Gravity (2013) is as big a wow as anything I’m likely to see throughout the remainder of this year. It is doubtful, from a cinematic esthetic at any rate, that there will be anything else released in 2013 that I can even compare it to.
Don Jon is still a fairly strong debut, showcasing directorial chops that could serve Gordon-Levitt well if he chooses to step behind the camera again. The film is a moderately challenging character study of a man battling demons he didn’t realize were tearing his life apart, and while the lessons he learns are hardly earthshattering that doesn’t make them any less potent or worthy of additional contemplation.
Villeneuve has managed to construct a puzzle box thriller that remembers the human element is more essential than a few slights of hand and a handful of cheap thrills. It builds its emotions from a core, lived-in reality that’s pulsing with nerve-wracking effervescence, making Prisoners (2013) an impactful tour de force sure to be remembered fondly for many years to come.
Howard and Morgan have made a movie whose engine roars to life with astonishing ferocity, Rush a full-bore entertainment of living life on the edge and the adrenaline high that comes from doing it that deserves to be one of 2013’s biggest hits.
Yet as much as he and Diesel love the character, as beholden to the fans as they feel to do him justice, Riddick is frustratingly half-baked. It never goes to the level that it needs to in order to fully succeed, following in the footsteps in the successful entry of the series oddly afraid to slice and dice a pathway entirely of its own design. The perceived failure of the last outing has made the pair, of all things, timid, a trait that sadly shows its colors far too much of the time, and if stories with this character are going to continue than that’s one facet that has to immediately change.
Cretton understands his story and his characters in ways that are inspiring, never once belittling them or taking them for granted. The final moments of Short Term 12 are as refreshingly invigorating as any I could have dreamt of, and as such the filmmaker’s latest effort is cause for complete and total celebration.
With a script co-written once again by Pegg and Wright, [The World’s End] is a subversive trip down memory lane coupled with not-so-veiled commentary on consumerist culture and suburban homogenization. It is smarter than you initially think it is and more bracing in its darkly tragic satire than many might be willing to give it credit for, the resulting comedic jaunt an intelligently observational diatribe worthy of multiple looks.
You’re Next is not your typical home invasion horror-thriller. Filled with inventive twists and turns, showcasing a heroic transformation that would cause both Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver to rise to their feet in unabated cheers, the movie is a witty, gory and unexpectedly exciting hoot filled with scares and laughs aplenty.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints doesn’t rewrite the rule book or transform the genre in any way that’s new or different and that’s okay. When a movie is as close to perfectly constructed as this, when the acting is this universally excellent, not being the most original noir in the backwoods Texas hill country is just fine with me.