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Bernie's Commercial Highly Controversial Top 13 of 2013

Updated on January 12, 2014

Every year, just like Santa Claus, critics all over the world make their lists and check them twice for the nicest and naughtiest films of the previous year. My list generally doesn’t include many high brow “art house” pics because I rarely take the time to sit through them unless they’ve been Oscar nominated. Here though is my list of the most and least entertaining commercial films from 2013. Enjoy!

13 - Thor: The Dark World

Superhero movies just keep getting better and better, Man of Steel not withstanding. Here, Chris Hemsworth returns to the role of the Norse God of Thunder and the results are fantastic. This was one of the charms of November and well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it yet. My rating: 4 stars

For my full review, click this link:

12 - Elysium

This was an unexpected gem from August and actually got the audience thinking about the premise that actually hits home. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley are all brilliant. My rating: 4 stars

11 - Saving Mr. Banks

Last year, Hollywood took us behind the scenes to show us the making of turn of the century special effects in the cinema in Hugo. This year, we see the making of Mary Poppins and the Scrooge-like antics of her creator P.L. Travers. Tom Hanks, as always, is brilliant. My rating: 4-1/2 stars

10 - Pacific Rim

I went into this expecting another Transformers. Boy was I ever wrong. This is compelling science fiction story telling at its best. The characters and situations are brilliantly conceived. And assuming they do one, I can’t wait for a sequel. My rating: 4 stars

9 - Monsters University

Every year, my list contains at least one animated picture and this year, my pick goes to MonstersUniversity. The runner up, Frozen, is also excellent and harkens back to the Disney animation of the ‘90’s, but here, this was just a rounded tale with a life lesson and enough pathos to fill a four hour movie. My rating: 5 stars

8 - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

This is the comedy that Hollywood has virtually forgotten how to make. It’s not only entertaining, but fun and packs more laughs in two minutes than Anchorman does in two hours. Ben Stiller is perfectly cast and does a fantastic job with his direction. Looking over the names of the potential stars before Stiller just proves that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. My rating: 5 stars

7 - American Hustle

This is one of those movies where you can’t take bathroom breaks simply because the plot is very tight. The acting and the storyline are fantastic and this is one of those movies that deserves to win big at the awards this year. This movie is arguably one of the best dramas to come out this year. My rating: 5 stars

6 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Hail, hail, the gang’s all here for round two. This time, we get to rekindle an old friendship with Legolas, meet new elves and humans and finally see the evil dragon that has seized all the dwarven gold. Why am I palpitating for the third movie right about now? My rating: 4-1/2 stars

5 - Iron Man III

Take Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) out of the suit and you are left with a man facing life with his own anxieties and that’s where a hero’s true strength will be revealed. Arguably the best installment in this franchise. My rating: 4-1/2 stars

4 - Gravity

When a film has to rely on only one or two actors to tell the story, they had better be darned good. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock manage to pull it off nicely. The physics may not have been perfect, but the storyline certainly was. This movie kept me riveted for the full running time. My rating: 5 stars

3 - 42

Branch Rickey changed the face of baseball as we knew it when he introduced Jackie Robinson into the big leagues. Harrison Ford and Chadwick Bozeman bring the era and the story to life for a new generation of baseball fans. My rating: 4-1/2 stars

2 - Star Trek: Into Darkness

J.J. Abrams has revitalized the Star Trek genre and invited a new generation of fans to behold Gene Roddenberry’s vision from the 1960’s. The younger cast, led by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, are spot on in their portrayals, and somehow, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Benedict Cumberbatch My rating: 4-1/2 stars

1 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It isn’t often when a sequel surpasses it’s prior installment in terms of story content and acting gravitas, but this sequel does both. Katniss and Peeta are back for more tribute action and the stakes are even higher than the first time around. Sinister tidings abound. My rating: 5 stars

And then there's the bottom of the barrel, the cream of the crap, the total wastes of celluloid. This list includes some of the worst and most disappointing movies of 2013. Here they are, in no particular order:

Hangover Part III

This film starts with the decapitation of a giraffe and just goes downhill from there. The franchise should have stopped with number two. It exceeded its sell-by date by more than a few years. My rating: 1 star

A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane in back for another romp. And they still didn’t kill him, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have. My rating: 2 stars

The Call

What started out as an intriguing premise quickly deteriorates in a substandard adventure with less than compelling characters and situations. HalleBerry should have been stripped of her Academy Award after this hunk of cheese. My rating: 2 stars

The Wolf of Wall Street

Normally, I would be in awe of Scorsese’s work, but here he has managed to offend every sensibility with nothing short of pure softcore pornography. If this is the future of his and DiCaprio’s work, they should both retire now. My rating: 2 stars


Who actually thought this script was either funny or good? Men in Black without the humor or star chemistry. My rating: 2 stars

Anchorman 2

What passes for comedy in Hollywood today is sophomoronic at best and stupidly unentertaining at its worst. This is a great combination of both. I laughed twice during the whole movie. My rating: 2 stars

And that's my commercial, highly controversial list for 2013. Hope you like it. And if you don't, I hope it inspires you to create one of your own.

What was your favorite movie of 2013?

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