I know, I know. I’m super late to the 2013 movie rankings party. I’d like to think you all will believe it’s because I’m just that thorough. Honestly, I think the truth is that I just have a fear of commitment.
I undoubtedly take these rankings more seriously than anyone in my position should but ranking things, especially movies, is my jam. And I’ll say the same thing I say every year that NO ONE SEEMS TO READ.. .just because something is ranked 23rd doesn’t mean that I didn’t think highly of it. I saw nearly 50 movies in 2013 and I primarily only see movies that are well reviewed or come recommended from people I trust. Last year I saw
70 something way too many movies and did a top 50 post, which I actually had a tough time narrowing down. This year I’ve given up on my dream to rank that high as most people seemed to think that was unnecessary or something…
So, because I’m a man of the people, I present to you my top 25 films of 2013. Read more
Alright guys, I’m in the final process of finalizing my rankings for 2013 movies. But, before I share those, I wanted to join the rest of civilization in recommending seeing The Lego Movie.
I had an early finish to the work day yesterday and had only been to the theater once or twice so far this year so I decided to check out the much heralded (96% on Rotten Tomatoes) The Lego Movie. I texted a couple friends as I arrived that I hoped Chris Hansen from Dateline didn’t come plop down in the seat next to me as I was seeing a children’s movie by myself. My writing this post, combined with the common knowledge that I’m not fast enough to outrun Chris Hansen, should be proof enough that I left unscathed.
So, without further adieu, here’s what I liked and didn’t like. We’ll start with what I didn’t. Read more
As we wrap up this year and begin a new one, our top music reviewer ranks his top five albums of 2013.
Honorable Mentions: Reflektor by Arcade Fire; Random Access Memories by Daft Punk; Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend; The Lone Bellow by The Lone Bellow
5) Yeezus by Kanye West
Kanye is on a different level than other artists. He’s absolutely crazy, like insane, loose cannon crazy. But there is no question that he is a genius. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was great, one of my all time favorites, but Yeezus is transcendental. It will be the album people associate him with in 50 years.
Each year, a heavy amount of anticipation is given to the Screen Actors Guild nominations. They are in many ways the first “inside view” we get as to what the Academy is liking during the awards season. After all, the actors branch is the largest one in the Academy’s membership, and presumably most – if not all – of those actors are also in SAG.
Of course, it would be and is often a fault to take these nominations too seriously when assessing the Oscar race. Yes, they are a very good indicator for the actors and actresses who get nominated, but keep this in mind: (a) these nominations are made very early in the season, meaning most voters didn’t see every film in contention yet and (b) these are acting-based nominations, and “Best Ensemble” does not equate to “Best Picture.”
Still, they’re the first clues we get, so let’s put them under the magnifying glass.
Welcome to another film awards season. I originally ran a site called “Awards Addict” which featured content on the road leading up to the Oscars. This year, I’m happy to say that content will be available at The Wise Guise for your reading pleasure. I know. You’re welcome.
As for those of you wondering about my credentials for covering the Oscar race, I’ve been doing so since 2005. I’ve got a pretty consistent record of knowing what the Academy likes and doesn’t like despite some of the more ludicrous choices we’ve seen grace the stage at the actual event. I’ve also personally been to Academy screenings and have an idea of who the typical Academy member is and what they like.
Now that you have an idea of my background, let’s get into this year’s race. For those of you unfamiliar with how the game is played (and the Oscar race is nothing more than a Hollywood game), the whole season begins with a slew of critic groups announcing their picks to garner buzz for contenders.
For the longest time, the general thought was “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” would be the critical darlings attracting the most top honors. But the first two Best Film awards of the season popped that consensus bubble quite rapidly. With the New York Film Critics’ choice of “American Hustle” and the National Board of Review’s stunning support of “Her,” this awards season has already gotten compelling in its infancy.
So what do these two choices ultimately mean?
When the first “Hunger Games” film launched in March 2012, it was a massive success on all levels. Crowds loved it, critics adored it and the box office was unreal, with the film bringing in over $400 million in the U.S. alone.
Flash-forward to a year-and-a-half later, and the second entry in the series, “Catching Fire,” has arrived. In that time, a new directior, Francis Lawrence, came on the scene, and the girl (Jennifer Lawrence) who played the girl on fire (Katniss Everdeen) has become a mega-star with an Oscar now in her possession.
Do either one of these factors make the new installment feel different? Actually no, not at all. “Catching Fire” shines in its consistency with the first film, with the same visual style and intensity in performance carrying over. Perhaps the fear for survival feels a tad diluted compared to the first go-around, but its replacement is the intrigue of a power struggle between rich and poor.
One of the most-talked about films of the year and frontrunners for Best Picture is Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave”. Starring a myriad of actors in small roles and based upon a true story of a free black man enslaved for 12 years in the 1840s and 1850s, it is a film unlike any other you’ve ever seen. Alex and Joseph each present their thoughts.
Alex Beene – Examining an Instant Classic: What makes “12 Years a Slave” Great
I suppose I should start with some elaborate explanation as to why you’re just now reading a Wise Guise recap of “12 Years a Slave.” Steve McQueen’s sprawling historical drama has been in theaters for weeks, garnering universal acclaim from critics, strong awards buzz and – not surprisingly – some walk-outs from audience members not anticipating such intensity in its filmmaking.
In reality, we’re just a group of busy Southerners who have a hard time being able to keep ourselves grounded at a computer long enough to reflect on such an experience. And yet, perhaps that additional time given to ponder on this masterpiece of a film helps in attempting to detail why this historical recap on one of slavery’s darkest stories is an essential lesson for Americans eager to get a brutally realistic take on a once-divided nation.
For “12 Years a Slave’s” true accomplishment is not in providing a by-the-books overview of Civil War-era America, but rather in giving viewers a very intimate story of one man’s stunning story of survival. Once-free Northerner Solomon Northup, brilliantly portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is drugged and thrown into the ownership of Southern landowners. The setting is perfect for a bombastic melodrama over the battle for rights and acceptance.
Yet, McQueen ignores the common plight of other films in the genre. More than anything, this is about survival. Northup spends little time screaming about his freedom and instead utilizes most of his life as a slave simply trying to live until the next day.