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Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Top Ten Movie Picks for 2013

1. Elysium-The best film of the year, the best sci-fi film of the year, and the best action extravaganza of the year. Matt Damon shines and with this August release and 2009's District 9, director Neil Blomkamp creates beautiful, bad ass worlds in his endeavors. 

Star Trek: Into Darkness
2. Star Trek: Into Darkness-This is a sequel that doesn't feel like a sequel. It's its own movie. Exhilarating entertainment awaits at breakneck speed. The Enterprise never looked so shiny.

Captain Phillips

3. Captain Phillips (tie)-Director Paul Greengrass knows what it takes to make the most accurate, matter-of-fact film possible. Tom Hanks gives his usual, reliable performance in the lead role (Captain Phillips of course). He's a man who thinks of other people first and himself last. In truth, the first thirty minutes are brilliant in every way possible. With so much tension, your heart might just jump out of your chest.

3.Lone Survivor (tie)-Director Peter Berg directs a modern day war film that brims with gut-wrenching battle scenes coupled with brotherhood amongst ravished, hard up soldiers. Mark Wahlberg, appearing in three less inferior products in 2013, redeems himself here as the titled character, real life Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell.

4. About Time-A time travel movie in which almost everyone in it is likable and important. Sad toward the end but a feel good triumph for most of the way through. The time continuum elements aren't perfect. However, I'll give things a pass this time. From the makers of Love Actually but a better film overall than that disjointed romcom.

5. Snitch-As a film about drug dealing and a father's pursuit of freeing his son from prison, Snitch makes you believe that Dwayne Johnson can in fact, act. This vehicle has tension that ratchets with each searing minute. Watch for a final concluding car chase. It's good stuff!

Out of the Furnace6. Out of the Furnace-A movie that pretty much cements Christian Bale as possibly the best actor on the planet. This is a tightened crime drama about brotherhood and the yearning to make the best out of small town life. It's dreary, it's grubby, but it's rewarding. Out of the Furnace is "out of" this world good!

man of steel
7. Man of Steel-The first half alone puts this thing on the list. Man of Steel is a hard nosed, military-like re-imagining of a long running franchise. With a big cast and some big brawny ideas, this Superman is super indeed!

8. Prisoners-Jake Gyllenhaal as a disciplined detective, is perfectly cast in this intricate, dark crime drama involving missing children. With a long running time, plenty of rain soaked sequences, and a haunting ending, Prisoners as one of the year's best, will undoubtedly set you free.

9. The Counselor-Vintage Ridley Scott fashioning a slow burn of a thriller that for some reason, got a huge ribbing from critics across the country. I liked it for its weird sophistication, its metaphoric explanations among the characters, and its violence in the form of delectable art. As your movie attorney, I suggest you check it out right away. Oh and watch for Michael Fassbender in the lead. He's got heavy, heavy screen presence.

10. The Wolf of Wall Street (tie)-Bloated, messy, vial, disgusting. I loved it. Martin Scorsese tries out the concept of gross humor for a change. And with his cohort Leonardo DiCaprio (criminal stockbroker Jordan Belfort) on board, expect an emotional wreck of a performance. Scorsese brings all of his cinematic tools to the woodshed. Get prepared to be taken behind it.

10. World War Z (tie)-Brad Pitt takes on hoards of zombies in this exciting, intense flick that only bogs down in between the action scenes (the attack on human flesh in an airplane is a doozy). From the word "go," the harrowing events are set in motion. The final sequence involving a stare down between Pitt's Gerry Lane and an undead tooth grinder is a rollicking highlight. As a poster child for summer movie escapism, World War Z is entertaining to a "T."

Honorable Mention:  Don JonBroken City, 42, and You're Next. These are all solid films that didn't quite make the cut.

And the worst...

1. Movie 43-Every single star in the world participated in this "turkey" with dressing. They knew it was going to be bad when they signed up. Watching it, I felt that there was a sick joke being played on the audience. Awful.

2. Olympus Has Fallen-The ultimate Die Hard ripoff with Gerard Butler actually thinking he's Bruce Willis. Watching the action scenes in "Olympus," you'd swear you were looking at a video game. A lot of paper thin villains bite the proverbial dust.

3. Admission-The most misguided, icky film of the year. Paul Rudd had to have been held at gunpoint to star in this disaster. The dialogue coming out of his mouth will make you cringe at an alarming rate.

4. Gangster Squad-Loud, mean spirited action, limp acting, and no script. This 1940's crime caper was released in the month of January. Makes sense.

5. Scary Movie 5-The first one was funny but it's time to put this franchise to bed. You know things are bad when Jasmine Guy, who's the ultimate actress recluse, shows up toward the last half. And spoofing the Paranormal Activity movies is about as tired as the concept of hibernation.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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