frankly, my dear...

Le Cercle Rouge (#54)

As most people who know me know, I love a good heist film. As they also know, I tend to be mildly bored by 1970s crime features even when I consider them quite good. This fulfills all expectations. Though well plotted and smoothly unfolding with some moments of really beautiful character revelation, I ultimately wanted a more intricate plot full of devious betrayals (yes, I am a jaded 21st century viewer. I hate myself a little too). The performances are quite solid. While I saw it for Alain Delon, he was the weakest of the quartet (those blue eyes though…); Gian Maria Volenté, Bourvil and Yves Montand (in a particularly emotional, wrinkley headed supporting role) stole every scene. All in all, it’s a good film and one I’d recommend to lover of crime and heist films because in the end the theft, buildup and climax are all quite excellent and you can see how they’ve had a positive effect on the genre since. I enjoyed.

Snowpiercer (#53)

A positively brilliant film that absolutely lives up to the hype as being one of the smartest, most stunning and original action films I’ve seen in a very long while (and certainly so far in 2014). Bong Joon-Ho is an auteur; a master of his visual style and story and also very good at handling his gifted cast. (Plus he protected his film against Harvey Scissorhands Weinstein and won which is an impressive feat on its own.) While Jamie Bell, Luke Pasqualino and Ah-sung Ko steal all of their scenes, the major leads of Chris Evans (who adds this to his undervalued library of inspired alt-sci fi films like Push and Sunshine), Tilda Swinton and Jon Hurt all deliver remarkable performances. It’s a terrific social commentary amidst fantastic action sequences and a twisting plot that achieves the impressive balance of involving mass casualties without sentimentality or glorification. It’s horrific and heart wrenching as well as positively gorgeous. If you can’t rally yourself for a cinema screening it’s on VOD on iTunes and Amazon as well as other venues and WELL worth your money.

I don't know how to say goodbye. 

(Source: peterhale)

Clear and Present Danger (#52)

Jack Ryan as portrayed by Harrison Ford is, very likely, the very ultimate of the All-American Hero Man that was such an excellent fixture of those post-Cold War 1990s thrillers. This is because he completely embodies the everyday American ideals and potential heroics by being a lame action figure. He is an analyst with a brilliant wife, intelligent children, and love for his quiet desk job who just happens to occasionally be in high profile action situations where he always just lets other people do their jobs and offers sage advice from the sidelines but is happy being back seat. He’s real. He’s how you’d want to be if you weren’t self aggrandizing but knew you had to rise to an occasion. This is why he’s a brilliant character. And this is why Clear and Present Danger (and Patriot Games before it) is so fun - it’s like watching your dad if he was Harrison Ford and working quietly in the CIA. It’s both thrilling and comforting and this brings it to the forefront in spades. Though a little long it’s a fun movie with moments of great tension and I very much enjoyed it. Very satisfied thumbs up.

(Source: filmsinmotion)

(Source: prustytute)

The Boys from Brazil (#51)

After what may literally have been years in my Netflix queue, I finally got the chance to give this a watch as it was a slow day at work. Gregory Peck (Greg!!) is horrifyingly different from his normal, perfect self and gives a terrific, terrifying performance as Dr. Josef Mengele. But even he pales next to the simple brilliance of Laurence Olivier as his aged hunter, Ezra Lieberman (well deserving the Oscar nom). They’re both great. And even if the young man portrayed by Jeremy Black is terribly directed and over acted in comparison, one is able to survive off their inspiration. Great score from Jerry Goldsmith. And even if there are lapses in the plot, the ultimate reveal is such a good one I have to forgive the occasional weaknesses. Quite a good movie.

Le Samouraï 

12 Angry Men (#50)(#220)

Because I adore the book Making Movies by Sidney Lumet I often forget that I find his movies themselves difficult to watch. They are brilliant character studies, don’t get me wrong, but their clear stage-theatrical quality tends to dull the cinematic experience for me. This two-dimensionality is a defining element of this film’s aesthetic nature with the dramatic angles and use of extreme close ups but it ultimately pushed me away more than drew me in. Absolutely superb performances from the full cast and a terrifically tight script make me understand why this is such a unique and highly reviewed film. And Juror #10’s racist monologue is absolutely breathtaking. But I’ll have to let it stew longer to determine if it is fully my taste.

Le Samouraï (#49)(#219)

With minimal dialogue, a blank-faced protagonist with zero read, and the hauntingly wandering score of 1960s detective films, I found myself being fully drawn into this. In a personal trait twist that continually baffles my friends, I really love the cultural commentary “art” cinema of the 1960s/early-1970s (see my absolute adoration for Blow Up) and this was an excellent french noir parallel to that film. Though I failed to quite understand the samurai aspect of Jef’s character (very beautifully and inscrutably played, almost to a fault, by the gorgeous and pale Alain Delon) I did love his removal from and apparent difficulties in understanding and assimilating to culture. Terrific supporting performances by François Périer, Nathalie Delon, and Cathy Rosier (a progressive casting choice and additional commentary it felt, but perhaps I’m slipping too far into film criticism and theory). Though not as jaw-droppingly wowed by it as I have been with other films I still really enjoyed this and was thoroughly impressed.

2 weeks ago
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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (#48)

I saw this several weeks ago at a sneak screening but due to the move, internet problems, etc. etc. was never able to post. Which is such a shame because I really want to emphasize that this was an amazing film - and that’s coming from someone who enjoyed the first film in the moment but wasn’t overly enamored and who isn’t a major animation aficionado. But this was really good. Not only is the animation GORGEOUS, but the characters are really brought forward and the plot has the perfect balance of the battle scenes you want in a sequel and character development. I won’t spoil anything, but I was also shocked by how dark the third act was. It is the perfect adult animated movie and I highly recommend seeing it in theaters in 3D if you have a chance because the art, storytelling and music are actually worth it. 2015 Oscar winner for sure.

3 weeks ago
XO

I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long!

I just moved and my internet company sucks so it took TWO WEEKS to get WiFi installed and I haven’t had a moment in between. Ugh. But I’m back and ready to watch and blog about new movies!

Saw something really great for my 48th new to me movie of the year this weekend.

….But it was in a sneak screening so I’m going to make you all wait until next weekend when it comes out for me to give a thorough endorsement.

Hint: it’s an animated masterpiece.