film, tech, photo, games, design...

Ryland’s Top 50 Films of 2013 (+ 3 Most Overrated)

Another year of great cinema is coming to an end. Many have called it the best year in some time. I’m not so sure I agree. But there were some fantastic films and I saw a whopping 192 that qualified for my list. I’ve narrowed it down to a mere 50 for you to peruse, plus I’ve added three films to the bottom whose critical support made me all angry. For most films, I’ve included my reaction tweet to give you a bit of insight as to what I was thinking the moment I walked out of the theater. Check out the list and let me know where you think I dropped the ball.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Sundance Channel (TV) 3/18/2013
I scoffed at the idea of sitting through 6 hours of mini-series at Sundance but was happy to do so for my lazy day after Thanksgiving binge watch of this captivating show. Elisabeth Moss and Peter Mullan shine in this delicate mix between a procedural and character examination.
TOP OF THE LAKE is very well put together w/ fantastic performances all around – but gets a bit caught between procedural & odd char piece.

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: VOD by VHX
This lovely time capsule of cinema by Josh Johnson and Carolee Mitchell takes us inside the world of VHS collectors and explores the technology that made it possible for a generation of movie lovers to become fanatics.
REWIND THIS! is exactly the VHS love letter we’ve been promised, but it’s just as much about love of cinema as fondness for a format.
My First Impression from SXSW on Twitch

Premiere: Tribeca ’13 – US Release: VOD
I have a special place in my heart for well-done action-sports documentaries that transcend the simple “highlight reel” format. This co-production between ski-flick mainstay Matchstick Productions and Red Bull Media House excellently recounts the story of one of the all-time greatest skiers, and one fo the extreme sports world’s most tragic losses.
My review on Twitch

Premiere: LA Film Fest ’13 – US Release: Magnolia Magnet U-VOD 6/27/2013
A very cool premise and some impressive low budget execution earns Sebastián Cordero’s deep space thriller a berth on my best of list.
Though it suffers a bit from its mushy narrative structure, the entertaining EUROPA REPORT does an impressive amount of sci-fi right.
My review from LA Film Fest on Twitch

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: IFC Films 7/12/2013
This Sebastian Silva spin-off production from his bigger budget Magic Magic turned out to be far more entertaining than its Sundance co-premiering cousin. Part adventure story, part psychedelic trip-out, and part examination of interpersonal dynamics, this movie surprised most when it kicked the Park City fest off to a raucous start.
CRYSTAL FAIRY is a beautifully honest exploration of personality conflicts w/ a bit of adventure to go along. Silva one to watch.
My review from Sundance on Twitch

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Theaters Now via Tugg
Steve Hoover’s documentary about a young man who falls in love with a country at an Indian home for orphans with HIV won the US Docu Competition and Audience Award at Sundance before going on an impressive streak of festival wins. It’s not surprising as the film succeeds wildly at marrying a captivating character with a truly inspirational story.

Premiere: Sundance Next Weekend ’13 – US Release: TBA
Premiering at Sundance’s experimental LA mini-fest, Chadd Harbold’s super indie raunch-com surprised the hell out of me by putting me in stitches. No release details out there for this one yet, but it’s worth checking out if you get a chance, even if stand-up comic star Gavin McInnes is a bit of a dick.
HOW TO BE A MAN is an indie raunch-com w/ epic commitment. Plenty of lines crossed. Plenty of belly laughs.
My review from Sundance Next Weekend on Twitch

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: Screen Media, March 2014
This full length featurization of Todd Sklar’s hilarious ’92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card provides more zany humor of the same plot-wandering ilk. It’s not the kind of movie you’re going to be left pondering long after the credits roll, but it’s pretty damned easy to enjoy the experience while it lasts.
AWFUL NICE is a wild and zany comedy that fully commits to its wacky premise. Great performances by leads and some hilarious cameos.
My review from SXSW on Twitch

Premiere: Toronto ’13 – US Release: TBA
A good ol’ fashioned small town heist thriller, WGGOOTP makes numerous smart decisions from screenplay to casting and points to very good things to come from director brothers Simon and Zeke Hawkins.
WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE is a tense crime thriller with solid performances, great pace, and plenty of twists and turns.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: TBA
The synopsis really doesn’t do this fascinating Sundance New Frontiers-premiering film justice, but here it is: A group of actors use minimal stage settings to reenact aviation disasters culled from the transcripts of black box recorders. If it sounds weird, it is — but it is also extremely thrilling and well worth seeking out.

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Drafthouse Films, 2014
Yes, it’s just plain fun to say, but the “gotto go Borgman” refrain became a rallying cry amongst American journos at this year’s Cannes fest after the Dutch black comedy stole our hearts. Luckily, the film was a hit with Drafthouse Films who swooped it up for release next year. Trust me, you gotta go Borgman.
Just got BORGMANed and it was a devil of a fun time. Director Alex van Warmerdam has wit in spades. Jan Bijvoet quite sympathetic.

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Radius-TWC 2014
There was a ton of good buzz out of Cannes for Jeremy Saulnier’s sophomore effort (after Murder Party) starring Macon Blair as a homicidal revenge seeker. When I finally caught up with the film at TIFF, I was far from disappointed by its tight plot and impressive performances.
BLUE RUIN is a full-blooded revenge thriller that keeps you guessing throughout and is ultimately both entertaining and fulfilling

38. HER
Premiere: NYFF ’13 – US Release: WB 12/18/2013
I’d really hoped the latest film by Spike Jonze would have moved me enough to challenge for the top spot on this list. It didn’t — and I suspect those expectations have pushed it even further down. However it is a beautifully put together film from a technical level with a particularly great performance by Amy Adams. It just isn’t the brilliant heart-wrencher I’d hoped it would be.
HER is a beautifully crafted film that deftly explores fascinating territory, but I didn’t emotionally connect the way I’d hoped.

37. V/H/S/2
Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Magnolia Magnet U-VOD 6/6/2013
This worthy successor to the first found footage champion (#34 on last year’s list) packed the anthology with enough high quality directors to keep the format from becoming stale. However I would have been happier if Magnolia had kept the original title of S-VHS.
S-VHS is every bit the Super POV anthology we were all hoping. A clamshell packed with blood, zombies, ghosts, & aliens. Loved it.
My review from Sundance on Twitch

Premiere & US Release: Paramount 12/25/2013
Martin Scorsese’s hedonistic take down of big finance via the tropes of his most famous mafia movies is a very well-acted and directed film. Its major sin is that at 3-hours, it is simply too long. Still it’s the kind of film that will stand the test of time and be plenty fun to revisit in a few years.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is no doubt an enjoyable film, but a few nagging fundamental story issues have left me feeling flat a few days on. That being said, the “super ludes” fight between Leo and Jonah is one of the best scenes of the year.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Focus 5/24/2013
It’s no surprise that documentarian extraordinaire Alex Gibney would craft and intricate and thrilling story about one of the organizations that has most defined our times. What’s more surprising is how much I didn’t know about Assange and the story of WikiLeaks before I saw the film. This is a must watch for anyone with a slight interest in the events it covers.
WE STEAL SECRETS a celebration of WikiLeaks’ transparency & surprising indictment of Assange’s hypocrisy. More success for Gibney.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: HBO (TV) 4/18/2013
After loving the incredible documentary Restrepo (number 3 on my 2010 list), I was gutted to hear that one of that film’s directors had lost his life in Libya in 2011. This thrilling docu by his co-director Sebastian Junger tells that story along with looking at the extremely dangerous profession of wartime journalism.
Hetherington docu WHICH WAY TO THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? is a wonderful portrait of an exceptional human and his creative drive.

Premiere: Toronto ’13 – US Release: Tribeca Films 2014
David Mackenzie made a fascinating sci-fi thriller called Perfect Sense a few years back that I was very impressed by. It wasn’t until I’d already seen this gritty UK prison drama that I even realized it was the same director. But his sense of realism and the breakout performance by Jack O’Connell (not to mention Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend) make this a visceral and memorable experience.
Ben Mendelsohn puts in yet another stellar performance in tense UK prison drama STARRED UP but is outshined by young Jack O’Connell.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: CBS Films 5/31/2013
Originally titled Toy’s House, Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s summertime coming-of-ager was one of the most enjoyable films at a Sundance packed with crowd-pleasers. While some have complained of realism issues, suspending a bit of disbelief will allow you to fall in love with the characters and transport back to the endless summers of your youth.
1st act of TOY’S HOUSE is funniest stuff I’ve seen at #Sundance. Rest has lots of laughs and plenty of heart. A definite festival standout.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: HBO (TV) 7/15/2013, Phase 4 12/13/2013
Top documentarian Lucy Walker’s tale of snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his traumatic brain injury is an incredibly touching story of family and an interesting examination of a topic that is just beginning to get the coverage it deserves.
THE CRASH REEL worth the #SXSW screening hassles. Incredible brain injury docu by @lucyjwalker had me fighting back tears. Great music too.

Premiere & US Release: Sony 12/13/2013
The outpouring of love over David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook had me declaring that film the emperor with no clothes. Well this emperor has some clothes, and they are some perfectly styled late 1970s duds. Aside from the awesome technical elements, the performances by the talented actors across the board make this David O. Russell’s most enjoyable film since Three Kings.
A tightly wound & perfectly acted drama with wonderful design & laughs a plenty, AMERICAN HUSTLE should do very well in the Hair/Costume/Production Design categories. My only criticism was it feels just a bit too long.

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: IFC Films 12/6/2013
Zach Clark’s devilishly black comedy is a Christmas movie for a whole generation of hipsters. Anna Margaret Hollyman’s performance is top notch. Look for this one to show up on cult classic lists every year around the holidays.
Zach Clark’s WHITE REINDEER is a touching and darkly hilarious drama with a stellar central performance by Anna Margaret Hollyman.
My review from SXSW on Twitch

Premiere: LA Film Fest ’13 – US Release: Samuel Goldwyn 2014
Denis Hennelly’s indie apocalypse drama was a big surprise when I caught it at LA Film Fest. Strong performances and an interesting script keep this contained film interesting, even as it treads on pretty well beaten grounds.
Super impressed by GOODBYE WORLD, a polished end-of-the-world indie with both humor & heart. Strong performances + breakout potential. It also features my fave white-people-sitting-around-dinner-table-drinking-wine scene yet (and there’s stiff competition).
My review from LAFF on Twitch

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: CBS Films 12/20/2013
Enjoyable throughout, while it may always live as a “lesser Coens,” Oscar Isaac’s incredible performance as the down-on-his-luck musician is one of those iconic roles that will define his career.
The Coens’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is light on plot but immensely enjoyable due to Oscar Isaac’s talent for playing a likable asshole.
My review from Cannes on Twitch
My First Impression from Cannes on Twitch

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Sony Classics 4/11/2014
While I missed it at Cannes, I was sure to see this vampire tale from indie godfatrher Jim Jarmusch at TIFF and it was worth the wait. Buoyed by strong performances by Tom Hiddlestone and Tilda Swinton, look for this one to show up on plenty of 2014 best-of lists after its release from Sony Classics next April.
Stellar performances by Hiddleston and Swinton propel Jarmuschian vampire tale ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE to immensely enjoyable heights

25. JOE
Premiere: Venice ’13 – US Release: Roadside 4/4/2014
Another TIFF watch that won’t hit screens until next April, the second 2013 festival premiere from David Gordon Green was an incredible story that was manhandled with grace by star Nicolas Cage. It also featured another extremely mature performance from Mud star Tye Sheridan.
David Gordon Green’s rural slow burner JOE is an intense character piece with stunning performances by Nic Cage & Tye Sheridan.
My review from TIFF on Twitch

Premiere: NYFF ’13 – US Release: Sony Columbia 10/11/2013
It took me a while to catch up with this Tom Hanks on a boat thriller, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the pace that Paul Greengrass was able to keep up by changing locations and not letting things get too claustrophobic. Hanks is fittingly strong as well.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS succeeds due to Greengrass’s ability to keep the tension high with shifting locations and surprises. Hanks fantastic.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: IFC Films 8/16/2013
I have a ton of respect for David Lowery for putting in so many shifts as editor and cinematographer on dozens of indies over the last decade. While this is Lowery’s third feature as director, it’s certainly the first to break through and that’s in no small part to the stellar performances by Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Keith Carradine. With this impressive a cast, it’s a real testament to Lowery’s script and Bradford Young’s cinematography that those two elements have received even more praise than the actors. This will likely be a film we look back on in some years and wonder why it didn’t get more attention during awards season.
Gonna hear Malick invoked a lot over AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS but it’s a beautiful naturalistic drama & likely #Sundance Comp film to beat. It’s another #Sundance film w/ a hauntingly beautiful score, not to mention A+ performances by Rooney Mara & Ben Foster.

Premiere: Venice ’13 – US Release: Sony Classics 11/8/2013
An Alex Gibney film about professional cycling? Talk about total docu-bait for me! And the results of this in-depth exploration of cycling’s most prolific winner/cheater provides all the goodies you would expect from such an incredible combination, making it one of the very best documentaries of the year.
Gibney’s THE ARMSTRONG LIE is every bit the exciting and insightful examination of one of sports’ most fascinating stories. Must see.
My review from TIFF on Twitch

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Radius-TWC 9/27/2013
Jacob Kornbluth’s docu about Robert Reich and WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA is the kind of film absolutely everyone needs to see. It’s also an excellently made film with particularly good use of graphics.
Robert Reich doc INEQUALITY FOR ALL is a brilliant distillation of America’s economic picture. Everyone NEEDS to watch this film.

Premiere: Toronto ’13 – US Release: Open Road 2014
This Hendrix biopic directed by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley is a moody and stylish film with incredible performances by Andre Benjamin, Imogen Poots, and Hayley Atwell. I’m already steeling my defense for when the film inevitably limps out from Open Road sometime next year.
Jimi biopic ALL IS BY MY SIDE is audaciously stylish. Mature filmmaking from real talent John Ridley. Andre3000 is a perfect Hendrix.
My review from TIFF on Twitch

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Sony Classics 2014
Frank Pavich’s exploration of the greatest film that never was is a thrilling and fascinating look into the mind of one of film’s most interesting minds. The ways and amount the unmade film has influenced filmmaking since is astounding.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE is an excellently put together docu about a truly fascinating subject. Many laughs and much insight throughout.
My review from Cannes on Twitch

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: Drafthouse Films 3/21/2014
Aside from the fact that this fantastic first feature from E.L. Katz is wonderfully entertaining, it is also extremely impressive from a production stand point. So much is done with so little and it never feels small or claustrophobic. Hats off to this team and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
So impressed by CHEAP THRILLS. An incredibly efficiently told story and ultimately entertaining. The film we’ll remember from.

Premiere: Telluride ’12 – US Release: Drafthouse Films 7/19/2013
After hearing about how exceptional this film about socially-celebrated Indonesian assassins was for nearly a year and a half, I finally found a chance to watch it in the run-up to making this list. I’m happy to report it is every bit the stand out documentary that others have reported and the kind of film that needs to be seen to be appreciated.
THE ACT OF KILLING is the rarest of films that peers so deep into the human soul that it changes the way you look at the world. Remarkable!

Premiere: Cannes ’12 – US Release: Magnolia 7/12/2013
Another festival film I missed only to catch up with much, much later, Thomas Vinertberg’s exploration of a man rocked by a sexual scandal is a mature and fascinating drama. It’s no surprise that Mads Mikkelsen’s central performance makes the film’s success possible.
Both taut and touching, THE HUNT is a mature and fascinating drama that allows Mikkelsen’s light to shine at its very brightest.

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: IFC Sundance Selects 10/25/2013
A fitting winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes this summer, this is one of those magical coming-of-age love stories that transports you to another place and will leave you reeling for some time to come (even if you don’t happen to be a French teenage lesbian).
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (La Vie D’Adele) is a fascinatingly told tale of love & loss w/ the kind of sex only the Euros could film.
My review from Cannes on Twitch

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: Limited Theatrical by First Run Features
Better than All Is Lost, better than Life of Pi, this documentary about Laura Dekker, the teenage Dutch girl who attempts to sail solo around the world, is an astounding look into the heart of a true adventurer. It’s also an impressive feat of filmmaking that director Jillian Schlesinger was able to keep a film mainly filmed by Dekker herself so interesting throughout.
MAIDENTRIP is a remarkable story of accomplishment and a wonderful celebration of the promise of youth. Just beautiful.
My review from SXSW on Twitch

Premiere: Toronto ’13 – US Release: Focus 11/1/2013
It’s a shame that a company with as much history as Focus Features will be closing up shop, but what a film to go out on. Jean-Marc Vallée’s tale of AIDS drug runner Ron Woodruff is an inspirational story, a beautiful film, and has perhaps the two best performances of the year in Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Magnolia 8/9/2013
I’ve taken a bit of stick for championing this David Gordon Green mediation on manhood, but I stand behind my support because of the way the film transported me into the lives of these two characters. This is due in no small part to the soundtrack of the year by Explosions In The Sky.
Wow. PRINCE AVALANCHE is perfect mix of David Gordon Green’s indie sensibility & big star comedy. Tiny, hilarious, touching tale.

Premiere: Telluride ’13 – US Release: Fox Searchlight 10/18/2013
It’s not hard to defend a top spot on any list for Steve McQueen’s striking exploration of the darkest tale of America’s history. While it just barely misses my Top 10, I still have it pegged to win Best Picture.
12 YEARS A SLAVE is the kind of brilliantly poignant film people will be talking about for generations. Stark honesty. Deeply moving.
My review from TIFF on Twitch

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Drafthouse Films 2014
This remarkable film by Waltz With Bashir director Ari Folman is some kind of head scratcher. It took me a few hours to come out of my haze induced by the mind-bending mixture of a semi-autobiographical story of aging actress Robin Wright and a psychedelic animated story based on a Stanislaw Lem novel. But once I recovered, I realized I’d experienced a film unlike anything I’d ever seen, and one good enough to make my Top 10. This year’s Holy Motors, be sure to seek it out when Drafthouse releases it next year.

Premiere: Karlovy Vary ’13 – US Release: Drafthouse Films 2014
Ben Wheatley is quickly becoming one of my favorite working directors. Down Terrace and Kill List were excellent and Sightseers was #16 on my 2012 list. The UK native’s latest is the tripped out story of a group of deserting soldiers in England’s civil war that stumble upon a magic mushroom patch to hilarious consequences. What’s most remarkable is the way Wheatley handles the cycles of the drug in glorious theatrical fashion. This is an extremely talented director at the very top of his game.
Holy WHAT? A FIELD IN ENGLAND far nuttier than expected. Brilliant historio-psychedelic narrative. Certain Top 10 & much fun to later revisit.

Premiere: Telluride ’13 – US Release: Sony Classics 2014
2014 is shaping up to be a great year for domestic release film based on my Top 10 list so far, and this Telluride/TIFF-premiering docu by Teller is another achievement in filmmaking. The movie follows a man trying to prove that Vermeer used an optical device to paint his famously lifelike artworks and the results… well they will shock you to say the least.
TIM’S VERMEER is an extremely entertaining doc & possibly revolutionary for the world of art history. Absolute must see for art buffs.

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: Samuel Goldwyn 9/20/2013
The top ranked and therefore my favorite documentary of 2013 is this joyous and inspirational story of youth golfers whose love for their sport is infectious. Maybe I’m a nut for golf and perhaps I especially respect multi character narrative documentaries, but this film just does everything right, and that damn Allan Kournikova is just so darn likable.
THE SHORT GAME is the best docu I’ve seen this year! Expertly crafted, the kids are so engaging I don’t want to say goodbye.
My review from SXSW on Twitch

Premiere: SXSW ’13 – US Release: Cinedigm 8/23/2013
It’s no surprise that this touching film by Destin Cretton took home the top prize at SXSW. Nor is it shocking that this tiny indie has racked up a domestic box office over $1 Million. The only thing mildly surprising about the rise of Short Term 12 is that Brie Larsen hasn’t gotten more awards buzz for her fantastic performance.
SHORT TERM 12 is every bit the magical character-driven melodrama it’s rumored to be. Wonderfully performances; utterly charming.

5. MUD
Premiere: Cannes ’12 – US Release: Roadside 4/26/2013
Jeff Nichols 2011 film Take Shelter just barely missed my Top 10 list that year (it got #13) and his latest is squarely in the thick of the Top 10 at number 5. Matthew McConaughey delivers an incredible performance (just one of many this year) but it is young Tye Sheridan who is the real star. The script is brilliant and the setting visceral. This is quite spectacular filmmaking and I can’t wait to see what Nichols gets up to next.
Jeff Nichols’s MUD every bit the mature, beautifully directed follow-up TAKE SHELTER deserves. Stellar performances all around.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: Sony Classics 5/24/2013
When I watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset in anticipation of seeing the third part at Sundance, I figured there was no way it could live up to my expectations. It absolutely did, and apparently I wasn’t alone. The refrain all across Park City was “Have you seen Before Midnight yet? … Okay I won’t say anything.” Therefore in case you have seen it yet, I won’t say anything here. And if you’ve already seen it — well than I don’t need to say anything anyway.
My notepad after BEFORE MIDNIGHT is just a bunch of exclamation marks. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My review from Sundance on Twitch

Premiere: Venice ’13 – US Release: WB 10/4/2013
Gravity is the movies we’ll look back on as either the high-water mark of effects-driven cinema, or the first of a new wave of experiential adventure blockbusters. Either way, it was one hell of an adventure and easily deserves a spot at the top of the list.
GRAVITY is transcendent cinema; more adventure experience than movie. Everyone on Earth is going to want to see this.

Premiere: Sundance ’13 – US Release: A24 8/2/2013
My top film of Sundance always finds a spot towards the very front of my list and this year it clocks in as first runner up. James Ponsoldt’s touching tale of teenage love transported me to those awkwardly romantic high school summers the way few films have. It also just feels like a movie of my youth with that whimsical quality of young love. This is mainly due to the incredible chemistry between Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, but also Ponsoldt’s deft handling of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s script.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW is an intimate & touching portrait of youth. Chemistry between Teller & Woodley some of the festival’s best.

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: Radius TWC 7/19/2013
Walking out of this film one sunny Cannes morning, I knew this experience was going to be hard to beat. In the end, no film even got close. Nicolas Refn’s artistic masterpiece works on so many levels past the incredible style that seeps through the film’s pores. From the cinematography to the casting, every decision made by Refn is perfection. Having only seen it twice, I’m just barely beginning to scratch the surface on the symbolism and metaphorical storytelling at work here. I can’t wait to dig back in and really understand all the elements at play in the mind of one of the most fascinating directors working today.
A hyper-violent feast for the senses, Refn’s ONLY GOD FORGIVES is an immaculately constructed crime film that’s more art than drama.
My review from Cannes on Twitch
My First Impression from Cannes on Twitch
Interview: Nicolas Winding Refn Names His Biggest Influences And Talks Making Films Like Pornography
Interview: Full Disclosure: Nicolas Winding Refn Reveals 12 Unseen Classics

And now, my pick for the three most overrated films of 2013 (though to be fair I try to avoid a lot of the worst of the worst):

Premiere & US Release: Sony Classics 7/26/2013
I just don’t get it. I’ve been calling foul on Woody Allen for as long as I can remember and inevitably someone says, “Well have you seen…?” Now that I’ve seen many more, I still think it’s trite and out of touch theater. Sure Cate Blanchett gives an interesting performance, but who is the character? There is no one that is actually like that! How does she not even know how to use a computer. I get it, some people love him. But personally I can’t find one shred of enjoyment in his films.
While Cate Blanchett is indeed impressive, BLUE JASMINE continues Woody Allen’s streak of boring comedies completely out of touch with today.

Premiere: Cannes ’13 – US Release: A24 6/14/2013
I like Sofia Coppola, I really do. I even liked Somewhere. But this film just goes off the rails. I’ll let this excerpt from my Cannes review tell the story: “Instead of using character development to teach the audience what went wrong with these kids (or, say, generation), Coppola just takes us on a 90-minute vacation into their fun-filled lives of coke-fueled clubbing and slo-mo selfies. Where is the conflict?
THE BLING RING is straight fwd dramatization that glorifies the kids to scary proportions w/o saying much. Likeable but little else.
My review from Cannes on Twitch

Premiere: London Film Fest ’13 – US Release: Disney 12/13/2013
What’s not to like about the touching tale of Walt Disney’s struggle to secure the right to adapt Mary Poppins? I’ll tell you what: Exactly half the film. While the Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson half of the movie is a sugar-coated but harmless tale with a few fun moments, the Collin Farrell flashback to the Poppins’s writer’s youth is excruciating. Wait, her dad was a drunk? HER DAD IS MR. BANKS!?! Uggggh.

Thanks for joining me for another great year of movies. Please tell me what you loved and what I got wrong in the comments below!

Posted by enderzero at 4:16pm on Dec. 30, 2013  


  1. Emily says:

    What!! American Hustle is not in your top 10???

    Dec. 30, 2013 at 4:47pm  
  2. james says:

    Great work as always. I enjoyed the Allen take down. Saving Mr. Banks is revisionist history at it’s worst. Disney sucks. i’m gonna have to take another look at Only God Forgives and I need to find the golf kid doc.

    Dec. 31, 2013 at 4:37pm