Quick Review & Discussion : Borgman (2014)

IMDB Score – 6.8
Rotten Tomato Score – 86%
Amazon Watch Instant

Directed By – Alex van Warmerdam
Starring – Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Dewispelaere, and Sara Hjort Ditlevsen

A vagrant enters the lives of an arrogant upper-class family, turning their lives into a psychological nightmare in the process.

I’m going to break this up into two parts. One, a short review, and the other a short discussion. The discussion will have spoiler elements to it so don’t read it if you haven’t seen the film.

This creeped me the fuck out. Like, really did.

Borgman is a psychological thriller/overall creepfest of a movie from The Netherlands. There is a certain creepy I’m pertaining to when I describe this film. It isn’t creepy like how Zodiac, The Innkeepers, or any run of the mill ghost story is. This film relies heavily on the unsettling nature of German folklore. I’ll get to that in the part two discussion. There is just this extreme sense of unease that washes over you while you dive further into the film. There are no explanations and very few answers at first glance. It’s kind of a mystery.

The story is rather simple on the surface. A man, who doesn’t seem to really have a home, job, or purpose, successfully invades the home of an upper class family by appeasing to the wife. He stays on the property, just out of sight, getting to know the family better. What follows for the rest of the film is an assortment of what the fuck with a side of nightmare fuel. Seriously, nightmares are a big part of this film. You know, I can’t remember if there was a score or not, but if there was it was minimal. Alex van Warmerdam, the films director and supporting cast member, carefully constructs his shots that not only look beautiful, but completely add to the sense of dread and darkness that permeates from the film. It’s been described as a black comedy but I didn’t find anything funny with it. It’s also been described as a cross between Dogtooth and a Haneke film. The only real comparison I can see with Dogtooth is that it mostly takes place on the property which is very out of the way. The Haneke comparison is spot on though. There is just something about his films that etches into the brain and causes all sorts of unsettling emotions. The way Cache, one of my favorite films of all time, plays out is on par with this. We aren’t given any answers to what is going on. Any violence is disturbing, fast, and realistic. It’s unsettling because it feels real.

Haneke however has not really delved into the supernatural. This is where Borgman is unique. Sure, there aren’t creatures flying around or portals being opened. There are events and progressions that just can’t seem to be explained any other way though. It’s a genre blender and a half.

I urge you all to see this one. It’s on Amazon Watch Instant and most likely VOD. It’s a nightmare on screen without the fire and brimstone of a trip to hell. It’s thought provoking, unique, and wildly experimental. You’ll finish it without a clue in the world as to what you watched but if you’re like me, the answers will start to slowly creep in. Are these answers correct? I have no idea. It’s fun to find out though.

4.5/5




….

..

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Spoilers ahead

So I wanted to talk about this a bit, only because I seem to have stumbled across something on my own and I really want to share. Now, since I’ve written this, I’ve learned that there are a lot of other people that have come to this conclusion and that it is regarded as the intended understanding that the director wanted from his viewers.

I was watching the Netflix series “The Fall” last night. It’s a wonderful detective mini-series set in Ireland starring Gillian Anderson. Check it out. Anyway, in one of the episodes a suspect breaks into one of the police officers hotel rooms and does some snoping. When the officer returns, she finds this image as her background on her laptop…

That is a painting by Henry Fuseli called “The Nightmare”. I was fascinated by it so I decided to Google it. What I came across was that this painting was a depiction of a German folklore creature called an “Alp” or “Incubus”. This si a creature that targets mostly women and while they are sleeping, straddles them on there chest until the weight is so much that the victim wakes up and can’t move. Alps were commonly referred to as the cause of things we know now as “sleep paralysis” and “lucid dreaming”. The alp has the ability to control the nightmares of it’s victims and cannot be seen when the victim wakes up in fear.

In the, we see Borgman straddling Marina in a way that suggests he could be an Alp. Marina has nightmares that depict her husband either beating her or even attempting to murder her. This causes Marina to grow an intense hatred for her husband and a love for Borgman.

Now, my theory on who Borgman is and who his companions are is this. Borgman is an Alp and is the leader of other Alps. This explains why they all have a scar on their back. As for what is under the scar? I have no idea, but it seems to be an indication that they’re all alike. In folklore, these Alps have been connected to vampires which would kind of explain why they were sleeping underground in the beginning of the film. I think the priest and his gang find out about them and know what they’re up to. They try to kill them.

This just makes sense to me. It’s a fascinating allegory to German folklore and is just mysterious enough not to give too much away. I loved the film and and wondering if anybody else who has seen the film has any other theories as to what the fuck is going on.

Double Review! : Coherence (2014) and Starred Up (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.1
Rotten Tomato Score – 85%
Amazon Instant Watch

Directed By – James Ward Byrkit
Starring – Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Hugo Armstrong, Alex Manugian, and Lauren Maher

Strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

This is going to be one of my shortest reviews. Why? I am not going to ruin the privilege of seeing this film as blind as I did. All I knew going in to the film was the IMDB plot summary above and that it was a sci-fi film. That is all you’re going to get too. I didn’t add the trailer. Don’t watch it. It gives too much away. The film is currently on Amazon Instant so if you have Prime you can watch it for free. If you don’t have prime, find it on VOD and pay for it. You won’t be disappointed if you love sci-fi and mindbending movies.

I’m pretty much going to end it after this. This certainly isn’t a masterpiece. It is however a film with a completely unique story and consists mostly of improvised dialogue and low budget film making that is both impressive and promising. The acting splits between amateur and really good. Baldini and Brendan are the standouts here. I hope they do more things.

See the film. See it.

4.5/5

IMDB Score – 7.5
Rotten Tomato Score – 98%
Amazon Instant Watch

Directed By – David Mackenzie
Starring – Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Sam Spruell, Anthony Welsh, David Ajala, and Peter Ferdinando

A troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match – a man who also happens to be his father.

Well, Jack O’Connell is going to be a fucking star. He’s already breached into the public eye with his role in “unbroken” but this is the film that he shines. He’s a powerhouse. He’s a wrecking ball. Think Tom Hardy in Bronson. It’s that good of a performance.

Starred Up isn’t a pretty film. It’s ugly. The brutality behind the violence is troubling to watch at times. It’s a hard look into the British prison system. For those who grew up with Oz and Shawshank Redemption, this is going to be different for you. Guards aren’t always right around the corner and when they are, they don’t usually have the upper hand. There were many moments in this film that made me confused as to who was really running the prison. Fights break out and are left unattended for minutes. Assaults on guards don’t really end too bad for the inmate. In fact, it’s like getting the shit kicked out of you is almost a daily hassle, for both the inmates and for the guards. Enter Eric Love, a 19 year old kid who is as explosive as they come. Right from the get go he is rubbing oil on his body in preparation for guards bursting through his cell door. I told you it’s like Bronson. Starred up however is a bit less theatrical than Bronson. It’s a realistic view at just how fucked up it can be in prison. It sheds light on how far prison officials are willing to go or how blinded they can be that there are people in those cells that need help. Its eye opening.

A lot of the film is a bit hard to understand. I don’t mean story. I mean I had problems getting through the mumble mouth cockney jargon that these prisoner conversed in. It really is a whole other language but I got through it without the subtitles. I’m proud of that. Ben Mendelsohn, who is fantastic in this by the way, plays the father of Eric and at times is completely non-understandable. That Mendelsohn though. He’s been acting like that since Animal Kingdom. I don’t want him to change. He’s always a menace whenever he’s on screen and I love it. The relationship between father and son is interesting in prison. You can’t always take peoples shit, including your fathers in fear of looking weak, but you also need to look out for your son. I think this is the main focal point of the film for me. The relationship between father and son here is handled beautifully and comes full circle by the films end. There is also a great sub theme by which a young anger management counselor, played by Rupert Friend, tries to get some of the more violent and angry inmates to calm the fuck down. Those scene were like Dead Poets Society except instead of poetry we’re dealing with pure insanity filled rage.

The film is a wonderful look at a different kind of prison system. It is brutally violent at just the right times and features powerhouse performances by O’Connell and Mendelsohn. Watch out for Jack O’Connell. He’s looking like the next Michael Fassbender or Tom Hardy.

4.5/5

Quick Review : Paddington (2015)

IMDB Score – 7.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 98%

Directed By – Paul King
Starring – Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeline Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Matt Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, and Ben Wishaw as the voice of “Paddington”

A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.

Yes, I saw this movie.
Yes, the trailer isn’t great.
No, the film isn’t stupid.
Yes, it’s for kids.
Yes, it’s for adults.
Yes, It’s adorable.
No, I’m not kidding.

Seriously. See this film. It’ll be one of the best things you do all winter. It’s cold. It’s depressing. It’s winter. This film however is none of those things. My friend and I went to see it merely because it looked cute. I didn’t grow up on Paddington. I only knew that it was a teddy bear toy or something. I guess I’d have to be British to get the full effect of the novels and toys on their culture. Well it’s a good thing that this is a British made film because they freakin’ nailed it. It’s directed by Paul King. Do you know who that is? Well, if you’re a fan of “The Mighty Boosh” then you’ve seen plenty of his episodes. He also directed a little gem of an indie film called “Bunny and the Bull”. You can find that on Netflix and should really check it out. Paul King made a nearly perfect film on par with the majority of what Pixar delivers to both adults and children.

The movie features almost completely realistic renditions of three bears who not only talk, but where funny hats and eat Marmalade sandwiches. Paddington, the youngest of the bears, leaves for London after his home is destroyed by mother nature. So we have a classic “new guy in town” movie but with a twist, it’s a fucking bear. Now, nobody seems to be shocked that there is a bear in London or that it speaks like a proper little lad. A whole damn commuter train passes him by, all except the Brown Family. Like most family films, the notion of family is obviously very high in regard and this is where all of the charm of this movie comes from. Seriously, I could watch Hugh Bonneville be Mr. Brown all day. The guy had me in stitches. He was perfectly cast. Hawkins plays a completely endearing woman who is the leader of the “lets keep Paddington” campaign while Bonneville is content being an old curmudgeon. The journey that family takes is not something we haven’t seen before, but certainly something that has been written as charming as possible. Seriously, they were all delightful.

The whole film was delightful really. The only thin I didn’t like about it was that the films main villain play by Kidman was cheesy. It needed it to be cheesy, but I just hated when she was on the screen because it took me away from Paddington and the Browns. The animation was incredible and the voice acting from the bears was as fantastic as the acting from the Browns. See this film with your family or friends. It’ll brighten up that shitty winter feeling that we’ve been having for the past two and a half months.

4.5/5




Film Review : Inherent Vice (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 69%
Academy Award Nominations for Best Costume Design and Dapated Screenplay

Directed By – Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring – Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin, Joanna Newsome, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, ERic Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Michael K. Williams, Hong Chau, Jena Malone, and Martin Dew

In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

It’s been just over two weeks since my last post. Apologies for that. My viewing habits happen to be changing week to week but good news is that I should have a few more posts coming up after I finish seeing the Oscar nominated films. I also may write up an actual post on the Oscar nominations but I’m debating it because I’ve honestly stopped caring about the show. Anyway, thanks for reading as always.

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON HAS A NEW FILM OUT! YES!

Being my favorite living director right now, I have been excited for this film while also actively avoiding anything related to the film. I wanted to go into this thing fresh. Turns out, it doesn’t matter how many times I watched the trailer or how many articles I read, I would have left the theater confused either way. I honestly have no clue what the hell happened in this film. Now, normally this would be a negative. Normally, this would be an indication that the screenplay was weak, disjointed, or too complex. That isn’t the case for this film. I heard and understood every single line of dialogue in the film. I just don’t know what most of it means. Sure, the film is complex and offers about a thousand different characters with their own connections with the story. Some of these characters appear in the beginning and disappear for two hours only to be revealed at the end as a major plot device. Some of these characters only grace their presence once and after the scene changes they’re gone. I don’t have a problem with too many characters. Hell, Magnolia is one of my favorite films of all time and there are just as many characters in that as this. What makes this such a hard watch is simple, we experience the film like our main protagonist Doc Sportello experiences it, in a very foggy haze. It’s this haze that makes things murky and confusing. There is nothing wrong with that in my mind. PTA has crafted a film that even he doesn’t understand. Seriously, he said that in an interview with Marc Maron. While I haven’t read the source material, he states that a lot of the films dialogue and story arc is just how Thomas Pynchon wrote it in his book. Pynchon, who is one of the most unique writers of the last thirty years, had his book translated into film beautifully by PTA. The only problem with that is how it affected the audience which was a mixed bag.

I had two reactions during the two and a half hour run length of the film. The first half I was actively trying to keep up with the story and understand everything that was happening. I wasn’t enjoying the film that much. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get a grasp on the significance of each character or that Joanna Newsome, who acted as the narrator of the film as well as a friend to Doc, would keep chiming in with Pynchon jargon. Don’t get me wrong, Newsome was great in this, and I liked the narration. It just didn’t help with the frustration of trying to figure out what’s going on. Halfway through the movie I decided to give up and just let the amazing cinematography, acting, and 70’s vibes wash over me. I should have done that from the beginning because I enjoyed the film so much more.

Joaquin Phoenix plays our protagonist Doc, a weed smoking private eye who is tasked to put this puzzle of a story in the right pieces. I’m not even sure if he does by the end or if everything that he went through was even real. PTA did a fantastic job of making the film feel like you just smoked a huge doober. The cast is overbearing at times. Del Toro, Short, Witherspoon, Wilson, and Roberts aren’t in the film enough. This is all Phoenix, Brolin, and Waterston. Josh Brolin plays Bigfoot, a longtime acquaintance of Doc and also the person who wants to see Doc arrested. Waterston plays Doc’s ex ladyfriend whom has gone missing. We see her in flashbacks and sporadically through the film but she’s incredible whenever we do. The last scene we see her in is especially impressive as it’s a long, almost seven minute take with just her and Doc talking, and then some. The comedy comes mostly from Brolin, Phoenix, and a hilarious Martin Short. The cast kicked ass is what I’m saying.

Obviously I’m going to have to see this again. Even if I wasn’t confused I would see it again given that it’s a film by a living, and young, legend of cinema. There’s just something about PTA’s films where these whole other chambers reveal themselves and open up on repeat viewings. This review is a lot shorter than what I expected a PTA review would be but honestly, I can’t talk much about what I don’t understand. I’ll say this though, there is literally nothing like a Paul Thomas Anderson film. It’s a strange, hypnotic, hysterical, haze of a film that demands repeat viewings and crackpot fan theories. There are scenes in this film that are bizarre and puzzling mixed in with scenes that are just flat out outrageous and funny. It’s always a fun time in the cinema with PTA.

Plus, I don’t mean to spoil anything, but at one point Josh Brolin tells Doc that he smells like a patchouli fart. That’s hilarious. Damn hippies.

4/5




2014 Year End Review : The Best Films, Scenes, Characters, and Moments from 2014

With the help of our good friend Mr. Bandito Cocklespoot, I hereby raise my glass to the year 2014. The year saw North Korea getting bad at poop jokes, missing airplanes, Google fiber, a bunch of assholes called ISIS, riots in Missouri, the landing of a freakin space probe on a freakin comet, the passing of beloved actors such as Robin Williams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the death of 35mm film as we used to know it, and of course, an incredible year in film. What I’m going to try to do is go over my year in film and try to highlight the good, the great, the horrible, and the disappointing. I’m not doing a top ten. Listing films in some sort of order takes away from the magic. To say that one film was better than the other like that is difficult and unnecessary. Does number five really make a difference between number seven? Nah. I have my favorites of course, and I’ll be grouping them together. You’ll see how it works.

To be noted. The following films have yet to be seen. Until I start getting paid for this I’m going to obviously miss a bunch. So, please keep my discussions in mind while know that I have not yet seen the following…

Inherent Vice, Foxcatcher, Selma, Ida, Force Majeure, Dear White People, Venus in Fur, Tusk, The Guest, Skeleton Twins, I Origins, Calvary, The Dog, Obvious Child, Zero Theorem, Cold in July, A Most Wanted Man, Neighbors, Borgman, They Came Together, Hunger Games Mockingjay, The 3rd Hobbit movie, Noah, Captain America Winter Soldier, Winter Sleep, or The Amazing Spiderman 2

Let’s do this.

Worst Films of 2014
Let’s get these turds out of the way first. I hate staining an article with crap at the end.

Non Stop

This wins my vote for “worst 2nd half” in film this year. The set up was great. It was creative and original with the usage of this mysterious texter. Then, everything went batshit. I stopped caring about everybody. That’s not good when the whole film exists to create tension. Didn’t care at all.

The Monuments Men

How can a film with so many great people in it be so damn boring. Seriously one of the dullest and inane movies in a long time. I was disappointed in you George. Half the movie was a long old man joke and the rest was an attempt at trying to get me to give a shit. Snoozefest.

Robocop

Worst film of the year for me. I was astonished by how bad it was. There was no real violence in the film. Abbie Cornish was god awful. It felt like the whole thing was done in a weekend. Everything about the production was horrible. Not to mention having to deal with Samuel L. Jackson yelling at me every 20 minutes. I hated it. In fact, it’s the only film that I truly hated every single minute of.

Most “What the Fuck” Films of the Year
These films left me scratching my head in both confusion and wonder.

The Congress

A film wherein Robin Wright agrees to have her body scanned in order for the movie company to use her likeness in films for years to come. In order to do this, she must agree to never act in another film again, or even perform on stage. The company owns her image. So yeah, that’s a crazy concept. What gets crazier is after all this is said and done the whole film goes animated and takes a trip down loony tunes lane. I have seriously zero idea what the whole 2nd half of the film meant. No idea. It was a strange experience in where I didn’t dislike what I was seeing, but wasn’t grasped by it due to complete bewilderment. It’s going to take a few more viewings, even I even do so, to take this all in.

Under the Skin

This film is kind of a masterpiece. There is literally nothing like it whatsoever. It’s dark, brooking, completely mysterious. It’s the exploration of what it means to be human by a being that is most certainly not. We don’t know what this thing, played by Scarlett Johansson is, but we’re intrigued to find out. This being prowls the streets of Scotland looking for prey in the form of horny dudes. She lures them like a venus flytrap. There is so much going on in this film that I had to watch it three times in 24 hours to get close to a conclusion and I still don’t really get it. The score is haunting. The performance by ScarJo is surprisingly good. The imagery is incredible. It’s not my film of the year, but it certainly is the film I’m most perplexed by.

Enemy

I love Denis Villeneuve. His film “Incendies” is one of my all time favorites. “Prisoner” was an incredible mystery/character study on the reaches of human anger and revenge. His most recent film however is a bit more puzzling. Boasting a tour de force performance by Jake Gyllenhaal in which he plays two different characters who look exactly the same, Enemy has probably the most confusing ending I’ve seen in a while. It’s an ending that is left totally up for discussion and argument. It’s also a jarring and sometimes strangely hypnotic. I haven’t rewatched this yet, but I feel like I should.

Best Blockbuster/”Popcorn Flick”
Films that are meant to be seen with a large, fun audience which is a mirror image of the film itself

Guardians of the Galaxy

I just rewatched this the other night. It’s just as enjoyable as the first time I saw it. I’m not really into the whole super hero film thing, but this movie just kicks so much ass. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time. There really wasn’t too much wrong with it actually. Chris Pratt is a bonafide star and the supporting cast made me crack up so hard throughout the whole film. Groot and Dave Bautista just stole every scene. The effects and action scenes were incredible to see and there was plenty of intense/emotional scenes to back up the humor. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If I were to do a top five, this would be in it. I just rewatched this today and can honestly say it may be the best action film I’ve seen in years. Andy Serkis was amazing as Caesar and deserves some goddamn award recognition. Matt Reeves knocked it out of the park with the action scenes. One in particular involving a 360 tank shot is one of my favorite scenes of the year. Koba, the films main villain, is upstaged only by JK Simmons in terms of pure villainry. I loved how layered he was as a villain, making the audience both hate and sympathize with him. I just love this film so much. Brutally shot. Wonderfully acted by both ape and human. Takes your breath away at some points. It’s almost a perfect action film.

Edge of Tomorrow

Yeah, this was awesome. Take Groundhog Day and The Matrix and combine them into one of the best sci-fi films of the last three years. Tom Cruise is still insanely watchable and Emily Blunt has sprouted into quite the action woman. I loved how Cruise took a role that didn’t involve him automatically being a badass. He has to learn to do it. Just like Bill Murray, it took him a long time to do so. The films ending could have been a little less predictable but overall it was a wild ride and a serious reassurance that Tom Cruise can still carry an action film. It’s also surprisingly funny.

The Lego Movie

This is probably the funniest movie this year and may be the funniest of the last five years. I was belly laughing in the theater. I went in not expecting much, but left with the biggest smile on my face. The last act of the film was a bit too heavy handed for me but I can totally see how it would inspire children to be themselves. Morgan Freeman cracked me up and the way they animated it was fascinating. Spaceship!!

So Close
Films that were very close to making my best of list. They were in discussion but just missed the cut. Think of them as a 5-10 on a top 10 list.

The Rover

This was the hardest not to put in the winners circle. There was just so much I loved about it. The grit. The brutal nature of nearly every human being in the film. The ending, oh man the ending. I think I may be the only one who found the ending both unique and incredibly powerful. For all the violence, it’s a quiet film. David Michod tells the story with patience and it paid off for me at the end. Robert Pattinson also gives his career best performance in role that almost makes him unrecognizable. This one is not getting talked about much, but I honestly thought it was fantastic.

Gone Girl

Definitely one of the best theater experiences I’ve had in years. I was completely locked in from start to finish. I knew nothing of the plot or premise besides the fact that Ben Affleck lost his wife. What ended up transpiring was a complete trance like state where my mouth gaped open, I forgot to breathe, and I muttered insults at characters on the screen under my breathe. Rosamund Pike was captivating as Amy and Ben Affleck may have turned in his best performance of his career. The film just goes to show you that David Fincher is a top three director working today. Also, that Neil Patrick Harris scene oh my god.

The Babadook

I just saw this last week. It’s the best horror film of the last five years and the scariest thing I’ve seen all year. Essie Davis is a powerhouse and while I wanted to murder him at times, Noah Wiseman gives a worthy child performance. Jennifer Kent layered so many different themes under the surface. It was a joy to discuss what all the symbolism meant at the end of the film. It was unsettling, gave me anxiety, and flat out scared the shit out of me.

Snowpiercer

I loved this film. The video game like side scroll adventure worked wonders for me. Each train car was like a different world and the dark humor constantly popping up had me smiling throughout. Bong Joon Ho came out on top of his other contemporaries as the best director from South Korea. Tilda Swinton was hysterical and stole almost every scene. She may be my favorite actress working today. The schoolhouse scene. The blind hatchet new years scene. Everything about this was just whacked out fun. Be a shoe!

The Best of 2014
These are my films of the year. Behold them in all their glory. I will also provide a clear winner of number one film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

The quintessential hang out film of the year for me. It’s a film that took place entirely at night and didn’t really have anything going on in it. Adam and Eve are two vampires who have been in love for centuries. They get together after Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston, gets very sad and contemplates suicide. Tilda Swinton plays Eve and makes one of the coolest couple around. I could seriously listen to those two talk all day. I love how Jarmusch kept the basic vampire tropes in the film but used them as background information rather than driving the plot of the film. The soundtrack was incredible and the shots of a decaying Detroit are marvelous. I honestly couldn’t have enjoyed this more.

Boyhood

This is a three hour nostalgia film. The things that this kid goes through during the twelve year span the film covers hit right to the core. I played Oregon Trail and was curious about sex. I lied about girlfiends and rode my bike around town for hours. I got into pot and drinking and hid it from my parents. I got into deep thinking and felt outcasted. The fact that Richard Linklater had his actors grow up in front of our eyes in series of short cuts makes it all the more better. Even at three hours, I wish there were more, which is exactly what Patricia Arquette laments near the end of the film. Also, Ethan Hawke was fantastic. It’s a special film and one that will most likely live as one of it’s kind. That makes Boyhood a top film for me.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The most delightful film of the year. Wes Anderson knocks it out of the park, again, with this film. His quirk and unique wit makes this not only hysterical, but ultimately one of the most beautiful films of the year. Ralph Fiennes may be my favorite character in film this year. He was absolutely hysterical in nearly every scene. I don’t think another actor could have done what he did. The supporting cast was also fantastic. Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody had me in stitches. The symmetry in every shot is so Wes Anderson but wows me every time. It may be his best film to date.

Birdman

Probably the most polarizing film of the year. So much was packed into every orifice of this film. It was both exhausting and insanely entertaining. The film marks the triumphant return of Michael Keaton and the reassurance that Edward Norton is amazing at everything he does. It was hysterical, mesmerizing, and incredibly tragic. It also happens to be filmed to make it look like one long unbroken shot. That makes the film nerd in me jump for joy. If Lubezski doesn’t win for best cinematography I’ll call the cops. It would be a crime. The ending of the film wasn’t the best but the rest of the film was so good it didn’t matter. I loved it.

Whiplash

Yup. Film of the year for me. The wave of emotions I went through in the theater, twice, is unmatched. Every single minute of this film is captivating. JK Simmons gives probably the performance of the year as a drum instructor that takes his band to the limits of their talent in the most diabolical ways possible. Miles Teller gives a powerhouse performance that will go unnoticed but deserves serious recognition. The music is incredible and the ending to the film is one of the most FUCK YEAH moments I’ve ever experienced. It’s just a complete film. I don’t think it’ll get much more than a small nod at the Oscars, but no film this year affected me in such a way that Whiplash did. It’s a film about obsession, career goals, and how far somebody is willing to go to be the best. It was exactly my fucking tempo.

………………….

Honorable Mentions!
Films I enjoyed that I couldn’t fit into a category.

The One I love
Blue Ruin
Nightcrawler
Oculus
The Wind Rises
Locke
Joe

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Favorite Scenes

– The attack on the human compound in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 360 Tank shot.
– The ending to Whiplash
– The ski chase in Grand Budapest Hotel
– The bedroom scene with Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl
– The last shot of The Immegrant
– The whole training segment in Edge of Tomorrow
– SPACESHIP! in The Lego Movie
– The end of The Rover
– Groot knocking the shit out of some henchmen in Guardians of the Galaxy and looking back at the camera and smiling.
– Matthew McConaughey looking at videos of his family over the years in Interstellar
– “That fucking faggot!” in The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Escape scene in X-Men Days of Future Past

………………….

Performances of the Year

– Michael Keaton in Birdman
– Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer
– JK Simmons and Miles Teller in Whiplash
– Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler
– Edward Norton in Birdman
– Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
– Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive
– Essie Davis in The Babadook
– Shia LaBouf in Fury
– Tom Hardy in Locke
– Andy Serkis in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

THAT’S IT! Thanks for reading and let’s have another fantastic year of film in 2015!