Movie Squabbler by Josh Levine

Guest Article from Josh the Movie Squabbler

Introduction

2013 was a pretty impressive year for movies with a great mix of popcorn entertainment and a slew of end of the year films that were both entertaining and thought provoking.

The summer had some really fun spectacles crammed into a very crowded schedule with some highlights below in addition to some other good movies like Iron Man 3 & Pacific Rim.

There were also a surprising amount of bombs in the summer like The Lone Ranger, After Earth & RIPD but that may have been a function of the overly crowded schedule.

Johnny Depp in Lone Ranger with white horse

The fall and winter also had some excellent big budget fare like Gravity, Hunger Games & The Hobbit along with a murderer’s row of A-list directors including Martin Scorsese, David O Russell, Paul Greengrass, and The Coen Brothers. It should make for a pretty exciting awards season.

While I don’t write about this separately, this was also a pretty amazing year for TV which has become an even greater medium for story telling than movies over the last 5-10 years. We were able to witness the end of Breaking Bad, one of the greatest stories ever told on TV along with the end of some other fan favorites like 30 Rock & The Office.

There were very strong seasons of returning shows like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Justified and the under seen but hilarious Veep. We also saw the debut of some very good shows like The Americans, House of Cards and Brooklyn 99. I highly encourage you to waste a lot of time watching TV this year.

And now for the start of the main event.

Obscure Gems of 2013

Poster for The East Awards Sundance

The East

An enjoyable and low key indie thriller that feels like it could have also been the basis for a big budget / big star thriller. Indie darling Brit Marling writes and stars in his movie as a young FBI agent infiltrating an anarchist group that terrorizes large corporations.

The group behaves more like a cult under the leadership of True Blood hunk Alexander Skarsgard and she soon gets tripped up on whose side she should be on. I look forward to seeing more from Marling and this is definitely a movie you won’t know much about going in and that should provide you above average entertainment.

Trance Movie Poster Awards

Trance

Danny Boyle is fascinating if not totally consistent filmmaker. He mixes Oscar bait movies like Slumdog Millionaire & 127 Hours with genre thrillers like Sunshine and this movie, Trance. James McAvoy stars as an art thief caught in a web of intrigue and double crosses with Vincent Cassell and Rosario Dawson.

There are some real neat twists and turns and this movie is downright sexy in parts (which is increasingly rare these days). It flew completely under the radar and deserved a little better but if you do seek it out, it is a tense little movie that will keep you engrossed and guessing throughout.

 

 

[important]This article in Part One of a 3-part Guest Blog series reviewing the Gems, Hits and Misses for Hollywood’s 2013 year in Review. Written by Josh, one of my fellow co-workers, who joined our studio from Netflix, and is a real movie buff. When I want the scoop on the latest offerings on the small or large screen, Josh is my font of knowledge. [/important]