Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quick reviews for the rest of the year...

No pictures, but I'm falling behind and want to do a revamp of sorts before staring for 2014 (feeling too lazy to check for spelling errors so let me just get this out of my system)...

Jackass: Bad Grandpa- Jackass meets Borat. If you like their style of humor then you are going to love this. Possibly the best comedy of the year right alongside The World's End, This Is the End, or Monsters University.

Out of the Furnace- What a shame because with a cast like this, Scott Cooper's (Crazy Heart) second feature misuses its time and forces us to accept much of the characters at face value with perhaps only the lead played by Bale being worthy of any interest.

The Place Beyond the Pines- Second film from Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) that tells such a beautifully sprawling story about fathers, sons, second chances, and legacy. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Coooper are at their best.

American Hustle- Another great film from the re-invented David O. Russell. Well acted, well crafted, moving, and a lot of fun.

Anchorman 2- I actually liked it. Similarly to films like Taken or The Hangover, I don't hold the original in the highest of esteem. The first film was funny and so is this. I enjoyed the parody of the 24 hour news cycle and Will Ferrell is an improv king when it comes to making up the most ridiculous of Ron Burgandy one-liners.

The Wolf of Wall Street- An unintentional party movie from one of America's greatest directors. Scorsese and DiCaprio re-team on a film that shows us the excess of life for men that are the white collar criminals to the blue collar ones from Goodfellas. The ending comes as a shocking indictment and with DiCaprio's work, Jordan Belafort is easily one the most memorable characters in a Scorsese film.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- Similar to my criticism of An Unexpected Journey, the only bad things that you could say about Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth is that it doesn't necessarily feel new, but like I've pointed out- that isn't much of a criticism because of how much fun these movies are. This dark chapter also features terrific work from actor Richard Armitage.

Inside Llewyn Davis- Another perfect Coen brothers film. Great cast, gorgeous cinematography, incredible music, and another Coen-esque story where the point might be that there is no point and life has some good and some bad, but there's always a journey to it.

Saving Mr. Banks- Surprisingly dark, this incredibly well-acted film (possibly my favorite Emma Thompson perfornace) that examines the making of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins will surprise one with how complex and emotional it can get.

August: Osage County- I'd be lying if like with All Is Lost, I didn't stress how much I loved this movie more then some of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture. The play is already perfect so if you get a perfect cast, you have one of the best family dramas in recent memory. The singular performances aren't as good as that as the ensemble functioning together in those dinner scenes.

Her- Spike Jonze's romance is touching with a great performance from the great Joaquin Phoenix. It has a simple message despite all of the complex surroundings and scenarios that the story presents and that is an incredibly endearing sentiment on the filmmaker's part.

Nebraska- Alexander Payne's latest is funny and heartfelt just like all of his other movies. Dern, Squibb, Forte, and Odenkirk are one of the most memorably funny and realistic screen-families I've seen in recent memory.

Oblivion- Sci-fi actioneer starring Tom Cruise that is well acted and has incredible production values, but the story is a cobbling together of previously explored ground from other films and is at times slightly convoluted for its own good.

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