Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, stated that “experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” This quote lingered within my thoughts for the majority of the 2013 movie year because there is a remarkable number of films that confirm Huxley’s statement with shocking clarity. During 2013 the majority of characters in cinema experienced a relentless assault of either irrepressible physical violence or emotional turmoil, resulting in each character clinging to their lives, praying that they won’t become defeated. Characters had to either sink or swim. No film provided for them a middle ground that would grant them an easy way out or provide a buoy for them. Characters had to act, and act fast.
In Gravity, becoming disconnected from her partner in the infinite void of space, Dr. Stone had to gain composure quickly or endure an onslaught of debris and isolation. In The Place Beyond the Pines, a cop had to rely on his survival instincts and the ramifications of his decision reverberated throughout generations. In Blue is the Warmest Color, a confused teenage woman, utterly love-sick, discovers the throes and pangs of first love and is left even more confused after the indelible experience. In Dallas Buyers Club, an AIDs victim with a guaranteed death-sentence uses his situation to give hope to thousands of other AIDs victims. And in The Counselor, a man’s experience overwhelms him and he is soon exposed to the most unsavory circumstances that are beyond his control and the most heinous individuals.
Without further hesitance, the best 2013 had to offer.
The Iceman Netflix | Amazon | HitBliss | iTunes | SEN | Vudu | YouTube DVD | Blu-ray
Directed by Ariel Vromen
Starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, James Franco, David Schwimmer, Stephen Dorff, Robert Davi
Originally Released: August 30, 2012
Don’t call him a hitman, contract killer, or mass murderer – Richard Kuklinski will forever be known to history as The Iceman; a mob enforcer named as such for freezing his victims to confuse the authorities as to the time of death. Portrayed by Michael Shannon in the Ariel Vromen-directed biopic, The Iceman is a crime drama worth your attention.
Spanning several decades, The Iceman starts in the 1960s, first depicting Kuklinski’s first date with future wife Deborah (Winona Ryder). Coming from a tortured and abusive background, Kuklinski and his brother Joseph (Stephen Dorff) fall into lives of delinquency, and eventually murder. While Joseph is caught and imprisoned, Richard ends up becoming a mob enforcer for Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta) as he attempts to also have a normal family life with his wife and daughters.
Pawn DVD | Blu-ray | Streaming
Directed by David A. Armstrong
Starring Ray Liotta, Nikki Reed, Forest Whitaker, Marton Csokas, Sean Faris, Michael Chiklis, Stephen Lang, Common, Max Beesley, Ronald Guttman
Anchor Bay Films
Originally Released: April 23, 2013
Pawn is one of those convoluted crime thrillers, told out of sequence, making up pieces to a puzzle that will cause you to keep guessing throughout the movie. Featuring Michael Chiklis and Ray Liotta among many other big names, and alongside a stellar performance by Sean Faris, this is one of those gangster/heist style mystery flicks that provides more questions than it does answers, though resonant of movies like Dog Day Afternoon.
Pawn is set in a small-town diner, which is taken over by three British gangsters planning a robbery of the location. The diner serves as a legitimate front for a big name in organized crime, and while the gangsters think they’re in the job for the money, their leader Derrick (Michael Chiklis) is after a very specific item: a hard drive with data that contains names of big players.
The Place Beyond the Pines Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn Focus Features
Rated R | 140 Minutes
Release Date: April 12, 2013
Directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), The Place Beyond the Pines stars Ryan Gosling as Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stuntman working in a death-defying traveling act.
While performing at a carnival in Schenectady, NY, Glanton reunites with ex-lover Romina (Eva Mendes) and learns that he’s the father of her newborn son.
Glanton hangs up his helmet to stay in town and provide for his child, but Romina has become involved with another man, Kofi (Mahershala Ali).
Imagine Gosling’s tight-lipped wheelman from Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive joined S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and you’ve got Luke Glanton. Covered in homemade tattoos with peroxide blond hair, the grunge motorcyclist hooks up with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), a retired criminal, and becomes an outlaw to support his family.
In case you haven’t noticed, The Muppets are back again. The cast of colorful characters returned to the big screen in 2011 and it was as if they had never left the cinematic stage. The film was such a success that Disney decided it was good enough for a repeat. James Bobin returns to direct the sequel titled The Muppets… Again, with every one of your favorite Muppets returning, including Walter.
The film has already started production, so to celebrate we are getting our first images of The Muppets…Again and Ricky Gervais in action, so to speak. Hit the jump to see the new image.