Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2013

Let the top 10-a-palooza commence! Over the next couple weeks, Paul and I will be looking back at our favorite things of 2013. First up, films; next week, TV series; and finally, comics. As always, these lists are imperfect and incomplete, reflecting only on what we’ve seen and love at the moment. Or as Paul writes:

I intentionally refer to the films on this list as favorites, not best. I rank films based on how much I enjoyed them, for whatever ephemeral or esoteric reasons unique to me, not on some system of objective filmmaking truths. These are the ten films I liked the most. YMMV.

Regarding omissions, neither of us have been able to see Inside Llewyn Davis, which makes me want to die, but oh well. I also haven’t seen The Great Beauty, Cutie and the Boxer, or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, among others. Meanwhile, Paul hasn’t gotten around to Her, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, Short Term 12, or Blue Jasmine, to name a few.

Here we go!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. WARM BODIES (dir. Jonathan Levine)

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The zombie genre is by this point a bloated undead thing feasting on its own rotting flesh. But director Jonathan Levine (50/50) makes this adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel fresh, fun, and full of life. Yes it’s a (very) thinly veiled Romeo and Juliet pastiche, but the two leads, neo-nerdhunk Nicholas Hoult and Australian beauty Teresa Palmer, are both engaging and committed. Hoult in particular gets praise for being monstrous and vulnerable, and for selling the cheesy-but-hilarious voiceover with nothing more than his eyes. Also, Rob Corddry as a zombie lamenting, “Bitches, man,” is the best comedic line delivery of the year.

AJ: 10. GIMME THE LOOT (dir. Adam Leon)

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You walk out of Gimme the Loot immediately wanting to know what first-time writer-director Adam Leon is going to do next. His voice is sharp and fresh, chronicling a day in the life of two teenaged petty criminals in a way that feels authentic but never gritty. His Bronx streets are unvarnished, rife with economic and class divisions, but there’s so much damn heart. Newcomers Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson give performances devoid of pomp or flash; they simply find the souls of these two aimless kids. They’re one of the most affecting screen duos in recent memory, in one of the biggest surprises of the year.

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Listen to Episode 146, “We Are the Only Love-Gods”

muchado

Gobbledygeek episode 146, “We Are the Only Love-Gods,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

This week, Paul and AJ discover that silence is perfectest herald of joy; if they were but little happy, they could say how much. You’re kidding yourself, though, if you thought that meant they would shut up. Nope, there’s plenty of talk about Joss Whedon’s delightful Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, as the boys gush about the cast (Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof together again!), delight in the embellishments and grace notes Whedon has added to the text, and discuss how successfully the film blends Old English with 21st century trappings. Much ado, indeed.

Next: we’re making up for not taking the Fourth of July off by taking next week off, but when we return, we shall be discussing Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim.

(Show notes for “We Are the Only Love-Gods.”)

Listen to Episode 138, “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East”

greatgatsby

Gobbledygeek episode 138, “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Soon–not soon enough for the Ohioan of the group–summer will be upon us. Swimmin’ pools and movie stars; big-ass movie stars, as a matter of fact. Robert Downey Jr. suits up as Iron Man once more, Hugh Jackman gets his claws on as Wolverine, Benedict Cumberbatch Star Trek(s) Into Darkness, and Leonardo DiCaprio is mad and stuff as Jay Gatsby. Plus there are smaller films, including a certain Joss Whedon production, as Paul and AJ guide you through 20 movies they’re looking forward to this hopefully warm and hopefully sunny summer.

Next: speaking of suiting up, Iron Man 3 is here, boys and girls.

(Show notes for “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East.”)

Joss Whedon Has Made Another Movie, Apparently

You may have heard of The Avengers, the massive superhero blockbuster that Joss Whedon and his team of magicians have been feverishly working on for a year or two. However, like myself, you may not have known that when one is writing and directing one of the most anticipated comic book films ever made, one also has time to write and direct a totally unrelated film starring about half the people one has ever worked with. Because that’s just what Whedon has done.

The film, entitled Much Ado About Nothing and presumably an adaptation of the Shakespeare play, has completed principal photography without anyone having noticed. For years now, Whedonfolk have spoken of the man’s private Shakespeare readings in hushed tones, and it appears he has wrangled many of them into the movie: Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Fran Kranz, Reed Diamond, and Clark Gregg have all worked with Whedon before. There’s no word on how the film will be distributed, be it conventionally or, like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, as another Web venture.

Speaking of Dr. Horrible, this announcement reminds me of how it felt when we were all made aware of that Whedon project: like a beautiful, unexpected present had fallen from the heavens onto our collective doorstep. If you can’t tell, I am excited.