Most Underrated Movies of 2013
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Verdict: See It!     
Kevin's Review
To me, underrated films are those that are either not seen by a wide audience (despite critical acclaim) or weren't given the critical reception they should have received. So my picks are based on wanting to expose the films to people who might not have wanted to give them a try, or quite simply, didn't know anything about them. For horror, I picked You're Next.Taking the home-invasion/slasher movie and giving it a dialogue-driven twist, Adam Wingard's version of the genre made horror films fun again. After a typical opening, the film becomes a domestic drama about a well-to-do estranged family coming together for an anniversary dinner. When the party guests start getting picked off by three killers in animal masks, all hell breaks loose! And it hasn't been this funny or suspenseful in a long time. The main heroine played by Sharni Vinson is a real find, too!
For Comedy, I chose Enough Said. This movie is a wholly charming and hilarious romantic comedy for adults. It stars James Gandolfini (in his final role) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her first leading theatrical role. While it is a really perceptive look at dating in middle-age, it is also just hilarious!
Finally, for most underrated blockbuster, I would like to offer The Wolverine. This is a sharp, intelligent crime thriller that just happens to feature a mutant as the lead character. There are many aspects of "The Wolverine" that work spectacularly, but the main one is that screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank have fashioned a story that is not only faithful to Wolverine's comic-book heritage, but allows the story room to breathe. The characters here are well crafted and fully fleshed out.


Leah's Review
My pick for underrated horror movie is Mama.While far from a perfect film, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, Mama (Muschietti, 2013) is thematically rich: the folklore and fairy-tale quality to this film where spectral and material motherhood go toe-to-toe over orphaned children. More spook and shadows than gore with a decidedly unsatisfying, non-Hollywood ending, Jessica Chastain gives us good parent even life or death in Mama.
As for comedy, I love Director Lake Bell's In A World...which gives us insider's view of the unseen world of voice over actors. Unique, refreshing, charming and more importantly, funny, Bell who also wrote In A World... stars as Carole Solomon, daughter of a legendary voice over artist, striving to make her own mark in this male dominated. The eclectic cast and production design occupy give us Los Angeles quirk without smarm, and a charming love story to boot. Winner of Sundance's screenwriting competition, In A World...should be seen...and heard by all!
Finally, for underrated blockbuster, I go with Pacific Rim. Kaijus (giant monsters) and mechas (giant robots) duke it out and demolish and terrorize the city and threaten to take over the world in Pacific Rim (Del Toro, 2013) - what more could anyone want in a summer blockbuster? Pacific Rim bows to the influence of Ray Harryhausen and Ishiro Honda, reviving old school monster and robot movies and treating them with modern cinematic technology and special effects. As spectacle, the look and sound of the film floods the senses and a constant stimulant. Thematically, the film reminds us of our man-and-machine evolution and our anxiety and dependence upon technology. Pacific Rim does what a summer blockbuster should - entertain.


Brenna's Review
My comedy pick is The World's End. While it may not have been as satisfying an ending to Edgar Wright's collaboration with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the Cornetto trilogy), but I still enjoyed it. Interestingly enough, the character development and the mundane real life-ish conflict between the friends is what's fun to follow here, unlike in previous Cornetto films. The insanity and how the characters react to it was the best part of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and while the crazy alien invasion stuff is fun in The World's End, it feels forced, and is sloppily wrapped up. The characters and how they come to terms with their former selves (or don't) is where this film shines. As always, the writing (by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg) is sharp and funny; while the overall story isn't very strong (primarily due to the weak ending), the individual scenes and moments more than make up for it.
My horror pick is Antiviral. This film is about a not-so-distant future in which the obsession with celebrity has become so ridiculous, people pay to have themselves injected with diseases collected from their favorite star. Our lead, Syd, injects himself with an uncontrolled version of one of these designer diseases. After it kills the celebrity he harnessed it from, he tries to discover the background of the virus before it kills him too. The story is fascinating overall, despite some farfetched technology that makes little to no sense and some wonky moments in the middle, and you find yourself just as interested in learning more about this world as you are intrigued by Syd's journey. The social commentary isn't subtle, but is entirely enjoyable in its obviousness, and the very nature of the plot is psychological horrifying in itself (people giving themselves the same strain of herpes as their favorite celebrity, people clamoring for steaks made from cells of their most loved celebrities). The actor who plays Syd is incredible; I would recommend it for his performance alone. He spends half the film dying of this disease, and is entirely believable.
Finally, my blockbuster pick is World War Z. I loved WWZ, even though most were disappointed, and I attribute it to its connection with the book. However, if you can look at the film as extremely loosely based on the book and see it as its own entity, it's pretty awesome. This movie is purely spectacle and this film could not have worked with its flimsy story if it wasn't all riding on Brad Pitt. This is his baby, and he saves the film during the scenes when there isn't any spectacle to save everything else.