Top 10: Best of the Decade 2010-2013
The 10 best movies made between 2010 and 2013.
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|CloudStrife84's Rating||My Rating|
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 2011, PG-13)
Spellbinding finale to one of the greatest film series ever made! In this concluding chapter of the Harry Potter saga, we're invited to a showdown of truly epic proportions. Not since The Return of the King has a fantasy film been this grand and exciting.
Les Misérables 2012, PG-13)
Grandiose, powerful, epic and altogether magical! Adjectives run short, as I'm in my euphoric condition grasp for words to do justice to what I've just experienced. Far from the first adaptation of Victor Hugo's original novel - which saw its first light in 1862 and has since then generated countless productions in theatre and film alike - but a more sumptuous and definitive version I don't think we'll be seeing in many a radiant moons.
The Artist 2011, PG-13)
What can I say about this wonderful film, that critics and fellow movie-goers haven't already captured in their written acclaim? Well, from a personal standpoint, and as someone who has never before experienced the great wonders of the silent film era, I was both delighted and overwhelmed by how much a movie so muted, can speak in such in tremendous and emotional volumes. From its very first moments, I was absorbed into this black-and-white sensation of a film, and never wanted to leave as it came to a close. Everything has been done so impeccably, so elaborately beautiful in its very essence, that you feel nothing but admiration for the cast and crew behind its making. Director Michel Hazanavicious has succeeded in the near-impossible; bringing back a classic format, that hasn't seen the light of day since 1929. A mesmerizing homage, that not only re-captures the techniques flawlessly, but entertains, moves and sweeps you off into a state of pure awe and inspiration. Yes, The Artist is every bit as amazing as they say. Deserving of all its praise and worthy of all the Oscars that are bound to come in its way. A fantastic, original and incredibly uplifting tour-de-force, that makes everything else in the repertoire look like the work of untalented hacks. A standing ovation and hats off into the air, for this magically brilliant masterpiece, that leaves you as speechless and lost for words as its gifted performers.
The Dark Knight Rises 2012, PG-13)
Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to The Dark Knight saga, is everything we've come to expect from him and a worthy finale to one of the greatest film trilogies ever made. Right off the bat (pun intended), its absorbs us yet again into the chaotically beating heart of Gotham and its citizens. Rather slowly so in the first half, but it still captures your full attention as beautifully as before. Highly anticipated and hyped up beyond belief, there will be the inevitable comparison between this and The Dark Knight. With the predecessor setting the bar so unfathomably high, the question we all ask is how could it possibly top or even match said masterpiece? Well, as I initially suspected, it doesn't. That isn't to say it's full of guano though, for although falling marginally short of perfection, this is nonetheless a grand and awe-inspiring spectacle. A majestically crafted ending, that breaks the long-enduring curse of the disappointing third installment. For where movies like Spider-Man 3 and The Matrix: Revolutions missed the mark, The Dark Knight Rises gives the superhero threequel a good and dignified name. Okay, so we may be one Joker short in the deck, but that's no reason to despair, because Tom Hardy as Badass Bane and Anne Hathaway as The Catwoman, are more than welcome additions to the cast, excelling in their respective roles to supremely satisfying results. Truth be told, I had some worries about Catwoman feeling too cheesy or out-of-place in this more grounded Batman universe. But she actually fits really well into the plot and emits strong and meaningful rapport with our Caped Crusader. And once they roll out the big guns in the awesome third act, you'll have a hard time maintaining your breathing, as sequence after sequence of jaw-dropping action, leaves you thrilled, ecstatic and emotionally stirred. A bat-tastic, full-throttle display of cinematic fireworks, that - best of all - uses a minimum of CGI and focuses on the raw power of old-school artistry and all its talented thespians involved. My hat off to Christopher Nolan, for elevating the superhero genre to such unparalleled heights. May his phenomenal trilogy forever be cherished and serve as a paragon for generations to come. For as the story now comes to a close, it's a bittersweet departure into cinema legend, that makes it sad to see our Dark Knight go. But as I always like to phrase it: better left on a high, than milk the franchise dry!
Star Trek Into Darkness 2013, PG-13)
Nerdgasms abound as the consistently brilliant J.J. Abrams takes his seat again in the captain's chair, thrusting us at maximum warp with this thrilling new chapter to his well-received reboot. Expectations were naturally high, yet I never dared hope that it would be tantamount to its extraordinary predecessor. It is a sequel after all and follow-ups, no matter how virtuous the director, always ring those bells of uncertainty.
Marvel's The Avengers 2012, PG-13)
Joss Whedon's epic superhero spectacle is everything I could have ever hoped it to be and more! Where most directors would settle for a run-of-the-mill money-maker, Whedon has gone beyond our collective dreams, pouring all his heart, soul and talent into a creation that can only be described as a godly entity of the comic book world. It's to Marvel's great universe what The Dark Knight is to DC's. An all-around stellar achievement, that brings out the best of all its characters, with great humor, warmth and phenomenally directed action. I mean, I knew it would be good, but I wasn't quite ready for this thoroughly mind-blowing experience. Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanssen and all the rest - there's not a performance in here that isn't absolutely smashing (quite literally in The Hulk's case). And what amazing chemistry between the lot, if not to rank it as utter perfection! The way they work together as a team, poking fun at each other's differences while uniting their various strengths in bona fide comradery, makes not only for grandiose entertainment, but also scenes of pure poignancy, when the common cause leaps into true friendship, involving audacious derring-dos and heart-gripping sacrifice. Action-wise, it's a real powerhouse as well. I have seen some breath-taking battles through the years, but nothing could have prepared me for the awesome showdown of the film's monolithic third act. State-of-the-art visuals, coupled with an incredibly thrilling soundtrack and edge-of-your-seat suspense, leaves you with minimal room to catch your breath and goosebumps so frequent, it feels like the bumps on your skin are gonna stay permanently in that state. Additionally, the film boasts a strikingly cool villain, in the form of the powerful demi-god Loki, played with intensity and malice by a terrific Tom Hiddleston. Easily the best film of the year so far and an extraordinarily stunning crowd-pleaser, that will have you laughing, applauding and overwhelmed with all possible emotions. And that's just to give the sum of it. In the details dwells so much more, and a movie so wealthy in excitement, that you never want it to end. Blockbusters as fantastic as these only come out once every 5 years or so, and it's definitely gonna give Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises a run for its money. An auteur's vision realized; filled to the brim with fireworks for the eyes and intellect alike. Yet no words can truly it do justice. Like the great arts and wonders of the world, you just have to see and experience it for yourself.
Ted 2012, R)
What a phenomenal year for Seth MacFarlane! First he reaps huge success world-wide with this live-action debut (returning his investment with a 170 million dollar profit in the U.S. alone) and now he's been asked to the great honor of hosting the Oscars next year. The man is clearly on a roll and deservedly so! Epically hilarious and with cameos I only dreamt possible in my wildest dreams, Ted isn't just the funniest movie of the year - it's the single greatest comedy I've seen since Borat in 2006. I mean, just the fact that Patrick "Picard" Stewart has lent his voice as the narrator, how awesome isn't that? If I'm sounding giddy like a little school boy, it's because I practically am. I wish I could let you in on all the details as to why, but in consideration to those who haven't seen it yet, I want to leave the best gags unspoiled. What I can say though, is that if you were ever a fan of Family Guy, you're gonna love this movie! And even if you're not, you'll probably end up enjoying it anyway. A high-concept laugh riot, it starrs Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett, who as a boy was granted a magical wish that made his teddybear spring to life. Immediately becoming best friends, or "thunder buddies" as they say in their own words, they're still thick as thieves well into John's adult years. However, with the novelty long gone of the sensational talking cuddly toy, Ted's pot-smoking, wild living and overall bad influence on John, becomes a little too much for his girlfriend Lori (the gorgeous Mila Kunis), who progressively experiences it as a strain on their relationship. John must make a choice: his girlfriend or his best bud, which sets the premise for this extremely twisted fairly tale, that is part rom-com, part satire and 100% out of control. As can be expected from the mind of MacFarlane, there's a lot of pop culture references and moments of sweet nostalgia. Younger generations (let's call them "Biebers" for the sake of getting my point across) may fail to relate to the shenanigans surrounding the cult classic Flash Gordon, and frankly, I couldn't care less. This is a love letter to those who still remember the wonder years before the Internet, when happiness wasn't the next Iphone or expansion to World of Warcraft, but could come in the shape of something as simple and uncomplicated as a teddy bear. Okay, in this case a perverted and foul-mouthed little furball, but still, the message remains endearing! For if you look past the toilet humor and politically incorrect vulgarities, you'll find that Ted, above all, has lot of heart and soul. More surprising yet, I haven't seen Mark Wahlberg this enthusiastic about anything since his golden days as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. Seriously, not a single frown in sight! On the other hand, who wouldn't be begeistered about the idea of getting some make-out time with Mila Kunis. Now there's some motivation to go to work if any. In any case, I absolutely loved this unorthodox and outrageously funny fantasy romp, which appealed as much to the inner kid in me as my older, less innocent self. If MacFarlane wasn't knighted a comedic genius before, he certainly will in regard to this no-holds-barred masterpiece. Because after laughing myself to tears for nearly 2 hours on end, it's with excitement in my veins that I'm looking forward to whatever kind of crazy he'll cook up for us next!
A Royal Affair 2012, R)
Period dramas, as many of us know, can be a double-edged sword. Although rarely bad, they tend, on occasion, to get lost in their own sense of importance; advocating costume work and talky politics, as opposed to telling a good story. A Royal Affair holds no such shortcomings. In truth, it is the most profoundly moving history piece I've seen in many years. Comparable to grand epics like Braveheart and Amadeus, which, I should emphasize, is not a parallel I draw lightly. Every quivering lip, every lustful gaze. Not a moment rings false in Nikolaj Arcel's harrowing account of a love story so powerful, that it would change the fate of an entire nation. Set in the latter half of the 18th century, it stars Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as Caroline Mathilde, who becomes queen of Denmark, as she moves away from her royal residence in England to marry King Christian VII. But whatever optimism she had for an agreeable life with him, soon dies away as Christians turns out to be an emotionally unstable man-child, with a psychologically unsound Peter Pan syndrome. Not unlike Mozart, only decadent, selfish and with little care for his newly arrived queen. All the while, the cultural movement that would later be known as The Age of Enlightenment is quickly spreading through Europe, now knocking at the door of Denmark as well. However, where Caroline admires the philosophies of free-thinking reformists like Rousseau and Voltaire, the Danish court stands firmly against it, banning all literature associated with those ideas. Sunk in melancholy, with her husband the king growing ever more insane, she accepts the only purpose she has left, as in giving birth to a future regent. But then, just as hope seems lost, everything changes. A German intellectual, Johann Friedrich Struensee, is employed by King Christian as his personal physician. Played to the hilt by an outstanding Mads Mikkelsen, Johann and Queen Caroline find an instant attraction to each other, which flourishes into a full-out love affair, as dangerous as it is passionate. I've seen quite a few period films in my days, but none have left me so stirred as this lavishly crafted masterstroke of a film. Lacing groundbreaking historic events with the forbidden desires of the two kindred spirits, it creates intrigues of such potency that you invest yourself completely. Having lived in Denmark in my younger years, where I also met my first love, made the experience all the more close to home. Filled with warmth, humor, elegance and splendor, A Royal Affair was even more fantastic than I had hoped. The way Johann's and Caroline's affections for each other brought freedom to an entire country is inspiring beyond words. Their sacrifices also remind us how the liberties we enjoy today ought not to be taken for granted. There were, after all, those who paid for it dearly in blood, sweat and tears. Tears are what I came to shed as well, as an effect of its devastating character fates. I won't go into any exact details here, in order to avoid spoilers, but those who have seen it or know their history, will understand what I'm referring to. A majestic, audacious and beautifully acted drama, which bares itself like few other films, with a transcendent depiction of one of history's greatest love stories. Truly a must-see, if only to be swept away by the vulnerable, heart-rending performances of its two leading stars.
Life of Pi 2012, PG)
Divine on so many levels, my experience with Life of Pi is a lot like eating at my favorite Indian restaurant. First there is the appetizer: a light, but delectable salad to introduce you to what's coming and get the stomach going. Then there is the ambrosial main course, but instead of the usual mixed sizzler of pork and lamb, entailing a side dish of garlic naan bread (mm, my mouth is watering something bad now just writing it), it's a buffet combined of the visual spice of Avatar, the powerful survival themes of Cast Away and the complex human-animal relationships of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. And yet, the parallels fall short of capturing its entire spirit and essence.
Argo 2012, R)
To act decisively, making the right call at the right time, is an art form which can mean the difference between life and death. Much in the same way that authenticity in the performances can separate mediocrity from a dynamite movie. Argo, on all levels, is an impressive epitome of the latter. With meticulous attention to detail, it re-recreates the tumultuous period that is revolutionary Iran in the late 70's. An agitated mob, infuriated by recent events involving their former and USA-friendly Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, has breached the American embassy in Teheran and taken the personnel hostage. Six of them manage to escape, but fall into unimaginable peril. Argo is the true story of the CIA-Canadian joint operation whose objective was to get them home to safety. A mission so secret, that it wasn't declassified to the public until 1997, by President Bill Clinton. Odds are grim and alternatives few. Tony Mendez, an exfiltration expert, hatches an idea so daring that it might actually work: to venture to Iran under the cloak of a phony film project (ostensibly entitled Argo) and via false documents smuggle out the Americans as part of the production crew. It's intrepid, adrenaline-ridden and not seldom with your heart in your throat. A situation so charged, that the nerves are strained to their breaking point and the air seem all but squeezed from your lungs. Surely, it's been spiced up a bit in the highly intense suspense segments. It is, despite everything, not a straight-out documentary. Even so, it thoroughly comes off as a legitimate depiction of this in many ways interesting coup de maître. Ben Affleck, now warm in his director's chair, scores his third straight bullseye. That he has furthermore assembled some of Hollywood's crème-de-la-crème (encompassing within the comically supreme John Goodman and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston) creates more than enough Argo-ments to see and relish this extraordinary political thriller. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-Movie-Reviews/281824101875153?ref=hl