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Including films that achieve the correct button-mashing combo to earn fancy kudos and are positively lauded, there are only a select few from the whole bunch that have the significance of “definitive.”
These are films that transcend ownership of marquee space, or their critical importance with film niches, and take on a wide cultural significance. Such happens to a point in which these movies now help outline our exact understanding of an entire year of film itself. These are the films that are created from specific thematic trends from all of our culture, or in some historical cases, became trends themselves.
From the paranormal parody of “A Haunted House” to the controversial “Wolf of Wall Street,” here are 13 films that best define the movie year that was 2013.
1. “A Haunted House”
Hide as one may try from junky horror spoofs that aim to abuse the clever imbalance of low budget filmmaking with multi-million audience appeal, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Memes can kill you. That's never been more true as social media spread messages like kudzu, with lasting effects. Last year the Oscar contender that started off strong with critics' kudos and skidded as the internet took up the torture controversy was "Zero Dark Thirty," which wound up an also-ran on Oscar night. The controversy worked to send people theaters, though: the movie wound up at $95 million domestic. This year's meme casualty? Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street." On the one hand, distributor Paramount and global financier Red Granite are poring over the box office numbers (it's earned $34 million since Christmas Day) to see if they can pull out ahead of the film's $100-million-plus budget. That's the first priority. But the second order of business is the film's Oscar campaign, which is in danger of derailing. For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and support Scorsese's right to make criminal behavior entertaining. »
- Anne Thompson
The New Year is almost upon us and several Oscar contenders are hoping that with the new year comes new Oscar fortunes. Being overdue is a concept many trot out during the awards season, so I decided to take a look at some of the people in the race with multiple nominations that could possibly be shedding the Oscar bridesmaid label.
Nominations: 3, Best Director (The Fighter in 2011 and Silver Linings Playbook in 2012) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Silver Linings Playbook in 2012)
Closest Call: Best Director for Silver Linings Playbook in 2012
Analysis: This is the flimsiest one on the list by virtue of his overdue status only being two years old. However, he has gotten 3 nominations for during that stretch and it’s only a matter of time before he wins one. To be honest, it was quite surprising he didn’t pick up »
- Terence Johnson
We've already seen a couple of spy photos showing Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, American Hustle) as Moses and Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty) as Ramses in Ridley Scott's Exodus, but now thanks to Empire we have the first official image of Bale as the Biblical figure in the upcoming epic....
Exodus is set for release on December 12th 2014 and also features Aaron Paul (Need for Speed), John Turturro (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Emun Elliott (Prometheus), María Valverde (Cracks), Golshifteh Farahani (Body of Lies), and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones). »
- Gary Collinson
Empire Online have revealed a new behind the scenes image of Andy Serkis ('The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug') dressed up in his motion capture outfit on set of Matt Reeves' 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'. The production from 20th Century Fox is due for release next July so them computer geeks best get a move on and start working their CGI magic. Jason Clarke ('Zero Dark Thirty'), Gary Oldman ('Bram Stoker's Dracula'), Keri Russell ('Dark Skies'), Toby Kebbell ('Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time'), Kodi Smit-McPhee ('ParaNorman'), Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo ('Fringe') and Judy Greer also star. Check out the new pic below. »
After giving us a new shot of Captain America (Chris Evans), The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) with its latest cover, Empire has now dropped four new images from the upcoming superhero sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier featuring the aforementioned trio along with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce...
"After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, »
- Gary Collinson
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will pick-up where “Marvel’s The Avengers” left off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C. Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” features an outstanding supporting cast that includes Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Black Swan”) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker,” “Million Dollar Baby”) as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Cobie Smulders (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “How I Met Your Mother”) as Agent Maria Hill, Frank Grillo (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as Brock Rumlow and Georges St-Pierre (“Death Warrior”) as Georges Batroc. Rounding out the talented cast are Hayley Atwell (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones (“Captain America: The First Avenger, »
With just a little over three months to go before Captain America: The Winter Soldier kicks off the 2014 superhero season, Empire has given us a new look at Cap (Chris Evans), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) thanks to the cover for the magazine's upcoming 25th anniversary issue....
"After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the »
- Gary Collinson
20th Century Fox gave us our first look at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last week with the release of the official teaser trailer for the simian sequel, and now we have three new character images from the follow-up to 2011's critically acclaimed Apes reboot, featuring Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises) and Keri Russell (Mission: Impossible III)...
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.
- Gary Collinson
Universal’s “Lone Survivor” faces two big tests: reception by general audiences and by Oscar voters. The film begins a qualifying run on Dec. 25, then opens wide Jan. 10. Despite being short-changed in awards handouts so far, the film could do well when Oscar noms are announced Jan. 16.
Some year-end films start awards buzz even before production starts. “Survivor” was not one of those. Universal saw the film as primarily an audience-targeted movie and a passion project for writer-director Peter Berg. A kudos consideration was a possibility, but not inevitable.
At early industry screenings, the reception was enthusiastic, and that continued at subsequent screenings. So the question has been asked more than once: “This film is terrific, why isn’t it getting more awards attention?” The answer is that it’s a crowded year, but there are other factors.
December awards from critics (and nominations from the Golden Globes) are often »
- Tim Gray
What’s an awards season without a little controversy? I’m sure by now you all have heard the news that at an Academy screening of The Wolf of Wall Street didn’t go over particularly well. In fact as documented by Hope Holiday, a screenwriter even ran up to Martin Scorsese and said “Shame on you.” Certainly not the warmest reception for a film that’s aiming to be a big player this awards season. This kind of reaction is not new for Scorsese films, or for Oscar voters viewing films with controversial content.
In terms of Oscar, it helps to have some sort of galvanizing force to push you forward towards a nomination, be that controversy that rallies the fans of your film to vote or being generally liked by large amounts of people. However, when you look at the Academy voters, over 50 yrs old, »
- Terence Johnson
A few days ago, we asked the online film community to rack their brains and submit their Top 10 films of 2013 for our annual poll. An incredible 94 movie bloggers answered the call, and we have sorted through the deluge of entries to find out what a handful of online journalists have deemed the best films of the year.
If you have a favourite journalist – or would like to follow other like-minded film fanatics through the power of the internet – you can find the blogger’s twitter account and website above their individual lists, which were compiled in no particular order and only take UK release dates into account. These various entries were then collated to bring about the definitive top 10. Have a look at the results below:
- Amon Warmann
‘American Hustle’ and David O. Russell movies box office: Russell’s latest has stronger than expected wide-release debut, could become the director’s top-grossing movie (photo: Amy Adams in ‘American Hustle’) Directed by David O. Russell, and starring Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, American Hustle opened with a better than expected $19.1 million after expanding to 2,507 North American locations, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Some pundits had been expecting a debut in the low-to-mid teens. For comparison’s sake: Three years ago, David O. Russell’s The Fighter, which also featured American Hustle‘s Christian Bale and Amy Adams, expanded to 2,503 locations, grossing a considerably more modest $12.56 million. Comparisons to last year’s Silver Linings Playbook — also directed by Russell, and featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence — are impossible to make, as that film expanded to 2,523 locations only on its tenth »
- Zac Gille
With less than two months to go until the film's release, Digital Spy has debuted a batch of new images from RoboCop, director Jose Padilha's (Elite Squad) reboot of the 1987 cult classic from Paul Verhoeven, and we've got them for you right here....
"In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before. »
- Gary Collinson
We launched our awards column Oscar Beat earlier this fall, and over the past month or so we’ve been taking an in-depth look at some of the individual Oscar races: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. With the holidays approaching and the Oscar nominations poised to be announced in just under a month, now feels like a good time to survey the Best Picture category. The critics continue to weigh in, and while 12 Years a Slave currently leads with the most “Best Film” wins, the results have surprisingly been a bit all over the place as Gravity, Her, and American Hustle received top honors as well. Hit the jump to read on as I take a look at the current state of the Best Picture race in this edition of Oscar Beat. Frontrunners 12 Years a Slave A giant target was painted on »
- Adam Chitwood
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is being directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), from a screenplay written by Mark Bomback, Scott Z. Burns, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. The cast includes: Andy Serkis (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, The Great Gatsby), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, The Harry Potter film series), Keri Russell (The Americans, Mission Impossible III), Toby Kebbell (The Prince of Persia, Wrath of the Titans, Rock N Rolla), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, ParaNorman), Enrique Murciano (Traffic, Black Hawk Down »
After beginning our top 20 countdown yesterday, it's now time to reveal Digital Spy's ten best movies of 2013, as chosen by the editorial team. There are sequels with budgets both big and small, a new spin on a William Shakespeare tale and a tussle in outer space for the top spot.
10. Zero Dark Thirty
We said: "When the Navy Seal raid on Bin Laden's hideout finally does happen, the film shifts up a gear for a sensational last 30 minutes. The outcome is never in doubt, of course, but Bigelow's sublime skill as an action director comes into play as she's able to create tense shoot-outs viewed through infra-red goggles in the dead of night. [Sr]
We said: "'Darker than the last one' has become a cliché for family franchises, but The Desolation of Smaug is also a whole lot zippier and wittier than its predecessor, even »
In theaters April 18, 2014, Depp plays Dr. Will Caster - the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions.
His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him.
However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, »
- Michelle McCue
Jose Padilha's RoboCop remake will be released in cinemas this February, but until then, it's titular star (played by The Killing's Joel Kinnaman) has appeared in a public service announcement for 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' (and then presumably blown to bits), which is "paid for by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration." Because nothing says road safety like a part-man, part-machine action film protagonist. Watch the PSA after the movie's official synopsis...
"In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science »
- Oliver Davis
Riding high on the recent announcement of three Golden Globe nominations, Spike Jonze’s Her is now playing in select Us cinemas, with Warner Bros. giving it an Oscar-qualifying run ahead of its wide release next month.
Joaquin Phoenix leads the comedy-romantic drama, with Scarlett Johansson lending her voice as the advanced operating system, Samantha. Johansson has already won Best Actress for her performance at the Rome Film Festival earlier in the year, and whilst the Golden Globes ruled her ineligible in the category, there’s still very much a push for the Academy to rule in the opposite direction for the Oscars.
With the film now in its limited release stateside, the studio has launched a great new TV spot to set the mood.
Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. »
- Kenji Lloyd
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