Friday, October 31, 2014

Monthly Round-Up: October 2014 Viewing

 I have watched a total of 29 films in October. Apart from being very busy with my day job - and transitioning into a new role - I haven't had a lot of time to do much else this month. We have continued to work through Entourage on non-movie nights. We are almost done with season five. 

New-to-me Films (In Order of Preference)

Force Majeure (Ruben Ostlund, 2014) - On the visually striking slopes of the French Alps, bottled-up personal failure tests the strength of a holidaying family, plumbing discontent and a lot of awkward tension. A big, big deal. Technically accomplished and absurdly funny.

Violet (Bas Devos, 2014) 

In A World (Lake Bell, 2013) - Top marks for originality, and a fascinating core pursuit/industry. Great cast. Wins for charm, genuine characters and comic timing. Plus it is chock full of amusing little details and character quirks. 

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

Big Hero 6 (Don Hall, Chris Williams, 2014) - Disney bring a Marvel-y influence to the story of a boy dealing with loss and his loveable robot pal, and a phenomenal fusion world. Giddying humour/adventure. 

Zero Motivation (Talya Lavie, 2014)

Fury (David Ayer, 2014)

John Wick (Chad Stahelski, 2014)

The Green Prince (Nadav Schirman, 2014) - The incredible story of Mosab Hassan Yousef. I admired the way this was put together - just the two testimonies, Mosab and his Israeli SS handler - and sat quietly in shock as the revelations were revealed.

 Northwest (Michael Noer, 2013)

The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)

Son of A Gun (Julis Avery, 2014)

The Judge (David Dobkin, 2014)

The Case Against 8 (Ben Cotner, Ryan White, 2014) - The collaboration of legal juggernauts Olsen and Boies is a powerful union, one that fought for the right for so many other deserved ones. Not a cinematic documentary, but quite a moving one.

Wild (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2014) - Reese Witherspoon (fine) punishes herself, battles elements and deep-set grief and guilt. Does a good job entering into her mindset, re-visting trauma through timely flashback. Though, like Dallas Buyers Club, it didn't really raise my heartbeat at all.

Willow Creek (Bobcat Goldthwaite, 2014) - Not bad, for a found footage film which I normally don't care for. The chemistry between the excellent leads give the measured build-up amusing authenticity and the ensuing second-half forest terrors - as they are on the search for Bigfoot - are captured in a SUPERB 20+ minute single-take sequence.

Stations of the Cross (Dietrich Brüggemann, 2014) - Extremely well directed, considering the fact that it is made up of 14 single chapters and accompanying single minute-spanning static shots. Nothing tops the opening sequence, which is amongst the finest of the year. The performances are also excellent, but this dual study of...saddening...religious extremism/a young woman's Jesus-inspired pilgrimage to sacrifice in the name of faith is tough going indeed. I ended up finishing it [to finish it] but I don't know if there is a mood in existence that allows this to be 'watchable'.

Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) 

The Skulls (Rob Cohen, 2000) - Remember Joshua Jackson when he was in films? This is very very silly, but entertaining nonetheless. Also, it features 'Right Here, Right Now' by Fatboy Slim in the central action scene. Hard to begrudge that.

Tusk (Kevin Smith, 2014) - Hideous. A generous 1 star, mostly for Genesis Rodriguez. Irresponsible, immature, lazy, and manages to get tiresome with ease. Not tense or remotely unnerving. I laughed [at a joke] once. The second half (with the *ahem* PI) is a ginormous misfire, but I was actually glad to get out of that house for a while. No feature this year has a more unnecessarily long running time.

Re-watches (In Order of Preference)

Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986)

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2014)

Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondō, 1995)

Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014)

Babel (Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, 2006)

New Nightmare (Wes Craven, 1994)


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