Fraley 2013 Movie Guide




“American Hustle” – David O. Russell reunites his favorite casts to tell delicious con artist tale

“12 Years a Slave” – True story of American slavery is hard to watch, but impossible to forget

“Her” – Joaquin Phoenix falls for Siri in most unique love story since “Harold & Maude”

“Gravity” – Alfonso Cuaron crafts a modern-day “2001” with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

“Short Term 12” – Two lovers run a facility for at-risk youth in South By Southwest winner

“Before Midnight” – Richard Linklater resumes tale of Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy, now in middle-age

“Fruitvale Station” – Brilliantly directed Sundance winner based on real-life racially charged shooting

“The Act of Killing” – Indonesian death squads re-enact their genocide in Oscar-nominated doc


3 1/2 STARS

“Prisoners” – Star-studded cast shines in a nail-biting crime thriller about child abduction

“Captain Phillips” – Tom Hanks shines as real-life hostage of 2009 Somali hijacking

“The Way, Way Back” – Hilarious coming of age story with a heel turn by Steve Carell

“Dallas Buyers Club” – McConaughey and Leto give award-worthy performances selling HIV drugs

“Philomena” – Judi Dench plays a former nun who goes searching for her long-lost son

“Blue is the Warmest Color” – Cannes Palme d’Or winner tracks the heartache of lesbian lovers

“Nebraska” – Bruce Dern goes on a father-son road trip to claim a sweepstakes prize

“The Butler” – Forest Whitaker & Oprah Winfrey shine in journey through Civil Rights Movement

“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Leo DiCaprio brings it in Scorsese’s excessive epic that’s an hour too long

“The Good Son” – Boxer Ray Mancini meets the fiancee and son of the man he killed in the ring

“Iron Man 3” – Action-packed threequel with buddy comedy from Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”)

“Frozen” – Disney’s tale of sibling love teaches us to “Let it Go”

“The Spectacular Now” – Shailene Woodley sparkles with script by “(500) Days of Summer” writers

“Saving Mr. Banks” – Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in making-of tale of “Mary Poppins”



“The Great Gatsby” – Leo DiCaprio nails Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s lavish spectacle

“August: Osage County” – Dark family secrets revealed by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts

“Blue Jasmine” – Cate Blanchett shines as Woody Allen continues to carve his prolific place in history

“Rush” – Ron Howard chronicles real-life racing rivalry between James Hunt and Nika Lauda

“42” – The Jackie Robinson story comes to life with Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey

“All is Lost” – Robert Redford gives one-man, silent performance lost at sea

“Side Effects” – Smart, pill- popping psycho-thriller by Steven Soderbergh

“Enough Said” – James Gandolfini gives final performance romancing Julia Louis Dreyfus

“World War Z” – Popcorn thrills abound in adaptation of Max Brooks zombie novel

“Inside Llewyn Davis” – Oscar Isaac shines in Coen Brothers’ bleak tale of ’60s folk music

“The Book Thief” – A young girl teaches a Jewish refugee to read during WWII

“This is the End” – Hollywood jokers play themselves in very funny apocalyptic comedy

“The Kings of Summer” – Indie fav about a group of boys who build a house in the woods

“Mud” – Matthew McConaughey plays an almost mythical drifter in coming-of-age tale

“The Great Beauty” – Italian art-house flick won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language flick

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” – J.J. Abrams helms a solid follow-up to his 2009 “Star Trek” reboot

“In a World” – Lake Bell is a triple threat in spoof of movie trailer world

“The Conjuring” – Stylish, well-acted horror, but not as memorable as the other flicks it homages

“Lone Survivor” – Peter Berg directs intense real-life account of botched Navy SEAL mission

“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – Jennifer Lawrence returns for Round 2 of “The Hunger Games”

“Anchorman 2” – Burgundy’s return = “60 percent of the time it works every time”

“The Lone Ranger” – Johnny Depp’s Tonto tale isn’t for kids, but works as a dark action comedy


2 1/2 STARS

“Blue Caprice” – D.C. Sniper script plays loose with facts, but masterfully directed like “In Cold Blood”

“Now You See Me” – Magician heist caper starts strong, finishes weak

“Man of Steel” – Superman reboot offers great action, but not enough Lois & Clark

“Oz: The Great and Powerful” – James Franco snarky in an otherwise clever origin story

“Fast & Furious 6” – Funny banter and fast cars, but not as good as “Fast Five”

“Thor: The Dark World” – Thor sequel falls short of the Marvel Phase 2 bar set by “Iron Man 3”

“Olympus Has Fallen” – Gerard Butler kicks terrorist butt in over-the-top White House attack

“Jobs” – Steve Jobs biopic follows career highlights but fails to explore personal life

“Carrie” – Remake pales in comparison to 1976 classic, but poignant take on cyber bullying



“The Purge” – Clever horror premise wasted as murder is legal for one day a year

“Gangster Squad” – Star-studded cast in ill-timed shoot-em-up flick

“White House Down” – Tatum & Foxx mine laughs, but film pales to “Olympus ”

“The Big Wedding” – French farce remake borrows from too many past wedding flicks


1 1/2 STARS

“The Hangover: Part III” – Funny franchise suffers from too much Mr. Chow

“A Good Day to Die Hard” – Franchise moves to Russia but gives us little reason to care



“The Wizard of Oz 3D” – The 3D upgrade of the 1939 classic is a horse of a different color

“Jurassic Park 3D” – Steven Spielberg’s prehistoric blockbuster revived from fossilized amber


Review from Past Years:








Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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