Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Judge

The film critics I usually trust gave The Judge such tepid reviews that I did not see it in the theater. With Robert Duvall's Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, I rented the film from iTunes to while away the morning after the Blizzard of 2015. What a pleasant surprise. A story of a family with their issues. A court case with secrets. An old love is rekindled. Though a bit formulaic, I enjoyed the story and the performances. A good rental.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Two Days, One Night

To most people, thier job is their lifeline. We have bills, commitments, homes, families. In the film Two Days, One Night a woman tries to approach all of her coworkers to influence a vote allowing her to keep her job. Her pleas are gutsy and heartfelt as she spends the weekend laying her future at the feet of these people. The reactions are varied and a few are surprising. This is a quietly intense French film. Well done.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nightcrawler

It's one thing to record the news, it's another to create it. In Nightcrawler a deranged young man sees an opportunity in filming night-time crime and disasters. He goes into the business of selling the footage to a local news station. He makes demands, offers ultimatums, withholds evidence and becomes rather despicable in the interest of getting the most dramatic footage that he can sell for the highest dollar. He becomes devious and manipulative. The final chase scene is a wild ride. This was quite a film. I really liked it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam is a master of unusual storytelling and amazing visual effects. His latest film, The Zero Theorem is worthy of his reputation. Qohen is in search of the meaning of life and desperate for his "call". Management is unsympathetic, but a teenager lends his knowledge and energy where he can. A sumptuous film that challenges the imagination.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

White Bird in a Blizzard

In what seems to be a story of teen angst, White Bird in a Blizzard, becomes a mystery and a thriller. A teenager copes with her mother's abandonment of the family and lives with her father. She sees a therapist, embarks on an inappropriate relationship and goes to college. The final reveal is pretty grisly. Decent rental.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Favorite Films 2014

I have finally put together my Favorite Films of 2014 list. This was a good year for film, and I enjoyed the small, thoughtful films that were in abundance. There were a lot of wonderful performances and creative ways to tell these stories. These are the films that tickled my fancy this year. It's an even dozen. Click on the title to see what I thought.

Boyhood
Birdman
Whiplash
Snowpiercer
Begin Again
Guardians of the Galaxy
Locke
Gone Girl
St. Vincent
The Bobadook
Cheap Thrills
The Lego Movie

P.S. End credits were very creative this year: 22 Jump Street, The Boxtrolls, American Sniper and The Hobbit to name a few. Sometimes it's worth sitting through "the words" as my grandson calls them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson successfully made three films out of a little book called The Hobbit. As a film fan I dutifully saw all three. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies expands the characters and their struggles, first with a dragon, then with Orcs. The battle scenes are chaotic and creative. The final battle runs about 45 minutes and is intricate and surprisingly immersive. I'm sorry that the journeys to Middle Earth have ended, but Mr. Jackson and all involved should be proud of the work.

Torn Curtain

In a recent interview with Julie Andrews, I learned that she had been in a Hitchcock film in the 60s. Her co-star was Paul Newman and the film was Torn Curtain.Renting the film I was reminded of Hitchcock's talent for frame after frame of beautiful, meticulous shots. The story is a political thriller and the Curtain is The Iron Curtain. Newman and Andrews are excellent in this, I'm glad I saw it.