Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Monthly Round-up: December 2013 Viewing

In December I watched 30 films to end the year with 413. Short Term 12 made my Top 10 of 2013, which goes to show how much I loved Nebraska and Her, were they eligible. My first film of the year was Certified Copy and my last was Tropic Thunder. 

If I had to guess who my most-watched actor was this year I would say James Franco. The guy has been everywhere. As for actress, Mia Farrow, in the many Woody Allen films I consumed. As for director,  it can only be Woody.

Check out my previous posts for EOY coverage including my 22 Best 'New-To-Me' Films in 2013, 50 Best Films of 2013 (By Australian Release Date), 15 Best Male/Female Performances, and 15 Best Albums. 

New-to-Me Films (In Order of Preference)

Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013) - Subtle and different. Unforgettable. Oddest road trip ever turns into beautiful, hilarious and moving story of family and fortune. Bruce Dern is brilliant.

Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) - Stuns with how present and relevant it is. As achingly sad as it is funny, but altogether something remarkable and different. Phoenix is the man. Jonze a genius. 

Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2013)

Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)

American Hustle (David O. Russell, 2013) TWICE

Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013) 

 -------- Essential Viewing --------

Saving Mr Banks (John Lee Hancock, 2013) - Tells a really nice story; Mary Poppins' journey from the page to screen. Touching and wonderfully performed. A pleasurable feel-good film with a surprising feel of authenticity and less the overly sentimental, Disney-sensationalized origin story as was expected.

August: Osage County (John Wells, 2013)

 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson, 2013) - Much better than An Unexpected Journey. Barrels of fun at times. Still has glacial stretches, but after Smaug's introduction (how bout that!) it's gold.

The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006) - Thoroughly entertaining. I mean, it does star Kate Winslet, what did I expect. Call me surprised though.

Arthur Christmas (Barry Cook, Sarah Smith, 2011) - Warm-hearted, quirky and endearing Aardman Xmas adventure cleverly toys with Holiday tropes and stresses the importance of family.

The Do-Deca Pentathlon (Mark and Jay Duplass, 2012) - Estranged middle age brothers, each in a life bind, reconnect and toughen up when resurrect a childhood competition. Low-budget comedy from Duplass bros has heart. A unique look at filling void of brotherhood, turning to the past to fuel present happiness.

Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984) - Christmas Eve anarchy. An ageless cult classic and silly-fun creature flick with impressive puppetry and effects.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn, 2013) - Jurassic Park vs. Apple. So many food puns, but good fun. Laughs throughout.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989) - A hardworking family man tries everything to deliver the perfect Christmas. One can embrace that.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller, 2013)

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2011) - Dumb, but I found myself cackling along with this madness.

Deck the Halls (John Whitesell, 2006) - Features a speed skating race between Broderick and DeVito, which is almost worth the watch alone. But, pretty thin stuff.

Reindeer Games (John Frankenheimer, 2000) - This was meant to be a comedy, right? Awful acting, diabolical twists and generally lackadaisical storytelling.

Carrie (Kimberley Peirce, 2013) - While De Palma's version feels pretty dated these days, this flat update doesn't offer anything remotely interesting. Awful.

Re-watches (In Order of Preference)

Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green, 2013)

Mud (Mike Nichols, 2013)

Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2013)

Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, 2003)

Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller, 2008)

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, 1992)

Surviving Christmas (Mike Mitchell, 2004)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson, 2012)

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