Brief-ish Recap of 2013’s Movies So Far

2013 has been a decent year for movies, and it’s improving in both quality, and in regards of box office earnings. And I think it can only get better from here, at least in terms of quality. So far, I’ve seen 36 movies that have been released in 2013, and I’ve missed quite a few as well. Here is my post for the best and worst of 2013 so far. There is a top 10 list, and a bottom five list, and I will post my “Most anticipated movies of Second Half of the Year List” sooner than later. Here’s what I thought of what 2013 has had to offer so far…

The Best of the Year So Far

This is the End“, 2013’s Best Movie So Far & 2013’s Best Surprise

First, the top 10. I have listed the title and the original score in brackets. I’ve decided not to include little blurbs from each review, because that just might become tedious to read with so many titles. If you want to read my thoughts, click on the link to my review. (Note: You might notice that some scores are lower than others, but higher on the list – but that’s because they’ve grown on me since I’ve seen them, and are better than other movies in terms of quality.)

1. This is the End (91), 2. Monsters University (90), 3. 42 (90), 4. The Place Beyond the Pines (88), 5. Fast & Furious 6 (90), 6. Mud (86), 7. Evil Dead (88), 8. Pain & Gain (83), 9. Spring Breakers (75), 10. The Croods (83).

Here’s 11-15: 11. Star Trek Into Darkness (83), 12. The Great Gatsby (82), 13. Warm Bodies (80), 14. Now You See Me (80), 15. Iron Man 3 (80).

Here’s the rest of the movies I’ve seen, ranked from best to worst (in blocks of five, so it’s easier on the eyes): The Last Stand (80); World War Z (75)The Heat (75) Mama (78)20. Oz the Great and Powerful (75).

Epic (74)The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (73); Identity Thief (72); Olympus Has Fallen (70); 25. Snitch (71).

Oblivion (67); Gangster Squad (63)The Purge (57); Man of Steel (50)30. Admission (56), Safe Haven (54).

2013's Worst Movie So Far

Scary Movie 5“, 2013’s Worst Movie So Far (But I don’t think there will be a bigger shitfest this year). 

Here’s the List of Shame, the Bottom Five of the year: After Earth (40)Peeples (38); The Hangover Part III (25)Movie 43 (30); 36. Scary Movie 5 (0).

Here was my Top 12 Most Anticipated Movies of the First Half of the Year: 1. Monsters University; 2. The Place Beyond the Pines; 3. Identity Thief 4. Oz the Great and Powerful; 5. Gangster Squad; 6. 42; 7. Now You See Me; 8. Fast & Furious 6; 9. Man of Steel; 10. Oblivion11. The Purge: 12. Mud.

5 of my 12 most anticipated movies made the Top 10, and 6 made my top 15. “Oz the Great and Powerful” was only slightly satisfying. “Identity Thief”, and “Oblivion” were mildly disappointing. “Gangster Squad” was quite disappointing because it could have potentially been an Oscar contender, but it ended up not knowing if it wanted to be serious or just silly. It was a lightly entertaining gangster movie, apparently much like “The Untouchables”. I’d put “The Hangover Part III” in my Top 15 Anticipated of the First Half, so that is the biggest disappointment of the year because it just wasn’t funny. The third biggest disappointment would be “The Purge”, and the second would be “Man of Steel”.

"The Hangover Part III", 2013's Biggest Disappointment So Far

The Hangover Part III“, 2013’s Biggest Disappointment So Far

The best surprise of the year definitely has to be “This is the End”, even if I was quite excited for it. I knew it was going to be good, but not that good, and especially not movie of the year worthy. Out of the films I wasn’t anticipating at all, “World War Z” was probably the nicest surprise.

These are the movies I missed, but will be checking out. I’ve only included the ones I could envision myself either popping into the DVD player, watching online, or going out to the theater and watching: A Good Day to Die Hard, Aftershock, Antiviral, Before Midnight, Berberian Sound Studio, The Bling Ring, Byzantium, The Call, Dark Skies, Dead Man Down, The East, Frances Ha, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Ginger & Rosa, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Host, The Iceman, The Internship, The Kings of Summer, The Lords of Salem, Maniac, Much Ado About Nothing, Quartet, Room 237, The Sapphires, Side Effects, Song for Marion, Stand Up Guys, Stoker, To the Wonder, Trance, Upside Down, Upstream Color, Violet & Daisy, Welcome to the Punch, White House Down.

And finally, here are some statistics: 

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Average Score: 72.55

My Average Score: 69.22

IMDb Average Score: 66.05

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Average Score: 56.55

So there you have it… What’s your favourite movie of the year so far, and your least favourite? I won’t put a poll because there are just too many titles, so let me know in the comments!

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Epic (2013)

Epic

Release Date: May 24, 2013

Director: Chris Wedge

Stars (voices): Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell

Runtime: 102 min

Blue Sky Studios is best known for their Ice Age movies. Chris Wedge, co-director of that franchise, goes solo with Epic, the third animated movie of 2013 (after Escape from Planet Earth and The Croods). It follows the female protoganist, M.K. (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), who is forced to re-locate to the home of her estranged father, Professor Bomba (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), after her mother’s death. Her father is an eccentric character, as he is convinced there are tiny people living out in the woods.

It turns out, there is. But it’s a little more complex than that. It’s a challenge of good and evil of the Leaf Men, who, by protecting the queen (voiced by Beyoncé Knowles), preserve the life of the forest; but the evil Boggans threaten them with powers of decay. Today is the day Queen Tara must pick the pod to be the heir to her throne. M.K. is mixed up with this world when she is turned from a stomper (the Leaf Men term of big humans) to a little miniature human. She must team up with a crew to help keep the pod away from the malevolent leader of the Boggans, Mandrake (voiced by Christoph Waltz), in order to save their world, and ours.

It must be expected that a movie called Epic really won’t be so damn epic. It turns out to be a good, light-hearted animated flick that teaches kids about teamwork and that, even if you feel alone, you truly aren’t. It’s a nice message, and the way the filmmakers portray it is imaginative and admirable. The animation has a great, human look and feel to it. It might as well be an animated version of The Borrowers, just with very mild action sequences, in a very fun, but forgettable story.

It’s an old-fashioned, good vs. the forces of evil, predictable and formulaic ride. The imaginative action sequences are fun and have intensity present. There’s a lot of room for imagination at play, but there are only a few notable characters. The main Boggan, Mandrake, is often psychotic and threatening for a children’s movie, but nothing that will have kiddies waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares. He has some memorable lines, but he’s more underwhelming than anyone could believe a character portrayed by Christoph Waltz could ever be.

Nod (Josh Hutcherson) is a misfit Leaf Man who needs to learn about teamwork, and the primary Leaf Man, Ronin (Colin Farrell), is precisely the man to teach it to him. He’s a no-nonsense character, and Queen Tara desperately wants to see his smiling face. She requests this in a truly dull fashion. I don’t have much praise to hand out to Knowles, Hutchison, Seyfried or really even Farrell, but I don’t have anything to fault them for, either. They just don’t stand out so well. Many of the characters have good lines, but you’ll forget their names (most notably Bomba, Bufo, and M.K.) as soon as you walk out of the theatre.

There are four characters whose names and presences no one will forget anytime soon. Nim Guluu is the “rock-star” information keeper of the miniature world, appropriately voiced by rock star Steven Tyler. There’s also a silly, three-legged dog who mostly just runs in circles. The laid-back slug called Mub (Aziz Ansari) and his uptight snail associate, Grub (Chris O’Dowd), are the true scene-stealers of the movie. They’re hilarious in the way Mub thinks he has a chance with M.K., and how Grub is an aspiring Leaf Man. (Let that irony sink in for a second.) They’re never annoying, always funny, and the movie is at its most lively when they’re on-screen. Who thought slimy little things could be so appealing?

Epic isn’t quite, y’know, epic, but it’s a predictable and funny ride that is a blast once it really gets going. For the most part, it’s about as memorable as its generic title. The great animation and hilarious and slimy scene-stealers make this memorable, and something worth watching twice. Christoph Waltz, to his best ability, rocks his role and he shines when Mandrake is at his most psychotic. You care for the protagonists, because no one wants to see a forest rot to the ground, right?

74/100

May 16-18 Box Office Predictions: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

J.J. Abrams returns to the directing chair for the hotly anticipated sequel to 2009’s Star Trek. Star Trek stands at an excellent 8.0 rating on IMDb, and has a seat in the IMDb Top 250 at #224. The movie has  a solid fan base and since four years is more than enough time to generate a lot of anticipation, I predict this will earn $108, 330, 000 for the four-day haul (Thursday through Sunday).

1. Star Trek Into Darkness: $108, 330, 000
2. Iron Man 3: $33, 870, 000
3. The Great Gatsby: $23, 200, 000
4. Pain and Gain: $3, 160, 000
5. 42: $3, 135, 000
6. The Croods: $2, 900, 000
7. Oblivion: $2, 850, 000
8. Peeples: $2, 210, 000
9. Mud: $2, 098, 000
10. The Big Wedding: $1, 500, 000

May 10-12 Box Office Predictions: ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Peeples’

History isn’t on The Great Gatsby‘s side. For whatever reason, Warner Bros. shows the preference to release summer movies on the second weekend, where they can either flop or prosper, based on the reception of the movie that starts the summer. They can either do decent business (Dark Shadows opened to $29.68 million against The Avengers; and Robin Hood opened to $36.06 million against Iron Man 2), or they could really prosper (Star Trek opened to $75.2 million against X-Men Origins: Wolverine). I think Gatsby will perform well, even if history isn’t on its side. This gives movie-goers a unique choice other than super-hero movies and movies with lots of explosions. I’m not sure if a lot of the younger demographic will come and see this, because many may have read it in high school and hated it, but they also could have loved it. The main appeal for the young’ns, I think, is Leo DiCaprio.  DiCaprio’s movies have an average opening of $22.28M, and the rest of the cast includes Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton; and it is directed by a man of style, Baz Luhrmann. The 3D might also help the movie make a little extra money. Similar movies open to an average $23.14 million. This hardly stands a chance at beating Iron Man 3 this weekend, but I expect a healthy opening between Robin Hood‘s $36.06M opening and Shutter Island’s $41.06M, so I’ll go with $39, 198, 750.

The other movie coming out this weekend is Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, a movie starring Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington. It had an extremely light advertising campaign. It looks like it could turn out to be a decent film, that makes me think of Meet the Parents and every black comedy that’s set at a family reunion. It’s up against Gatsby and that Iron Man 3 holdover, but I think this could comfortably take third place for the weekend. There’s always a decent market for this types of movies, so I think it really has the ability to score in the low teen millions. Movies similar to this open to $19.02 million, but this really won’t go that high. Temptation opened well to $21.6 million, but a similar low-grossing comedy that opened the other week, The Big Wedding, only managed a bad $7.59 million opening. I won’t underestimate the power of the Perry this time around, but since the last two wedding/marriage themed movies haven’t performed well (The Five-Year Engagement opened to $10.61 million), I’ll only predict it at $13, 835, 000 million.

Here’s how I see the top 10:
1. Iron Man 3: $73, 840, 000
2. The Great Gatsby: $39, 198, 750
3. Peeples: $13, 835, 000
4. Pain and Gain: $3, 825, 000
5. 42: $3, 294, 000
6. The Croods: $3, 202, 000
7. Oblivion: $2, 650, 000
8. Mud: $2, 185, 000
9. The Big Wedding: $2, 000, 000
10. Oz The Great and Powerful: $1, 885, 000

May 3-5 Box Office Results

Iron Man 3 now has the second highest opening weekend of all-time, with a $174.1 million opening. Bring on the summer season!

Title: Result Prediction Difference (Over/Under)
1. Iron Man 3: $174,144,585 $166.016M $8, 128, 585 under
2. Pain and Gain: $7,511,315 — $9, 595, 900 — $2, 084, 585 over
3. 42: $6,055,327 — $6, 219, 950 — $164, 623 over
4. Oblivion: $5,642,335 — $8, 259, 800 — $2, 617, 465 over
5. The Croods: $4,202,639 — $4, 670, 500 — $467, 861 over
6. The Big Wedding: $3,881,857 — $4, 360, 210 — $478, 353 over
7. Mud: $2,160,319 — $2.3M — $139, 681 over
9. Scary Movie 5: $1,441,360 — $1, 770, 305 — $328, 945 over
11. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $1,270,094 $2.2M $929, 906 over
12. Olympus Has Fallen: $1,194,650 $1.74M  $545, 350 over

Total difference for one new release: $8, 128, 585
Total difference for nine (9) holdovers: $7, 756, 769

May 3-5 Box Office Predictions: ‘Iron Man 3’

Iron Man 3Movies similar to Iron Man 3 open to an average $87.72 million. The first Iron Man opened to $98.62 million while the second opened to $128.12 million. The Marvel franchise has an established fan base, and this movie’s going to have one of the best opening weekends ever. The popularity of The Avengers has helped gain the Iron Man movies more fans, and this is the first Avenger-member super hero movie since the release of The Avengers, this same weekend last year. While this doesn’t stand much of a chance at matching The Avengers‘ record-shattering $207, 438, 708 opening, nor am I imagining it topping the number two opening weekend record of $169, 189, 427 held down by the eighth Harry Potter movie. Though, because of the franchise’s increased fan base thanks to The Avengers, and the fact that the excellent Ben Kingsley might attract older audiences, I can really visualize this topping The Dark Knight Rises‘ $160, 887, 295 (the third opening weekend all-time record) and finishing the weekend with $166, 016, 000.

Here’s how I see the top 10:

1. Iron Man 3: $166, 016, 000
2. Pain & Gain: $9, 595, 900
3. Oblivion: $8, 259, 800
4. 42: $6, 219, 950
5. The Croods: $4, 670, 500
6. The Big Wedding: $4, 360, 210
7. Mud: $2, 300, 000
8. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $2, 200, 000
9. Scary Movie 51, 770, 305
10. Olympus Has Fallen: $1, 740, 000

‘Oblivion’ Starts off Blockbuster Season with $37M

The following article is courtesy of Joe over at Two Dude Review. Also, I’m a part of a box office game with him and a few others (Nick of Cinematic Katzenjammer, Shane of FilmRehab, and Jason and Trevor, both of Movie Mavericks). It’s pretty fun, silly me for waiting until now to mention it. Trevor of Movie Mavericks has also started a user-friendly website called Box Office Ace where anyone can predict the box office. If you’re interested in predicting, just register and test your luck, it’s free and fun! 

Unlike last weekend, where the box office was off just a slight bit from the same weekend last year, this past weekend’s difference was significant. 2013′s weekend #16 was off by 18.1% compared to 2012, bringing the current year’s deficit back up to 11.3%. With some big names attached to Pain and Gain and Big Wedding this coming weekend offers a little bit of opportunity for ground to be made up, thanks in part to last year’s weak offerings for the same weekend. Unfortunately, after this weekend it’s going to take a lot of box office hits to match-up with the box office greatness that was The Avengers.

Opening at more than $37 million, Oblivion gave Tom Cruise his biggest opening weekend since Mission: Impossible III. The opening weekend figure may not seem all that impressive, when you take its $120 million budget into consideration. However, once you factor in Oblivion‘s $112 million haul overseas already, the film is a definite hit. Its ‘B-’ Cinemascore tells us that film wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t all that buzz worthy and Rotten Tomatoes pretty much echoes that sentiment with critic scoring the film 57% fresh and 68% of audience liking the film. IMDB’s 7.2 rating, however, indicates there is an audience for the film.

To go to any of my reviews, just click the link.

Title: Result — Prediction — Difference (Over/Under)
1. Oblivion: $37,054,485 — $38, 900, 000 ­– $1, 845, 515 over
2. 42: $17,721,410 — $20, 850, 000 — $3, 128, 590 over
3. The Croods: $9,235,295 — $8, 920, 000 — $315, 295 under
4. Scary Movie 5: $6,150,584 — $5, 420, 000 — $730, 584 under
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $5,763,891 — $6M — $236, 109 over
6. The Place Beyond the Pines: $4,917,545 — $6.25M– $1, 332, 455 over
7. Olympus Has Fallen: $4,475,543 — $4.9M — $424, 457 over
8. Evil Dead (2013)$4,112,001 — $4, 500, 000 — $387, 999 over
9. Jurassic Park 3D: $4,054,285 — $5, 000, 000 — $945, 715 over
10. Oz The Great and Powerful: $3,004,644 — $2.8M — $204, 644 over

Total difference for one (1) new release: $1, 845, 515

Total difference for nine (9) holdovers: $7, 705, 848