mercredi 1 janvier 2014

The Best Of The Best Movies Of 2013, We Declare

By Mickey Jhonny

We'll concede off the top that "best" isn't exactly a scientific term. It depends who you ask. Then of course not all the contenders are in. And we admit we still haven't caught the second part of The Hobbit yet. So, a little hedging of one's bets is called for.

I'm guessing though that - having been produced pretty much simultaneously with the first part - it will share the initial installment's charms and weaknesses: more fresh humor than you'd expect, but maybe just a little too loud. LOTR did a good job for the most part of keeping the right balance between action adventure and introspective soul search. The first part of the Hobbit leaned too far into the action genre. We remain hopeful though that part 2 will redeem the franchise. But we'll see.

Between though what's been released and what our secret sources have given us access to ahead of the gen-pop, we feel comfortable in declaring for the best movies of 2013 - or, more precisely, the best movie! One criterion of course is to let the people have their say. They vote with their hard earned dollars and that at least deserves honorable mention.

The winner in this category would appear to be Iron Man 3, which this morning Box Office Mojo had listed as pushing $410 million Shekels gross. This fact, I confess, blows my mind. Who would have predicted that the star of The Pick-Up Artist and Two Girls and a Guy, or the purveyor of Larry Paul from the Ally McBeal show, would wind up being the superhero star of a megabuck successful action franchise? Not I. That's almost as weird as Tobey Maguire being the superhero star of a megabuck successful action franchise. Almost as weird.

Well, be all that as it may, this movie watchdog is no democracy. We've got our own idiosyncratic ways of choosing the best movies. And behinds-in-seats is not it. I certainly would be sympathetic you anyone who insisted that the delightful and intriguing Sound City in fact deserved the honors. This great documentary reveals the story behind the story, giving us the scoop on one of the best kept secrets in American popular culture. Hidden away in the San Fernando Valley, amid ramshackle warehouses, an extraordinary studio, with amazing technical capacities, became a recording shrine for iconic names among American pop and rock musicians.

Those ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Neil Young, to Nirvana and Metallica made the trek to the studio so far off the beaten track. The film tells the story of the studio through the eyes of those whose music was so influenced by its contribution to the contemporary music sound. This is really a great movie experience. However, really, we're not going to be so namby-pamby as to name a doc best movie of the year. Come on, now.

Instead, here at Best Movies of 2013, we're getting ahead of the curve and declaring the soul scorching Le Week-End as the best film of the year. No, it's not a foreign film (that would be as bad as declaring a doc best movie). The Frenchish sounding title denotes the location of the action, set in Paris. There a Brit couple, fantastically portrayed by amazingly still hauntingly beautiful Lindsay Duncan and the almost always compelling Jim Broadbent.

It would be a shame to give too much away. The dialogue is too die for, with all its bite and subtle insinuation. Let's just say, if you enjoyed Richard Linklater's Before Sunset series, just try picturing the barbs and retorts that might be forthcoming from Jesse and Celine in the twilight of their relationship. Then you'll have some idea.

Special mention too has to be made of the wonderful supporting contribution of Jeff Goldblum. He's becoming a master of these colorful supporting roles later in his career. This still isn't up to the spooky, darkly menacing performance in Igby Goes Down, but it's still mighty fine. It is a performance for which the tall guy will long be remembered.

So, that's our story and we're sticking with it. There were some other really good movies in 2013, which have received a well deserved not. It is though Le Week-End, dark and brooding, funny and cruel, scorching the soul and maybe welling up just a tear or two, which is our pick for the very best movie of 2013. And, if you think we're wrong, well, tell us why.

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