Monday, July 15, 2013

Favorite Films of 2013...So Far- Jonesy's Take

The first half of 2013 has been a surprise for me. The smaller films have been more standouts for me, and while they didn't play everywhere, most you can find on demand somewhere. Also, I seem to be gravitating towards the funnier films, which is great because the later half of the year is always full of downers and dramas.

Now onto the movies! And all the films are in no particular order.

The early months of the year have been notorious as dumping grounds for films. However, the past couple of years have turned out some real gems. WARM BODIES filled that void this year. It's a sweet and surprisingly funny spin of the Romeo and Juliet story but with zombies. It's a nice addition to the zombie lore with strong performances by Nicholas Hoult and Rob Corddry.

This little film turned out to be our favorite from last year's Fantastic Fest. Thankfully, Drafthouse Films heard the cries and picked up distribution rights from this Canadian production. It falls in the "coming of age" films, but what sets this apart is the exploration of adult themes such as loyalty and friendship through the guise of kids playing a good old-fashioned game of "war".

Most everyone, at one point or another during their teen years, wishes time would fast forward, and we can get out of the grasp of our parents. Three friends take that to heart and decide to runaway to the woods, build their own house, and live off the land...well, sort of. Another great coming-of-age indie film with a strong cast and a smart and funny script. 

This heartfelt little gem was a hit at last year's Fantastic Fest that my cohort enjoyed. It's a fun premise of two aliens who have a folk band, and their quest to make lives for themselves here on Earth. The music is Flight of the Conchords-esque, and for once, I wanted the film to be longer!

I was expecting too much from this film because I figured it would just be one of those 'friend' movies that felt pretentious and annoying. But I was pleasantly surprised within the first act when I was laughing so hard my side hurt. It's amazing when friends who are making movies, in this case Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel, take time and focus on the script how funny and heartfelt it can be. Also, all the cameos completely kill and make the film.

Shakespeare and Whedon are a match made in heaven. Whendon took 12 days away from making THE AVENGERS, and with a group of his loyal actors, makes one of the best modern adaptations of the Bard's works. It's smart, sweet, witty, and has some amazing performances.

Not only did this film live up to my expectations, but it totally succeeded at surpassing the mindless, summer popcorn flick in my eyes. I loved watching all these characters grow even more, and I can never get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch chewing on scenery.

Now I'm ready for the second half of 2013!

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