Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013: Halfway Report

The first half of 2013 is completed.  What has it brought upon the cinematic landscape?  Here's the unscientific Musings and Stuff compendium on what the first half of the year has brought.  I've viewed 39 films thus far and here's my take.

Here's the trashiest of the trashy of the first half of the years cinematic offerings. 

To the Wonder

21 and Over (review)
Gangster Squad (review)
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (review)
A Good Day to Die Hard (review)
Identity Thief (review)
Iron Man 3 (review)
Movie 43 (review)
Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (review)
To the Wonder (review) or "To the Pretentious Pits of Cinematic Hell"
Trance (review)
Upside Down- a forgettable and nearly pointless romantic science fiction art film featuring wan, bored performances by Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturges as star crossed lovers in an upstairs/downstairs parallel universe of the haves and have-nots.  As a tagline it might appear to be CW version of this summers upcoming Elysium.

The mediocrity, oh the mediocrity.  Be it in construction or execution, something's missing...

The Call (review)
The Croods- DreamWorks hit animated feature about a caveman family stuck in their old hat ways as the Earth is changing is written in seemingly sitcom fashion and frantically hop steps from slapstick sequence to slapstick sequence with a lack of formalistic grace that it nearly belies the plentifully gorgeous animation.
Ginger & Rosa- Elle Fanning gives a commanding performance as a politically aware British teenager in the 1960s in an otherwise maudlin melodrama specializing in the dynamics of friendships and family.
Jack the Giant Slayer- Bryan Singer's over-priced fable features animated performances from Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor as well as enchantingly home-madey special effects, but suffers due to anemic pacing.
John Dies at the End (review)
Mama (review)
Man of Steel (review)
Monsters University- The fate of Pixar Animations and its wondrous legacy of a library continues to struggle as the brand has become more and more consciously just that-- a brand.  Monsters University isn't a travesty, nor a Cars 2-level type disaster.  Parts of it are actually quite pleasurable, but it's also incredibly and regrettably forgettable.  The first film, a joyous beaut, is sadly dampened and cheapened by this utterly unnecessary prequel/sequel/branding.
Oz: The Great & Powerful (review) or "Oz: The So-So and Kinda Sexist"
The Place Beyond the Pines (review)
Spring Breakers- James Franco's performance aside, which is certainly a curio on terms of not just the fascinatingly curious actor and his oddball career path but also a playfully inventive, to the rafters set of showmanship, Harmony Korine's spring hit is still a shallow, ugly, pretentious sleight of exploitation masquerading as parody masquerading as art.
Stoker (review)
This Is the End (review)
World War Z- Despite a stellar star turn by Brad Pitt, this zombie apocalypse "real world" thriller adapted from the seemingly unfilmable novel by Max Brooks is a wank of movie, despite absorbing twists and sequences.

Recommended with reservations, but nifty movies worthy of at the very least a spot on your Netflix queue.

Upstream Color
Beautiful Creatures (review)
The Great Gatsby (review)
Greedy Lying Bastards (review)
Mud (review)
Side Effects (review)
Sound City (review)
Star Trek Into Darkness (review)
Upstream Color (review)
Warm Bodies (review)

Whatever the rest of the year brings us, AMPAS- take notice and do not forget these little gems.

Frances Ha
Frances Ha (review) (further obsessing)
No (review)
Room 237 (review)
Stories We Tell (review)

What are your favorites from the first half of the year?  What do think is worthy of Razzie Award contention?  I freely admit that I'm behind in sorts cinematically-- still need to catch Before Midnight, The Bling Ring, The King of Summer, The East, I'm So Excited, The Heat, Despicable Me 2 and well, tell me what else I need to see...

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