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The Top 25 Films of 2013

17 Feb

321227Well, we’re finally at my last End of Year installment: The Top 25 films of 2013. Thanks for reading along, and yes, I do know it’s already the middle of February.

25. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE: A marked improvement over the first installment is carried by the brilliant performance of Jennifer Lawrence.

24. BLUE JASMINE: In a surprisingly hard-hitting film, Woody Allen crafts a small tale of heartbreak and unfulfillment anchored by Cate Blanchett’s performance.

23. ALL IS LOST: It’s just Robert Redford and a boat, and the film still manages to be intense and exciting; Redford’s fantastic, as is the direction.

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The Top 25 Television Shows of 2013

31 Jan

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Welcome to my Top 25 Television Episodes of 2013. This list is ranked; feel free to agree or disagree, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

25. Boardwalk Empire: The season started off slowly, but it ended beautifully; in addition, Jeffrey Wright and Michael K. Williams gave us one of the best rivalries on television.

24. Parks and Recreation: The year in Parks and Rec gave us a Leslie Knope City Council win–and subsequent recall–that was hilarious and heartwarming.

23. Orphan Black: Anchored by a magnificent performance(s) by Tatiana Maslany, this  ridiculously entertaining sci fi show delivered week after week of wit, action, and drama.

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The Top 22 Television Episodes of 2013

27 Jan

leadozymandiasAlright; now, let’s count down the top 22 episodes of 2013, and you know what? Let’s rank ’em. It should be known that I have a “one episode per show” policy for this list, which promotes variety and prevents half the rankings from being taken up by, say, “Breaking Bad’. Why are there 22 episodes on this list, as opposed to 20 or 25? I don’t know.

22. Six Minutes, “The Killing”: In one of the biggest surprises of the season, “The Killing” turns things around in its third season; “Six Minutes”, the Ray Seward execution episode, is absolutely devastating, featuring Emmy-worthy performances from Enos and Sarsgaard.

21. Liberty/Enemy of Fate, “Fringe”: “Fringe” ends its excellent 5-year run with an emotional, thrilling finale that gives us things like Fauxlivia and a gorgeous, thematically resonant final shot.

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The Top 20 Film Scenes of 2013

20 Jan

Gravity-Scene1Welcome to the third installment of my year end lists. Today, we’re taking a look at the top 20 film scenes of 2013. This list is unranked.

THE FIGHT, “BEFORE MIDNIGHT”: This is easily one of the best-acted, most devastating scenes of the year. It starts out fine, then progresses into a small argument that later becomes a full-blown, ugly verbal war. It’s not cliche at all, and it’s the pinnacle of a fantastic movie.

BELFORT VS. DENHAM, “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”: When Jordan Belfort invites FBI Agent Patrick Denham to his yacht, what results is a lengthy verbal showdown between the two. The undertones, the veiled threats, the fake cheeriness…what a fantastic scene for DiCaprio and Chandler.

THE ENDING, “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”: This scene, by itself, elevates this movie to a whole other level. It’s a cathartic, devastating scene that showcases Hanks at his best, and it’s not the kind of ending you’d expect from a thriller.

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The Top 15 Television Performances of 2013

19 Jan

breaking-bad-series-finaleHere we go with the second installment in my 2013 End of Year series; check out the “Top 20 Film Performances of 2013” here: https://polarbearstv.com/2014/01/17/the-top-20-film-performances-of-2013/

*Note: this list is unranked.

BRYAN CRANSTON, “BREAKING BAD”: Cranston’s final run as Walter White is as perfect as everything that came beforehand. While the first half of season 5 reflected his time on top, the second half showed us someone trying to hold onto a crumbling empire and a crumbling family, and Cranston handles this perfectly.

MICHAEL CUDLITZ, “SOUTHLAND”: In the criminally underrated TNT drama, Michael Cudlitz gives a virtuoso performance as cop John Cooper; the cast is strong, but Cudlitz is the anchor. His performance is absolutely heartbreaking, and it’s a shame we can’t see more.

HUGH DANCY, “HANNIBAL”: Dancy plays Will Graham, a gifted criminal profiler who comes across a cannibalistic psychologist in Hannibal Lecter. The relationship is a marvel to watch, and Dancy gets increasingly better as Graham’s psyche starts to shatter.

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The Top 20 Film Performances of 2013

17 Jan

2014-oscar-predictions-best-actor-actress-1252013-124706Hey, everyone. Welcome to the first installment of my 2013 Year-End Lists, which will be doled out over the next few weeks. I never understood the reasoning behind doing these halfway through December, so I’m starting out now. Enjoy. Today, we’ll be looking at the Top 20 Film Performances of 2013. Note: This list is unranked; I have no idea how I’d rank these performances.

See my top 15 television performances of 2013 list here: https://polarbearstv.com/2014/01/19/the-top-15-television-performances-of-2013/

*Yes, there are 21 performances on this list, and technically 22. I just couldn’t take anyone off.

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, “12 YEARS A SLAVE”: Ejiofor’s portrayal of Solomon Northup in “12 Years A Slave” is one for the ages. Whether we’re watching him play a violin, take a beating, or ruminate by himself, we always feel connected to his character, connected to his journey down a dark and unflinching road.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, “HER”: Sadly, she’s viewed as “ineligible” for many awards, which is a damn shame; with just her voice, she conveys heartbreak, seduction, and genuine emotion, and her work is absolutely brilliant. Samantha seems like she’s truly human.

BRIE LARSON, “SHORT TERM 12”: Larson is absolutely magnificent here, delivering a heartfelt performance that helps us sympathize with her in every scene. She perfectly captures the need to maintain a tough exterior while a whirlwind of emotions are bubbling up inside, and Grace’s relationship with Kaitlyn Dever’s Jayden is beautiful.

LUPITA NYONG’O, “12 YEARS A SLAVE”: In a film of truly excellent performances, Nyong’o plays a young slave named Patsey subjected to the beatings and sexual abuse of her master, Epps (played by the fantastic Michael Fassbender). It’s a layered and complex performance that showcases an actress who we’ll hear a lot about over the coming years.

ROBERT REDFORD, “ALL IS LOST”: In a one-man film, Redford is impeccable, delivering a performance almost completely devoid of dialogue; we see his story through his mannerisms and emotions expressed on his face, as well as in his body language.

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