Bethany Lewis Top 5 Movies of 2013
Once I completed this list I realized that 2013 must have been a good year for sequels. Three out of five on this list are sequels in one sense or another, and perhaps that says something about my little fangirl heart and how I inherently like to see the continuation of a good story with great characters. That being said, these days it seems like a rarity to see a sequel measure up to its predecessor, let alone surpass it. I say we take a break from the fan fiction and enjoy the brief moment of quality cinema while we can.
5. Machete Kills
Machete Kills is the follow up to Machete, the Robert Rodriguez movie based on a fake trailer from his Grindhouse movie. Since that trailer, it seems the franchise has taken on a life of its own, growing more elaborate and over-the-top as the franchise goes on. At the beginning of Machete Kills there is a trailer for the upcoming (and hopefully someday not fake) sequel, Machete Kills in Space, taking the campiness and gratuitous sex and violence to an entirely different level. As it is, Machete Kills has a completely adequate level of gratuitous sex and violence, all the camp you could hope for with the additions of Demian Bichir and Mel Gibson to the cast, and lots and lots of propeller death.
4. Iron Man 3
The third, and possibly the best, installment of the Iron Man franchise not only acts as the continuing adventures of Tony Stark, but works beautifully as a coda to The Avengers and the multitude of consequences the events of that movie would have on the world around it. Robert Downey Jr. as Stark is as charming and blazingly arrogant as ever, but is also traumatized from his experience fighting Loki’s army and consequently passing into an alien dimension. He is both funny and heartbreaking in his most vulnerable moments, made all the more naked by the loss of his Iron Man suit. At the same time, this allows Stark to remind us he’s more than just a suit – that he’s a genius inventor, a brilliant tactician, and the man who built an amazing machine in a cave using spare parts.
3. American Hustle
While the plot is as convoluted as the actual factual Abscam operation it is based on, the movie is undeniably fun and stylish, has a great soundtrack, and is populated by an amazingly talented cast. In fact, more than anything else, it is the cast that makes this movie great, and works beautifully as one big performance piece for everyone involved. Christian Bale is wonderfully consistent with his esoteric mannerisms, Bradley Cooper spends most the movie coked out of his mind, and Jeremy Renner endears as the charismatic and idealistic mayor of Camden. But it’s really the women that make this movie amazing. Amy Adams is sexy and smart as the con-woman Sydney/Edith, with a certain ruthlessness motivated by her desperation to survive; and Jennifer Lawrence is so neurotic, self-assured, and manipulative, it’s no wonder that she has Christian Bale wrapped around her finger.
2. The World’s End
In the closing chapter of the three-flavor-cornetto trilogy (aka Blood and Ice Cream trilogy) our heroes Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright return for one more outrageous caper. With all the witty dialogue, clever plot twists, action packed scenes, and heart-warming moments of the first two, The World’s End also stands as a completely appropriate ending to a great trilogy. At the same time, there is a bittersweet sadness surrounding the entire endeavor that lets us know our time with our friends are coming to an end – that all things must end, including the world as we know it.
If you’ve ever seen a Korean crime thriller, particularly one directed by Chan-wook Park, you’ll know that there is something creative and wonderfully twisted about them. There is a certain inevitable escalation, a sneaking dread that what we suspect might actually happen. With most movies, our worst imaginings are left in our minds. But with Park, the worst of your imaginings are matched and exceeded on screen. Stoker, Park’s first English language film, creeps into your brain and stays with you, pulling at your conscience with its sneaky sexy wrongness. It is a beautiful and unique film that challenges and beguiles, that first enchants and then dismembers. Nearly a year after seeing it, I still think about it sometimes, in little snatches of image and sound.