As always at the end of a year, I'd like to reminisce a bit by looking back at the year's movies. You might know that I'm an avid cinema-goer - this year, I went once every 9 days on average
And I really make a point of watching movies on the big screen (sadly, for many movies, being shown on a big screen is their only redeeming feature :/). Thus, I will only talk about movies I've seen at cinemas, and also only those which were newly released (for instance, I was lucky enough to have watched Batman Returns this year, but I'm not going to talk about it here - it would have been the best movie by far!).
All in all, 2013 was a bad year for movies. Almost all movies I was particularly looking forward to were disappointing and much worse than I had anticipated. Those that were good were neither particularly memorable nor particularly ambitious, and there were no great movies this year which I didn't consider substantially flawed. I made a chart containing all movies I saw here joachimlipski.de/2013Filme-com…
, but I will say a little bit about some of them in the following paragraphs. There's also a TL;DR for every paragraph
The two stand-out movies for me were THE MASTER and THE GRANDMASTER. The Master is a rather opaque, metaphorical story about a WWII veteran who is ensnared by a guru who's possibly based on L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology. The movie seems much too loose, intertwining fascinating scenes in a rather random way, having no overarching narrative or point to it. It is carried by great performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman and shot beautifully. It was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose previous "There Will Be Blood" is one of my favorite movies of all time - sadly, The Master is nowhere as good. The Grandmaster is a kung-fu epic directed by Wong Kar Wai, it combines spectacular martial arts scenes with Wong's usual intense romanticism - but in doing so, it seems like two movies stitched together, and much like The Master, it lacks cohesion and a strong narrative.
TL;DR: Both Paul Thomas Anderson's and Wong Kar Wai's movies were great, but considerably worse than they usually are.
There was a number of good movies, which were all very much worth going to see them: Frankenweenie, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock, the Blue Exorcist anime movie, The Hunt, Blue Jasmine and Inside Llewyn Davis. I consider them close to flawless, but not ambitious or memorable enough to really qualify as great movies. There were also the two Hobbit movies, which were similarly fun, but in a way completely superfluous - they were little more than an array of entertaining STUFF, and whenever they needed to prove they were telling a story, they would do it in the most obvious and unsurprising way. I understand that organizing Tolkien's writings into a movie is an enormous feat, but it seems mainly a logistic effort - it doesn't mean the result is particularly impressive from a creative or aesthetic point of view. Again, I found them to be fun, but I can also understand people who found them tedious to sit through. Star Trek Into Darkness and Lincoln were both a bit worse - Star Trek being considerably dumber than any film previously mentioned, but still a whole lot of fun, and Lincoln simply being too long-winded and dry.
TL; DR: There were some fun movies which weren't too memorable.
Now, one of the year's most consistent features in terms of movies were big disappointments. And the single biggest problem here was that extraordinary production values, iconic characters, good or even superb actors, and wonderful designs and effects were wasted on terribly flawed screenplays. Here I can list Iron Man 3 (there was little to no buildup, plot points being sacrificed for cheap punch lines - the sacrifice of a potentially great reinvention of The Mandarin being the worst offender), Man of Steel (or: Kryptonians slaughtering people for two hours, with another half hour spent on a ludicrous narrative), Pacific Rim (two hours of clichéed stupidity, with ten minutes of awesomeness squeezed inbetween), World War Z (stupid stupid stupid), Life of Pi (a potentially good movie sacrificed for kitsch), The Wolverine (not particularly bad, just consistently mediocre), Gravity ('nuff said) and Thor: The Dark World (or: how to write a screenplay without a single original and/or compelling idea). Of course, there were also movies which were just plain bad, and which didn't even have the potential for greatness. Still, even the G.I. Joe sequel was much, much worse than the already pretty awful first one - as if every single movie desperately tried to be worse than it should reasonably have been.
TL; DR: A slew of movies was bad, and not only that: They shouldn't have been that bad, but could easily have been much, much better - if they hadn't relied on hacks writing the screenplays, or directors who requested hacks to write those screenplays.
So, here's to a better 2014!