Rant by Gene
This week, the guys here at LTBM will be looking back at 2013 and seeing how the movies we were looking forward to most turned out. Here’s a recap of my comments on what I was looking forward to most about this time last year, and whether they met my expectations or not. (Comments from last year in italics).
1) Man of Steel – Even without the speedos, I like watching Superman on the big-screen.
I enjoyed this movie a lot. I think Henry Cavil did a satisfactory job in convincing us all he is the new Man of Steel. Something Brandon Routh failed miserably at nearly 8 years ago. There were two main criticism of this movie. One was the scale of destruction to Smallville and Metropolis. Granted, it was very un-Superman-like, but it didn’t bother me at all really. What do you think would happen if two unstoppable forces met in a very breakable city? The second complaint was centered on Cal-El’s decision to take Zod’s life. A decision which we developed into a moral dilemma dialogue. I for one was very surprised by it. I remember my mouth dropping in the theater at this moment. Initially I thought it was a bad move, but upon further reflection it was kind of the only choice. This movie is a very “real world consequence” type of take on Superman, similar to what we’ve seen recently with Batman, and I think it was a good direction to go. (Eric’s review here)
2) World War Z – The Walking Dead on AMC has me on the lookout for all things zombie.
I still love The Walking Dead, and while I wasn’t blown away by this, I wasn’t disappointing either. To be honest, this was less of a zombie movie and more of a light mystery thriller. Most zombie apocalypse movies are all about the survival of a small group, their interactions and struggles. This however was about one man’s journey to find the source, and thereby a cure, for this strange epidemic that has taken over almost the entire planet. Brad Pitt did okay. I would’ve liked a little more emotion in the moments with his family, but hey, Tyler Durden’s emotions probably never venture into that territory 😉 (Elliott’s review here)
3) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Because I love lamp.
I got a chance to review this! I gave it a 4/5 so obviously I was happy with it. The one thing I will say is that there was about a 30 minute stretch at the end of the movie where there weren’t too many laughs. Other than that I thought it didn’t rehash the jokes from the first one too much. It was a fresh storyline with new stereotypes to joke on. So it didn’t fall into some of the typical traps of comedy sequels. But, I would rate it lower than the first.
4) Oz The Great and Powerful – Franco could make a good Oz, or he could ruin it.
This is probably my first disappointment of my 2013 picks. I had a “hmmm, let’s see how he does”, moment when I learned Franco would star as Oz. I just don’t think this is the type of role for him as an actor. In my opinion it never reached the expectations which the original created for it. Rachel Weisz was good as one of the witches, but I think Mila Kunis was badly mis-cast as the Wicked Witch of the West. Her transformation and following evil laughs, screams and shrieks didn’t strike me as scary at all. More like they were trying too hard, or something. Not all bad though. Had a cute talking monkey, sweet china doll and beautiful cinematography. Just not a great movie. (John’s review here)
5) After Earth – Hoping for M. Night Shyamalan to re-emerge with a good one here.
That would be a big N-O. I had great hopes of Will Smith re-igniting Shyamalan’s career, but it was not to be. I think he did about as well as he could with what he had. He made a good stone-faced, iron-hide general who happens to be a father, but in the end it was his son, poor (by comparison) CGI and glaring plot holes that brought this down. Apparently in the future, while they embrace some incredible advances in technology, they’ve decided to do away with long-range radar. I mean, who wants to know if you’re headed for an asteroid cluster anyway? (Eric’s review here)
So that’s the top five movies I was looking most forward to in 2013. As is probably the case every year, almost none of those would make my top five favorite by the end of 2013. Probably only Man of Steel, if I’m being generous. Iron Man 3 was fun, but a stupid, stupid, stupid twist in villains brought it down significantly. Aside from Monsters University and perhaps Frozen, the animated movies this year were pretty weak. Ryan Gosling had a good year with Place Beyond the Pines and Only God Forgives. I didn’t catch the latter, and while I thought the former was a good story, I thought the love-fest that most of the blogosphere had with it was a bit overblown. Before November I think most people would say that 2013 was a disappointment. A lot of promise but very little delivery. I wonder what the consensus is now after the holiday films have come out. In my opinion, Catching Fire was the best film of 2013. I have not read the books so I’m a complete blank slate when it comes to this story, and I think that serves me well when viewing the films. I saw significant improvements in the performances from both Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence. The additional characters brought in that get a lot of screen time did wonderfully, especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I was never bored with the story and I thought the transfer of conflict from personal in the first, to political/social in this one, was perfectly done. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug was also very good. I saw a lot of complaints that there were some down moments in the film. I didn’t experience this at all, I was entertained the whole way through. My surprise of the year is definitely Pacific Rim. Sure the acting could’ve been a little better, but it is what it is, and that is awesome! The Way Way Back was also a pleasant surprise. As far as movies I haven’t seen yet but wish I had: Gravity, Only God Forgives, Rush, Captain Phillips & The Wolverine. That’s all I got, what was your take on 2013???