This was the "Year of the Re-Visit" for me. I binge-watched virtual careers and entire series' of films (or at least most of them). Part of this due to the discovery that older films, even the production-starved ones, when treated with care can look absolutely breathtaking in HD on a giant flat-panel TV. Films that are intensely visual like say, an old Argento film, have that intensity magnified almost like seeing it in the theater. Sometimes new things are pretty awesome.
Total Movies Watched:
413 (for those keeping score at home, that is a whopping 110 more movies than last year)
Total Theatrical Movies:
4 (one more than last year! Clearly Hollywood is making progress... or their marketing departments are.)
Let's go over the cliche check-list to make sure we have everything:
Witty married-couple arguments? Check!
Precocious kid? Check!
Trite, canned drama? Check!
Longest, most painfully unfunny "fanboy" scene ever? Check!
Lots of poorly executed terrorist drama? Check!
Lots of comic "acting" from Favreau? Check!
No action for interminable stretches at a time? Check!
Minimal action, minimal Iron Man, maximum cringing comedy? Check and double check!
|My reaction to IM3|
Add crap 2D to 3D conversion and this was a miserable waste of over 2 hours and $20.
As much as Twohy was vocal about not wanting to rehash the first film, he found himself compelled to do it after everyone on the planet rightfully bitched about part 2. Once again, he inserts the character of Riddick into an '80s throwback, but this time it works. Essentially a throwing the mostly metaphorical "spaghetti western on a parched alien planet" theme of the first film into sharp relief, Riddick must survive in a Harry Harrison-esqe Death World, while attempting to cut a band of bounty hunters off at the knees, before they do the same to him. The bounty hunters are holed up in a small outpost and are not even aware of the deadly storm that is about to rain down on them all. ...And I don't mean Riddick. This impending doom device works to add a sense of urgency to the stand-off and keeps things from dragging. Occasionally feeling like it was pulled straight out of an '80s Charles Band film, RIDDICK sports some excellent art direction with western visuals and Twohy's fantastic eye for detailed, lived-in sets, props and vehicles. Even if the movie is let down by a rather by-the-numbers finale, it's still way more fun than it has any right to be.
The First Film of 2013:
HAMILTON 2 - BUT NOT IF IT COMES TO YOUR DAUGHTER (2012): As the (unintentional) tradition dictates, the new year must be started off with a highly anticipated sequel. Unfortunately this hasty follow-up to the previous year's surprisingly good original turned out to be stunningly bad. How bad? It had the world-class super spy rescuing a cat who is stuck in a tree. Damn near chewed my finger nails to the bone over that excitement.
The Last Film of 2013:
The Biggest Surprise of 2013:
It's a tie between GRAVITY (2013) and RIDDICK (2013). The edge goes to RIDDICK as I was not even remotely expecting to like it as much as I did, but at the same time I was expecting a lot of plasticine Hollywood drama out of GRAVITY and was rather shocked to find it absent. Two big surprises in one year out of my local multiplex. Pretty amazing.
The Biggest Disappointment of 2013:
This special is more of the same and sports a completely wasted bit part for Tom Baker, who has been my hero since childbirth. Even worse, websites like Twitch.com run gushing articles about how profound and touching it was. Ugh! It was a jumbled, cliched mess with no real plotline that Moffat scrached out on the back of a bar napkin while on break from his gruelingly insipid series SHERLOCK (in which a young metro-sexual Holmes solves crimes via his cellphone - really).
I don't know if you know who Maffat is, but he's a BBC writer who used to write episodes for various genre shows. His single episodes used to be really good, until he did a groundbreakingly fantastic episode for David Tenant's "Doctor Who" titled "Blink". That was the episode that turned DW into this giant juggernaut here in the US.
EERIE INDIANA (1991-92): Big props out to Will for recommending this show. When this came out I was so busy watching HK action movies and offending every eligible single woman in the pathetic San Jose bar scene, that I didn't really have any time for a TV show. Much less a kid's TV show. What a mistake that was.
Sort of like BILL & TED meets "The X-Files"... sort of. The family is hyper-normal, but the town is weird, and nobody notices the weirdness except for two boys, Marshall Teller (Omri Katz) and Simon Holmes (Justin Shenkarow). As Teller narrates in the opening credits, "Elvis lives on my paper-route... Bigfoot eats out of my trash..." it's just not like New Jersey.
Boasting an amazingly eclectic sense of humor (particularly for a kid's show) the series features the likes of John Astin, Henry Gibson, Dick Miller, Ray Walston, Julius Harris, Archie Hahn, Matt Frewer, Joe Dante, Claude Akins, Michael J. Pollard, Mark Blankfield, Tom Everett, Paul Sand, and Danielle Harris (look out for pre-fame Denise Richards, Nikki Cox and Tobey Maguire as well)! All of this awesomeness packed into 19 22-minute incredibly creative segments. In one episode the original owner (John Astin) of the local diner/store, The World of Stuff, agrees to help the guys with a little problem, saying "ok boys, let's go bag this werewolf... then I'm going to take a shot at this 'Warren Commission' thing." No 11 year old kid is going to get that joke, which makes it even funnier. It's sad that it only lasted one season, it was just too cool to live. Oh yeah, there's a second season that got made titled "Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension", but the new cast and lack of cool celeb bit roles are definitely a let-down.
Shockingly, it's not the Xbox One that came completely out of left field. It's a copy of the now utterly unobtainable director's cut DVD of TITAN FIND (1985)! Remastered in it's correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with the original title and even a few interviews. Sadly this release got caught up in a legal entanglement that may take years to sort out. One of these days I should send Will something nice for his birthday instead of junk food and junk movies.
The Coolest Actor That I Never Realized was Awesome in 2013:
Mr. Fugitive himself, David Janssen. How have I lived all of these years without appreciating this guy? After watching THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS (1979) and ending up completely obsessed with bagels and lox (ok, more obsessed than usual), Will, who has been a founding member of the Janssen fanclub for decades, turned me on to the "Harry O" pilot films which are nothing short of amazing. Particularly good is the second pilot, "Such Dust as Dreams are Made of" which co-starred a young Martin Sheen as the punk who put a disabling bullet in Harry and now needs his help. Margot Kidder and Sal Mineo also show up as a far too young love interest and a drug-dealing hood, respectively.
|Pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato, cucumber and capers.|
Most Movies Watched in One Month:
January held the record with a total of 48 movies. The highlights (and lowlights) of the month can be found here in Listomania: Thomas' January Jetsam of 2013.
Least Movies Watched in One Month:
June sported a disgraceful total of 16 films. In those 16 films, I watched both WORLD WAR Z and THIS AIN'T JAWS XXX, so maybe you can't blame me for completely giving up on cinema for a while. The highlight of that month has to be the special edition blu-ray of one of my favorite animated movies:
Check out a separate post for the De Hart Attack Awards Top 12 Best of 2013!