16) All Available Intel Suggested This Would Be a Bad Movie - It Wasn't:
Tim Hall: World War Z. All the noise from the set sounded like WWZ would be a 90 minute nightmare. It ended up being a enjoyable zombie film. It's even better on the 2nd watch
David Wangberg: Only God Forgives was booed at Cannes and got crushed by a lot of critics. Yes, it was ultra-violent, but Refn and Gosling made a brilliant film where the blood isn’t grotesque but fitting. It’s very reminiscent to a David Lynch film with all the lighting, cinematography, and just plain weirdness.
Tom Santilli: I didn’t quite have a movie that fit this category description completely this year, unlike Pitch Perfect last year. But I guess I’d have to say Jobs, the Steve Jobs biography. Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs? How could that not go wrong? Kutcher surprisingly did a fine, nuanced job in portraying the man. It was an interesting story – albeit a two-hour long Apple commercial – that really surpassed my low expectations. A great film? Nah. But a “bad movie” by no means.
Chris Sawin: Rush seemed to have everything working against it; a film about racing with this macho reputation only the most manly of men would be able to stomach and appreciate. But the film ended up being one of the most surprising films of the year featuring some undeniable chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl and really fantastic cinematography. Rush may be Ron Howard's best work to date.
Brian Zitzelman: The Heat featured a bunch of us snooty critics sitting around debating how terrible what we were about to watch was going to be. We received a comedy as consistently funny as anything else in 2013, with seemingly obnoxious broad-gags just requiring a smidge of context to shine.
Jason Roestel: Rob Zombie's Lords of Salem. I usually look to Rob Zombie movies as the low bar in horror entertainment. Something you step over on your way to something more damaging and dignified from the New French Extremity. What Zombie lacks in talent he's always more than made up for in sleaze. Imagine my surprise when I watched The Lords of Salem and it actually turned out to be a film, with pace and control - and it was genuinely good, not to mention bizarre. God help me for saying this, but I'm suddenly interested in whatever psychobilly cinema this cat produces next.
Glenn Percival: The Lone Ranger - I explained my feelings above, but I’ll say again, give this movie a chance, you might be surprised.
Jorge Carreon: World War Z. It may not have won over some critics, but audiences ate it up the three times I saw it this summer.
Nick Tiffany: Everything that I read/heard about Only God Forgives was mostly bad. People were bashing director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling any way they knew how. They said the movie sucked and the metaphors were confusing, but I disagree. I get people thinking the Oedipal relationship is weird (because it is), but it makes for such an intriguing sub-story. The music in the film is some of the best this year (thanks again to Cliff Martinez) and the film looks absolutely gorgeous. The metaphors in the film are fun to explore and I wound up really liking the film. I can see why others would dislike it, but I really enjoyed it.
Erik Samdahl: The easiest answer is World War Z. I so, so, so wanted to hate this movie, and while I didn’t love it, it is by no means the disaster it should have been.
Ruben Rosario: Look, The Canyons is no American Psycho. It's certainly no American Gigolo. And yet, Paul Schrader, working from a gleefully wicked screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis, captures a vibe about L.A., the rigidly structured totem pole of the movie industry that places some very rotten people at the top. Kudos to cinematographer John DeFazio for his skillful lensing.
17) Favorite Quote From a Film in 2013:
Tim Hall: "Look at my sheeeeeyyyyittttt" - Alien, Spring Breakers. I say it to myself all the time while I'm unpacking groceries.
David Wangberg: “She’s the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.” – Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle.
Tom Santilli: “Eat the fish, bitch!” – Julia Roberts, August: Osage County.
Chris Sawin: The Place Beyond the Pines "If you ride like lightning, you're gonna crash like thunder," has stuck with me all year. That and Craig Robinson's, " I would suck a d*ck for half a cracker!" from This is the End.
Brian Zitzelman: “Look at my sh*t!” by Alien (James Franco) in Spring Breakers. Basically the point of Harmony Korine’s latest in four words.
Jason Roestel: "Now which one of you pipe-hittin' bitches wants to pass me the potatoes?" Ron Burgundy in Anchorman 2.
Glenn Percival: Tony Stark: "You know what keeps going through my head? Where's my sandwich?" - One of my favorite scenes in this movie.
Jorge Carreon: Anything said by the fearless Allison Janney in The Way Way Back. She nearly steals the whole show. “Come here and press my laundry.” Yeah, I want to hang out with this woman.
Nick Tiffany: "Bikinis and big booties, y'all. That's what life is all about." - Alien, Spring Breakers
I think this quote speaks for itself. Props to you, James Franco.
Erik Samdahl: I suck at movie quotes, but one that sticks with me is, “You think you’re a six? I think you’re a three.” – The Way, Way Back
Ruben Rosario:Dinner between Julian, the monosyllabic drug smuggler at the center of Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, Mai, his date for the evening, and Crystal, aka Mommie Dearest (a camptastic Kristin Scott Thomas), doesn't go very well...
CRYSTAL: “So tell me, Mai, what line of work are you in?”
MAI: “I'm an entertainer.”
CRYSTAL: “An entertainer. (short pause) And how many c*cks can you entertain with that little c*m dumpster of yours?”
If only the rest of Only God Forgives had been this entertaining.
18) In a Year of Sequels, Prequels, and Remakes This Was My Favorite:
Tim Hall: Fast 6 is first. They can make 10 more and I'd watch each one.
David Wangberg: Evil Dead wasn’t bad for a remake. But I think my favorite in a year crowded with all of the sequels, reboots, and remakes was Star Trek Into Darkness.
Tom Santilli: Before Midnight! Following up from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (all released nine years apart from one another), Before Midnight captures an aging relationship like few films ever have. We have seen movies about falling in love, falling out of love and love as it passes into the final stages. But rarely do we get a snapshot of that middle, “uneventful” period…they’re not freshly “in love” but they’re not going to die of old age any time soon. This film isn’t afraid to address the question: “Yeah we fell in love. Yeah we are in love…but how much longer is this sh*t going to go on for?”
Chris Sawin: Have to go with Iron Man 3. While the film doesn't really hold up as well with repeat viewings, it's still fun and still has the buddy cop interactions and sharp humor Shane Black has become notorious for. Still pretty blown away by the ending, as well. When Joss Whedon goes on record saying he has no idea how to top something in The Avengers sequel thanks to a certain sequence in a certain third film in a franchise, then you make a mental note and never forget about it.
Brian Zitzelman: Fast & Furious 6 was a hoot I say. A hoot! How the sixth installment in a series can be this good is beyond me.
Jason Roestel: Man of Steel, Man of Steel, Man of Steel, and Man of Steel. Oh wait... I said Man of Steel four times. That's because it's bigger than Tom Santilli, David Wangberg, and Ruben Rosario COMBINED.
Glenn Percival: Star Trek Into Darkness - Yes, it was kinda hack toward the end, but I really loved this movie overall. The action was great, and hey, they used Scotty a lot more this time, and that makes me happy!
Jorge Carreon: I know it was Kryptonite for purists, but I really enjoyed Zack Snyder’s imagining of Superman in Man of Steel. Clark Kent returned as a man of our time, complicated and conflicted but still very much a hero.
Nick Tiffany: Call me weird, but I really liked Man of Steel. That film gets so much hate and I really don't get it. Could it have been better? Sure, but it's far from as bad as people say it is. I loved the action in the film and the fighting at the end was one of the coolest, most awesome things this year! He may have destroyed half of Metropolis, but it was still awesome. I really loved seeing Superman grow up and seeing how he dealt with having to hide his powers. The Christopher Nolan aspects of the film were wonderful and I can't wait to see where the sequel goes. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing and more? Count me in!
Erik Samdahl: Well, I really enjoyed Man of Steel, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was such a drastic improvement over the original – and yet a direct sequel – that I have to give credit where credit is due.
Ruben Rosario: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, aka How Peter Jackson Got His Groove Back. Satisfying in a very old-fashioned, matinee serial kind of way. And then there's that scaly, fire-breathing reptile with the bloated ego and unchecked greed.
19) What Were They Thinking?
Tim Hall: The Hangover 3. Why? That film had no heart or comedy. Just a waste of everyone's time. Not to mentioned it was marketed like crazy. I was so disappointed.
David Wangberg: Luc Besson should never try to make a comedy again… ever! If you really want to know why, watch The Family. Making Hansel diabetic in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was a really lame idea, too. And then there’s a lengthy rant I have for Approaching Midnight, but that’s going to take up way too much space here. In short, don’t send me a screener of your film and expect me to love it – just because you have read and liked my other reviews.
Tom Santilli: See: Movie 43, Hell Baby, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Purge, Charile Countryman, Crystal Fairy and Austenland. Or better yet, don’t see them.
Chris Sawin: I still haven't seen it, but I intend to once it hits DVD and Blu-ray but I'm still trying to wrap my head around why anyone would want to remake Oldboy. The original film is perfection. It was one of the first films to wake me up to how great foreign cinema can be and made me an immediate fan of both Choi Min-sik and Park Chan-wook. Remaking it seems like an intentional shotgun blast to the foot or a gigantic failure at an ego boost.
Brian Zitzelman: I mean The Host, come on.
Jason Roestel: The death of Spock scene in The Wrath of Khan is cinematic sacred text at this point. As is the "I'm your Father..." scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Unless you're honoring them in a comedy, as Kyle Newman did so well in Fanboys, you don't go near these two scenes - for any reason whatsoever. Enter DJ Abrams - ready to remix the classics for Generation Lost. The Zach Quinto "Khaaaaaaaaaan!" moment was the most embarrassing scene in, not just any film in 2013, but the entire history of Star Trek. And I haven't forgotten the episode of Voyager (Threshold) where Captain Janeway and Tom Paris de-evolve into salamanders and mate with each other. This was worse.
Glenn Percival: Remaking Oldboy - Really Hollywood? This movie doesn’t need to be remade. Such a dumb decision.
Jorge Carreon: I can see why The Secret Life of Walter Mitty would be given a chance to engage audiences in 2013. But too many years in development hell really spoiled the soup. You want to see epic, emotional scope on screen? Go see Gravity and not this vanity piece that provides a feast for the eyes, but is devoid of any real substance.
Nick Tiffany: Johnny Depp in blackface? Really? What the hell was Gore Verbinski thinking when he made The Lone Ranger? Oh, wait. He wasn't thinking anything. That whole movie is a mess and it's also way too long. I don't know why it exists, but I'm still upset that I wasted my time seeing it.
Erik Samdahl: Movie 43. I want to know what dirt the filmmakers had on the cast involved to blackmail into doing this.
Ruben Rosario: I am flabbergasted by the success of We're the Millers. The most sobering irony about this faux-edgy farce: the actors are far more convincing playing the generic nuclear family they're pretending to be than they are at portraying the marginal figures they're actually supposed to be.
20) Most Wanted Film of 2014:
Tim Hall: It's a toss up between Noah and Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm excited to see them because the directors aren't afraid to try something different.
David Wangberg: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes could be a good sequel to Rise, but I still have this feeling that it might be a slight letdown. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, on the other hand, looks incredible.
Tom Santilli: I’m definitely looking forward to several films this coming year. There’s George Clooney’s Monuments Men. Amazing Spider-Man 2. X-Men: Day of Future Past. Guardians of the Galaxy. Seth McFarlane’s 2nd directorial effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West. Doug Liman’s first film in four years, Edge of Tomorrow. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The Wachowski siblings’s Jupiter Ascending. One of my favorite graphic novels of all-time from Frank Miller, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. And yes, 22 Jump Street. Please Lord, may at least a few of these not totally suck.
Chris Sawin: Next year has so much to look forward to; Interstellar, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jupiter Ascending, and the last Hobbit film. I'm actually really looking forward to Non-Stop and I'm very happy to see that A Fantastic Fear of Everything finally has a release date, but I'm eager to see if X-Men: Days of Future Past will be a train-wreck or not and the same can be said for Dumb and Dumber To. My two big films of the year are Noah and Godzilla though. I'm a fairly huge Godzilla fan and the new film looks spectacular and you can rarely go wrong with Darren Aronofsky.
Brian Zitzelman: Inherent Vice has one thing going for it no other 2014 release does; Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm. That’s enough for me.
Jason Roestel: Can I say Mad Max: Fury Road again? Two years in a row? David Fincher's Gone Girl is my biggie in 2013. Two reasons. First off, I'm the world's biggest Fincher fanatic. Second, Ben Affleck, who's been cast in the lead of the movie, is already a pretty capable director at this early point in his second-act career as a filmmaker. I can't imagine what kind of work he's going to churn out after apprenticing under the master on the set of Gone Girl.
Glenn Percival: Veronica Mars. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Dumb and Dumber to - Yeah, there are a few. I recently started watching Veronica Mars and I’m loving it so far. Captain America is looking like a total winner, and I loved the first one. A new Sin City is exciting right from the start, especially since both Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are involved again. And a new Dumb and Dumber, I don’t care how long it’s been, it was one of my all-time favorite comedies, so a sequel with all of the original elements involved is insanely exciting for me.
Jorge Carreon: Composer Stephen Sondheim is finally getting the big screen treatment next Christmas with Into the Woods. It is his most accessible musical, one that may bring his artistry to the mainstream. We can only wish.
Nick Tiffany: As of now, I'm probably most excited for Interstellar. Christopher Nolan has yet to make a bad film and they seem to just get better and better. This film has literally everyone great in it, including Matthew McConaughey (the changed man). I love outer space and the concept of wormholes is really intriguing. I can't wait to see what this movie holds in store and I can't wait for another, more revealing trailer!
Erik Samdahl: This is tough, but for the sake of not pulling my hair, I’m looking for Fox to right the ship with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is either going to be a bloated mess or one freaking awesome comic book adaptation.
Ruben Rosario: No Seventh Son for me to tear to shreds until 2015?! Well, that's no fun. In that case, it's a toss-up between Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, which promises a Shia LaBeouf woody – as well as real sexytime by his body double – and Clint Eastwood's long-awaited screen adaptation of Jersey Boys.