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Sunday, February 09, 2014

2013 Kaedrin Movie Award Winners!
The nominations for the 2013 Kaedrin Movie Awards were announced last week. Today, I'll be announcing the winners of said awards. Next week, I'll cover less traditional categories in what we like to call the Arbitrary Awards, and in the following week, I'll post my top 10 of 2012. A week after that is the Oscars, so we've got a full month of (late) 2013 movie recaps. Let's do this thing:
  • Best Villain/Badass: The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3. Man, what a bad year for villainy. Even the winner isn't really the villain we believe him to be, and quite frankly, that's why I picked him. I don't want to start a holy war with the comic book nerds (who I gather were not entirely onboard with this portrayal of the Mandarin), but I really like where this movie went with him. Of course, as a villain, he sucks, but the alternatives were little better. I did seriously consider Michael Fassbender as the slave owner in 12 Years a Slave, but this category isn't for "Most Evil" villain (honestly, the word villain doesn't even do this character justice). Alas, the amount of villainy that was fun/badass was distinctly lacking this year. One thing I've noticed doing these awards from year to year is that the hero/villain categories tend to be unbalanced. One category is always way more stacked than the other, and this year, the Heroes were better. Speaking of which:
  • Best Hero/Badass: Erin, played by Sharni Vinson in You're Next. A much better year for heroism, and this winner was super easy to pick, too, because that character was totally badass and far above the competition. To be honest, without her, I'm not sure who would get the runners up.
    Sharni Vinson, kicking ass
    Fortunately, that doesn't matter, and if you haven't seen You're Next, it's well worth seeking out.
  • Best Comedic Performance: Simon Pegg in The World's End. This is a category that is sometimes very hard to pick because a lot of great comedic performances come as part of a larger ensemble. This is the case with The World's End too, though Pegg is clearly leading the charge here and definitely deserves this one. This Is the End is a prime example of the ensemble problem, as I could have nominated a pretty large proportion of the cast (Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Emma Watson were all strong contenders, but I settled on Danny McBride because of that entrance scene). The runner up would be Lake Bell, who was fantastic in In a World..., but she'll get some love elsewhere... like now:
  • Breakthrough Performance: Lake Bell in In a World... This quickly became one of my favorite movies of the year. Bell's clearly got some comedic chops, not to mention that she also wrote and directed the movie, and she gives a great performance here.
    Lake Bell
    Lots of great competition for this category this year, with folks like Brie Larson and Miles Teller doing some dramatic heavy lifting, while Sharni Vinson kicked some ass (and thus won the hero/badass award above).
  • Most Visually Stunning: Gravity. The word most frequently used to describe this movie is "Spectacle" and a spectacle it truly is. The important thing to note here is that despite all the special effects, it's all done for a reason. It's not spectacle for spectacle's sake, which would fall flat. And the effects aren't the only thing that makes the movie look great either, as director Alfonso Cuaron knows how to move the camera and do long takes, etc... In fact, I couldn't really find a good image to put here because so much of what works in the movie is movement on the screen, not still images. The interesting thing to note about most of the other nominees is how great they look despite relatively low budgets. A couple were surely expensive, but stuff like Upstream Color and Wrong were tiny little films that looked great.
  • Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film: Upstream Color. It was tempting to make this a three way tie between Upstream Color, Gravity, and You're Next, but since the latter two already took awards, I'll give it to Upstream Color. It's certainly an obtuse movie and not for everyone, but it connected with me in an interesting way and I find it's a movie that's really stuck with me as well. Of the other nominees, special mention to The Conjuring and Pacific Rim, both of which I really enjoyed.
  • Best Sequel/Reboot: Thor: The Dark World. Something about these Thor movies just works for me, and I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it. Perhaps it's the comedic aspects, or the Shakespearean tint, or maybe it's just the characters of Thor and Loki. Of the other nominees, I really enjoyed Fast 6 (though not as much as Fast 5) and V/H/S/2, which was a dramatic improvement over the first movie. I also enjoyed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire much more than the first movie, though the whole series still frustrates me with its worldbuilding and lame villainy.
  • Biggest Disappointment: Kick-Ass 2. I loved the first Kick-Ass so much that I put it in a top 10, but this sequel is seriously among the worst movies of the past few years. There are things that could have worked here, but nothing really delivers. Even the action sequences are poorly set up and executed. Of the other nominees, I should note that Frances Ha and Inside Llewyn Davis aren't really bad movies, but they'd been built up a bit too much by critics I respect, so I found them very disappointing once I finally caught up with them. Closed Circuit was disappointing because it was so good at the outset that when it devolved later in the film, it really left me feeling sour towards it. Computer Chess is just not my kinda movie (despite it feeling like it might be), and perhaps because I wasn't as on board with District 9 as everyone else, I wasn't expecting Elysium to be very good.
  • Best Action Sequences: Fast & Furious 6. While I still don't rate it as high as Fast 5, this installment still delivered the goods when it comes to action. The racecar sequence towards the beginning is the sort of action scene that most films would reserve for a finale, and there are plenty of other great scenes throughout the movie. Ludicrous action scenes, sure, but a whole boatload of fun. Special recognition goes out to Pacific Rim for the best sequences of robots and monsters beating the hell out of each other, and while Drug War has an excellent shootout towards the end of the movie, the rest is less action packed than I would have liked. Captain Phillips was also on solid ground when it came to action sequences that were filled with a lot more tension than the other nominees.
  • Best Plot Twist/Surprise: Side Effects. Always a tough category to discuss, as I don't really want to give it away, but I do love Side Effects so very much. I'll also give honorable mention to Trance, which ventures into some next-level bonkers territory by the end... and there's nothing wrong with the other nominees either, but again, I don't want to give anything away...
  • Best High Concept Film: Bad Milo. It's a movie about a demon living in some dude's butt, how much more high concept can you get? The other nominees are all fine in their way, but just can't compete with butt demons. I will mention that Warm Bodies was a movie that made me care about Zombie movies again, which is no small feat.
  • 2013's 2012 Movie of the Year: Robot & Frank. A touching tale of cat burgler and his assistant robot. Or something like that. Surely would have been a high concept nominee if I saw it last year. I enjoyed the other nominees, though none really stood out for me. This is another category that's always weird to populate, though there've been one or two years where it's been a good one to have...
So there you have it. Stay tuned for some arbitrary awards, coming next week.
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