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The Movies of 2013

I managed to get to the theaters more in 2013 than I was able to in the few preceding years. As a result, I am going to skip over the movies I've already reviewed (A Good Day to Die Hard, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, and Riddick) and just give you my take on every other 2013 movie I have seen. Granted, there are still a few movies you'll be surprised I never got around to (including The Wolverine, the DVD of which is currently on my coffee table, waiting to be watched, Gravity, a film I'm still not sure how I missed in theaters, and Ender's Game, an adaptation I'm sure to have a strong opinion about when I eventually get around to watching it). Perhaps I can add those as an addendum at a later date.



Oz the Great and Powerful
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Release Date: Mar 8
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $79.1
To-date: $234.9

Buried somewhere beneath the overabundant CG and terrible acting of Oz the Great and Powerful is the seed of an amazingly good movie about skepticism. Unfortunately, almost everything about this Oz prequel falls flat and feels uninspired, with boring plot twists that never make sense, characters you never find reason to care for, and visuals that would have been a lot more impressive five to ten years ago. I like the surreal china doll, and the opening credits are awesome in 3D, but otherwise, this one should stay behind the curtain.





Olympus Has Fallen
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
Release Date: Mar 22
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $30.4
To-date: $98.9

Ignoring the last twenty or so years of action movie innovation, Olympus Has Fallen feels like the kind of movie that belongs in the eighties. There's plenty of gunplay and explosions, absurdly foul-mouthed dialogue all around, and a plot that is beyond ludicrous. Still, I like Ekhart as the president and I think the actual siege on the White House is well-thought-out. Fans of these kinds of guilty pleasure movies are sure to be pleased. Gerard Butler's character is all over the place, though, (Butler never sells his role as an action lead) and pretty much everything that happens has been done better on 24, which makes this popcorn flick a good rental at best.





Evil Dead
EVIL DEAD
Release Date: Apr 5
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $25.8
To-date: $54.2

I'll be honest and risk the wrath of the Sam Raimi fanatics out there. I don't particularly like the original The Evil Dead. Having disclaimed that, I thought 2013's Evil Dead is a solid horror flick that rides the delicate line between cliché and interesting. It does occasionally get carried away with itself and embraces a bit too much gore and shock, but on the whole, it's an admirable remake that (in my opinion) is better than the uneven original.





Oblivion
OBLIVION
Release Date: Apr 19
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $37.1
To-date: $89.1

I'm not sure what I expected going into Oblivion, but the movie exceeded those albeit-tempered expectations. Certainly not a great film, it's a fun sci-fi puzzle that relishes its twists and turns. Tom Cruise carries the movie almost entirely on his own shoulders, and he's up to the challenge. Still, though my wife is eager to buy the DVD and watch it over and over again, it's the kind of movie that gets the most bang for its buck on the first viewing and only racks up diminishing returns beyond that.





Iron Man 3
IRON MAN 3
Release Date: May 3
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $174.1
To-date: $409.0

Putting aside the ludicrous fan hatred one finds on the Internet, Iron Man 3 is a rare third entry in a comic book series that doesn't suck. It tells a more personal story of a vulnerable Tony Stark who is dealing with anxiety and inadequacy as a new threat appears in the form of the Mandarin and Extremis. There is far less actual Iron Man this time around, but the quirky combination of Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black works once again, as does a wonderful performance by Sir Ben Kingsley. Though some rabid fanboys out there decry the big twist near the end, I do not, failing to understand why it's okay for Batman Begins but not for Iron Man 3.



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-e. magill 1/8/2014










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