Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Year in Film 2013

As a film year, 2013 was a bit slow until the spring. Thanks to the Cable Car Cinema, Tribeca Film Festival and a few dog-sitting stints in NYC. I had a lot of fun film experiences.

I was lucky that there was a special screening of Sound City at the Cable Car at the end of January. They also screened Room 327 as a fundraiser for a digital projection system. A few months later they screened The Sign Painters Movie. Ain't in it for My Health was another wonderful film with an informative Q&A. Hooray for the Cable Car Cinema, my movie oasis!

In the spring I attended The Tribeca Film Festival for the 11th year. Star sightings of Clint Eastwood and Julianne Moore at two different screenings was really fun. I actually had a brief conversation with Sam Rockwell after the screening of A Single Shot (swoon) and literally bumped into David Rosenthal, the director. I also had the pleasure of seeing a small film called Trash Dance at reRun in DUMBO and enjoyed a cool Q&A with the director and 2 of the subjects. A wonderful time.

While dog-sitting in Brooklyn in May I created my own film festival. I saw Before Midnight with a friend followed by dinner at the Olive Tree. I treated myself to a front row seat to see the Broadway show The Nance. Thrilling to be that close to Nathan Lane. Stories We Tell, Behind the Candelabra and Frances Ha rounded out my weekend. IFC, HBO and The Angelika were in heavy rotation that weekend.

For my birthday I was treated to the play The Killers and Other Family. A long conversation with the actors after the play was fascinating.

We saw Ratatouille with my grandsons, who loved the movie about the Little Chef. Finally, I saw Gravity in IMAX 3D with my teenage nephews Ian and Kyle. I was never so happy to have company at a film. Terrifying movie, intense and so good.

More than once this year I found myself saying "well that was better than I expected". I've also watched more films for a second time this year. 2013 turned out to be a solid year in film. There are alredy over 30 films on my "favorites" list.

That's my year in the theater. Looking forward to 2014!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Great Beauty

In the Italian film The Great Beauty a man confronts his socialite life on his
65th birthday. Through wild party scenes and conversations we learn of his relationships and feelings. This film is gorgeous. A true visual feast that pairs well with the luscious life that is being celebrated. Decadent, dizzy and delightful, I'm glad I took the time to see this film.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

An addiction to money fuels the actions of Jordan Belfort and earns him the nickname The Wolf of Wall Street. He does everything to excess. Hookers, cars, yachts, mansions, blow, booze and pills. Drug use, sex, nudity and raunchy language abound. His business practices are not exactly legal and this eventually catches up to him. Leonardo DeCaprio plays Belfort with an energy that brings one of his finest performances to the screen. Scorsese shoots the heck out of this. Though it is a bit too long, this movie is a fun ride.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Drinking Buddies

The film Drinking Buddies is an honest look at relationships between men and women. Some romantic, some as friends. Taking place in a brewery, there is a lot of beer, which becomes a character itself. Well acted, I especially enjoyed the final scene.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

In Saving Mr. Banks we get two stories. The sanitized version of the making of Mary Poppins, and the more poignant story of P.L. Travers' childhood and relationship with her father. Mary Poppins was the first movie I ever saw in the theater, and I hold it responsible for my love of cinema to this day. It was interesting to me that the elements Travers objected to the most, were my favorites. music, animation and a touch of magic.The story of her childhood touched my heart and gives us a peek into the damaged psyche of a talented writer. The performances in this film were excellent. Worth a look.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

American Hustle

A hustle is defined as a fraud or a swindle. It is usually a con for monetary gain. In American Hustle a con man is forced to work with the FBI to expose the mob and corruption in NJ. Set in the 80's the costumes are a character themselves, getting their own laughs at times. All of the characters are colorful and much more interesting than the story. I liked the structure of this film and the acting was outstanding. A good film that would be an excellent rental.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


From the performances to the story to the black and white cinematography, Nebraska is one of the finest films out this year. When an elderly man thinks he has won a million dollars, and must go to Lincoln Nebraska, there's no stopping him. Even if he has to walk. His son reluctantly offers to drive him and the road trip begins. This film is smart, funny and heartfelt. The performances are outstanding, especially June Squibb as the outspoken Mother. Bruce Dern's comedic timing is absolutely brilliant. This is a film I think everyone would enjoy. I know I did.


This year is filled with films based on true stories and Philomena is another entry in this category. When a young girl is forced to give up her baby after a teenage dalliance, it weighs on her conscious. As an older woman, she meets a journalist who helps her find the the child as an adult. The result is poignant. The chemistry between Philomena and the journalist is interesting and sweet. I liked this film much more than I expected to.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hunt

False accusations make for high drama. by nature, we tend to believe guilty until proven innocent. In The Hunt a child accuses a teacher and family friend of inappropriate behavior and the result is disastrous.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Blue is the Warmest Color

So much has been said about Blue is the Warmest Color in regard to its length and sexual content. Not enough has been said about the depth, heart and realities depicted in this film. The insecurities and exploration of sexuality and mature relationships are seen in an intimate form. Beautiful and heartbreaking. This is true cinema at its best. Glad I saw it in a theater.