Best of 2013

The Top 13 Movies of 2013

by Alan Rapp on December 30, 2013

in Top Tens & Lists

The Top 13 Movies of 2013

Personal journeys, isolation, the style of the 60’s and 70’s, self-destructive acts and debauchery, troubled romance, rivalries, and overcoming hardships – these were the major themes of the films that composed my list of the Top Movies of 2013. It turned out to be a strong year in movies as several films I thoroughly enjoyed failed to make this list. Rather than doing honorable mentions, I decided to stretch the list from 10 to 13 allowing me to include three more films I wanted to discuss but weren’t otherwise going to earn a mention on a list of the Top 10 Movies of 2013. Here then are the The Top 13 Movies of 2013.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

by Alan Rapp on December 25, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Wolf of Wall Street
  • IMDB: link

The Wolf of Wall StreetBased on Jordan Belfort‘s own accounts, The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio as an aspiring stockbroker whose discovery of penny stocks, and how they could be used to earn a broker far more profit than an investor, led to his meteoric rise and eventual downfall. Reuniting with DiCaprio and choosing The SopranosTerence Winter to adapt Belfort’s book, director Martin Scorsese‘s three-hour comedy highlights the absurdity and tragedy of Belfort’s life on Wall Street while making a pretty strong argument for the entire industry’s inherently-flawed nature which only feeds on humanity’s worst impulses.

Three hours is too long for a comedy, any comedy, but I’ll give credit to Winter and Scorsese for producing the funniest movie I saw all year. Part of this is due to the nature of the story and how Scorsese chooses to frame it for maximum effect and part is in the casting. Jonah Hill (as Belfort’s best-friend and partner) and Matthew McConaughey (in the far smaller role of Belfort’s mentor) both provide bizarre, but also often hilarious, moments.

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Inside Llewyn Davis

by Alan Rapp on December 20, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Inside Llewyn Davis
  • IMDB: link

Inside Llewyn DavisOver the years the Coen Brothers have used setting, music, and tone to tell a variety of tales. Lacking the broad comedic strokes of Burn After Reading or the darker undertones of No Country for Old Men and their True Grit remake, the brothers’ latest is a more straightforward and personal character study of life of a struggling artist. Thinking over their filmography you can say the Coens have produced funnier, stranger, more disturbing, and perhaps even more memorable films, but this immersive drama ranks as one of their best.

Set primarily in the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961, Inside Llewyn Davis follows the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a known and liked (or at least tolerated) folk singer in his small circle and a real son of a bitch to nearly ever single person he knows. Over the film’s 105-minute running-time we witness Davis nomadically travel with his guitar, a carton of unsold records, and a friend’s cat as his only prized possessions.

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American Hustle

by Alan Rapp on December 20, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: American Hustle
  • IMDB: link

American HustleFor this 70’s tale of con men (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) in over their heads writer/director David O. Russell reunites with Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Part character study, part insane and over-the-top adventure, American Hustle offers audiences one of the year’s best films.

After a brief introduction to Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his mistress and co-conspirator Sydney (Adams), the pair are busted by up-and-coming FBI hot-head Richie DiMaso (Cooper) who decides to use the pair to pull in even bigger fish. Regardless of danger or consequences, and against the orders of his boss (Louis C.K.), DiMaso pushes Irving and Sydney into going after both the mob and local politicians, beginning with Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) who is interested in rebuilding Atlantic City.

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Stories We Tell

by Alan Rapp on December 14, 2013

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Stories We Tell
  • IMDB: link

Stories We TellFor her latest film actress/writer/director Sarah Polley turns the camera on her own past in a series of inter-cut interviews with family and friends of her mother dragging the family’s darkest secrets into the light including her mother’s affair around the time of Polley’s conception raising life-long questions about her true parentage.

Stories We Tell offers several different viewpoints of the past, old home video, video recreations using actors, and emails and letters from over the years read directly into the tale. The father who raised her provides the narration (under the direction of his daughter) adding yet another unique spin to the story, especially given how those family secrets change his relationship with his daughter.

The result is an emotional and spellbinding tale of a search for understanding and truth and how we remember and retell personal stories that likely delivers far more for both Polley and audiences than she originally intended.

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