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2013 in film: The hits and misses

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By Becca Owsley

In 2013 there was a lot to brag about at the movies. The year ended with many Oscar contending films that haven’t yet made it to wide release. But the ones that made an impact at the box office were some of the year’s highlights.

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One of the best movies of 2013 was “Saving Mr. Banks.” Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, as well as the supporting cast, gave excellent performances. It was a clinic on how to make a moving and entertaining film. It should be on everyone’s must watch list.

The film that kept me on the edge of my seat was “Gravity.” With strong acting and amazing special effects, many moviegoers left this film in a stressed mood after being engrossed in Sandra Bullock’s character’s plight on screen.

It was a big year for the geek class as well. “Iron Man 3” showed its movie muscle and won the year’s box office receipts. It ended the Iron Man trilogy well and was the best film of the three.

Iron Man’s Avenger teammate Thor also hit theaters in 2013. “Thor: The Dark World” was a great addition to the Marvel universe and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki once again stole the show. 

The second film in the “Star Trek” reboot hit theaters over the summer and didn’t disappoint. Benedict Cumberbatch’s ruthless Kahn made “Star Trek Into Darkness” a hit.

Animation had some winners as well. The minions returned in “Despicable Me 2” and delighted audiences but the clear best in animation in 2013 was “Frozen.”

“Frozen” brought back some of the humor that made “Tangled” such a hit and the music had Broadway quality talent that made some songs larger than life. A story about the love of family was a great story telling twist in the Disney princess genre.

The surprise hit of the year was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” The great cinematography combined with a lovely story made this a heartwarming film.

The baseball epic “42” was another of 2013’s best flicks. The story of Jackie Robinson’s entrance into professional baseball was an inspirational treat.

“12 Years a Slave” is another film topping many lists. The acting in this film was wonderful and the story is one that needed to be told, though the way the story was presented could have been better.

In a year where there were a lot of hits, there were also a few misses.

Will Smith’s “After Earth” was almost painful to watch. It might have been the most boring piece of film last year.

Many beloved cast members, including Harrison Ford, didn't save “Paranoia,” one of the worst films of 2013. With no clear vision and an identity crisis, the film went nowhere.

But the biggest disappointment in 2013 was “Man of Steel.” Even for fans of comic superheroes and the 1978 film, the 2013 version was a complete flop. It brought in big bucks in the box office and a sequel is planned but it frustrated fans and was not the Superman many had hoped for.

In a nutshell, there were some great films in 2013 and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2014. The Muppets, Captain America, Spiderman and hobbits all will return to theaters this year. Godzilla returns, Broadway’s Jersey Boys will hit the big screen and Angelina Jolie will take on one of Disney’s most famous villains in “Maleficent.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.  For movie reviews visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.