JoBlo.com's Top 10 Films of Summer 2013!
And so the summer of 2013 is in the books. As always, it was a bit of a mixed bag, with a few of the biggest tentpoles getting mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, some landing with a big enough thud (THE LONE RANGER, WHITE HOUSE DOWN, AFTER EARTH) that they may call into question a star or franchise's bank-ability. Overall though, it was a rather decent summer, and we, the critics here at JoBlo.com decided to make a top 10 of our favorite summer movies (coincidentally, two movies on this list just opened last week) . On this list you'll find it all: indies, blockbusters, flops that are actually great, and under-the-radar genre flicks. Agree, or disagree? Make sure to strike-back below!
I utterly enjoyed the surprises of IRON MAN 3 and all that it had in store. Now when I begin to look back at movies for all of the “best of” lists, I try and revisit as many of them as I can. Truthfully Tony Stark’s latest adventure did lose a little bit of its original spark. Still, this was an improvement over the last IRON MAN film and it was a satisfying thrilling continuation after the massive success of THE AVENGERS. In regards to this chapter’s potential villain – or villains - I personally enjoyed the twists and turns writer/director Shane Black took in telling this story. Is IRON MAN 3 a perfect film? Of course not, and it doesn’t quite seem as shiny and new upon repeated viewings. However, Stark and company still entertained the hell out of me and shockingly, it didn’t always go the exact way I would have expected it to. The surprise element in any kind of summer tent-pole is a rare treat indeed.
- Jimmy O
Strange, funny, touching and full of heart, KINGS OF
SUMMER announces the presence of a new indie phenom - Jordan
Vogt-Roberts - who takes a rather silly premise (three boys build a
house in the woods in order to escape their lame home lives) and turns
it into a charming pseudo-fantasy with meaningful contemplations on
friendship, independence and family. Also has one of the best
soundtracks of the year.
- Eric Walkuski
A clever, nasty take on the home invasion thriller,
YOU'RE NEXT doesn't reinvent the wheel - it just rolls it very, very
well. Watching the tragic slaughter of a family has never been so much
fun; that's thanks to director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett's
solid grasp on how to balance gory chills and macabre laughs. Plus,
we're introduced to the coolest, and most believable, "final girl" in
ages: Sharni Vinson's Erin is an instant classic in the genre.
- Eric Walkuski
When I first sat down with Guillermo del Toro’s vision of massive robots kicking the scaly asses of giant creatures I was taken away by the visual effects. That said, the story itself didn’t excite me as much as I had hoped but making a return visit to PACIFIC RIM really gave me a whole new appreciation for this modern day Kaiju flick. With scene-stealing performances from Ron Perlman and Charlie Day and the director’s incredible talent, there is a real sense of fun in this larger than life and visually stunning monster movie. It is no surprise that del Toro is a true artist when it comes to creature creation, and PAC RIM is loaded with some seriously imaginative visual effects. With a couple of viewings it became impossible to resist the extravagant fun that this popcorn spectacle had in store.
The flat-out funniest movie of the summer is also
the most admirably gonzo; THIS IS THE END has all the hallmarks of a
stoner improv session, yet it's legitimately engaging - we don't feel
as if we're just stuck watching a group of wealthy jerks screw around
for 90 minutes, they work for their laughs. One of those movies you
leave excitedly quoting with your friends, if it's even possible to
remember all the ridiculous gags.
- Eric Walkuski
OK, so maybe the FAST & FURIOUS movies aren't particularly brilliant. Actually, they're kinda dumb. But they're also kinda awesome, and FAST & FURIOUS 6 did not disappoint, with absolutely bug-nuts action sequences, like Vin Diesel literally flying off a bridge, to a fifteen minute chase sequence on what must be the longest runway in history (complete with slo-mo heroic sacrifices, and rough-kills), and Vin Diesel driving a car through
the front of a plane. It's bloody bonkers, but it's a blast. Given the way FURIOUS 6 ends, I think we can reasonably assume the upcoming seventh installment of the series will be just as good. I can't wait.
- Chris Bumbray
Everyone gets caught up with hype, and certainly I've been guilty of this now and again in my reviews. When MAN OF STEEL came out earlier this summer, I gave it a 9/10 rave, but looking back I think I went one point too high. The movie itself is pretty damn good, and Henry Cavill makes one hell of a Superman. I also still think Michael Shannon made a great Zod, but the last forty minutes, where first Smallville, and then Metropolis are laid to waste is a little much. I understand that Zack Snyder wanted to make a "tougher" Superman, but the carnage was too much. Still, it can't be denied this is a very solid reboot of the character, and I have no doubt Cavill's going to go on and establish himself as one hell of a memorable Supes (arguably, he already has). And next time, he's going to have Ben Affleck co-starring as Batman! I'll reserve judgement on that one.
- Chris Bumbray
Woody Allen's best in years. I know people say that
every couple of years when it comes to the hit-and-miss auteur, but
this time it's true. (Actually it's his best in decades.) A sublime
and moving character study focusing on a woman's descent towards
irreversible breakdown and the multiple bridges she carelessly burns.
Cate Blanchett is utterly phenomenal as Jasmine, and Sally Hawkins is
equally splendid as her struggling sister.
- Eric Walkuski
Whether you believe in the ghostly occurrences the real life Ed and Lorraine Warren professed to have, it is hard not to be haunted by THE CONJURING – a film that exams one of their investigations. The James Wan directed and supposed true haunted house/demonic possession story is simply told with elements we have seen before, yet it all works with seriously spooky goodness. With the use of mostly practical effects and a fantastic cast including the terrific Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor, the horror in this haunted tale is all the more terrifying. Oftentimes the less you see is far more goose bump inducing than filling the screen with gory and ghastly images. THE CONJURING is a perfect example of this. That moment when a young girl is nearly frozen in fear insisting that something unseen is standing in the doorway shrouded in darkness is about as scary as you can get.
In Richard Linklater’s BEFORE MIDNIGHT, the filmmaker explores the complex and lasting romance between Celine and Jesse. The relationship began with the wonderfully romantic 1995 feature BEFORE SUNRISE and continued with 2004’s excellent BEFORE SUNSET. In the latest film, the series stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have started to face middle-age together and realize that passion and long-term companionship is much harder than what they had ever imagined. MIDNIGHT is a poignant and practical examination of a married couple who must live with the choices they have made, right or wrong, good or bad, and it is an inspired one. This is a perfect summer movie that is emotional, romantic, funny and a little heartbreaking. Strike that, this is a perfect movie period, one that will be just as significant ten to twenty years from now and so on.
A couple of years ago, a couple of us at JoBlo.com were asked to choose our favorite movies of the "aughts" (2000-2009). For me, one of the movies on the list was a real no-brainer, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I remember seeing it a few months before it hit North America, at the Fantasia Film Fest in Montreal, and I don't think I've ever been quite the same since. Suffice to say, I love Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright, and I couldn't wait to finally see the conclusion to the THREE FLAVORS: CORNETTO trilogy. THE WORLD'S END did not let me down.
It's just about as funny as SHAUN & HOT FUZZ, and while maybe I'd rate it slightly below those two, it's just about the most fun I've had in theaters all year. Coming off SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, Wright seems more confident than ever handling the huge action setpieces (which are bigger than you'd think) with fluid long-takes, great fight choreography, and a hilarious twist ending adding up to one hell of a movie. My only caveat is that I find the notion of Wright, Frost and Pegg maybe not continuing on together horrifying. Why does "Cornetto" have to be a trilogy? I hope they all go on to make loads more films together.