Glen’s top 5 geek films of 2013

*Disclaimer: These picks are my own entirely and does not reflect all of the writers of Nerd Reactor. Also, the movie ‘Her’ has not come out in Ottawa, Canada yet. I’m sure if I saw it, it would make the list*


#5. The Wolverine

Although it unravels near the end as it obeys the rules of every other generic action film, it’s still refreshing to see a self-contained, deliberately paced, story on a smaller scale as opposed to the standard Earth-threatening scenarios as of late. The Japanese landscapes are shot beautifully and, although not perfect, the fight choreography is always dynamic and entertaining. But what’s most interesting about this film is how it focuses on Logan’s immortality and the psychological turmoil that comes with it. Logan’s a tortured individual, and we can see that in this film perhaps more than any other, thus making him an incredibly sympathetic character.


#4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The second part of the Hobbit series is still, as Bilbo would say, “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread” and the ending will leave you feeling slightly empty inside, but the second part of the series is much more streamlined than the first and contains some pretty amazing action sequences. Peter Jackson once again recreates something that looks and feels like Middle-earth complete with epic music and awe-inspiring sets, costumes and make up. The subplot involving Gandalf is refreshing and helps set up the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and even Tauriel, a character made for the film, is a delight to watch. But the menacing Smaug, and his voice actor Benedict Cumberbatch, steal the show while providing much needed tension to an otherwise light, children’s story.

At World's End

#3. The World’s End

Edgar Wright finishes the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy with a bang. Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the premise is preposterous, but the character drama and relatable themes ground the film and give it meaning and heart. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are hilarious here as usual. Sometimes it gets a little too silly, but at least it’s never dull. And the first half of the film is so interesting just based on the characters and their relation to one another that the film would still be great without the alien invasion. But when the aliens do invade, it’s a lot of whaky fun.


#2. This Is the End

This is probably the funniest movie of the year. It’s a film about devil-like creatures ending the world as we know it during a party at James Franco’s house. On paper it’s outrageous…and in theatres it’s even more outrageous…but the gang composed of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jay Barachel, etc makes all the gruituitous poop and masturbation jokes just as funny as the more subtle brand of humor. The group dynamic, like in most of these actors’ films, is full of energy. But amongst all the gross-out-humour is welcome self-deprication. The actors take shots at themselves and the movie itself takes shots at the idea of celebrities in general. It’s hard to believe there’s something deep to think about while watching this, but there is indeed. And, like The World’s End, there’s actually some character drama and heart. Go figure.


#1. Gravity

This near-masterpiece is one of the most unique experiences you’ll have at the movies. It’s not just the best nerdy film of the year, but probably the best film of the year. Director Alphonso Cuaron uses an impressively fluid direction technique and long, uncut takes to create realism and make you feel like you’re floating around in space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Once the debris starts flying toward the astronauts the movie never lets up, but the action is always impressive to watch and the visual effects are flawless even when the camera stops inches away from a set piece with the risk of revealing the seams. But there aren’t any.

Some criticize this film’s script for some reason. Did 2001: A Space Odyssey have a poor script? No. It’s focus was on telling a story and revealing a journey through jaw-dropping images and that’s what Gravity does. True, there is a lack of dialogue, but what little we hear tells us just enough information to feel deep sympathy for the characters, especially Sandra Bullock’s. The last 20 minutes are exhilarating and you can’t help but care about the welfare of those endangered.

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