Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
These are the films I liked the most this year. I'm hesitant to call this a Top Ten list because I haven't seen everything yet.
10. American Hustle (David O. Russell)
I actually thought this film was a bit of a mess, narratively, but it was so entertaining. It really proved that cinema's best special effect is still an actor or actress, delivering movie star chops.
9. Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg)
8. 56 Up (Michael Apted)
Michael Apted's documentary series is in its 49th year, chronicling the lives of ordinary citizens. It's a remarkable piece of filmmaking.
7. Her (Spike Jonze)
6. Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee)
5. Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron)
4. The World's End (Edgar Wright)
The third of the Cornetto trilogy is Edgar Wright's and Simon Pegg's deepest film yet. And Pegg, as a wrecked man trying to relive his glory days is one of my favorite performances of the year.
3. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
2. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
1. Inside Llewyn Davis (The Coens)
And a special prize goes to Scapegoat (Charles Sturridge).
This was a TV movie in the UK in 2012, but it is just now available here on Netflix, and I enjoyed this film as much as I enjoyed anything in the theaters last year. Based on a Daphne Du Maurier novel of the same name, Matthew Rhys plays a mild-mannered classics teacher who meets his doppelganger, an aristocratic thug. They switch places, and the film alternates between comedy, romance, suspense and tragedy.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
For a while now I've been working my way through the generally accepted crime classics. I happened to get these two novels from the library at the same time. They have a lot in common. Early seventies. Debut novels. Both turned into iconic films. Both about men on the run. And they're both excellent reads, never mind the fact that the man on the run book (or woman on the run, although I can't think of one of those right now) is one of my favorite storylines.
James Grady's 1974 Six Days of the Condor is about a desk-bound CIA agent analyst who is suddenly being hunted by the agency he works for. It's a pretty exciting, quick read, although the cutaways to the CIA agents tracking down the hero were less exciting than the rest of the book.
The 1972 First Blood was my favorite of the two. Just an unrelenting story about two war veterans caught in a no-win situation. This, of course, produced the more famous movie of the two, but the film, while following the essential plotline, is pretty different. Read this, if you haven't. A very dark thriller.