Sunday, January 12, 2014

The TOP 10 US Box Office Hits of 2013: My Reviews

January 12, 2013

Below is the list of the Top 10 Top Grossing Films in the US Box Office for the year 2013. While "Iron Man 3" had the year’s biggest opening weekend and was tops the whole summer, "Catching Fire" caught up as it ruled the holiday season up to now as the new year rolls in. An asterisk after the title means it is still currently showing in US theaters up to now.

1. Catching Fire* ($409.4 million)

In celebration of the 75th year of the Hunger Games, previous Victors (one male and one female) from each District to fight in another games to the death called the Quarter Quell. Being the only female Victor of District 12, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) was an automatic contestant, and the odds were stacked against her favor. How will the results of this special edition of the Hunger Games affect the revolution already catching fire outside the Capitol walls? 

This film tackles serious political topics very well, simplified for its young target audience, but not in a way that insults more mature viewers. This is a perfectly-made bridging film by director Francis Lawrence.  It stands very well on its own merits, as much as it guarantees that the next two films in the franchise will be blockbusters. 9/10. (My Full Review)

2. Iron Man 3 ($409.0 M)

The plot centers around Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his conflict with a mad scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who has developed a powerful virus called Extremis who can give fiery powers to those who can withstand its painful incubation. At the same time, the President of the United States was abducted by a mad international terrorist who calls himself "Mandarin" (Ben Kingsley). 

I thought this film was 70% Stark, only 30% Iron Man. I felt this film was too long and could be edited to tighten the suspense and streamline the storytelling more. The ending sequence was nicely ambiguous. The extra scene after the very long closing credits was funny with a surprising cameo appearance, but it was not so exciting to suggest what the next Marvel film was all about. (Or does it?) Overall, "Iron Man 3" was just alright, but not really worth all the hype given it. Temper your expectations. 6/10. (My Full Review)

3. Despicable Me 2* ($368.0 M)

This story of this sequel is about the reformed Gru (still voiced by Steve Carell) being recruited by the Anti-Villain League to be their secret agent.  His mission is to discover and apprehend an evil criminal who had developed a toxin which can turn any living being into destructive purple hairy monsters upon injection. 

But make no mistake, definitely, this is one very funny and entertaining film for the whole family.  Fans of those naughty little yellow Minions will rejoice as they have practically half of the movie running time dedicated to them, and there are so many more of them here.  Fans of good 3D effects will really find this film so cool.  I just missed some of the heart that made the first installment more than special. 7/10. (My Full Review)

4. Frozen* ($301.5 M)

This is a wholly original tale about two royal sisters. One, Elsa, had a wonderful but dangerous power to create ice and wintry weather. The other one, Anna, is normal. Several years later, at Elsa's coronation day as Queen, her powers were inadvertently revealed to the public and she had to flee. Anna goes out to search for her sister. Can Anna find her sister, mend their relationship, discover true love in time, and save their kingdom from the eternal winter that envelops it?

With incredibly-rendered visuals and sweeping music, the story line of sisterly love and devotion is also a novel approach that makes this production stand out from the other Disney classics. 8/10. (My Full Review)

5. Man of Steel ($291.1 M)

The whole movie is essentially a remake of "Superman II", which was arguably the best of the Christopher Reeve series. In that film, as with this one, Superman faces General Zod and his minions, who was able to escape his fate in the Phantom Zone and found his way to Earth to create havoc here. 

Overall, this is a very satisfying reboot of the Superman series by Zach Snyder. I liked that they took this one seriously, not devoid of humor but without the slapstick that made previous versions corny. The technical aspects of the film were excellent, especially the rich cinematography, the fast-paced editing, as well as the visual and sound effects of the battle scenes. This film has a charm distinct enough form the Reeve version and will be a successful franchise of its own.  8/10. (My Full Review)

6. Monsters University ($268.5 M)

In this installment, we are brought back in time, when our favorite monster heroes: Mike (the hyper green walking ball with one Cyclops eye, voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (the cool blue shaggy giant with the spotted arms, voiced by John Goodman) were just freshmen students at Monsters U, where they were enrolled in the "Scaring" program. 

The movie is very entertaining for the whole family, but maybe more for the kids and the kids at heart. However, the story line is too familiar and derivative to be really distinct, much unlike the innovative first film, which had a very original and mature story. You will definitely have a good time while watching the monsters and their shenanigans, but you may not even really remember it too well anymore after a while. 6/10. (My Full Review)

7. Gravity* ($255.8 M)

"Gravity" tells of the unenviable situation experienced by medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and her astronaut mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) when an accidental disaster caused by a shower of satellite debris destroys their space station, leaving them floating in deep space.

Director Alfonso Cuaron has created a masterpiece that knows when to move for excitement and when to stop for meditation. We enjoy the breathtaking ride through the dangerous outer frontiers. We also get to look inwards to the essence of our own minuscule humanity in stark contrast to the vastness of the universe. We will feel agoraphobia and claustrophobia at the same time while Stone and Kowalski struggle to keep themselves alive. 10/10. (My Full Review)

8. Fast & Furious 6 ($238.7 M)

The car chase scenes (this franchise's main claim to fame) were amazingly planned, executed, shot and edited. There was that chase scene on the freeway with a tank, ending with a superhuman midair rescue you simply have got to see to believe (or not believe). As if that is not enough, the entire last sequence was about cars trying to get a Russian cargo plane from taking off, all the while fighting off the enemies mostly mano a mano.

Overall this is one very entertaining and exhilarating film, which I understood and appreciated well even if I have not seen any of the previous films. Well, I am sure fans who have seen all the movies will love it even more since they have known and loved all these characters already from the previous five films. The top-notch explosive action sequences left nothing to be desired, really breath-taking. These heart-stopping car stunts are all admittedly impossible and maybe downright ridiculous, but that was why they were all so awesome to watch! 7/10. (My Full Review)

9. Oz: The Great and Powerful ($234.9 M)

The synopsis of this film says that it follows the adventures of  a circus illusionist and con man, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), when he was blown by tornado into the magical land of witches and other fantastic beings.  Oscar would battle and defeat a great evil enemy before he becomes the all-powerful wizard and king of Oz in Emerald City.

I have not seen this film as of yet.  Review to follow.

10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* ($234.2 M)

"The Desolation of Smaug" picks up from the first film.  While Gandalf (Ian Mc Kellen) went looking for the Necromancer in Dor Guldur, our titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the 13 Dwarfs led by Thorin (Richard Armitage) continue on their quest to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the lost Dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Along the way, they encounter deadly Orcs, Giant Spiders and Elves who give them a harrowing time. With the help of Bard (Luke Evans), a human from Laketown, they reach their destination and encounter Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon that had taken over the Dwarfs' old realm.

Cinematography was topnotch as production design was spectacular, though the CGI can be overwhelming.  The ending comes just when you are whetted up for a big fight scene.  We will really have to catch that final film in the trilogy to see that monumental battle come to life. 8/10. (My Full Review)


  1. I'm so happy to see Despicable Me 2 in this top. This is my favourite cartoon till now. This week I'll see Frozen and the Nut Job. I can't wait to see them :D

  2. That's a really close race between Hunger Games and Ironman for the top spot. Both have their loyal following.

  3. I would not be surprised if the Hunger Games sequel, The Hunger Games Catching Fire landed on the first spot. The continuing adventures of Katniss Everdeen, in a futuristic dystopian world is incredible!

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  5. Thanks for sharing the list. I've only watched despicable me and monsters university. I want to watch Frozen hope I can get a copy.

  6. Catching fire was the top for me of 2013. I was so blown away by the movie I still can't get over it

  7. Wah.. I haven't watched Mockingjay yet. Huhu super overdue. As for your list. Most of it agree ako. hehe.