2013 Movie Scorecard

This is way late but I wanted to see all the big 2013 movies and it took me a while.  There are still a bunch I’m missing including Star Trek: Into Darkness, Philomena and Her.  I figure I have to draw the line somewhere or it will never be posted.  I would like to do a video to accompany this post but we will see.

I have rated each film a clean content grade and an overall grade.  D is adults only, C is mature content, B is a few scenes of concern, A is appropriate for whole family.

Some of the movies are bold and that is because they are hyperlinked to my full reviews on those films.  I am as slow seeing movies this year as I was last.  Only seen Lego movie so far…

What movies did you like in 2013 and what do you think of my grades?

12 Years a Slave-

A tough but profound movie.  Focuses on the life of Solomon Northup who was enslaved as a free man and Patsy, a female slave he comes to know. A small movie that is worth seeing.  A bit too many masters but Michael Fasbender is so evil as the main master, a true psychopath.  Very few characters are introduced to us.

Clean Content D      Overall Grade A

Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett is mesmerizing as a socialite dethroned and forced to live with her middle class sister.  It is the type of movie that is a day in the life of a character.  Not a ton of plot but I was fascinated getting to know this character.

Clean Content C      Overall Grade B+

The Book Thief

This was a tough one as the book is one of my favorites.  I have long said it is an unfilmable novel. They had all the pieces but none of the magic.  Characters I loved were featured too briefly like Rudy and even Death as the narrator.

Clean Content A     Overall Grade C-

Monsters University

A charming, if unmemorable offering from Pixar.  I liked the message of achieving your dreams by not achieving your dreams.  That is a unique message for a children’s film.  Good voice performances and very heartfelt.

Clean Content A     Overall Grade B

Despicable Me 2

I honestly don’t get the popularity of this series.  The minions are cute but I find the rest of the clan and the story to be very boring.  I kind of wish Megamind would have been the 2010 anti-hero cartoon movie to be the big hit.

Clean Content A    Overall Grade C-

Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Once Smaug actually appears it gets exciting.  The special effects in those scenes are very well done but it takes 2 hours to get there.  I was bored most of the movie and I actually liked the first one.  I wish Jackson would forget the CGI backgrounds and give us New Zealand like he did in LOTR.  A lot of the movie looked cheap and I thought Evangaline Lilly was really bad and wooden in her scenes.  Rest of cast was good.

Clean Content B- (violence)     Overall Grade C-

Saving Mr Banks

One of the best movies about artists and an artists work I’ve ever seen.  Thompson and Hanks are both so good and nuanced in their iconic roles.  Colin Farrell is also very good as PL Travers father.  I loved the message of we all have a moment where we are no longer a child and we all secretly resent whoever gives us that moment.  People like Disney try to recreate childhood.  People like Traverse shun it.

Clean Content A-          Overall Grade A+

Gravity

I said it was a masterpiece when it came out and I still feel that way.  I was totally immersed in the experience of seeing the movie.  I felt like I was in space and it was so well edited.  As soon as you took a breath, bam!  The next event happened and then again.  There was no time to say ‘wait a minute…’ I thought Sandra Bullock was so good.  To think she did all of that in front of a green screen is amazing.

Clean Content B-          Overall Grade A+

Frozen

I said on my review on this blog I had high expectations going into this film and it met those high expectations.  I loved the strong female leads.  I loved the consistently strong music.  I loved the artistry and just enough humor.

Clean Content A+         Overall Grade A+

Captain Phillips

I saw Gravity and Captain Phillips in the same week.  Most intense week of my life!  Tom Hanks had an amazing 2013 and he is very good in this.  I liked that it wasn’t a heroic performance.  It was a just a man who’s boat was taken over by pirates.

The way Paul Greengrass shot it made it feel like me as the viewer was a crew-member experiencing everything along with Hanks and everything else.  I liked that the pirates were fully dimensional. It’s a little slow in spots, a little long but I was absorbed.

Clean Content C         Overall Grade A

Enough Said

A little gem.  In the death of romantic comedies of late this was so refreshing.  Julia Louise Dryfus and James Gandolfini (in his final role) are wonderful and have great chemistry as a mature couple falling in love.  She is a massage therapist and his ex-wife becomes a client.  Not knowing Dryfus is dating her ex the client tells all kinds of bad things about Gandolfini.

It does have the liar reveal story trope but I think it works because of the charm of the performances and the good writing.

Clean Content C+        Overall Grade A

Man of Steel

I honestly don’t have much positive to say about this movie.  I thought it was dark, moping, and strangely gruesome.  I didn’t like all the CGI.  The violence and destruction of Metropolis was extreme.  I don’t want to see Superman plow through building after building without any regard to the carnage and then snap an admittedly bad man in the neck.  The product placement was obnoxious and took me out of the movie several times.

I also don’t want to see Krypton as a murky CGI land.  I hated the flashback structure and all the Christ metaphors which didn’t make sense given the advice of the father to let the people die rather than save them. Louis Lane was a bore and I didn’t think Henry Cavill was particularly charismatic as Superman.

How about the next movie you have a little bit of fun with Superman?

Clean Content  D           Overall Grade  F

American Hustle

A movie all style and good acting over substance.  All the performances are good but honestly I have a hard time even remembering the story a few months after watching it.

It’s set in the 70s.  Bradley Cooper is investigating a crook played by Christian Bale who is married to Jennifer Lawrence and seeing Amy Adams.  They become double agents and take a bunch of public figures down.  I was kind of disappointed.   If you love 70s style than you’ll love this.

Clean Content D          Overall Grade C

Admission

Likable cast but Tina Fey continues to not be funny to me. Sorry…even 30 Rock not a fan of.  This movie is an attempt at a romantic comedy and even in the dearth of rom coms this does not pass.

Fey plays an admissions officer at Princeton who comes in contact with Paul Rudd who runs an alternative high school.  This is kind of like The Book Thief in that all the pieces are there but none of the magic.  It just wasn’t funny.

Clean Content C-         Overall Grade F

Oz the Great and Powerful

This movie just offends me and I hate the fairy tale retelling trend.  All of them have been terrible. I’m so sick of brooding fantasy flicks.  Frozen remembered that fairy tales were supposed to be fun.  If I see another battle and brooding heroine I think I will scream. Stop ruining my fairy tales!

It’s tough because Wizard of Oz is one of my favorites and Over the Rainbow is my favorite song.  The original had magic and this has 3 shrill female performances and a boring male performance.  There is effort into the styling of the movie but I would take old school cheese over CGI grandeur any day.  Mostly this movie was boring and James Franco and Mila Kunis were remarkably wooden and bad in their acting.  Not a fan!

Clean Content B        Overall Grade D

Before Midnight

Jesse and Celine’s story from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset continues but this time they have an established relationship with 2 girls.  These movies always take place over the course of a day in a foreign city and this time it is Greece.

It is beautifully shot and the dialogue is so believable.  You feel like you are watching a real couple interacting and dealing with conflict.  That said, it is kind of the problem with this movie. At times the arguing can go from compelling to unpleasant. I felt like I was sitting in a couple therapy session and who wants to do that?

It also has an extended scene with Celine changing shirts while arguing and a lot of profanity (as in the previous films).  The ending is very satisfying and I like the exploration of some darker elements to a couple we’ve come to know so well but it took it a little too far for my taste.

Clean Content D-        Overall Grade C

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