The end of the year approaches and as we find ourselves without a fresh movie to review this week, we thought we’d take a look back at the best 2013 had to offer.
Perhaps you might be able to stuff someone’s stockings with a DVD, or just stream online a film that you might have missed.
Although technically it came out in 2012, Silver Linings Playbook didn’t make it to Vernon until January of this year and is, by far, one of the best films of either year.
All four main characters in the film, deftly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, were nominated for Oscars and Lawrence won best actress. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
Also from January and worth a view is Les Miserables (yes we know, three hours of sad singing, but still, it’s an experience.) We also enjoyed Zero Dark Thirty, which was the somewhat cold, but reasonably probable telling of the American forces that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden.
February belonged to The Impossible. This was the heart wrenching tale of a family that survived the Indian Ocean tsunami while vacationing in Thailand. Naomi Watts was nominated for an Oscar and perhaps should have won over Lawrence. The Impossible is a very moving and powerful film. Bring some tissues.
Every other movie in February was either pulp or terrible, with the exception of the horror film Mama, which had mixed reviews, but we both liked it.
February’s cavalcade of crap continued rolling right through spring with the odd flower poking up through the sheets of ugly, grey snow.
42 came out, the rather repetitive but nevertheless earnest tale of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American professional baseball player (well, the first one of note.)
Also worth a view was The Croods, an animated paranoid caveman comedy for the kiddies, and Snitch, where Duane “The Rock” Johnson has to go undercover for the DEA to plea bargain a deal for his son. It’s better than it sounds and it’s the first time we’ve seen The Rock act.
We were surprised by The Call, which has Abigail Breslin kidnapped and on the phone with 911 dispatcher Halle Berry. It is taught, tense and well made.
By summer, we had reviewed about 32 movies. Ten of them were good, the ones we’ve mentioned along with April’s The Place Among the Pines and maybe Evil Dead, which we disagreed upon.
Spring also brought us a few movies that were acceptable. They might have even scored as high as 7/10, such as G.I. Joe Retaliation. But still, something about films like Joe, or even Oz The Great and Powerful cause them to fall away in our memories. Sometimes liking something is fleeting. True quality lingers.
Then there are films which should have been killed and buried behind the woodshed: Scary Movie 5, Gangster Squad, Parental Guidance, This is 40, Texas Chainsaw, Movie 43, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, A Good Day to Die Hard, Olympus Has Fallen. All of them failed for some reason or another, some for multiple crimes against humanity.
All of them are sentenced to live out the rest of eternity in total anonymity. Or so we have decreed, anyway.
On Sunday, we’ll be back to wrap up the rest of 2013 and tell you what we’re looking forward to (and dreading) in 2014.
— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B,C.