area is spot on. The trailers and commercials do no justice as to how great this movie is. The story is great, the comedy is at the right moments, the acting is great as Bale and Lawrence might win Oscars for, and there is even a great cameo in the film that will have you smiling. This film without a shadow of a doubt is the year’s best film.