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It is a particularly exciting year for me at the movies. My two favorite directors, Wong Kar Wai and Brian De Palma released new movies, and a bunch of sleepers are dominating the list.
A Few months ago - I thought that 2013 might have been a pretty weak year for movies, but now that I've come to the end of the watchlist, it was actually a VERY GOOD year for movies. Seldom do I have so many 9's in my top 25, and seldom do the 8's go nearly to the bottom of the list like this. By the time I'm done there may not be a 7 on the whole list. Amazing.
will edit as I see films that deserve a spot on the list. (last edit was out of NINETY-THREE films viewed from 2013). Will likely/eventually be out of about 110.
Sometimes my top 25 lists(see previous yrs) might include films that imdb says were released the previous yr... but I go by the us dvd or major u.s. theatrical release dates... not festivals etc..
at times it was rough. had to cycle through some rough patches... Spring Breakers... it "looked" good, but what the heck was that about? Pain and Gain... much, mUCH more pain than gain... Rapture Palooza? Take me Away.
here's the Just missed list:26.Grandmaster 27.Warm Bodies, 28.StarTrek:Into Darkness 29.Maniac, 30.Fruitvale Station, Before Midnight, Rush, Eden, Side Effects, 42, Man of Steel, Gangster Squad, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The World's End, Oblivion, Captain Phillips, Last Vegas, Trance, Redemption, Red 2, Extracted, Hatchet 3, Stoker, Olympus Has Fallen, Dark Skies
I suggest inverting the list.............................................\/
I'm not counting anything I haven't seen, obviously(like Capt America 2). I'm only considering the immediate sequel. not consequential sequels. I'll only consider a spin if it has it's own sequel. You'll see The Wolverine on here because I enjoyed it better than XMen:Origins wolverine, but you won't see puss in boots 2 because I didn't like it better. BUT I'm not including films like Desolation of Smaug or Attack of the Clones because they are too many continuous storylines with MANY of the same characters, PLAYED BY MANY OF THE SAME ACTORS.Which is why you'll see Into Darkness on here, but but not smaug or attack of the clones.
Just because a film makes the list doesn't necessarily make it a good movie either.
I also have a just missed list which mainly consists of films where the first two are not discernible. The sequels are strong, but imo about equal with the original. Here's that list: Lethal Weapon 2, Superman 2, 28 Weeks Later, Despicable Me 2, Clerks 2, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, A Better Tomorrow 2, The Color of Money(probably be in the minority that likes it as much as the orig - again just an opinion)Paradise Lost 2... now, for the list...
I have yet to see: Sightseers, Tabu, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Iron Sky. I've seen pretty much everything else that looked like it had a chance to make this list. Those films look like they could crack my top25.
JUST MISSED MAKING THE LIST:26.Citadel 27.Hit and Run 28.Cloud Atlas, 29.Lawless, 30.Sinister, 31.The Sapphires, 32.Robot and Frank, 33.Safety Not Guaranteed 34. The Master, 35.Sessions, 36.Hitchcock, 37.Killing Them Softly, 38. A Thousand Words 39.Deadfall 40. Parker
Normally wouldn't include so many just missed, but 2012 was a VERY STRONG year for movies overall... not too many years have this many 7+ films. not for me anyway... this list contains 5-9's, 8-8's, 28-7's, and 2-6's(inc just missed)
just missed:Downfall, Harold and Kumar Go To WHite Castle, Howl's Moving Castle
Fugitive at 17 (2012)
fix the opening credits, the hallmark last scene, and some plausibility issues, and it might be a 6.
As it stands, it's a 5/10. Slightly better than most of you average afternoon TV-movie fare, but CERTAINLY NOT worth it's current 6.3 IMDb rating. I'll use Brian De Palma's "Passion" as a gage there, as it's rated 5.3, and it's exemplary in terms of production quality and style compared to something like this. Far better acted and just strides better overall.
Right off the bat we see the television/budget shortcomings. Terrible opening sequence with awful, cheap credits, blurry stock, and the whole beginning rushed to-boot, in typical TV-movie fashion.
Then the film gains some steam with a promising start from the lead. Casper is also good as the villain here. As bad as the production values are, the film flows quite nicely, and the audience does feel for the lead character and her plight. BUT!
The acting still falls flat in many places and there are some serious plausibility issues both procedural and otherwise, and the film just ends and starts a bit TOO much like a TV movie. The middle third isn't bad at all, but don't expect much.
53/100 seen much worse. I knew the production values would be questionable but they were worse than I expected. The acting and the flow of the film were better than I expected, but I didn't expect much.
I'd pass. Not even worth the $1.32 rental at the redbox.
In hind-site, TV movies that are worth watching are rare... super rare.. and most that are worth watching were made by HBO films. Brian's Song, Long Gone(Stogies), Temple Grandin... Duel... there just aren't many GREAT TV movies.
Fugitive at 17 isn't terrible, but it did nothing to distance itself from being 'a decent television movie' at the very best. I mean that in the 'this is a basic cable movie, not a 'premium channel' movie' kind of way to boot. Again, pass.
Cheap Thrills (2013)
A Low-Budget Adult Black Comedy That You Won't Soon Forget
The closest comparison's would have to be "Very Bad Things", or maybe even "Hangover 2".
"Cheap Thrills" is better than both, and while that might not be saying much, the film still deserves some mad-props for the entertainment value/budget ratio.
The cast, while small, is pitch-perfect for their particular roles. Ethan Embry stands-out here. It's obvious he's come a long way since "Can't Hardly Wait". The cast is small, but certainly efficient.
This film is NOT for the faint of heart. Definitely NOT for the kiddies.
I know this film is labeled as a black comedy, and it does start as more of a black comedy, BUT the last 30minutes or so gets quite serious.
Cheap Thrills works for me. It's a basic concept, but the film builds nicely, and asks some fairly pertinent questions, especially in ever-growing, ever-losing lower-to-middle class America where the value of a dollar is both down and up at the same time.
For a-dollar-thirty-two at the Redbox, this turned out to be the best 'Cheap Thrill' I've had in quite a long time.
You MIGHT like this if you liked:Hangover 2(not as good), Very Bad Things(not as good), The Last Supper(about equal), and Bindlestiffs(about equal).
"Cheap Thrills" isn't as laugh-out loud funny as some of those, but overall it's a fine film worth a rental for those who aren't squeamish or too young for this VERY ADULT film.
GOing on my "B-Movie Marathon"!! 71/100 MIght or might not hold onto a 2014 top-25 spot.
'fans of original' probably bringing this score down a bit.. see it.
It instantly moves into my top 20 films on IMDb rated lower than 6.0. It joins "Wasted on the Young", "World Trade Center", "Only God Forgives", "G.I.Jane", and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2/'86" and others in that regard. Granted, it's towards the end of that list.
First, let me say that I AM a fan of the original. It is, however, my least favorite of the 'Vengeance Trilogy', but Oldboy is a solid film with some amazing moments. I rated all three of those fine films a 8/10, but if I had to put them in order, I'd put Sympathy first, Lady second, and Oldboy third.
As a fan of foreign film I do get rubbed the wrong way when Hollywood shamelessly remakes these strong, foreign entries and gives little credit or justice to the original films. "Let Me In" and "The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo" have been two of the better ones, but almost never do they actually "exceed" the quality of the original. I even prefer "Infernal Affairs" to "The Departed", so I AGREE with most of the detractors, but I think they might be 'piling-on' here. We might even have some non-viewers chiming-in with this low of a score. I could be wrong - after all this is the same group that rated "Take Me Home Tonight" 6.4???? What a dreadful film.
What's really getting lost in the low rating here are some actual 'improvements'. Yes, I know I have this rated 6/10, so obviously it's not as good as any film from the vengeance trilogy, but this does improve upon SOME aspects of the original.
First, the acting is solid. At least on par with the original. Brolin is fantastic. Some of the supporting cast here is better and their characters more developed than the original. The pacing is better than the original(no question there, it's paced more like an American thriller). I think the original is a bit-slow. Most importantly, a big-new twist here is deftly handled.
That's not to say that all the similar aspects are improved upon. The famous 'fight scene' isn't nearly as effective here, and does come off as a lazy, inferior rip-off.
Some of the little nuances of the plot are much deeper than the original, and they really work with each character-arc quite nicely. I am dumbfounded with some of the 1 and 2 ratings/reviews - let's save those numbers for films that truly deserve it. I didn't even stoop THAT low for the remake of "Arthur", or the most shameless copy of all time, "Footloose". I'd disregard any review under 3 - that's just unrealistic, and probably the reason this is rated so low here. I mean we can remake "The Fast and the Furious" 7 times, but for goodness sakes don't remake a cult-classic foreign film or you're in-for-it with the IMDb traditionalists. Probably a good time to mention that EVERY 'Fast and Furious' film is rated higher than this remake.
I put-off watching this because of the low score here. Don't. See it.
64/100 You'll like this if you liked: Taking Lives(slightly below this),Unbreakable(ever-so-slightly-better), or Redemption(about even).
And we can't have it both ways you guys.. either you're a "won't read subtitles guy" that probably doesn't watch many movies and you like this because you're not comparing it to the original, or you're the opposite.
This film succeeds mightily because it manages to give homage to the original while giving us a completely different feel and a great spin on the ending. We could have had a mirror-image melancholy, slow-burning remake and the results on here would have been the same. For all those reasons - kudo's to Spike Lee. I'd argue that the 'worst aspect' of this film is the only moment where Spike used the original as more of a template instead of a starting point(the fight).
I'm sure I'm in the minority here as someone who actually likes them both. Personally, I think the original is a touch over-rated, probably deserves about a 7.9 instead of 8.4, and this deserves more like a 6.4 instead of 5.7... jmo
U2 3D (2007)
best use of 3D EVER!!!!!!!
I don't see 'films' in 3D anymore - at least not until they make a feature film that puts so much 'effort' into the 3D design as this amazing concert film does.
The entire film is saturated with 3D images. The music is great, but the audience is totally immersed in the 3d experience. You feel like you are climbing on and off the stage with the band, and at no time does the film have lapses in the use of 3D.
I went with two music guys, but they weren't necessarily huge fans of u2 the band. We all got up, paused for a minute to reflect the greatness of what we saw, then walked back to our car with a gigantic smile on our faces.
It's almost draining. The experience is the type of sensory overload that no movie has delivered before, and I've seen 4000 movies. One of the most amazing movie experiences of my life.
Cool with an exponent of 10.
How many films have you seen where the film has 5 maybe 6 noticeably cool uses of 3D technology? Too many? Well, this is the polar opposite. I feel like the Lawnmower Man watching this. Somebody put a 3D chip in my brain before I walked into the IMAX that night. Amazing!!!!
Wolf Creek 2 (2013)
The Original "Hitcher" meets the original Wolf Creek, and nearly does them both justice.
John Jarratt is AWESOME. Rare that these slashers can act, and that aspect just adds a ton to this now series. Ryan Corr does an admirable job as well.
This sequel lacks a bit of the style and realism of the first film - kind-of going the torture porn route with more blood and gore, but the overall production is well above the average for the genre, and while I'm a fan of the genre, I still think that in the whole scheme of things this is a pretty good movie. Quite literally mind-blowing, if not truly mind-blowing stuff.
The most important thing here is that it didn't disappoint the way that so many of these do, and Jarratt really deserves the credit for that.
The 'torture-porn' thing might initially be seen as a cop-out, but they did return the bar to it's 80's glory in that respect. The gore is done right with make-up, latex, etc, and a clear lack of cgi. Tom Savini would be proud.
Looking forward to a long, happy series of these with Jarratt in tow. As slightly above average as this is, it's still better than just about every slasher flick this side of the pond(s) over the last 3-4 years save maybe "Maniac".
The similarities to the original "The Hitcher" come because Jarratt(Mick) seems to be 'on the road' for most of the movie.
Overall, this definitely worked for me. Recommended for fans of the genre, but because of the torture-porn aspect, not recommended for anyone else.
Brutal. At times funny. Good production values. This might be the only decent horror selection in that red machine.. The aussies have turned into the new horror kings... lord knows we can't get it right anymore. If I made a list of my top 10 horror flicks of the last decade - they'd have at least half of them - Korea would have a couple - we'd have 2 or three.
Negatives.. In the first film one could argue that the set-up took too long. Here, it might not have taken long enough.
Also, there's a completely meaningless and unnecessary scene involving kangaroos that really just doesn't fit into the movie at all. Needed to be left on the editing floor.
69/100 You'll like this if you liked: Wolf Creek(a touch better), THe Hitcher(orig/better), The Collector(about even or just below), or The Hills Have Eyes(remake/even or just barely below).
6 Bullets (2012)
WHAT IN THE WORLD is this doing at 6.1?
Don't get me wrong. I actually kinda dig the older Van Damme flicks, and JCVD was decent(maybe his best actually).. Bloodsport was good for what it was(a b-action flick).
There are so many problems here that it will be hard to pick out the worst. Let's just say that you may be better off viewing this as a comedy. And I have no Idea what this is doing in the 6's. SOrry if it duped you into renting it too.
The first moment I'll mention comes fairly early in the film when Jean faces off against some villains in a room. He takes out the lights and puts on his "night-vision". The camera bounces back-and-forth between his "fluorescent" green/yellow night vision view, and then back to the regular view, which should be near-pitch black(hence the reason for night-vision), but it's not, it's like "library" dark, the kind of dark that's darker that usual but no problem seeing much of anything. It's laughable.
Another moment comes late when Jean(and the couple he's helping) scout out the hide-out of the enemy and come together to talk about a plan. I prepared myself for this mind-blowing idea that turned out to be her pulling up to the gate and getting approached by one of the enemies, and then Jean jumping-in from the side onto the guy... really...? that was the "masterplan".. this stuff happens every 5 minutes here.
Couple all those stupid moments with some deplorable acting, bad set-pieces, and an unoriginal and poorly written script, and you have yourself a real stinker. In hindsite, JCVD and Bloodsport are the only Jean Claude films that I would rank at or above a 6... this is not even in the same ballpark.
Save your money and your time. 34/100 You might like this if you liked: Lionheart(better), Cyborg(better), and Legionaire(about equal or slightly better). This amounts to an absolutely terrible remake of "Taken".
6.1? hilarious. as a comedy maybe 5.1.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
What were the chances, right?
Looks like a knock-off of District 9 and Elysium. Stars Tom Cruise. Bares a scary resemblance to Transformers:Dark of the Moon's trailer.
That's why, when I saw the score actually rising in the second and third weeks after release, it got my attention. That's the opposite of what usually happens with these cgi infested summer blockbusters.
The a-typical rushed set-up and lackluster first 10 minutes had me a little concerned that I had somehow been duped, but it wasn't long before all those concerns were squashed.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is about as good as these types of films can be. It's better than the ORIGINAL Transformers, better than Oblivion, and NEARLY as good as District 9.
Tom Cruise is excellent. THe acting all around is solid, but definitely not the key to the films success.
THe best thing about this is that the CGI is all-over-the-place yes, but it's executed nicely. The plot isn't over-convoluted or too confusing, and while it all seems familiar, the time-jumping aspect adds A TON to the overall product. Mostly, it adds a fantastic comedic element.
The action is fantastic. The film isn't overlong. And the ending is strong.
Highly recommended. Haven't seen many 2014 releases so far, and I usually see about 90-110 films from each year. THAT SAID, this one will be hanging around the top 25 for 2014 like a vulture to a carcass.
Awesome flick! Pure adrenaline! See it on the big screen. Best 'popcorn fare' I've seen since 'The Avengers', only it's a notch above that fine film. Also enjoyed it more than Captain America Winter Soldier. Both good films, but this even better.
You'll like this if you liked: Lockout(nowhere near as good), Elysium(a clear notch below), Avengers(not quite as good), Aliens(a tad better), or Starship Troopers(a notch below).
83/100..actually entertained "9" for about a minute or two. Highly recommended, especially for this genre.
'glued for the last 90 minutes!!!!
A Fighting Man (2014)
low-brow 'Rocky' definitely has its' positive traits
"A Fighting Man" will be added to my "B Marathon List" because it's definitely deserving. Not perfect, but deserving.
A fine supporting cast helps. From the lady who plays Sailor's mother, to James Caan,Famke Jannsen, and Louis Gossett, the entire cast(save one) does an EXCellent job. Unfortunately, the 'one' is Dominic Purcell, who's performance is a bit rigid and uninspiring. His lines all delivered with the same emotionless whisper that really loses the fight against his acting counterparts.
The director deserves MAD PROPS here. The film is put together extremely well considering the shoe-string budget. THe fight choreography is strong, the camera work and editing are all above average.
The story is pieced together beautifully with many pertinent subplots, all played out perfectly, even some surprises thrown in there. This film needed a new star and a bigger budget, and it could have really been amazing.
The film had style in it's fonts and it's shots, time-jumping, and human elements, but it just couldn't elevate into rarefied air without a better performance from the lead and a little more money for extra's and and overall production design.
Still, kudo's for the effort. THe director gets an asterisk next to his name as someone to keep an eye on. Good "B" movie that is definitely worth your time and money, but oh how this could have been a diamond in the rough instead of a garnet.
70/100 You Might like this if you liked: Streets of GOld(not as good), THe Wrestler(much better), Vision Quest(better), and Win Win(better)... but most of those are pretty strong flicks.
Impressed overall. Good sleeper no doubt.
3 Days to Kill (2014)
better than I expected
The human element puts this action flick above the average fare in this genre, and there sure is a lot of that average fare nowadays.
"3 Days to Kill" IS full of cliché's, it IS improbable, and it certainly isn't a perfect effort.....BUT Kevin Costner is great, and the three female leads are quite good too. The action sequences are solid, and the film really gets better as it goes, ending on quite the high note. Its a cross between "Charlie Countryman" and "Red". The humor really says that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and if u can sit back and just enjoy a popcorn flick, you'll probably like it. Also reminds me of Jack Reacher. It's nearly as good as "Reacher", a clear step down from the thoroughly entertaining "Countryman", but I did like this more than the original "Red", and about even with the sequel.
Give it a chance, and stick with it.
Defo better than I expected. Perhaps a bit under-rated on the score here. It's a low 7 for me, but the father-daughter relationship thing(+other human elements)and the humor edged-it there. Won't make my top-25 list for the year, but I can give it a marginal recommendation. Heck, there's not much else that's new and decent at the redbox, so roll-the-dice.
The Art of the Steal (2013)
well, at least it's a touch better than "Now You See Me"
The writing is cringe-worthy, and the film is never funny.. even when it's tries to be, BUT it's paced nicely, well-acted, and full of twisting plot-lines and interesting characters.
Kurt Russell still has it, and Terrance Stamp is another fine addition to the cast.
This is part "Italian Job", part "Out of Sight", part "Now You See Me", and has steven soderbourgh written all over it, but in that regard it's a fine production on it's own merits. Aside from the writing - it comes off as well-made little film.
Worth a flyer at the redbox.
64/100 I'm right with the current IMDb rating here. The ending saved the film for me. The last 30 minutes is pretty strong, but it's that dialog for the first hour that keeps me from giving this a 7. That and the complete and total lack of comedy... guess that goes back to the writing too.
Good story, good production values, interesting characters, deplorable script.