The Top 10 Films of 2013

12 Years a Slave

12YAS-Poster-ArtSteve McQueen’s third film (following Hunger and Shame) and a bona fide masterpiece, 12 Years is an unflinching, uncompromising look at slavery in the American south. It’s painful and emotionally harrowing, and makes no attempt to make anyone feel good about not only this history but the long-reaching effects of it, which we’re still feeling today. 12 Years is not The Help, congratulating white people for ending racism in 1962. Instead it holds up a mirror to an ugly, unavoidable truth and asks only that we accept it and then figure out how to move on from there. It’s a beautiful film, almost lyrical at times, even for all the ugliness it contains. And with a central message of hope and survival in the face of soul-crushing despair, it’s one that, even though there are no easy answers, doesn’t give up on the possibility of healing. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a necessary one. Continue reading “The Top 10 Films of 2013”

Best Summer Movie of 2013: The World’s End

The-Worlds-End-Teaser-PosterIn a summer defined by flops, catastrophes, and movies that are counting breaking even as a win—but also a summer that delivered a billion-dollar-plus grand slam that was actually deserving of that success—the summer of 2013 will be remembered as the summer that the studio tent pole started to fail. Not the summer in which it died, that won’t happen until at least 2015, but when we look back this will be the summer we point to and say, “Right there. That’s when audiences got over the blockbuster”. There’s a rush to declare What Went Wrong in summer 2013, so here’s my contribution to that conversation: Blockbuster is not a genre. “Blockbuster” is the title given to a movie so good everyone runs out to see it, regardless of genre. Continue reading “Best Summer Movie of 2013: The World’s End”