I only half-apologize for splitting these last twenty-five movies into two posts. I really did need the extra room to talk about some of these films.

25. Last Vegas
24. Delivery Man
23. World War Z
22. Rush
21. Short Term 12

I think World War Z is the runner-up for most deceptive trailer. I was quite worried about this movie. That they were going to take a movie about the Zombie apocalypse and make it a love story instead (already saw Warm Bodies and it didn’t go over particularly well). Fortunately, the trailer shows all the awful longing in the entire film. Instead I get a very good movie with Brad Pitt visiting various human strongholds in search of the source of the disease and any potential cure. The imagery and plot keep this film moving at a good pace with few lulls. This is certainly one of the better zombie films I’ve seen, a good thriller that’s not too focused on the horror aspects. While it doesn’t follow the book it take it’s title from, I feel it provides a different look at societal shortcomings and cooperation in an apocalyptic scenario.

20. Elysium
19. Iron Man 3
18. Now You See Me
17. Redemption
16. Lone Survivor

Now You See Me is a film that has some flaws and yet I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Sure some of the twists didn’t make so much sense. Also some of the cool concepts introduced as narrative devices were woefully underused. A secret magic society?! Sign. Me. Up. Each actor played their roles well even if some of the magic tricks weren’t top shelf. This movie isn’t deserving of any awards but it was a fun summer romp that I’d see again.

Redemption is the story of a war veteran, played by Jason Statham, who’s done a lot wrong in his life. The film follows him as he starts to pull himself out of poverty and a drunken stupor by beating people up for a gang. Statham is absolutely awesome in this movie. While he’s still a rough-and-tumble not-so-nice-guy, he’s a guy you’re clearly rooting for to get on the right track. Also he actually has some acting chops on display. I’m really hopeful we’ll get to see more of this side of Jason Statham in the future.

15. Fast and Furious 6
14. Star Trek Into Darkness
13. Philomena
12. Thor: The Dark World
11. Europa Report

In Europa Report, we listen and watch the story of a mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, through found footage and narration by the Chief Executive of Europa Ventures, played by Embeth Davidtz. I’ve never been a fan of found footage films, the camera shaking generally makes me nauseous. Fortunately, the film makers skipped that trope when making this film. It’s still a suspense thriller set in the near-future. A group of astronauts have left the safety of Earth to explore Europa. At somepoint, their communications array fails and this starts the found footage portions. The discoveries and trials this group faces as they explore far from home is interesting and still in the realm of possibility. It’s a great little film that deserves far more attention than it received.

One more post to wrap up my Year in Review Films series, I finally get to my Top 10 Films of 2013.

We return with our last large batch of movies.

###Still Decent###
50. Drinking Buddies
49. The World’s End
48. The Book Thief
47. It’s a Disaster
46. Monsters University
45. Kick-Ass 2
44. The Wolverine
43. RED 2
42. Riddick: Rule the Dark
41. We’re the Millers

Exhibiting Logan’s incredible healing powers, The Wolverine is a million times better than the seeming deathblow that was the previous Wolverine-focused film. The first ten minutes or so of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, an opening montage of Wolverine and his brother through history, is uniformly awesome. It’s beautifully put together, showing an man incapable of dying dealing with so much death. The remaining hour and a half… so awful. A lot of things were fixed in The Wolverine, starting, of course, with the movie being good for far longer, always a good thing. Japan and Wolverine just make sense together, so it was good to see them united on the big screen. Unfortunately, the movie went off the rails near the end. Thank Viper, who, as the villain, is either underused or overused, but definitely misused. (Also the portrayal of her powers… just… weird.) The movie seems to want to explore the threat of depowering Wolverine and yet it leaves him mostly unharmed. He’s only missing his adamantium claws but he instantly regrows his bone claws which are… less shiny? Overall, not a great movie, but not truly bad, which, judging from past Wolverine films, was a clear possibility. Will it help setting up Fox’s next installment in the series? Only time will tell.

###Contenders Who Couldn’t Contend###
40. How I Live Now
39. 12 Years a Slave
38. Dallas Buyers Club
37. American Hustle
36. Captain Phillips
35. Saving Mr. Banks
34. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
33. White House Down
32. Trance
31. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Sure 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, big Oscar winners, are down here, but a lot of people will wonder why American Hustle, nominated for 10 awards, winning none, is also not winning the James award for “Good Movie.” It’s certainly not because of the stellar performances. Amy Adams follows up her great portrayal of Lois Lane with another typically amazing performance in American Hustle Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner are all great too. And yet, this film just feels wrong on the whole. We are supposed to cheer for the bad guys, con artists and grifters, the corrupt mayors and mobsters. David O. Russel paints them as characters worthy of our sympathies since they have to deal with a power-hungry government more incompetent than they are – exemplified by the unhinged agent played by Bradley Cooper in a perm. (tightly wound, get it?) We should either be laughing at their foibles or celebrating the true heroes; films that found themselves with much lower numbers next to them.

###Finally, Some Good Stuff###
30. The Host
29. Thanks for Sharing
28. Don Jon
27. Pacific Rim
26. Pain & Gain

The Host is not by any stretch a great movie, but it’s one I definitely recommend. It kind of slipped under the radar, released as it was in the first quarter of the year, where bad films go to be ignored. It is an adaptation of a Stephanie Meyer novel, and yes that is Glitter-Vampires Meyer. These two strikes forced a theater skip, yet the lack of a third strike meant I couldn’t help but want to catch up with it when I had the chance. I admit it, the trailer piqued my interest; plus Diane Kruger in a movie always merits my consideration. The premise reminded me a bit of K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series. In a good way. Now I’m disappointed I didn’t see this little dystopian gem and support it on the big screen, where it could have really used a kind word or too. Here are some kind words, even if they’re a bit late: The Host is stunning and diverting. I cannot recommend it enough. Also, Saoirse Ronan is one to keep an eye on.

We have just twenty-five more movies to go. Let’s split ’em over two more posts! Next time we’ll climb through the teens and stop at #10.