Thursday, January 9, 2014

Best Movies of 2013!

It's that time of year again, time for me to make a list of my favorite movies from 2013. Taylor and I saw a lot of movies this past year, and I mean a lot! Were talking like 30 plus movies! Not all of them were in the theaters, but still that's a lot of movies. For this post I decided to pick out my 10 favorite movies from 2013, and also point out the 10 movies I look forward to seeing most in 2013. It's a little different from the one I did last year. The 10 movies below are not only the most enjoyable movies of 2013, but also movies that I connected with on an emotional level, and had a wow factor to them. So with out further adieu, here they are!

Top 10 movies of 2013

10. Thor: The Dark World
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Released: November 8

It was tough call between this and Iron Man 3. I really enjoyed both of Marvel's newest phase 2 films, but I think Thor barely edges out Iron Man 3. While this movie wasn't quite as good as the first, and there were a few flaws, overall it was still a very fun and exciting film. The action was very exciting and done in unique way. I loved being able to see more of Asgard in this movie, as well as the some of the other cosmic worlds. This movie had a lot of great twists and turns that I wasn't quite expecting, and of course Tom Hiddleston nailed it again as Loki. It was a lot of fun to see him and Thor working together in this one. Can't wait for more Thor and more Avengers!

9. Saratov Approach
Directed By: Garrett Batty
Starring: Corbin Allred, Maclain Nelson
Released: October 9

This film tells the true story about 2 Mormon missionaries being kidnapped in Russia. First let me just say that a lot of the movies in the "Mormon Cinema" genre are not very good, but this is not one of them. It does a lot more than just tell an incredible story, it inspires hope and understanding in the world we live in. This movie does a great job at mixing thrilling, intense, and realistic settings with hopefully and inspirational messages.  It helps demonstrate how bad things happen to good people, but that even though bad things happen we don't have to let it make us miserable. I might be biased because I am Mormon and I went on a mission, but I think this is a movie that anyone would enjoy and should see.

8. 42
Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford
Released: April 12

I'm usually a sucker for sports movies, even some of the very cliche and not very good ones, but 42 is not one of the mediocre sports movie. It has a great story about an amazing man, who had to overcome a lot. I really like that they stayed true Jackie Robinson character and portrayed him how he really was, a virtuous and noble person. Many times movies take away those traits to make the character more interesting, but I found him to be even more interesting, and I loved the way they showed his patience and frustration as he tried to put up with all the persecution he received. Chadwick Boseman does a tremendous job as playing Jackie Robinson, but I think Harrison Ford may have stole the show. He was so awesome in this movie (which makes me excited about him returning as Han Solo soon). Even if you don't like sports I think that this is great movie that anyone would enjoy. Overall this is an outstanding film, that shows the power of what good values and sportsmanship can do to change the world.

7. Saving Mr. Banks
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Collin Farrell
Released: December 20

Another movie based on a true story makes my list. I'm sure this movie doesn't tell the real story completely accurately, but that doesn't mean it doesn't tell a great story. It's a pretty simple story, but it teaches so many great things in it, such as forgiveness, letting go, embracing adversity, determination, the power of collaborating, the power of imagination, the influence of fathers on their children, relying on others to reach success, and the power of storytelling. I loved that this movie emphasized that storytelling is what brings people hope and inspiration. My favorite quote from this film is when Disney says "That’s what story tellers do.  We restore order to imagination.  We bring hope". This movie told a beautiful story that reminded me of that. The acting was excellent by both Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L Travers, but I think my favorite role was Collin Farrell as the optimistic yet tragic father. This movie also made me nostalgic for old Disney movies, and made me really excited to go to Disneyland later this year.

6. Captain Philips
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Released: October 11

Another Tom Hanks and true story makes my list of favorite movies from 2013. This was one intense and dramatic movie. I went into this one not expecting much, but I came out being completely blown away by it! Out of all the Tom Hanks movies I've seen this is one of his best. This movie was intense (like Dark Knight intense), emotional, and so realistic that it makes you feel as if you are witnessing all of this for real. I really enjoyed though that this movie doesn't just show Captain Philips side of the story, but we also get to see the perspective of the captors. We are able to understand their desperation and we see why they do what they do (still doesn't make it okay, but it is interesting and sad to see their motivation). Showing their desperation helps create awareness and understanding. It also makes the movie very well rounded and that much more interesting.  

5. Gravity
Directed by: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Released: October 4

When I was a kid I wanted to be astronaut when I grew up (probably from watching too much Star Wars), but after seeing this movie, heck no! I know there has has been a lot of hype and talk about this movie, and it rightfully deserves it. First off, the visuals are astonishing. It makes you feel as if you are literally in space with the characters. The visuals create both a beautiful image to look at, and an incredibly intense and terrifying experience. Second, the acting is great. Sandra Bullock does an incredible job at helping you feel like you are trapped in space. Third, the score is amazing. And fourth the story, like Saving Mr. Banks, is very simple but also deeply profound. The simple tale of survival is taken to a whole different level with the characters being lost in space. It was incredibly inspiring and motivating. Along with that I felt that this movie was a beautiful allegory to life and the urgency to push on when obstacles become too great to overcome. I really love this quote from one of the last scenes of the movie. "The way I see it, there are only two possible outcomes. Either I make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell! Or I burn up in the next ten minutes. Either way, whichever way... no harm, no foul!"

4.  Star Trek Into Darkness
Directed by: JJ Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch
Released: May 16

JJ Abrams set the bar pretty high with the first Star Trek, but I have to say, I think he may have past it with Into Darkness. It's a very fast paced action adventure film, but it also delivers a lot of great character moments. It carries on the momentum and fun that was established in the first film, and adds to it. JJ Abrams does a great job at making this a very fun action adventure movie, and also an emotional and moving one as well. Usually movies like this are either one or the other. Another thing I love about this movie is how well the characters interact with each other. It's does a great job at focusing on the main characters and their progression, but it also makes very good use of all the supporting characters. The action is incredible, and there are so many twists and turns throughout. This movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. The villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was so fun to watch. It also gave me a great reminder of the importance of friendships, and putting the needs of others before our own. Watching this movie makes me so excited to see what J.J. Abrams will do with Star Wars!

3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Mckellen, Richard Armitage
Released: December 13 

It's no secret that I love the world of Middle Earth (check out my blog about Lord of the Rings), and the second entry to the continuing story of the Hobbit did not disappoint! This movie was incredible! While the first Hobbit suffered from slow pacing, this one did not. The movie is almost three hours and I was never once bored. It had all of the amazing things you would expect from a movie set in Middle Earth, incredible cinematography and set pieces, outstanding special effects (Smaug looks amazing), and intense action sequences (I think the barrel and spider sequences are among the best action scenes this year). Many people have complained that these movies are adding unnecessary elements to the films, but I found Gandalf's sub plot about discovering the return of Sauron really interesting and exciting. I also really enjoyed that they brought Legolas back, and introduced the new character of Tauriel. I thought that both of them fit perfectly into the film, and Peter Jackson's world of Middle Earth. Overall this was a solid entry to an already amazing film series, and I can't wait to see the epic conclusion at the end of this year!

2. Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Released: November 22 

Wow, what a movie this was! I haven't ever read the books, but I enjoyed the first film. It was a very well done movie, and while I looked forward to seeing Catching Fire, I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. The new director, Francis Lawrence, really stepped up and delivered. He did an amazing job at making me feel as if I lived in this world. I was able to feel the emotion of the characters and all that was at stake. I felt really connected to the characters, and the situations they were placed in. Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the cast once again nailed it. Along with being an outstanding drama, this movie was also a great action adventure movie. The scenes in the arena were much more intense and fierce than the first one.This movie packs an emotional punch and it starts from the second it starts and doesn't stop until the credits start rolling. I also founding the story very moving and inspiring. It seems that many people think that these films are simply about violence, but I found the film to a moving story about courage, compassion, and the strength to stand up to things that are wrong. 

1. Man of Steel
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
Released: June 14

I absolutely loved this movie! Of all the movies I saw this year this was the one that stayed with me the most after seeing it. The cast is excellent, from Henry Cavill stepping into the difficult role of Superman/Clark Kent, to Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe as Clark's fathers, and Michael Shannon as the tyrant ruler General Zod. The relationship that Clark has with both his real parents and adoptive parents is one that I thought was depicted perfectly in this movie, and one of the strongest aspects of the film. From the opening sequences on Krypton, to the final shot of Clark Kent in the Daily Planet, I was completely engaged in this movie. I felt a real connection to Clark’s journey of him trying to discover who he really is. They showed him as a lost and confused soul, who is seeking to find his place in a world where he shouldn't fit in. Hans Zimmer's score was also one of his best. Some people found the action to be a little overboard, and while I can see why they feel that way, I loved it. I thought that the action added such an intensity to the movie, that other Superman films, and other superhero movies are missing. I’m not sure what a lot people were expecting when they watched this film, or what they saw, but what I saw was a movie that was full of intense action, great drama, emotionally engaging, and profoundly moving. For that I can't wait to see this new universe of Superman unfold, and I'm especially excited to see how Superman and Batman will face off in the sequel.

Honorable Mentions: Oblivion, Iron Man 3, World War Z, The Way Way Back, Ender's Game

Movies I'm looking forward to most in 2014

10. The Lego Movie
Directed by: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Release Date: February 7

I've always really like Legos, not as much as brothers, but I still really appreciate them, and a movie about Legos just sounds awesome. And plus this movie has a great cast, and it looks hilarious. Also Batman is in!

9. Transcendence
Directed by: Wally Pfister
Starring: Johnny Depp, Paul Bethany, Rebecca Hall
Release Date: April 18

This is director debut of Wally Pfister, who has done the cinematography for almost all of Christopher Nolan's movies. So that right there already caught my attention. Plus its an original Sci-fi film, which I usually always enjoy, and the trailer makes it look very interesting.

8. Dawn of the Planet of Apes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke
Release date: July 11

I really enjoyed the first movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and so with that I am eagerly anticipating the sequel. Add Gary Oldman to the mix along side Andy Serkis, and this should be pretty cool movie.

7. Guardian of the Galaxy
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradly Cooper
Release date: August 1

I honestly don't really know much about this movie, or the comics these characters are based on, but the premise of it sounds really interesting, and it's got a really unique cast. Also it's a Marvel movie, so that pretty much means I'm going to see. I feel like this is either going to be really awesome, or really bad, but we shall see.

Sorry no trailer yet:(

6. The Amazing Spider-man 2
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Release date: May 2

If you have read any of my old blogs you will know that I am a very big Spider-man fan, and that I really enjoyed the The Amazing Spider-man. This sequel looks like it will be a lot of fun, and it won't have to go through the origin story again like the first one had to.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed by: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan
Release date: April 4

I really enjoyed the first Captain America movie, but it wasn't my favorite of the Marvel movies. With that said though by the looks of this trailer this movie looks amazing, and a lot of fun! I'm really excited to see Captain take on the Winter Soldier and see what other surprises this movie will bring. (Side note: This movie has an interesting set of directors. There main credits are directing shows like Arrested Development and Community)

4. Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Released: November 21

Before seeing Catching Fire, this movie might not have been on my list, but with that cliff hanger and knowing that Francis Lawrence is coming back to direct I can't wait for this one. 

3. Interstellar
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine
Release date: November 7 

I don't really know much about this movie, and the trailer doesn't really explain too much either. All I really know is that it's an original script from the Nolan brothers (Johnathan and Christopher), it's got a solid cast, and it's directed by Christopher Nolan. I love Nolan's Batman movies, but I almost love his other movies just as much (Memento, The Prestige, Inception), so I am really excited to see what they have come up with for this one. 

2. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Mckellen, Richard Armitage
Released: December 17 

There's no trailer for this one yet, but I'm I think we can expect great things from this final movie. I'm excited to to see Smaug one last time and the epic Battle of Five Armies

1. X-men: Days of Future Past
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart
Release date: May 23

Out of all the movies coming out next year I am most excited for this one. I have always loved anything X-men, but since X2 I feel like there hasn't really been a truly epic X-men movie to do it justice. I think that this movie just might be the one though. It has the cast back from the original trilogy and the cast from First Class, it's based on one of the best X-men comics, and this trailer looks amazing! Can't wait!

Well thanks for reading. I really appreciate it! So what are some your favorite movies from 2013? And which ones are you looking forward to most in 2014?


  1. I agreed with some of your choices and disagreed with others. Man of Steel? Not my favorite this year. And neither were Thor or Gravity. But I loved Saving Mr. Banks and Catching Fire and 42. You didn't mention Harrison Ford in that movie, but he was spectacular.
    One movie you didn't include that I adored was Walter Mitty. Not only was the movie PG (so rare these days), it was entertaining, clever, well-written, and had a moral that I loved: every life is important, whether big or small.
    Love these movie posts of yours.

  2. I could have predicted that Man of Steel was number one on your list. Nice list though. I would agree that Captain Phillips and Catching Fire blew my mind! I was not a fan of Thor at all, but my wife loved it, so each person has their opinions, I guess.