It has been a wonderful year for films. Everybody has made a buck one way or another. Everybody was entertained and most of the time everybody was happy when they left the theater. The following films are my best of 2013. I understand that some of you might disagree with me as whether these films should be the on a best of list but hey it's my article. You have to be in a good mood at the end of a prosperous year because the new films for 2014 haven't come out yet and we have no idea as to whether they will be any good. So all we can go on is what we have seen. I hope you enjoy this list and if you haven't seen one of these films I hope you take the time soon to go out and watch them. So in conclusion, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in 2014.
5. 'The Great Gatsby' - The story opens with Nick spending some time at a sanitarium. The doctor is trying to get him to open up concerning his summer on Long Island. After a short discussion, the Doctor suggests he write out his problems.
You see when Nick came to Long Island that summer he was an upstart of sorts. He was new to the workings of the market and he had a small cottage to live in. He was not a member of the society on the Island. Nick has a cousin who married into the stinking rich class. Her husbands name is Buchanan, Tom Buchanan. They live in a very substantial house on the other side of the Island, the old money section. Now Nick is coming over for a bite of lunch. Daisy, nicks cousin, is lounging with a friend Jordan as he is brought into the sun room. Daisy's husband Tom is trying to relive his glory days as an athlete. Nick is simply taken aback with the wealth. At times it looks like he is just walking around with his mouth open.
The talk around the table is about the prominence of the white race in the world. In other words the same talk the Nazi's were doing in Germany about that time. A call for Tom disrupts the lunch. It is from Tom's mistress which just makes Daisy upset. Tom says to Nick that they have to go to the club that afternoon. Which is in layman's terms means that he and Nick have to go get his mistress and spend the afternoon in New York having fun.
Now Mr. and Mrs. Wilson run a low income gas station and garage This also happens to be the home of Tom's mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Tom gives her some money to catch the train into the city. She says she will call her sister for Nick to play with. Nick is brought into the hypocrisy of the folks on the Island. You have your wife at home and your mistress in an apartment in the city.
Nick's neighbor is a well to do by the name of Jay Gatsby. An upstart of sorts, as he has money but not old money. At Gatsby's home every weekend is a party. You don't get invited, you just show up. Well one day, Nick gets an invitation to a Gatsby party. He feels very honored as he walks through all the guests letting them know he was invited. The two meet and Nick is enamored with his neighbor. He holds on to every word Gatsby says and takes it in as if he never met anybody like him before. The two have lunch the next day and you get a glimpse into the life that Gatsby is all about. Gatsby talks about Nick's cousin Daisy and inquires to see if Nick can set up tea with Daisy.
You see Daisy and Gatsby had a thing before the War. Unfortunately, Gatsby was only a Lieutenant and didn't come from money. The awkwardness at tea shows just how silly in love the two had been all those years ago.
The story goes on to open up the door for Gatsby and Daisy to rekindle their long lost love. It also turns Nick into the person he never thought he would be. He sees the real world and he sees the make believe of the Roaring 20's. He is torn between the two.
The movie is based on the novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The movie is a good adaptation of the book. What I didn't enjoy was the 3d cinematography that the director tried to incorporate into the movie. As he was trying to pull off a look of early 20's camera work in the end he only made the movie darker than it should have been. The roaring 20's on Long Island was one of gay splendor. Brightness in thought and had no sign of the things to come: The stock crash of 29 and the rise of Fascism. On the whole I would say yes go and see it but keep an open mind. Enjoy.
4. 'Gravity' - Mission Specialist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is trying desperately to fix the Hubble Telescope. Mission Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is trying to beat the record for the most time space walking. In other words he is having fun. Mission control (Ed Harris) tells him to help and to quit playing around. Ryan is having trouble bringing the Telescope back online when a disaster is reported.
It seems a Russian missile has shot down a satellite whose orbit was decaying. Problem this has left a lot of space debris heading for the shuttle. They are immediately told by Mission control to drop everything and get in the shuttle and head home. Abort the mission, Ryan tries to continue to finish the job. Kowalski comes at the last minute to get her back inside when debris starts to hit everything. They are able to get Hubble away from the ship but everything is getting hit with space debris.
Ryan is untethered in the incident and drifts away from the area. She is hyperventilating and can't right herself. Basically she is having a panic attack. Kowalski is able to get to her but it is a ways back to the shuttle. When they get there they see that it is hopeless to get the shuttle back to Earth and everyone on board is dead.
They try and make their way to the Space Station but it is apparent that the two can't make it together. Kowalski untethers himself from Ryan and floats away. Ryan is able to get to the station but realizes that their is a fire on board and must separate herself from the Station. Now because all the satellites have been destroyed there is no contact with mission control or Kowalski. Ryan is alone and is only a part time astronaut with only six months training. Will she die in space or will she make it to a Chinese space station and make it back to Earth. Watch the rest of the movie and you'll find out.
Director Alfonso Cuaron brings us an interesting tale of survival. The movie looks at life in space and actually shows us that every time we send somebody up in space that it could be a possibility of happening. That a catastrophe like this could occur and it could be life or death for some poor soul.
3. 'Frozen' - In a far away place is the Kingdom of Arendelle. A beautiful land with a royal family that has two beautiful daughters. The eldest daughter Elsa (Idina Menzel) has special powers that can change things to ice and snow. One evening the two girls are playing and Elsa hurts her sister Anna ( Kristen Bell) with some ice. The King takes his daughter to some trolls who can help her. Anna can be saved but she can never know of her sisters powers. The troll Pabby (Ciaran Hinds) is able to cure Anna and the family goes back home with their secret. They keep the two girls separate for years.
The king and Queen later get lost at sea and it's Anna who presides over the funeral. When it is time to coronate Elsa to be Queen it is Anna who wants everyone to attend. Elsa is still afraid of anyone finding out about her powers.
While the Ball is going on Anna is having such a great time dancing and actually falls for a Prince Hans (Santino Fontana). Elsa and Anna have a big fight and Elsa goes running off into the night turning everything into ice and snow in her wake. Anna wants to try and get to Elsa and tell her that it doesn't matter about her powers. Anna leaves Hans in charge and she goes off to find her sister.
While searching for her sister Anna runs into a man named Kristoff. She asks him to help her find Elsa. In their search Kristoff will lose his sleigh and though he is upset about it he still helps. Once found Elsa and Anna will once again argue and this time Elsa turns part of Anna's heart into ice.
Kristoff will take her to Pabby for help. You see Pabby and the other trolls are his adopted family. Pabby says their is nothing he can do but an act of love will help change her back. They think of Hans as Anna had a small love for him. So they try and return to Arendelle to try and find Hans.
This is a beautiful story of family and love. It is also a story on how sometimes the simplest things can get in the way of love. Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee bring this story to life for us on the big screen. You see it is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Snow Queen". This is a must see this week or at the latest next but you must take your children and grandchildren and see it before Christmas. I can say this they will love you for it for the emotion and love you will get in return will melt the coldest heart.
'Saving Mr. Banks' - The movie has to do with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his acquisition of the rights to a story called Mary Poppins written by P.L.Travers (Emma Thompson). Mary Poppins actually was written out in several short stories but Disney wanted to make a movie about her. He had made a promise to his daughters some 20 years earlier about getting the rights to make a movie for them. He did not realize that when he made that promise that it would take 20 years to fulfill.
Travers was a hard lady to figure out and what most didn't know is how much the stories had to do with her childhood in Australia. You see her father Travers Goff (Colin Farrell) was a banker and he was also and alcoholic. He would lose his jobs and would eventually lose his life to the disease. This affected his daughter Helen very much. Helen Goff is P.L.Travers. Helen's mother Margaret (Ruth Wilson) was a shy little women who really wanted to help her husband but in the end it was too much for anyone to do.
Disney eventually brought Travers over to the states to see what he had in store for the movie. He brought out everything to make the woman feel good and sign over the rights of Mary Poppin's. She had a team of writers in brothers Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B.J.Novak) and Dan DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) to help in making the film. She had a driver by the name of Ralph (Paul Giamatti) to drive her anywhere she wanted to go.
Travers was tied to her books by her past just as Disney was to his father. It was when they found mutual grounds that all started to fall into place. Their fathers played a large part in the up bringing and it was when they both had been living in the past that it was then they began to live in the present. These two figures in history met and brought to the screen one of the most beloved films ever made, 'Mary Poppins'.
Director John Lee Hancock has put together a film that is long overdue. Disney has always brought us good films. With this movie Disney brings us back to something that for most of us we haven't seen in a very long time, and that is our youth. As I mentioned, 'Mary Poppins', was my very first movie to be seen in a movie theater. 'Saving Mr. Banks' allowed me to venture back to my youth and to a period I've missed for so long. Mary Poppins has the ability even now to bring tears, laughter, frustration, and a hole gamut of emotions up in me that I had hidden so long ago. Disney has brought us back to a time so precious to us all. You must see this film. It's okay if you cry a little. Everybody else will be too.
'12 Years A Slave' - In the year of our Lord 1841, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a free man with a family. He lived a comfortable life as violinist in Saratoga, New York. This is a true story.
Solomon was to be drugged and sold as a slave. He would take the name Platt and would end up in New Orleans and sold to the highest bidder. In the beginning he would work for a kind man by the name of Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Running into trouble with an underling of the man named Ford he would be sold to a man named Epps (Michael Fassbender). It would be under Epps that Platt would be treated with cruelty, jealousy, and eventually downright hatred. Epps would read the bible by day to his property and by night he would rape the women.
Mistress Epps (Sarah Paulson) had such a hatred of the Negro she would incite her husband to beat them until they were almost dead. A slave herself in a sense, Mistress Epps had such jealousy of her husband for his taking the black women to bed that she would fill such rage in her husband that he almost whipped his favorite slave to death.
Platt was found out to be able to play the violin and would be lent out to others for dances and such. He could never have told anyone what he was and how he came to be there. He just couldn't trust anyone with that information. For to be a slave let alone a knowledgeable one could mean immediate death.
He would eventually cross paths with a Canadian Abolitionist by the name of Bass (Brad Pitt). Bass had found himself in tough spot and was working off a debt. The two men would work side by side and one day Platt would tell Bass how he got to be a slave. Bass would eventually write a letter to some of Platt's Yankee friends with the hope that he would be allowed to be a free man once again.
As I said this is a true story written by Solomon Northup himself. It tells the story of just how insane slavery was and all that was done to the black man in the United States. Director Steve McQueen brings to us a riveting tale of cruelty, sadism, and what would be called today a crime against humanity. It shows just how this country was built on the backs of others. This is a must see movie to be viewed by all.