Top 20 Films of 2013

This list is a lot late, but I still wanted to see a few more films before making my list. I still have a lot to go, but I’m pleased with the current Top 20 I have at the moment. I might do an article later in the year with an unofficial updated list, just to show how what films might have made the cut if I’d seen them before making the list. Without further ado, here’s my Top 20… I was going to have the whole list displayed in pictures, but the formatting was off for the first half so only the Top 10 are displayed with pictures.

20. Pain & Gain
19. The Kings of Summer
18. Spring Breakers
17. Dallas Buyers Club
16. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
15. The Place Beyond the Pines
14. Captain Phillips
13. Evil Dead
12. The Conjuring
11. The World’s End

7. Mud

7. Mud

4. Her

4. Her

 

Honourable mentions: Monsters University, Fast & Furious 6, 42, Saving Mr. Banks and The Great Gatsby


 

Now this is my bottom 5 of 2013…

The Lords of Salem

The fifth worst film of 2013: The Lords of Salem

The fourth worst film: The Hangover Part III

The fourth worst film: The Hangover Part III

Third worst: Movie 43

Third worst: Movie 43

Second worst: Grown Ups 2

Second worst: Grown Ups 2

The worst film of 2013 is... Scary Movie 5

The worst film of 2013 is… Scary Movie 5


 

Any thoughts on my thoughts? Sound off in the comments if you still want to do a bit of reminiscing of what 2013 had to offer! 🙂

 

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Saving Mr. BanksReleased: December 20, 2013. Directed by: John Lee Hancock. Starring: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Annie Rose Buckley. Runtime: 125 min.

Many might fear that a biography film made by Disney might feel too Disney, like the way they handle their sports films – a bit cheesy but still entertaining. (It’s great that director John Lee Hancock didn’t make this as cheesy as he did with “The Rookie.”) With “Saving Mr. Banks,” it never feels like that. This follows the behind  the scenes story of how P.L. Travers’ (portrayed by Emma Thompson) novel “Mary Poppins” was adapted into a film by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). She reflects on her difficult childhood while speaking her mind about everything she doesn’t like, much to the writers’, and especially Walt Disney’s dismay.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is an entertaining bio pic featuring some fantastic performances. It also gives Travers’ “Mary Poppins” a lot of layers that I hadn’t previously known, and it makes me want to rewatch it, because I haven’t seen it for a long time. Emma Thompson portrays Travers, an uptight but funny character. She is a realistic thinker who believes children should be prepared for the hardships of life; it makes the viewer question what might have traumatized her. It gets shown throughout in flashback form, but more on that in a bit.

She’s a delicate character who should lighten up a bit, but is very well portrayed by Thompson. I find it interesting how it’s hard for Travers to give up rights to Mary Poppins, because she wants the characters in the film to be portrayed well. It’s more difficult to share something when you care so deeply for it. One more thing on Thompson’s performance: I enjoy that she gets to play the authour of “Mary Poppins”, while she had previously portrayed Nanny McPhee in “Nanny McPhee” and its sequel “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang,” and McPhee is also a magical nanny – so it’s a similar character to Poppins. She also wrote the screenplays for those two films, so that’s kinda cool. (The first “Nanny McPhee” is the only one worth seeing.)

Travers reflects upon her childhood throughout the film. Little Pamela (a.k.a. Ginty) is portrayed by Annie Rose Buckley, who’s really good. It seems child actresses are much more consistently better than child actors, if you ask me. She is moved to a new town in Australia with her family where her father Travers Goff (Colin Farrell) has a great imagination and he teaches Ginty to dream big, but he can be a bit too irresponsible with everything else – especially in the workplace; but he’s a good father figure because he’d do anything for his daughter. Farrell’s performance is memorable, especially when occurences happen that he doesn’t have much control over. Ruth Wilson portrays the mother, but she doesn’t have much to do throughout. Pam’s little sister is cute, but there isn’t much of a relationship expressed between the two of them.

Flashbacks in films don’t bother me, but in this film – it makes the plot a complicated in scenes for a bio pic, because of all of its symbolism and all of the parallels that are drawn. This is also more profound than one’s average bio pic, so that makes up for it. It’s thought-provoking because there are themes of forgiveness and the fact that when someone suffers, there are other people in the world going through a similar type of suffering. It teaches to not live in the past, as well. But however Travers has grown up, it’s made her very stubborn. Walt Disney does his best to put up with that. Tom Hanks is quite charming as Disney, a character who doesn’t want to fall back on his promise to his daughters to bring Poppins to the big screen.

He’ll probably still receive the Oscar nomination for his work in “Captain Phillips,” however, because that character showed a bit more emotional range. B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman (who play the Sherman brothers who work on the music and lyrics), and Bradley Whitford (as co-scripter Don DeGradi) play supporting roles in the writing department. Their singing and dancing is entertaining. There’s one scene where they sing a song, while Colin Farrell rhythmically says a speech, and it skips between the two time periods. It’s very cool. Paul Giamatti also gets a role as Travers’ driver, and he gets some layers a bit later on in the film, in heartwarming ways. Suffice to say, it’s quite the cast and an enjoyable film. It’s a good thing I liked this, too, because I’d like the cool poster on my wall.

Score83/100

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain PhillipsReleased: October 11, 2013. Directed by: Paul Greengrass. Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman. Runtime: 134 min.

“Captain Phillips” just sounds like it’s going to be a good movie, because since it’s a true story and has Tom Hanks, it sounds great on paper. The true story follows the tale of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) finds his crew in jeopardy when a smaller crew of desperate Somolian pirates jumps on the ship, which causes a greater situation than either side anticipated. To expect a good movie from “Captain Phillips” is completely justified, but the real treat is that it just isn’t good, it’s damn fantastic.

The film is filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense and the situation Phillips is placed in is terrifying. It’s the unarmed shipmates vs. armed Somolian pirates that makes for a great movie. Paul Greengrass directs a winner here because it’s never boring and it gets into the action fairly quickly, and it never overstays its welcome. Phillips is an interesting character because he is fairly calm and collected and seems to feel compassion for some of his kidnappers. Tom Hanks delivers his strongest performance in recent years, and his talent is prominent in many scenes. This is notably tense because at times viewers might feel like Phillips’ life is truly in danger, and he might not get out of this alive.

I’ve always enjoyed the economical contrasts between different countries. In Somolia, these pirates have to find a big boat, because if they don’t, their bosses are going to be very angry. And in countries like this, there will never be a shortage of workers – so one can predict what would happen if they went home without a big boat. Lucky for them, and unlucky for the ship, the MV Maersk Alabama is enroute to Kenya to deliver food to starving villages, and they must go through waters occupied by Somolian pirates. The main pirate named Muse (Barkhad Abdi) replies to Phillips saying that kidnapping isn’t the only way to survive, “Maybe in America.” (As seen in the trailer.) There aren’t many job options in Somolia, apparently, so viewers can see how desperate the pirates are.

Tom Hanks isn’t the only one to deliver a great performance here, as Barkhad Abdi delivers a stunning performance here as the intense pirate who is in charge. He has something to overcome in proving himself because he is nicknamed by other Somolians “Skinny Rat.” An unkind nickname, making many around him perceive him as weak because of his size. He is very good; Hanks and he do a lot of the heavylifting for film. He’s one of this movie’s great surprises, he must have just been found on location in Somolia or something. My mom actually thought of that line, but it seems fitting to put in this review because of all the “Where the hell did you come from?” actors lists all over the internet. So, I stole the line – does that make me a pirate? Either way, you should really check out this movie!

Score95/100

Box Office Predictions: October 11-13

“Machete Kills” is the new sequel from Robert Rodriguez. Movies similar to this open at $10.57 million. The first movie opened to $11.416 million and made $26.593 in its lifetime gross. The film’s IMDb score is 6.7 from 128, 066 users, which is decent. My prediction for this is $10.7 million.

Movies similar to “Captain Phillips” open at $17.15 million. It looks like a really good Oscar contender, and the first movie of the year that could get Tom Hanks an Oscar nomination for Lead Actor. It seems as if this could do somewhere in the $20 millions. I don’t think it will do quite the same lifetime gross as “Cast Away” ($233 million), but I think it could do near its $28.8 million opening weekend, so my prediction is $25.3 million. Hopefully “Gravity” doesn’t get in its way of complete glory.