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Featured: Big movie surprises of 2013

Featured: Big movie surprises of 2013

I feel like 2013 has been all over the place for movies so far this year. The box office had an early rough start to the year where we saw films like Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand and Gangster Squad stumble out of the box office. Other films such as Hansel and Gretal, Movie 43, and Parker really brought down the beginning to the year as well.

The year, however, did pick up in the spring time a little bit while we all anticipated what the summer would bring us. It’s debatable on whether summer movies in 2013 were bad or not, but for me it was a mix of disappointment and joy. The blockbusters were a mixed bag, while the indies ruled for sure. Overall, I thought it wasn’t as bad as most people said.

However, throughout all of that, there wasn’t a ton of surprises that caught me off guard. If anything, I was mostly disappointed by the films I looked forward to the most. There were some great one’s though that did live up to expectations, such as World War Z and Pacific Rim. Although for a lot of people, World War Z may have been a big surprise. And most, if not all, indies I saw did live up pretty well. If you haven’t seen any from this summer, I’d highly recommend them.

There have been a few amazing surprises along the way though, that really blew me away from what I was expecting. Sometimes you have zero expectations or even bad expectations and you walk out of the theater with a big smile on your face. For these movies, that’s exactly what happened.

Rush MovieRush
Rush is easily the best, and pretty big, surprise of the year. Formula 1 racing is not very big in the U.S. though and it’s not something people get excited about. I’ve been disappointed over the last week or so as I’ve read articles and listened to many podcasts where I heard people talking about how they are passing this movie over or they just didn’t care. And it’s sad to me because it’s so well made. But I’ll be honest, I was in that boat too going into this movie. As a Ron Howard fan though, I was slightly interested and willing to check it out as we were going to discuss it on our InSession Film Podcast.

Listen to our review of Rush Here:

Don’t let your un-enthusiasm for F1 racing keep you from this movie. As you can hear in our podcast (above), I loved it for many reasons. The performances by Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth were amazing. The cinematography was incredible and Hans Zimmer score is perhaps my favorite of the whole year. Howard’s sound editing team is incredible here. Perhaps, it doesn’t live up to real-life F1 cars, but for a movie it’s pretty good. Especially for those of us, and that’s most of the U.S., that aren’t F1 fans. Between the visual style, sound editing and score mixed with solid performances and a strong story, you’re missing out big time by skipping on this one.

Spring-BreakersSpring Breakers
Spring Breeeaaaak. C’mon ya’ll, why you actin so ‘spicious? Ok I’ll stop. I could quote this whole thing though. I had zero motivation to see this movie at the beginning of the year. The cast, outside of Franco, didn’t really excite me and while Harmony Korine is a descent director, the story seemed really dumb to me. Honestly, I only saw this because Nate wanted to. To this date, it is in my Top 3 for my favorite films of the year (notice I said favorite and not best…I know that is confusing sometimes). If I had to give away the award for Best Performance, Franco would get my vote for this film. It’s hilarious and he steals the show as a character this is so ridiculous. Franco is hardly recognizable too. Spring Breakers was a really great surprise. It’s hilarious and a lot of fun despite it’s crazy premise. Go see it, you won’t regret it.

Now-You-See-Me-First-TrailerNow You See Me
Now, I know this movie had a really great cast, but everything leading up to the movie seemed kind of corky and cheesy. And with magic, it can be very hit or miss. If you go back and read some of the articles leading up to this film, Now You See Me wasn’t the most strongly hyped movie of the summer. The cast, however, was easily strong enough to give this a shot though. Walking into the movie I had zero expectations but when I walked out, I was blown away. Given what we had to work with, it was really strong. And it made a lot of money so it had good things going for it after it’s initial release. This is a one time watch though. It will never live up on re-watches, but that first watch is incredible.

Stoker MovieStoker
Before you say anything, let me explain this one. Yes, Chan-wook Park has done some really great stuff in the past. But with this being his English debut, I wasn’t quite sure how it would translate. You just never know. And the plot synopsis didn’t exactly thrill me either. The cast was good though and I will see anything Park puts his hands too. The big reason it makes this list though is because of how much I loved it. It’s not that I had bad expectations as much as I was indifferent about the movie. I was curios but not overly excited. However, it was so good, Stoker made my Top 5 for my Best Movies of 2013 So Far list we did half way through the year.

Turbo movieTurbo
People have given me a hard time about this one, and trust me I understand, but this was a HUGE surprise for me. I was dragged to it. Didn’t want to go. We had no plans to do a podcast or review on it. The premise seemed crazy to me, and it was. Turbo turned out to be really charming though and the music was A LOT of fun. Some of it’s cheesy, but it’s a kids movie so what do you expect? The characters were well written and given it’s premise, they were fine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the music makes this film a lot of fun! It’s clever how they play on the music, the mixes are great and the song choices are solid. And do I even have to explain that this was scored by Henry Jackman? Even if the story is blah to you, I’d find it hard to believe you hate the music.

Other notables surprises:

Dead Man Down, starring Colin Farrell, was a good surprise earlier in the year too. It has it’s fair share of flaws, but it’s not bad at all and the ending was great.

Since I consider The Lone Ranger to be two movies in one, I’ll put the last twenty minutes of The Lone Ranger here too. It was way different and 1000x better than the first two hours.

Well what you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know by leaving a comment in the comment section below. If you disagree with me, that’s perfectly okay as I understand some of my tastes are uniquely my own. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Huge movie fanatic and InSession Film founder and owner. I pretend to know a lot about movies, but mostly I'm good at discussing them. My favorite movies include Shawshank Redemption, Warrior, Top Gun and Transformers (fav as a kid!). Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran

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