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Highs and Lows of the First Half of 2013

The 5 Most Underrated Films of 2013 so far

1. The Spectacular Now– Though it was a Sundance hit, the buzz has quieted down during subsequent film festivals for this one. Give it a few weeks though and the champions of it like myself will begin coming back to push it towards a platform release.

2. Don Jon– Up until the trailer hit a few weeks ago, most folks seemed to have forgotten about this flick. Not everyone at Sundance loved Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, but a lot of people did, including me. It’s going to be a cult favorite at the very least, mark my words.

3. Short Term 12– There’s a vocal group of my colleagues championing this indie movie, but the general public has no idea it exists. That’s just because it hasn’t ramped up a campaign yet, but when it does more and more people will begin to understand that something special is hitting indie theaters this summer.

4. The Pretty One– It didn’t seem to make any headlines besides my rave at Tribeca, but this was the highlight of that fest in my eyes. Kazan is brilliant and the story itself is told in a very unique way. I hope it gets more than a cursory 2013 release, since it deserves better than that.

5. World War Z– This film should have been awful, and yet…somehow it turned out to be rather good. I really liked the score, the tense atmosphere, and even the reworked ending. Brad Pitt looked to have a disaster on his hands, but instead he’s got a hit. Go figure.

What do you think?

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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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Matthew P

I’m thrilled to find someone who shares my love of “The Place Beyond the Pines”. Often with movies that run 140 minutes, I feel they struggled to fill that time, but I loved every second of “Pines”. Looking forward to “The Spectacular Now” later this summer. Also enjoyed “Mud” quite a bit.

Also, I was a big fan of the underseen “The Sapphires” – breaks no new ground but very charming and entertaining. Saw “What Maisie Knew” at TIFF last Septemeber and thought it was beautifully done.

Johnny

Great piece Joey! As a huge fan of “(500)Days,” I’m anxiously awaiting “The Spectacular Now” and “Don Jon”

Stephen Jay

Thanks for the writeup, Joey. I enjoyed it. I was curious to see your Oscar predictions for this year – are they posted anywhere? All I could find were Clayton’s.

John Rivera

Here are my awards Best Picture Winner: This is The End Runner Up: The Place Beyond The Pines Best Director Winner: Derek Cianfrance – The Place Beyond The Pines Runner Up: Jeff Nichols – Mud Best Actor Winner: Leonardo Dicaprio – The Great Gatsby Runner up: Bradley Cooper – The Place Beyond The Pines Best Actress Winner: Rooney Mara – Side Effects Runner up: Olga Kurylenko – To The Wonder Best Supporting Actor Winner: Emory Cohen – The Place Beyond The Pines Runner Up: Zach Braff – Oz: The Great And Powerful Best Supporting Actress Winner: Eva Mendes – The… Read more »

Steve Glansberg

Very surprisingly, Spring Breakers is my favorite film of the year so far, as it was the complete opposite of what I expected. Kind of like with Killing Them Softly last year, I think there is a heck of a lot more going on in that movie than some detractors give credit for.

I’m definitely looking forward to most of the movies on your list, I just don’t know when I’ll get a chance to see them. Mark Johnson’s Cleveland seems way ahead of the times from where I live.

Jacob

I cannot wait for The Spectacular Now, it really does look fantastic. I think To the Wonder is by far the best movie of the year so far, but I also loved The Bling Ring, Pain and Gain, and Spring Breakers as well. So far, there hasn’t been a critical darling that I’ve completely agreed warranted the praise (Before Midnight, Stories we Tell didn’t live up to the filmmakers’ potential imo).

Ryan

I always find myself at a disadvantage during the first half of the year because I don’t have “access” to all of the great indie films that usually end up being my favorites by the end of the year. As of now, my favorite film of the year is 42, which, despite its financial and critical success, I still find to be largely underrated. Very impressed with the direction and the two lead performances. Its a familiar story, but an emotionally daring one. I also thought that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was downright the most horrendous movie I have seen in… Read more »

Dan

Thanks for your input!!! Ill check out the ones u like. Thanx

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