Friday, January 3, 2014

Five best movies of 2013...

2013 may be over, but I've yet to pass judgement on what I thought were the best and worst movies of the past twelve months on the big screen. I personally saw 32 movies at the cinema, so without further ado, here are the five movies that entertained me the most.

Thor Dark World movie billboard
It's no secret that I'm a massive Marvel Comics fan and have been for around 30 years or so, but I was totally staggered by how much I absolutely loved the Thor movie sequel (especially as he's not particularly one of my favourite characters).

The film was a huge improvement on the Asgardian God of Thunder's first outing and whilst I was watching the mix of comic book action, sci-fi and fantasy, I couldn't help but wonder how the likes of Star Wars and The Hobbit were going to top this fun superhero romp.

Chris Hemsworth's Thor seemed more godlike and humble at the same time, Tom Hiddleston's Loki was at his scheming best and it offered something completely different from what has come before.

I also had the opportunity to see some of the fantastic costumes and props from Thor: The Dark World on display at various cinemas and Disneyland, so if you're a fan, be sure to check those out too.

Original Thor: The Dark World movie costumes 
on display at ArcLight Hollywood
Thor Dark World movie costume exhibit
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to innovate, excite and surprise, and I for one can't wait to see what comes next.

Giant World War Z movie billboard
Next is a movie that surprised me for different reasons. After watching the trailer for World War Z and seeing the super-fast zombie tidal wave I thought Brad Pitt's apocalyptic undead movie was going to be a train-wreck. Imagine my surprise when I actually really enjoyed the film.

Not a lover of blood and guts, it wasn't the gore fest I worried it could be. It was tense, it was globe-trotting and it offered something new to the world of zombies (and The Walking Dead is my favorite drama on TV at the moment). I loved how quickly the outbreak started, the pace at which the movie progressed and the finale in my homeland of Wales made me smile.
World War Z movie poster wall
Yes, there were some totally unbelievable plane-crashes and a rather 'quiet', predictable ending, but overall it was an enjoyable ride from start to finish.

Prisoners movie poster
Not for the faint of heart, or probably parents of young children, but Prisoners was a totally riveting abduction thriller which showed us a different, intense side to Hugh Jackman and kept you on the edge of your seat to the very end.

It's hard to say you 'enjoyed' a movie about child abduction, but it was a truly unsettling 'unHollywood' movie with great performances and a compelling mystery, which was just a refreshing change of pace.

Original costume and props exhibit for Prisoners at ArcLight Hollywood
Prisoners movie costume props exhibit
I also had the opportunity to see costumes worn by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners, plus original plot relevant props that featured in the movie too, which always makes my day.

Pacific Rim movie billboard
Just like World War Z, Pacific Rim was another movie I expected to hate. I thought we were in for another Transformers travesty, but much to my surprise the mix of giant robots versus other-worldly monsters was just the mindless entertainment I needed this past summer.

Yes, the movie is full of clichés and bad acting, but there's also some real cool science fiction concepts in there too. I loved the mind-bridge between the two drivers of the giant Jaeger robots, the idea that humanity was losing a battle against alien invaders from the deep like an old Godzilla movie and that it was set in another part of the world, and not America saving the world once again, but a unified global effort.

There's obviously a lot to hate, but so much more to love about Guillermo del Toro's big action movie. Pure escapist nonsense, and if you didn't understand that, then you missed the whole point.
Pacific Rim movie poster
If you're a fan of the movie, be sure to check out all these Pacific Rim movie billboards that invaded L.A. this year.

Gravity movie billboard
Next on my list of must-see 2013 movies is Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity.

By now you must realize I'm a big sci-fi fan, so you can see how Gravity would appeal to my space geek sensibilities. The sheer spectacle of the film is what really transports you, and one of my favourite visuals in the entire movie is when the camera pans in and out of Sandra Bullock's helmet and around at the surrounding expanse of space. It's an amazing piece of cinematography and just makes you go "Wow".

Obviously it may not be the most scientifically accurate story, but it certainly raised the bar on sloppy science fiction offerings that have for too long been content to overuse CGI and big space battles to tell a story. Also George Clooney's experience astronaut character could have been played by anyone and the same plot is repeated over and over, as Sandra Bullock escapes from one spaceship to the next, but the film itself keeps you riveted the entire time.
Sandra Bullock Gravity movie billboard
If you're a fan of the film like me, be sure to check out these other cool Gravity movie billboards from around L.A., including a nice little stunt along Sunset Strip.

So, they were my five favourite movies of the past twelve months, what do you think? Be sure to also take a look at my five best movies of 2012 and come back soon for my five least favourite movies of 2013.

Awards season is fast approaching, so we'll see if anyone agrees with me when they are handing out Oscars and Golden Globes.

Until then it's off to the movies for a brand New Year of cinematic delights...

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