Thursday, January 30, 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013


The Great, The Good, and The Interesting!

12 Years A Slave



Shortcut links:
BEST MOVIES: 2013
BEST DOCUMENTARIES: 2013
BEST TV: 2013




"And...Action!"


B E S T
M O V I E S :
2 0 1 3




E R O S




-BEFORE MIDNIGHT
✭✭✭✭✭
After the warm-up of BEFORE SUNRISE (1995) and BEFORE SUNSET (2004), this brave film bristles with a bold maturity that is wondrous, bruising, and deep.


-BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France)
✭✭✭✭✭
One of the most resonant and engaging romance stories that I've ever seen.

-HER
I didn't think this would work, but it is excellent and inspired at every turn.




T H I N K




-12 YEARS A SLAVE
✭✭✭✭✭
THE movie, of any year.
Required viewing for anyone with a brain and soul.



-KILL YOUR DARLINGS
The true story of the murder that brought Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs together.



-THE EAST
Brit Marling scores again; the star/co-writer/co-producer (ANOTHER EARTH, SOUND OF MY VOICE) fights the power with this smart thriller.


-DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Harrowing true story of a man's battle against AIDS,
and the corrupt government and drug companies that let it run rampant for profit.

-THE FIFTH ESTATE
An interesting, generally well-rounded drama about Wikileaks.
Benedict Cumberbatch.
{see also documentary, "We Steal Secrets" (2013)}


-MANDELA: Long Walk To Freedom
Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.
A fast-paced highlight reel of an important life, with just enough character.


-THE BUTLER
Broad strokes overview of the Civil Rights struggle told through one man's family, with strong moments.

-MUHAMMAD ALI'S GREATEST FIGHT
The behind-the-scenes story of how The Greatest's conscientious objection to the Vietnam War nearly tore up the Supreme Court.


-FRUITVALE STATION
✭✭✭✭✭
An excellent film, devastating.
The true story of a struggling young man in Oakland and what the Law did to him.

-TO THE WONDER
No to defeatist existentialism.
Yes to epic visuals, a majestic score, and a truly wondrous Olga Kurylenko.

-MUD
A coming-of-age thriller in the Southern swamps. Great cast.


-CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Gripping, intense, multi-sided.

-A HIJACKING (Denmark)
A Danish parallel to CAPTAIN PHILLIPS;
Instead of action, this focuses on the Corporate nickel-and-diming of the hostages' lives, and its toll.

-ALL IS LOST
Redford; the elder man and the sea, or, The Naturalist vs. Nature.



-WADJDA (Saudi Arabian) ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
A must-see. A young Saudi girl is determined to get a bike, even though only boys can have them.
Youthful hope vs. the stranglehold of religious sexism in Saudi Arabia, by female director Haifaa al-Mansour.


-THE GRANDMASTER (Hong Kong)
A Wong Kar-wai (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) epic with Tony Leung and goddess Zhang Ziyi.
Gorgeous martial arts epic interlaced with war, revenge, and heartbreak.

-MUSEUM HOURS (Austria)
Understated story of new friends bonding over discussions of life and culture in an art museum.

-THE SELFISH GIANT (U.K.)
Brutal dramedy about two hardscrabble boys doing all the wrong moves to survive.

-THE LAST MATCH, a.k.a., 'La Partida' (Cuba/Spain)
Two young Cuban men discover their attraction to each other, and the dangers of others' reactions.


-THE PAST, a.k.a., 'Le Passe' (France/Iran) ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
The director of A SEPARATION scores again.
An effortlessly complex human drama more gripping and surprising than any suspense thriller.




S M I L E




-IN A WORLD
Lake Bell (writer/director/star) wants to be the first great female Movie Trailer narrator.


-SAVING MR. BANKS
Emma Thompson, practically perfect in every way!

-INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
Coen Brothers; a shaggy dog story with left-field moments and stunning music by star Oscar Isaac.

-THE WORLD'S END (U.K.)
Never watching spoiling trailers has served me well again!
This seemed like a routine buddy comedy, until 30 minutes in when everything suddenly went... insane.

-THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Or, 'A$$hole Chic (A Satire)'.
The most fiercely absurdist Scorsese has been since his cult flick AFTER HOURS.

-GIMME THE LOOT
A couple of graffiti artists need money and manage to goof up everything they touch.
Interesting cast, odd turns, and zany moments.




D R E A M




-GRAVITY
✭✭✭✭✭
A quantuum leap forward in cinema, as seismic as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and STAR WARS.
And a beautiful rebirth parable underneath.



-STAR TREK: Into Darkness
Excellent. I love this movie.
Naysayers are fools.

-THOR 2: The Dark World
The only Superman film done right this year.



-ELYSIUM
This is how most of us live right now; mass poverty with no healthcare, overlorded by The Rich on high.
This is real life.

-PIERCING BRIGHTNESS (UK)
Experimental indie; thin story with good craft.

-PACIFIC RIM
I haven't been a Kaiju movie afficianado, but this Del Toro film is magnificent!



-THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smuag
Tauriel!



Underrated, Dept.:

-OBLIVION
Like reading a good SciFi short story. I enjoyed all the homages to certain SF film classics.

-AFTER EARTH
Some wonkiness, but in general I enjoyed it well enough.




N I G H T M A R E



-UPSTREAM COLOR
✭✭✭✭✭
The creator of PRIMER returns with a sharp film that demands every moment of your concentration and imagination.
Excellent craft, mindbending smarts, and the ever-versatile Amy Seimetz.


-EUROPA REPORT
"All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there."
-Arthur C. Clarke, "2010: ODYSSEY TWO"


-CARRIE
There are two films interpreting Stephen King's book; both are worth your time.
Director Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON'T CRY) skips DePalma's Hitchcock stylings in favor of focusing new nuance to characters and actions in every scene.


-THE TRUTH ABOUT EMANUEL
Thoughtful, twisty psychological Indie by writer/director Francesca Gregorini.


-SIDE EFFECTS
Soderbergh's quietly subversive homage to a particular Hitchcock film, with merit all its own.


-STRANGER BY THE LAKE (France)
At an isolated cruisers beach, a man sees the guy he cares for murder someone.




G R A P H I C
I M A G E S




-BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France) ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
> Four Color Films review
This brilliant film is based on Julie Maroh's graphic novel, "Le Bleu est une Couleur Chaude (a.k.a., Blue Angel)".


-IRON MAN 3
> Four Color Films review
Fun but uneven mix of IRON MAN and KISS KISS BANG BANG.
Shifting character time from Gwyneth to the kid was a stupid mistake.


-THOR 2: The Dark World
> Four Color Films review
An antidote to MAN OF KILL.


-AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)
The best DOLLHOUSE writers combine the better parts of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and ALIAS with the Marvel mythos.




A R T F L I X




-STEVEN UNIVERSE
Pop zaniness!

-TOY STORY HALLOWEEN (TV special)
Every time they sequel TOY STORY, it only improves!

-MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
Pixar makes films for adults who remember the wonder of being a kid.

-FROM UP ON POPPY HILL
Studio Ghibli. Nuff said.

-ERNEST AND CELESTINE (France)
Exquisite watercolor film that warms you like a splendid meal.






B E S T
D O C U M E N T A R I E S :
2 0 1 3



-THE AFRICAN AMERICANS (PBS mini-series) ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gives an excellent and always timely overview of the crucial history and contributions of Africans in the United States.


-WE STEAL SECRETS: The Story of WikiLeaks
An admirable journalistic attempt to show all sides of the Julian Assange and Bradley Manning controversies.

-INEQUALITY FOR ALL



-ROOM 237
We bring our own meanings to everything;
revel in these unique interpretations of Kubrick's THE SHINING (1980).

-MUSCLE SHOALS
Rival to Motown and Stax, the Muscle Shoals studio made many of the greatest Rock and Soul songs ever.

-SOUND CITY
A seedy studio, a magic mixing board, and a history of great music.






B E S T
T V :
2 0 1 3


The season number follows each title.


D R A M A




-RECTIFY 1 ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
The best show on television.
Has a zen understanding of human joy and pain that is often breathtaking.



-MASTERS OF SEX 1 ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
How Masters & Johnson liberated the libido! Lizzy Caplan.


-BREAKING BAD 5
✭✭✭✭✭
A shattering and elegant close for one of Television's greatest shows.

-THE KILLING 3
Grim, ambitious, fearless performances, Amy Seimetz.

-LOW WINTER SUN 1
Mark Strong.

-MAD MEN 6



-BATES MOTEL 1
The co-runner of LOST remakes PSYCHO as TWIN PEAKS.

-TOP OF THE LAKE (mini-series)
Jane Campion does TWIN PEAKS in New Zealand.

-HANNIBAL 1
At last, the spotlight shifts from Hannibal Lecter to the game-changing and very first empathic investigator, Will Graham (RED DRAGON, 1981)!
Now Moriarty has the Holmes that disappeared from the subsequent books.





W O N D E R



-THE RETURNED (a.k.a., Les Revenents/ They Come Back) 1 (France) ⇧
Parallels the spirit of Stephen King in poetic depths that the bubble-dum UNDER THE DOME never will.

-GAME OF THRONES 3
Brutal.

-AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 1
It'll never beat Kirby or Steranko, but I like it.

-ALMOST HUMAN 1
Formulaic, but good leads.

-SLEEPY HOLLOW 1
Crazed fun.
With more retcon backstory than Supergirl.






U K



-ORPHAN BLACK (Canada/BBC) ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
Tatiana Maslaney.


-DOCTOR WHO 7
Matt Smith was a blast.

-MISFITS 5
Final season. The first two mattered most.

-THE FALL 1
Gillian Anderson.

-BROADCHURCH 1
David Tennant. Jody Whittaker.

-RIPPER STREET 2
COPPER is good, but RIPPER STREET is great.




-BLACK MIRROR 2 ⇧
The acidic anthology 'five minutes in the future' tops itself with another trio of brutal, cautionary speculative fictions.


-"DOCTOR WHO: An Adventure in Space and Time"
A splendid take on the making of the original First Doctor serials (1963-'66).
David Bradley is marvelous as Willam Hartnell. So much so that he should portray the First Doctor at some point on the current series.




C O M E D Y



-ENLIGHTENED 2 ⇧
Destroy evil corporations. Save your soul.

-ELEMENTARY 2
The fine American parallel to SHERLOCK hits its stride, with more mythos and exponential depth.

-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT 4
From wobble to stand to jog to sprint; an odd season that regains its original glory full-on by the end.

-STEVEN UNIVERSE 1
Always have fun!






THINGS TO CATCH UP ON, Dept.



Hey, who has time to see everything?


(Drama)

-NO (Chile)
-THE HUNT (Denmark)
-BIG BAD WOLVES (Israel)
-RENOIR (French)
-WAR WITCH (Canada/Congo)

-MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
-GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY


(Comedy)
-THE SEARCH FOR SIMON (U.K.)
-R100 (Japan)


(Documentary)
-PERVERT'S GUIDE TO THEOLOGY
-FIRE IN THE BLOOD
-FAR OUT ISN'T FAR ENOUGH
-STORIES WE TELL


(Animation)
-RIO 2096: A Story of Love and Fury (Brazil)
-A LETTER TO MOMO (Japan)


(TV)
-ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK 1




© Tym Stevens



See also:

Four Color Films, THE Comic Movies Review Site!


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BEST MUSIC: 2016
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-BEST COMICS: 2015

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BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014
-BEST COMICS: 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013
BEST MUSIC: 2013
-BEST COMICS: 2013

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BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

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BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011

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BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010



How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!


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