25. Snowpiercer (TBA US & UK)
In an icy post-apocalyptic world, the only survivors live on a train powered by snow that it funnels in through its front, or something. In fact, I hear it runs on “a perpetual motion engine.” Perhaps, like the shark in Annie Hall, it needs to keep moving forward or it dies.
We love high-concept sci-fi here at W&P… but WAIT, the high concept gets even higher, and conceptier. There’s some kind of carriage-based class system, and when a sooty Chris Evans – stuck at the back of the train – becomes unhappy with his lot he decides to battle through to first class. So: snowy Marxist allegory fun, starring Tilda Swinton, Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer and directed by Bong Joon-Ho (the guy who did The Host – the Korean monster movie, not the Twilight alien movie thing).
Could this work? Ask the audiences in Korea and France, where it’s been out for a while. Elsewhere it’s being cut from 120 minutes to 100 because Harvey Weinstein isn’t just content with chopping up The Grandmaster–he won’t rest until he’s hacked apart every crossover Asian movie he can get his scissors to. HE WILL NOT REST. –AJP
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Here’s my arbitrary list of American/international market movies that really bit the big one, for being anticipatedly horrible or for failing to live up to expectations. If you disagree with any of these, that’s fine—but you’re wrong. Just saying.
Before we get to my reviews, though, here are…
Crappy movies in 2013 that I didn’t watch because I knew they’d be crappy: A Good Day to Die Hard, Grown Ups 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Host, Jobs, White House Down, and That Other Movie That Is Basically The Same as White House Down.
And now, in no particular order:
I paid $14.50 to watch a Will Smith action movie in which Will Smith is not involved in any action at all (not even so much as an alien throat punch), and in which the dubious talents of The Smith That Squints were unnecessarily forced upon the world. M. Night Shyamalan has truly perfected the meta-twist, in that he keeps tricking people into seeing his films.
These are the best new movies I saw in 2013… as determined by a mixture of UK release schedules and what I managed to see at the 2013 LFF.
Not yet seen: Before Midnight, The Selfish Giant, The Great Beauty, The Act of Killing, Blue Jasmine.
Narrowly missing out: Sightseers (which is excellent and would be in my top five, but I saw it last year), Captain Phillips (very good, sagged a little in the middle), and Cloud Atlas (which came out in the UK in 2013, but in the US in 2012. It feels like forever ago, though, so I left it off. Hugh Grant was never better than as a slimy Nuclear Power boss).
11. The Place Beyond the Pines
Epic family crime drama that plays out like it was conceived as three seasons of a TV show compressed down to 140 minutes. The earlier stuff is better, but it’s all good (some disliked the teen-centric ending, but I thought it worked). Ryan Gosling was all over the poster, but this was also yet another step in convincing me Bradley Cooper might actually be a decent actor. Plus: Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan and (closest to my heart) Eva Mendes. The reason this is a top 11 rather than a top 10 is so I can find a place for Eva Mendes.
Due the presence of bikes, in the run up to this movie’s release I kept getting it confused with dire cycle-messenger thriller Premium Rush. To this day, my subconscious is absolutely convinced Premium Rush has Ryan Gosling in it.
Bonus photo featuring Eva Mendes: