January 1st, 2014


List of Motions

Happy New Year, everyone. Time for my annual ranking of movies. I saw 27 this year, that's the most I've had on this list for years. It may be the most I've ever had. Still, there were movies I'm sorry I missed--Blue Jasmine, Blue is the Warmest Colour, The Wind Rises, and Her. Sometimes even piracy can't get around lousy distribution. I'll probably include them on 2014's list.

A lot of the films on this list may draw dispute--one in particular I'd be inclined to call a 2012 film except Sight and Sound ranked it with 2013 films. Mostly I just go on when the film had its first wide release in some major market, somewhere.

Okay, here they are, counting down from worst to best. Turns out there was only one movie this year I thoroughly hated:

27. The Conjuring (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

I probably wouldn't have seen this if I'd known it was from the same director as Saw. But The Conjuring sucks in a different way than Saw with less dull zaniness and more emptiness.

26. Man of Steel (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

There were some nice performances and action in this movie but they couldn't save it from one bonehead plot point after another, from a mentally unstable Jonathan Kent to a Lois Lane written as an after thought. All with a big bland Henry Cavill bow on top.

25. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Some funny, skit-like parodies and good performances were too out of context in an attempt at a sincere story which suffered more from a lack of commitment in its director.

24. Star Trek: Into Darkness (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Ineffective callbacks to Star Trek II detract somewhat from good performances by Cumberbatch, Pine, Saldana, Pegg, and Weller. The film also has some effective action sequences.

23. Gravity (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Truly incredible visuals and filmmaking technique are unfortunately directly opposed by a story based on the idea that everything is under God's benevolent control.

22. Pacific Rim (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Guillermo Del Toro's homage to anime and kaiju movies is a lot of fun.

21. An Adventure in Space and Time (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

I'm not sure how good this movie would be for anyone who's not a fan of Doctor Who but the story of William Hartnell's growing inability to perform a job he was extremely passionate about is heart breaking. David Bradley's performance is extraordinary.

20. Chennai Express (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Some really fun musical numbers, beautiful costumes and scenery and a couple of charismatic stars. A lot of fun.

19. Upstream Colour (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Some really nice, dreamlike filmmaking is sabotaged a little by the director's disapproval of sex and hypocritical stance on religion and Transcendentalism.

18. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Kyū) (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Not nearly as good as the original series but it was nice to finally see Shinji and Kaworu get to spend real time together and there's plenty of beautiful, bizarre imagery of Superflat structures, bloody seas and giant entrails.

17. World War Z (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

Although I like the film as a whole, this one mainly earns its rank for its first half hour, a really well made sequence of a family dealing with their city's sudden zombie infestation.

16. Iron Man 3 (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

A group of characters nicely realised, more by the performers than the writers, play off each other really well. And Tony Stark coming to grips with who he is in the universe in a new way works too.

15. This Is the End (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

A very funny film about authentically shallow people and their shallowness surviving the apocalypse and even death.

14. Europa Report (my review, the Wikipedia entry)

A nice, found footage style film impressive for its credible depiction of space travel that easily eclipses Gravity.

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