frankly, my dear...

A Most Wanted Man (#58)

As you all know (or should know by now) I am positively in love with John le Carré so when I knew another adaptation was coming out - and better a yet, a well received one - I was incredibly excited and talked a friend into taking me to a screening with her. Alas, while stocked with a top-talent actor list (perhaps overstocked between Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Defoe, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Daniel Bruhl, and Nina Hoss - how can any characters really breathe in there?) and gifted with le Carré’s incomparable spy class, the film failed to capture my attention or concern until the last few minutes. Because le Carré’s spys are all about the agony of life and the waiting that comes with things they can either be tense and full of intellect in a cat and mouse game as in my beloved Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or they can be very dull and confusing to watch unless you know what was happening, as occurred here in Anton Corbijn’s adaptation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good thriller, but not above mid-level in the field even with Hoffman’s very strong lead role.

(Source: ricktimus)

City of God (Cidade de Deus) (#57)(#222)

An unflinching and flavorful story of violence and life in the slums of 1970s Rio de Janiero, City of God is a strong film that, despite the weighty subject matter, does a brilliant job of leaning to the hopeful side of things (with the quick cuts and funk music) rather than soapy melodrama. Strong performances from a cast I am generally unfamiliar with make tracking the wandering ensemble storyline easy. Despite the shaky camera (I’d have like just a little more stability in the shots both in movement and focus), Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund are very good directors, as is the screenplay from Bráulio Mantovani. It reminded me a lot of Slumdog Millionaire and fans of one should view the other to see which style - Meirelles’ harsh reality or Boyle’s colorful soap - they prefer.

Do the Right Thing (#56)(#221)

A movie that absolutely lives up to its hype, it’s a marvel that I made it through four years of film school without ever being forced to watch this (though it was mentioned in texts) because it is really an excellent film. Spike Lee’s film (or joint) is an exquisite example of an independent film with a thesis as it sketches a noisy, colorful, and gut wrenching snapshot of race relations in late-1980s Brooklyn. Terrific ensemble performances - particularly exemplary are Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Danny Aiello and Lee himself - bring a nuance to the film’s musicality that ultimate leave you with your jaw on the floor. One I will definitely be watching again and highly recommend.

1 week ago
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Iceland landscapes positively gorgeous


 Kaity Barrett || Iceland

Bronson (#55)

Talk about an inspired and truly unique movie. Well deserving of all the surprised acclaim that surrounded its release, this is the movie that put Tom Hardy and Nicolas Winding Refn on the global stage and it shows both of their brilliantly unique skill sets - Hardy the absolutely committed actor, Winding Refn the musically violent and highly visual director - at their best. Hardy’s performance is unnerving and fantastically compelling and to bring such complete control as a relative new comer to what was effectively a one-man show is truly impressive. I adored Winding Refn’s use of music and the imaginary stage to show character and draw you through the film. Though I understand it won’t be for everyone I considered this a terrifically cinematic experience.

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