MATT'S 2013 LIST

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1.
Renoir (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir -- son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste... (111 mins.)
Director: Gilles Bourdos
“ AS YOU ALL KNOW, VISUALLY POETIC CINEMATIC LANGUAGE IS HIGH ON MY EXCELLENCE OF FILM APPRECIATION, THIS FILM FULFILLS THIS NEED. IT ALSO GIVES THE CINEMAPHILES NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ITS CHAMPIONS SUCH AS JEAN RENOIR. THANK YOU FOR THE INSIGHT INTO THIS GREAT FILM MAKER. THIS MAKES IT A NECESSARY INGREDIENT FOR ALL OF US WHO LOVE CINEMA.
If "Renoir" weren't gorgeous to behold, all would be lost from the start. Happily, however, this modestly scaled feature by Gilles Bourdos was shot by Mark Ping Bing Lee, the Taiwan-born cinematographer who served as one of the shooters on the peerlessly beautiful "In the Mood For Love." Nothing is lost and much is gained from a luminous sense of place, along with an intriguingly paradoxical, though underdramatized, portrait of the Impressionist master as a maker of beloved art who had little or no love to give those who loved him for himself. "Renoir" is so beautiful, and so intelligently conceived, that you keep waiting, in vain, for a bit of fire to break out in the narrative. It's easy to be thankful, though, for vivid favors: the details of Renoir's home, which, like the apartment in "Amour," speak volumes about those who live there; the sparkling light from a garden hose in an apple orchard; the bright light behind Andrée's auburn hair; the warm light on her lovely breasts; the light radiating, or so it seems, from her crimson dress. ” - sharmatt
 
2.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective. (140 mins.)
“ THIS FILM CREATED A VERY STRANGE EXPERIENCE FOR ME. EARLY ON I WANTED TO LEAVE AS I DRIFTED FROM 1 OMG EPISODE TO ANOTHER, BUT HITTING THE MIDDLE THIRD I REALIZED THAT I WAS OBSERVING THE WORK OF A BRILLIANT FILM MAKER, DEREK CIANFRANCE(BLUE VALENTINE). THE RELEVANCE TO CONTEMPORARY POLICE CORRUPTION, THE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES, THE TOTAL EXCELLENCE OF THE FILM CRAFTSMANSHIP SURPRISED ME. SUDDENLY IT WAS MY FAVORITE FILM SO FAR THIS YEAR(2013).
Shaking up the cinematic doldrums of early spring, here comes “The Place Beyond the Pines,” a self-confident, self-aware, almost cocky piece of filmmaking from the immensely gifted Derek Cianfrance. It is an epic film centered on pivotal moments in the lives of working-class and fringe-society types who wake up every morning and go to bed each night with the same question hanging over their heads: how are they going to make ends meet? Few if any leading men in Hollywood have hotter careers right now than Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, but “The Place Beyond the Pines” is anything but a slick, dual-star vehicle. An outstanding supporting cast and an immensely talented creative team join Cooper and Gosling to put together a film that touches greatness. ” - sharmatt
 
3.
Mud (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. (130 mins.)
Director: Jeff Nichols
“ HERE WE HAVE A GRITTY BACKROADS DRAMA STARRING TILL NOW WHO I CONSIDERED A PRETTY BOY, MATTHEW MC CAUGHNEY, BUT EXUDED FAR MORE DEPTH THAN I EVER EXPECTED. THIS IS AN ORIGINAL WELL CRAFTED FILM DESTINED TO BE A CULT CLASSIC IN MY OPINION.
A brilliant performance that's no less subtle for being theatrical. Mr. McConaughey is a past master of sparkly narcissism. That's part of what pulls the boys into their hero's wobbly orbit from the very first moment they see him up close, squinting in the summer sun with a cigarette in his teeth. But this portrayal, the best work of the actor's career, goes far beyond picturesque poses. The man really is a romantic, richly nourished by self-delusion, and Mr. McConaughey, with his musical voice and commanding physique, sustains a delicate balance between Mud's poetic yearning for his girlfriend, Juniper—she's played to slatternly perfection by Reese Witherspoon—and his survival instinct, which prompts him to enlist his naive acolytes as accomplices to his escape. The Southern-gothic extravagance of this guy is worthy of Tennessee Williams, but Mr. Nichols, an Arkansan born and bred, has made a film of striking originality. The same could be said about his 2007 debut feature, "Shotgun Stories," which also took place in Arkansas, and his 2011 "Take Shelter," which was set in rural Ohio. Both of those films turned on formidable performances by the same superb actor, Michael Shannon (who has a small but significant role in "Mud"). Both explored difficult subjects—blood feud and revenge in the former, apocalyptic visions in the latter—with clarity and meticulous craftsmanship. But their taciturn tone was more admirable than welcoming, while "Mud" invites us in with open arms and treats us to a terrific tale zestfully told. (And beautifully photographed, by Adam Stone.) ” - sharmatt
 
4.
Hannah Arendt (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A look at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. (113 mins.)
“ BARBARA SUKOWA's performance to me was far and away the best female performance of the year, but alas, this German film will not even be seen by the Academy voters. Margarethe von Trotta's impressive oeuvre attests to her fascination with great women of all kinds, from twelfth-century Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen to Marxist firebrand Rosa Luxemburg. With her new film about the German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906–75), von Trotta undertook a particularly difficult challenge. While Arendt's life was hardly lacking in drama — a harrowing escape from Nazi Germany, friendships and affairs with giants of the intellectual world, and involvement in some of the great political controversies of the day — her renown rested less on actions than on her influential body of thought, perhaps not the most innately cinematic of subjects. But beyond its historical and human drama, Hannah Arendt is an attempt, in von Trotta's words, to transform "thought into a film." The great Barbara Sukowa stars in Margarethe von Trotta's fascinating biography of the influential philosopher and political theorist, whose reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann led to her famous concept of the "banality of evil." ” - sharmatt
 
5.
Snow White (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A twist on the Snow White fairy tale that is set in 1920s Seville and centered on a female bullfighter. (104 mins.)
Director: Pablo Berger
“ Started before and to me even better than THE ARTIST which recently enjoyed a huge success. If The Artist is a love letter to the heyday of Hollywood silent cinema, then Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves (the Spanish name for "Snow White") is an homage to the sumptuous European silent melodrama. Relocating the Grimm fairy tale to a romantic vision of 1920s Spain and working in atmospheric black and white, Berger takes full advantage of the silent film’s expressive potential to depict the golden age of toreros with gory, Goyaesque violence. Young Carmen (played as a child by Sofía Oria, and later by Macarena García) is our Snow White, daughter of once-renowned matador Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho), crippled in the ring and grieving for his wife, who died during childbirth ” - sharmatt
 
6.
Fill the Void (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young Hasidic Jewish woman is pressured into an arranged levirate marriage to an older widower. (90 mins.)
Director: Rama Burshtein
“ An excelllent human drama. The youngest daughter of an Orthodox Hassidic family living in Tel Aviv, eighteen-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron) is thrilled about her upcoming arranged marriage to a promising young man from a good family. But, on the verge of realizing her dream, Shira has her world shattered: her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther (Renana Raz), dies on the Jewish holiday of Purim while giving birth to her first child. Deep in mourning, the family postpones Shira’s wedding and struggles to deal with their crushing grief. However, circumstances arising from this tragic event force them to make painful decisions. Even though he feels it is far too early, Esther’s husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein) bows to pressure from his family to remarry. A potential match is arranged with a widow from Belgium, who refuses to move to Israel — which means that Yochay would have to move, taking his infant son with him. Desperate to keep her grandchild, the only thing that remains of her beloved daughter, in the country, the girls’ mother makes a startling proposition — one that will force Shira to choose between her obedience to her family and her heart’s desire. ” - sharmatt
 
7.
What Maisie Knew (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle. (99 mins.)
“ THE MOST ARDUOUS TASK FOR A GREAT DIRECTOR IS FOUND IN THEIR WORK WITH CHILDREN....DO REMEMBER DE SICA'S THE BICYCLE THIEF. THE WORK HERE IS PURE GENIUS WITH 5 CHARCTERS BEING REVEALED BEAUTIFULLY. THIS IS A 10/10 FOR ITS INSIGHT INTO THE NARCISTIC ME GENERATION AND THE LITTLE GIRL IS AMAZING BECAUSE OF THIS BRILLIANT DIRECTION. A MUST FOR ANYONE WISHING TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT MAKES CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY TICK. MICK LASALLE: As Maisie, Onata Aprile floats through the movie in what starts out as innocent oblivion and graduates into discreet observation. At first, her silence is that of a child with little to say. Later, it’s that of a child who knows what she shouldn’t say. Her scenes with Moore are a marvel: Maisie is scared of her, but she’s also protecting her. .Maisie is more defenseless against her blithe, detached father because his mental corrugations are too deep for a child to navigate. That all this was understood by a child actress means that directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel found a way to communicate with her in a child’s terms and elicit the performance, which is heartrending and sophisticated. You know that the movie has placed you inside Maisie’s skin when just the sight of Moore, or the sound of her voice, raises your blood pressure and makes you want to run. ” - sharmatt
 
8.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A documentary that details the creation of Julian Assange's controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history. (130 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
“ I APPRECIATED THIS MARVELOUS DOCUMENTARY BECAUSE OF THE INSIGHT INTO A VERY CONFUSING SUBJECT. ALEX GIBNEY IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THIS GENRE. NELL MINOW So, who decides what stays secret? This brilliant documentary from Alex Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Taxi to the Dark Side”) explores that question through the stories of two mesmerizing personalities, itself a meta-narrative as the documentarian is exposing the secrets of the secret-sharers.
In 1989, a worm infected more than 300,000 computer systems throughout the world. Like a real-life “WarGames,” it was the work of a smart-alecky teenager. It was Julian Assange, who would grow up to found Wikileaks, a website set up to receive and make public confidential material, protecting the people — whistle-blowers or thieves, depending on your point of view — who provided it.
And then there was Bradley Manning, a private in the U.S. military. Like Assange, he had exceptional computer skills. He had personal and philosophical reasons to be angry at the U.S. government. He was struggling with issues of sexuality and gender identity. He was isolated. And no one thought he was a risk. HIS DETENTION AND PUNISHMENT WAS AWFUL, YET DEFENDED BY OBAMA??? ” - sharmatt
 
9.
Stories We Tell (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers. (108 mins.)
Director: Sarah Polley
“ FAMILY MEMORIES AS TOLD AROUND THE DINNER TABLE ARE OFTEN CONFLICTING AND REGULARLY EMBELLISHED. THOSE WITH THE PEN OR DOCUMENTARY CAMERA OF COURSE HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF WHAT IS CORRECT AND IMPORTANT. TO ME THIS WAS A FASCINATING FAMILY DISCOVERY TALE, AS WOULD BE EXPECTED FROM THE VERY TALENTED SARAH POLLEY. SHEILA O'MALLEY 4*: Families create their own narratives. Stories are passed on from generation to generation, and in this way the past continues to live, but it can also be obscured or distorted. Joan Didion famously wrote, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Family arguments often come down to who "owns" the narrative, or which version is decided upon as the "true" one. Sarah Polley's fascinating documentary, "Stories We Tell," is ostensibly about her mother, Diane Polley, who died in 1990. A powerful and thoughtful film, it is also not what it at first seems, which is part of the point Polley appears to be interested in making. Can the truth ever actually be known about anything? ” - sharmatt
 
10.
Frances Ha (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles. (86 mins.)
Director: Noah Baumbach
“ A HUMAN DRAMA IN CONTEMPORARY NYC WRITTEN BY THE DIRECTOR AND STAR REFLECTING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DYSFUNCTION THAT WE ALL FACE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. MINIMALIST AND BORING. THERE ARE BETTER FILMS TO SEE. KEN TURAN LOVED IT: Effortless and effervescent, "Frances Ha" is a small miracle of a movie, honest and funny with an aim that's true. It's both a timeless story of the joys and sorrows of youth and a dead-on portrait of how things are right now for one particular New York woman who, try as she might, can't quite get her life together. ” - sharmatt
 
11.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby. (143 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
“ THE CRITICS ARE OUT TO LUNCH ON THIS BRILLIANT CINEMATIC PRODUCTION. THE SETS, COLORS, MUSIC, NARRATIVE, PERFORMANCES, COSTUMES WERE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. THERE IS NOTHING TO DISLIKE IN BAZ LUHRMAN'S WORK. EVERY SCENE WAS SUCH A DELIGHT TO WATCH, THAT I TRULY HATED TO SEE IT END. RICK GROEN 3 1/2*:It’s a terrific adaptation that succeeds not only as a work of cinema but also, wonderfully, as proof of the novel’s greatness. In short, the picture rebukes the revisionists even while entertaining them. For starters, Luhrmann and his co-screenwriter Craig Pearce are astute enough to know that Gatsby is much less an exercise in realism than a lyrical tone poem. In its style and its theme, artifice lies at the very heart of the book, and the director celebrated for his Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge) is no slouch at artifice. So right from the initial travelling shot, through an art-deco frame to that green light at the dock’s flickering end, the movie is unabashedly stylized and theatrical. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a fun and entertaining and vital and brave reminder of what the book is. ” - sharmatt
 
12.
The Bling Ring (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. (90 mins.)
Director: Sofia Coppola
“ THIS IS A SEARING INDICTMENT OF TODAY'S YOUTH WHO SEEK PLEASURE AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION NO MATTER THE CONSEQUENCES. THEY HAVE NO CONSCIENCE SO THEY LIE, CHEAT, STEAL TO PURSUE THEIR INSTANT FALSE HAPPINESS. I DO BELIEVE THAT THE COPPOLA'S INTENT WAS TO REVEAL THEIR EMPTY LIVES. the film tells the story of a pack of L.A. teenagers (four girls and one boy) who in 2008 began to break into the homes of their celebrity idols (like Lindsay Lohan and Rachel Bilson) to steal their clothes, shoes, and jewelry. We see them troll the Web to find out which stars are going to be out of town, and they then sneak in easily, climbing over security fences. Once inside, they basically go shopping. They rifle through designer dresses, find roomfuls of necklaces, and get to Valhalla when they reach the sacred chamber where Paris Hilton keeps her shoes. The characters are presented as a new species of mutant. They care about nothing — nothing! — but fashion, star gossip, consumer goods, and the way these things mash together to a grinding hip-hop party beat. But where a lesser filmmaker might have turned the members of the Bling Ring into warped rebels, Coppola sees that they're acting out a sociopathic version of the obsessions that now rule far too many of us: They're the first generation to worship actors purely for being celebrity-endorsement show ponies. Given what a debased view that is, the clever beauty of The Bling Ring is its scandalous yet never mocking tone, its refusal to satirize. ” - sharmatt
 
13.
Before Midnight (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. (109 mins.)
“ As most of you know, i generally do not appreciate dialogue heavy stagey films, but this one is very special. The insight into the real lives of relationships is BRILLIANT. RICHARD LINKLATER HAS LEARNED MORE ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOUR THAN MOST PSYCHIATRISTS. SO MUCH OF THE FILM WAS SO RIGHT ON THAT ALL OF US IN LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS CAN IDENTIFY. THE PREFORMANCES BY DELPY AND HAWKE WERE EXCELLENT. THE CINEMATIC LANGUAGE WAS EXCELLENT, BUT ALL IN ALL IT COULD JUST AS EASILY BEEN A PLAY AND PROBABLY WILL SOMEDAY. PHILLIP KEMP 5*: A more-than-worthy, expectations-exceeding chapter in one of modern cinema’s finest love stories. As honest, convincing, funny, intimate and natural as its predecessors. In a train in Austria a young American, Jesse (Ethan Hawke), meets a French girl, Celine (Julie Delpy), and persuades her to get off and spend a few hours in Vienna with him.
They wander, talk endlessly, fall in love and part, promising to meet again – all Before Sunrise (1995)
Nine years later they meet again in Paris. He’s in a failing marriage, she’s in a strained relationship. Again they wander and talk endlessly. The conversation picks up where they left off – except they’re both that much older, that much less starry-eyed. Are they destined for each other? Were they always? They have to decide – Before Sunset (2004). So here we are, yet another nine years on. They’re together now, settled in Paris. They’ve got twin little girls. They’re on holiday in the Peloponnese, where they have charming, loquacious friends.
Once more the talk is endless. It’s an idyllic happy ending for our peripatetic pair. Or is it? Well no, of course it isn’t. Richard Linklater is way too intelligent a director for anything so mushy – even assuming Delpy and Hawke, co-screenwriters with him here as they were on Sunset, would let him. ” - sharmatt
 
14.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice. (150 mins.)
Director: Gore Verbinski
“ THIS MAY BE ONE OF THEI WORST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN. "STUPID" DOES NOT ADEQUATELY DESCRIBE THE IDIOCY OF THIS FILM. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO REDEEMING FEATURE AND APPEARS TO BE THE RESULT OF A GANG OF WRITERS SUBMITTING STUPID JOKES. IF YOU SEE THIS VERY BAD MOVIE THEN YOU ARE INSURING MORE OF THE SAME. IF YOU MUST SEE IT, WAIT FOR ON DEMAND OR DVD, WHICH SHOULD BE SOON. NOTE THAT I AM NOT CALLING IT A FILM. PLEASE DO NOT BUY A TICKET FOR THIS DISASTER. ” - sharmatt
 
15.
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. (91 mins.)
Director: Morgan Neville
“ THIS WAS SO INFORMATIVE FOR ME YET DISHEARTENING TO LEARN OF THE HEARTBREAK SUFFERED BY THESE WONDERFUL TALENTED SINGERS. THE MUSIC ITSELF WAS ENJOYABLE.
100
Boston Globe Ty Burr
20 Feet From Stardom may possibly be the happiest time you'll have at the movies all summer, but it comes with a heavy load of frustration. The joy...is in the sound of women singing their big, beautiful hearts out. The pain comes from the anonymity they've spent their lives working under and fighting against.
90
The Hollywood Reporter
Neville unearths a treasure trove of archival TV, concert and film footage featuring many of these vocalists in their heyday, balancing the material with perfectly-lit contemporary studio interviews and performances shot in pristine digital cinematography, supplemented by more informal scenes depicting the frequent challenges of these musicians' caree ” - sharmatt
 
16.
A Hijacking (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The crew of a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities in Copenhagen. (103 mins.)
Director: Tobias Lindholm
“ I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS WHOLE PIRATE HIJACKING SITUATION AND FEEL ZERO COMPASSION FOR THE HIJACKERS. WHY IS THERE NOT A BUNCH OF HELICOPTERS AND ARMED SHIP SURROUNDING THE HIJACKED SHIP WITH SNIPERS PICKING THEM OFF ONE BY ONE. NEGOTIATING WITH TERRORISTS OR HIJACKERS IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. THEIR SUCCESS ENCOURAGES MORE OF THE SAME. FOR THIS REASON, I DID NOT LIKE THIS FILM DESPITE ITS HIGH CRITICAL RATING. e.g.
100
Time Out New York Joshua Rothkopf
Rarely leaning on the weepy families back home, this briskly paced triumph maintains a clear focus on human costs, with hope slipping away onboard while lives hang on the burp of a fax machine.
100
New York Post Farran Smith Nehme
A Hijacking is Lindholm's second feature as director; he's also worked with such austere Danes as Thomas Vinterberg of Dogme 95 fame. What he's learned, it seems, is how to strip away distractions, and let character become suspense, as well as destiny.
100
Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
Here's an iffy proposition. If A Hijacking was in English, or if U.S. audiences weren't finicky about reading subtitles, or if life was fair, this brilliant thriller, by the Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm, would be playing on multiplex screens throughout the country ” - sharmatt
 
17.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love... (98 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WOODY IS GETTING TIRED AS SO MANY OF THE SCENES SEEMED SO IMPROVISATIONAL WITH LITTLE EVIDENCE OF SERIOUS DIRECTION. POOR NARRATIVE FLOW AND VERY EPISODIC, CREATING A HODGEPODGE OF SCENES. GREAT SUBJECT, POOR EXECUTION. Well, great acting, sure, I guess. Cate, of course, obviously. Bobby Cannavale was exceptional. But I couldn't wait for this movie to end, it was so sad. And the ending? Wow, saddest thing of all. I still feel lousy, although I just saw this today. Maybe I'll feel better soon. ” - sharmatt
 
18.
Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society. (132 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
“ THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MUCH BETTER FILM. I DO HOPE THAT ALL OF OUR YOUTH DO SEE IT TO INFORM THEM OF THE TERRIBLE BIGOTRY THAT DID EXIST. THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WAS LACKING, MANY UNNECESSARY SCENES, AND THE BIG STAR WALK ONS DIMINISHED THE QUALITY OF THIS PRODUCTION. The butler, Cecil Gaines, is a fictional creation, an African-American Forrest Gump who bears special witness to the civil-rights movement while serving on the White House staff under seven presidents. The contrivance is stretched to its breaking point over a running time of 132 minutes; some of the episodes cross a different line from almost plausible to downright silly. That's not the whole story, though. The movie borrows cumulative power from the era's tormented racial history through the use of news clips, as well as through dramatic re-creations. And Forest Whitaker brings a quiet grandeur to the title role of a white-gloved Uncle Tom who, ever so slowly radicalized by events, becomes the proud black man he was born to be. ” - sharmatt
 
19.
The Sapphires (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
It's 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all-girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam. (103 mins.)
Director: Wayne Blair
“ A TERRIBLE FILM UNWORTHY OF EVEN UNKNOWN CABLE NETWORK TELEVISION. A sloppy, sentimental story line and pivotal plot turns that are only sketchily realized undermine the life-on-the-road misadventures. ” - sharmatt
 
20.
Blackfish (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales. (83 mins.)
“ “ EXCELLENT INSIGHTFUL DOCU THAT WILL NEVER ALLOW YOU TO GO TO SEAWORLD AGAIN, PLUS YOU WILL BEG EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO DO THE SAME. A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center, “Blackfish” goes even further than 2008′s Oscar-winning “The Cove” to launch a direct attack on Sea World and the practice of keeping marine mammals in captivity. Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species. ” ” - sharmatt
 
21.
Drug War (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A drug cartel boss who is arrested in a raid is coerced into betraying his former accomplices as part of an undercover operation. (107 mins.)
Director: Johnnie To
“ THE ACTION SEQUENCES ARE INTENSE TO THE MAXIMUM BRINGING TO MIND MY RECOLLECTION OF "FRENCH CONNECTION" HARD TO BREATHE AND BLINK.....JOHNNY TO REALLY CAPTURES YOUR ATTENTION. CHOREOGRAPHED SUPERBLY FOR THIS GENRE'S ENTERTAINMENT. WOW! I'll go ahead and call "Drug War" the best Hong Kong action movie since "Infernal Affairs" (the 2002 film that Martin Scorsese remade as "The Departed"), even though technically it's a Chinese film. But the director, Johnnie To, here making his first action film in China, and lead actor Louis Koo are both Hong Kong natives, and they're at the top of their game in this thriller about an important link in a drug chain who, rather than face the death penalty after he is captured, instead turns informant. ” - sharmatt
 
22.
When Jews Were Funny (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Surveys the history of Jewish comedy. (89 mins.)
Director: Alan Zweig
“ IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 70'S, JEWISH AND LIKE TO LAUGH, THEN LOOK FOR THIS TITLE. ” - sharmatt
 
23.
Bright Days Ahead (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The retired dentist Caroline attends a class for computer users. Although she is married, she falls in love with her significantly younger lecturer... (94 mins.)
Director: Marion Vernoux
 
24.
Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Khosrow and Morteza set out on a mission to kill someone. The assassination ought to be arranged as a suicide. At the last minute however, they are obliged to change their initial plans... (125 mins.)
 
25.
The Sea (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The story of a man who returns to the sea where he spent his childhood summers in search of peace following the death of his wife. (86 mins.)
Director: Stephen Brown
 
26.
The Liberator (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Simon Bolivar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered -- it liberated. (119 mins.)
Director: Alberto Arvelo
 
27.
Wadjda (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. (98 mins.)
“ From a Saudi Arabian female who had to hide in a van to shoot this very insightful film. It examines the oppression of the Arab lady in the middle east. Basically it is a delightful story of a little girl in pursuit of a bicycle. Al-Mansour has managed to embue Wadjda with a hopeful spirit, partially because she takes time to show women finding ways to be themselves in private moments. And partially because she suggests with a few subtle touches that the situation might be slowly improving. ” - sharmatt
 
28.
In a World... (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé. (93 mins.)
Director: Lake Bell
“ Totally off my radar yet playing at our local Art theatre on 4th. Surprising construction of excellence in every sense from this budding film auteur. Act, produce, perform, edit…… In my opinion, everyone will enjoy this extraordinary debut……even the sets told a story. LAKE BELL has many acting credits but is brilliant behind the camera…34 years old.
The New York Times
A.O. Scott
Aug 8, 2013
100 Ms. Bell, who plays Carol with a perfect blend of diffidence, goofiness and charm, has written and directed an insightful comedy that is much more complex and ambitious than it sometimes seems ” - sharmatt
 
29.
Snake & Mongoose (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
The untold story of how Southern California drag racers, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen combined with corporate giants to change the face of sports and ultimately became the most famous rivalry in racing history. (102 mins.)
Director: Wayne Holloway
“ TO ME THIS FILM HAD A SPECIAL HISTORICAL POSITION AS IT OCCURRED IN MY BACKYARD WITH CLASSMATES FROM POLY HIGH SCHOOL AND MY EXPOSURE TO JUDY BELL MC EUEN AND HER 3 SONS, ESPECIALLY HER PRECIOUS SON JAMIE. THE CINEMA ITSELF HAD NO SPECIAL IMPORTANCE TO ME, ALTHOUGH THE DRAG STRIP SCENES WERE WELL CHOREOGRAPHED, AND THE ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE WAS GREAT. Wayne Holloway (who also co-scripted), mostly does a terrific job, recounting the story of the legendary rivalry between drivers Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen, and the sport of drag racing itself, which these two good old boys turned from regional joke into national craze. ” - sharmatt
 
30.
Short Term 12 (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend. (96 mins.)
“ TRULY A MINIMALIST FILM EFFORT DONE ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET ABOUT TROUBLED CHILDREN. DESPITE THAT THERE WAS A SHOWCASE OF FUTURE TALENT FROM MANY ASPECTS: DIRECTION, SCRIPTING, PERFS AND AT TIMES IT CHOKED ME UP. The unembellished emotional honesty conveyed in the indie drama Short Term 12 is so expertly handled that it carries the viewer past any hesitations harbored regarding the film's overly familiar storyline. With the exception of a clichéd plot device, SHORT TERM 12 is a tough but charming movie that is full of raw emotion and features a star-making performance from Brie Larson. ” - sharmatt
 
31.
Enough Said (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A divorced woman who decides to pursue the man she's interested in learns he's her new friend's ex-husband. (93 mins.)
“ MINIMALIST T.V. DRIVEL THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ON THE BIG SCREEN. TOO BAD FOR THE EXCELLENT GANDOLFINI. ” - sharmatt
 
32.
Captain Phillips (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. (134 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ STAGY, BORING, AND OVERLONG.....NOT MUCH SUBSTANCE HERE EXCEPT FOR THE EXCELLENCE OF TOM HANKS. OSCAR WILL PROBABLY MAKE ITS NOD. ” - sharmatt
 
33.
All Is Lost (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face. (106 mins.)
Director: J.C. Chandor
“ MISERABLE THEATRE EXPERIENCE, BUT THE FILM MAKING PROCESS IS AMAZING.....THUS MY HIGH RATING. IF YOU HAVE SAILING IN YOUR HEAD, YOU MAY FIND SOME ENJOYMENT IN VIEWING. REDFORD WILL GET OSCAR CONSIDERATION. ” - sharmatt
 
34.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss. (180 mins.)
“ BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR…FRANCE….PALM D’OR CANNES….THE MOST ANTICIPATED FILM AT CANNES….IN HERE IS A GOOD FILM WITH SOME EDITING….SEX IS OVER THE TOP. There's a devastating mix of eroticism and sadness in Abdellatif Kechiche's new film. Food is an interesting motif as well. Emma introduces Adèle to her liberal and tolerant mother and stepfather over dinner; they are entirely aware of Emma's sexuality and serve Adèle a sophisticated novelty – oysters. ” - sharmatt
 
35.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. (141 mins.)
Director: Justin Chadwick
“ MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM…..UK….AN INFORMATIVE AND ENLIGHTENDING DOCUDRAMA ON ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING MEN IN OUR LIFETIME. NOT AN AWARD WINNER, BUT DEFINITELY A WORTHWHILE SEE. His story is epic and inspiring. Born to be a Xhosa leader, he was trained in law, then drawn into resistance, then politics, then elevated to a reverence that approached sainthood. Nelson Mandela has lived one of the most remarkable lives of our time. His autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, charts the many struggles that took him from South Africa's rural Cape region to armed struggle and arrest, and then to the president's mansion as his nation's first democratically elected leader. ” - sharmatt
 
36.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. (134 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
“ 12 YEARS A SLAVE….WILL PROBABLY SWEEP THE OSCARS AND WAS AUDIENCE FAVORIT AT TIFF. STEVE MC QUEEN, ONE OF THE BEST WORKING. Had Steve McQueen not already christened his previous picture thus, “Shame” would have been the perfect one-word title to capture the gut-wrenching impact of his third and most essential feature, “12 Years a Slave.” Based on the true story of free black American Solomon Northup’s kidnapping and imposed bondage from 1841 to 1853, this epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O’Hara’s struggles seem petty by comparison. ” - sharmatt
 
37.
Attila Marcel (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Paul is a sweet man-child, raised - and smothered - by his two eccentric aunts in Paris since the death of his parents when he was a toddler... (106 mins.)
Director: Sylvain Chomet
“ French writer-director Sylvain Chomet effortlessly transitions from the animated wonders of his The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist to the live-action marvel that is Attila Marcel, a fanciful story about a silent young piano virtuoso whose downstairs neighbor, the ukulele-playing, Buddhist eco hippie Madame Proust, stuffs him with madeleines -- bien sur -- and serves up a special asparagus brew that helps bring back repressed childhood memories. ” - sharmatt
 
38.
Ida (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the German occupation. (82 mins.)
“ A successful American director returns to Poland to bring us a drama on an infant Jewish girl raised in a convent to save her from the Nazis who as an adult learns of her heritage. Acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort, My Summer of Love) returns to his homeland for this moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation. In this spare, stark, and oh-so-beautifully directed film, Pawel Pawlikowski returns to his native Poland for the first time in his career to confront some of the more contentious issues in the history of his birthplace. Few subjects are as controversial and as emotional as what passed between Polish Catholics and Jews during the Second World War. Pawlikowski, who created his reputation in England with films like Last Resort and My Summer of Love, has made what is surely one of the most powerful and affecting films of the year. ” - sharmatt
 
39.
Violette (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Violette Leduc, born a bastard at the beginning of last century, meets Simone de Beauvoir in the years after the war in St-Germain-des-Prés... (139 mins.)
Director: Martin Provost
“ Brilliant biography of French novelist Violette Leduc, protégé of Simone de Beauvoir with Oscar worthy perf of Emannuelle Devos, but in French, so not likely. Simone de Beauvoir. Her name summons up an entire universe. Feminism. Sexual freedom. Post-World War II France in the grip of intellectual fervour. The Second Sex. And it also summons up the names of those who passed through her life: Sartre, Camus, Merleau-Ponty. This heady world is the setting for a remarkable film about one of de Beauvoir's friends, acolytes, admirers, and fellow travellers, the relatively unknown Violette Leduc. Leduc was in many ways as much of a pioneer as de Beauvoir, but while fame, success, and fortune fell relatively easily to the latter, Leduc found herself on another path, struggling throughout much of her life with poverty, indifference to her work, and psychological issues ” - sharmatt
 
40.
Joe (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin. (117 mins.)
“ JOE…EXPECT AN OSCAR NOD FOR MR CAGE. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, as two ferociously snapping canines make literally clear in one of many darkly humorous asides in “Joe,” David Gordon Green’s bleak and brutal examination of Southern small-town masculinity and its discontents. Based on Larry Brown's acclaimed novel, the film tells the story of a kind-hearted excon (Nicolas Cage), who oversees a group of Mississippi men who clear trees for a large lumber company. When Gary (Tye Sheridan), a determined fifteen-year-old, shows up looking for work, Joe is hesitant to turn him away. After taking him on as part of the crew, Joe soon becomes a father figure ” - sharmatt
 
41.
The Past (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An Iranian man deserts his French wife and her two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife's request for a divorce. (130 mins.)
Director: Asghar Farhadi
“ STEVE GORDON WILL LOVE THIS ONE AS MUCH AS HE LOVED “A SEPARATION. The winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with 2011's A Separation, Asghar Farhadi returns with a film that's recognizable but also quite different. The similarities are many: a couple in conflict, the role of children in this conflict, an interest in class, and a reliance on conversations to examine ethical dilemmas arising from the situation. The setting has been moved from Tehran to Paris, although, under Farhadi's gaze, France has never looked so much like Iran. And the interchanges that defined his earlier film have become even more intricate and maze-like in Le Passé. ” - sharmatt
 
42.
Midway (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Using spare narration and stunning imagery, Midway focuses on the plight of the Laysan Albatross plagued by the ingestion of our plastic trash... (85 mins.)
“ Renowned photo-based artist Chris Jordan’s collaboration with Sabine Emiliani focuses on the albatrosses that inhabit the remote Midway Atoll, nesting amidst machinery abandoned after World War II. ANOTHER BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY….I HOPE IT COMES TO PSIFF ” - sharmatt
 
43.
Finding Vivian Maier (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary on the late Vivian Maier, a nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs earned her a posthumous reputation as one of the most accomplished street photographers. (83 mins.)
“ FINDING VIVIAN MAIER….FASCINATING DOCU OF A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER….This intriguing documentary shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers. ” - sharmatt
 
44.
Enemy (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie. (91 mins.)
“ Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) and Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis) star in the new film by Academy Award-nominated director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies), a brilliant adaptation of the Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago’s novel The Double. THIS WAS NOT A FAVORITE OF MINE. ” - sharmatt
 
45.
Siddharth (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A chain-wallah from Delhi travels across India in search of his missing son, in the hopes that whoever took him, returns him unharmed. (96 mins.)
Director: Richie Mehta
“ THIS FILM IS INSIGHTFUL INTO THE HORRIFIC CONDITIONS THAT BESEECH THE IMPOVERISHED LIVES IN INDIA. KIDNAPPING AND CHILD SLAVERY IS ALIVE AND WELL. Director Richie Mehta follows his award-winning debut feature Amal with this powerful and heart-rending tale about a poor Delhi street merchant desperately searching for his missing young son. ” - sharmatt
 
46.
The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Following the disappearance of his wife, a man finds himself on a dark and twisted trail of discovery... (102 mins.)
“ THE STRANGE COLEUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS…..unlikely to make it to our cineplexes….breathtaking images. An enigma of lush visuals and jarring violent imagery, with a lavish score. Set in a gorgeous art-nouveau building in Brussels, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears uses interiors that are a character unto themselves, each room a new chamber of the puzzle box, ready to be cracked open by only the most keenly attentive viewers. Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, the filmmaking duo behind the sumptuous and experimental feature Amer, are back with this visually inventive and sensual love letter to the 1970s Italian giallo aesthetic. ” - sharmatt
 
47.
Love Is the Perfect Crime (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A literature professor at the University of Lausanne, Marc has a reputation for having love affairs with his female students... (110 mins.)
“ LOVE IS THE PERFECT CRIME…..FLAWED NARRATIVE, BUT INVOLVING….Mathieu Amalric plays a befuddled, womanizing professor whose complicated life takes a turn for the worse following the disappearance of a student, in Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu’s wickedly fun comic thriller. ” - sharmatt
 
48.
A Place in Heaven (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young officer returns to his base after a daring mission. The cook's assistant, a religious Holocaust survivor... (117 mins.)
Director: Yossi Madmoni
“ A PLACE IN HEAVEN…..A retired general lies on his deathbed, bitter and alone, prompting his estranged, ultra-orthodox Jewish son to try and save his soul from hell in “A Place in Heaven.” Yossi Madmony’s quasi-biblical story covers the history of Israel through 40 years and three wars, but, like the director’s previous film, “Restoration,” it is, at heart, a film about relationships between fathers and sons ” - sharmatt
 
49.
A Wolf at the Door (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A journey to the dark cutting edge of desires, lies and wickedness of a love triangle, from the moment a child is mysteriously kidnapped. (101 mins.)
“ FROM BRAZIL THE DISCOVERY OF AN AUTEUR FILM MAKER WITH OUTSTANDING TALENT FOR ALL ASPECTS OF CINEMA. CHANCES OF USA RELEASE ARE LIMITED, SO HOPE THAT IT MAKES IT TO PSIFF. A Wolf at the Door, the suspenseful debut feature by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra, captures the darkness that can fall over a couple when love mixes with hate. Set in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, this passionate, tragic tale employs absorbing flashbacks to illuminate the contradictory perspectives of Sylvia, Bernardo, and Rosa. Gradually, we see how each is caught in a tangle of lies and deception. ” - sharmatt
 
50.
Brazilian Western (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Brazilian Western is an adaptation of the eponymous song by Renato Russo a famous Brazilian singer and... (108 mins.)
Director: René Sampaio
“ BRAZILIAN WESTERN…BRAZIL….THE MUSIC AND THE BEAUTY OF THE PERFORMERS WORTH YOUR TIME. THE NARRATIVE IS LITTLE MORE THAN THE OLD FASHIONED WESTERNS WE SAW AS CHILDREN. SOPHOMORIC TO THE MAX. A SILLY, BUT STILL ENJOYABLE FILM. Loosely based on legendary Brasilia rock band Legiao Urbana’s seminal folk song, René Sampaio’s lyrical, fable-like debut feature follows a young man from the provinces who decides to try his luck in the capital, where he falls in with a rough crowd — and falls for a senator’s daughter. ” - sharmatt
 
51.
Break Loose (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
An explosive Russian crime drama about the violent rivalry that erupts when an elite police operative falls for the girlfriend of a powerful gangster. (85 mins.)
Director: Aleksey Uchitel
“ BREAK LOOSE…RUSSIA….NON STOP ACTION WITH MINIMAL NARRATIVE. All the ingredients are here for a fine thriller - political discord, corrupt cops, ruthless proto-oligarchs, and car chases, all set against the backdrop of the waning years of Yeltsin, and the massive social and political change that would take place under Putin ushering Russia into the new Millennium. Alas, despite its slick facade and moments of overly choreographed brutality, one's left after Alexey Uchitel's Break Loose simply wanting more - wanting more believable interactions between our characters, more believable consequences for some of the actions, and simply more excitement. ” - sharmatt
 
52.
Les interdits (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
1979. Carole and Jerome are 20 and go on tour in Odessa, behind the Iron Curtain. They are cousins and pretend engaged... (101 mins.)
“ FRIENDS FROM FRANCE….Set in Odessa in 1979, this uniquely emotional political thriller recreates meticulously the deep-freeze of the Soviet Union at the crest of the Cold War while following a pair of French cousins in their clandestine effort to reach out to the so-called refuseniks — Jews repressed by the Brezhnev regime. ” - sharmatt
 
53.
Honeymoon (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
It should have been the best day of her life, but then a strange guest with a stranger claim entered the marriage merriment. About the shadows which catch up with each of us. (98 mins.)
Director: Jan Hrebejk
“ HONEYMOON, CZECH REPUBLIC….ANOTHER DELIGHTFUL Jan Hrebejk FILM CONSTRUCTED WITH THE USUAL CINEMATIC FINESS NOW IN SUCH SHORT SUPPLY IN BIG STUDIO HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTIONS. The director Jan Hrebejk, who gives the proceedings distinct echoes of Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen, concentrates his intimate embrace over an afternoon, night and the next morning. His pacing is perfect, with each revelation timed to intrigue and pull you further into the mystery. ” - sharmatt
 
54.
The Major (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
That day Sergey Sobolev, police officer, is driving to the hospital where his wife is about to give birth to their child... (99 mins.)
Director: Yuriy Bykov
“ Police corruption thriller at its best. Big studio Hollywood could take a lesson. What seems to be a quick fix (modifying the investigators' report; duping Irina into drinking alcohol before a blood test), has larger consequences. Local officials are keen to avoid any probing by city investigators into their corrupt dealings, so when Irina and her husband refuse to sign falsified testimonies, events spiral out of Kroshunov's control. His questionable ethics, and the corrupted moral codes by which the police operate, clash against Major Sobolev's change of heart. ” - sharmatt
 
55.
Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Umber Singh is a Sikh who loses everything during the separation of India in 1947 and is forced to leave his homeland. He obsessively wishes for a male heir. When his fourth daughter is born, he decides to wage a fight against destiny. (109 mins.)
Director: Anup Singh
“ QISSA…..Beautiful, timeless, and touching the deepest of human impulses, Qissa carries the spirit of a great folk tale. Although it's set in a particular time and place — the Punjab region that straddles India and Pakistan in the years immediately after partition — it is both deeper and broader than any one moment. As this eerie family drama progresses, it cuts to the heart of eternal desires for honour, empathy, and love. ” - sharmatt
 
56.
White Lies (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A medicine woman - a giver of life - is asked to hide a secret which may protect one life but which will destroy another. (99 mins.)
Director: Dana Rotberg
“ DANA ROTBERG, FORMERLY FROM MEXICO HAS RELOCATED TO NEW ZEALAND, UNCLE IS A GOOD FRIEND OF STEVE AND LYDIA MOSS OF NYC. SHE IS ALSO THE EX WIFE OF LEONARDO GARCIA TSAO, A FRIEND OF MANY YEARS. In a small New Zealand town in the early 20th century, three very different women — a Maori medicine woman, a wealthy, sharp-tongued white housewife, and a controlling housekeeper — are brought together by a scandalous secret, in this complex and mesmerizing tale of culture clash and social mores based on a novella by the author of Whale Rider. ” - sharmatt
 
57.
Young & Beautiful (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
After losing her virginity, Isabelle takes up a secret life as a call girl, meeting her clients for hotel-room trysts. Throughout, she remains curiously aloof, showing little interest in the encounters themselves or the money she makes. (95 mins.)
Director: François Ozon
“ YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL, FRANCE, FRANCOIS OZON…..TO ME ONE OF THE VERY BEST FILMMAKERS WORKING TODAY. HERE AGAIN IS ANOTHER BRILLIANT PRODUCTION. A typically slow-moving drama from François Ozon, Young & Beautiful follows rebellious teenager Isabelle (Marine Vacth) as she loses her virginity one summer and, a few months later, begins working as a call girl in Paris. It's an unabashedly salacious premise that's employed to consistently subdued effect by Ozon, with the movie's deliberately-paced opening half hour, which is devoted primarily to Isabelle's leisurely summertime exploits, demanding a fair amount of patience from the viewer. The surprisingly engaging atmosphere, then, is due mostly to Ozon's strong direction and a seriously impressive central performance. Throughout his career as a director, François Ozon has openly played with genre and theory, making sweeping emotional tales cold and ascetic or subtly exploiting tongue-in-cheek campiness to acknowledge the didacticism of his exaggerated presentations of sexuality and gender. Of late, his narratives have deconstructed sexuality as an evolution of familial presentation ” - sharmatt
 
58.
The Invisible Woman (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death. (111 mins.)
Director: Ralph Fiennes
“ THE INVISIBLE WOMAN ….DIRECTED AND STARRING RALPH FIENNES AS CHARLES DICKENS…THE STORY OF HIS EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR WITH NELLY TURNAN. Period biographical dramas don’t come much better than The Invisible Woman, an exceptionally involving and credible portrayal of the “whispered” relationship Charles Dickens maintained with a much younger woman over the last 13 years of his life. A career high point for Ralph Fiennes. ” - sharmatt
 
59.
Going Away (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Baptiste is a solitary type. A teacher in southern France, he never stays more than three weeks in the same job... (95 mins.)
Director: Nicole Garcia
“ Two unlikely friends — a supply teacher and a lonely young boy suspended between two estranged parents — embark on a weekend motorcycle voyage full of surprises and unforeseen consequences in this surprisingly tough, unsentimental drama from acclaimed French actress and director Nicole Garcia. This is an exquisite, deeply affecting, and unlikely love story of great resonance that gains in momentum with every passing sequence. Un beau dimanche is sublimely detailed and complex, structured to reveal its secrets gradually, gaining in emotive strength as it does. ” - sharmatt
 
60.
Gloria (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A story set in Santiago and centered on Gloria, a free-spirited older woman, and the realities of her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets out in the clubs. (110 mins.)
“ Two unlikely friends — a supply teacher and a lonely young boy suspended between two estranged parents — embark on a weekend motorcycle voyage full of surprises and unforeseen consequences in this surprisingly tough, unsentimental drama from acclaimed French actress and director Nicole Garcia.
This is an exquisite, deeply affecting, and unlikely love story of great resonance that gains in momentum with every passing sequence. Un beau dimanche is sublimely detailed and complex, structured to reveal its secrets gradually, gaining in emotive strength as it does. ” - sharmatt
 
61.
Like Father, Like Son (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth, he must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own. (121 mins.)
“ LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON….JAPAN….ANOTHER WONDERFUL FILM EXPLORING THE HUMAN CONDITION. How is being a parent defined? Do you have to earn it or does the simple virtue of being related by blood automatically give you that title? Those questions and more lie at the core of "Like Father, Like Son," a tender and involving portrait by Kore-Eda Hirokazu that centers on two set of parents -- and one father in particular -- who find the relationships to their sons severely tested, forcing them to reassess everything they thought that new about them and about themselves, as well. ” - sharmatt
 
62.
Words and Pictures (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
An art instructor and an English teacher form a rivalry that ends up with a competition at their school in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important. (111 mins.)
Director: Fred Schepisi
“ Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche star in this playful comic drama and the reason for my selection. They worked so well together. Veteran director Fred Schepisi infuses Gerald DiPego's character-driven script with great playfulness, while Owen and Binoche are as charismatic and complicated as ever, playing characters whose abundant personal troubles have not yet crushed their fiery spirits. Their war is not so much about individual victory as it is about collective triumph. ” - sharmatt
 
63.
Unbeatable (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Fai, once a world champion in boxing, escapes to Macau from the loan sharks and unexpectedly encounters Qi... (122 mins.)
Director: Dante Lam
“ UNBEATABLE….CHINA/HONG KONG….A VERY GOOD BOXING FILM ABOUT AN OLD GUY WHO RESTARTS HIS BOXING TO HELP A DESPARATE MOTHER. Fleeing to Macau to escape loan sharks, a former mixed-martial arts champion becomes embroiled in the lives of a psychologically troubled single mother and a young wannabe fighter, in Hong Kong auteur Dante Lam’s stylish and compelling action-drama. ” - sharmatt
 
64.
The Wonders (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The complex relationship between a Jerusalem street artist and a mysterious, modern-day prophet being held prisoner in an abandoned apartment across the alleyway. (112 mins.)
Director: Avi Nesher
“ Lewis Carroll meets Carol Reed in this dizzyingly funny and fantastical farce from Israeli director Avi Nesher, about a good-natured slacker who becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine conspiracy in the weird criminal-religious underbelly of Jerusalem. HILARIOUS IF YOU APPRICIATE JEWISH HUMOUR. ” - sharmatt
 
65.
Bastards (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Marco returns to Paris after his brother-in-law's suicide, where he targets the man his sister believes caused the tragedy - though he is ill-prepared for her secrets as they quickly muddy the waters. (100 mins.)
Director: Claire Denis
“ BASTARDS….FRANCE…CLAIR DANIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE DIRECTORS WORKING TODAY. One of the most visionary filmmakers in contemporary cinema, Claire Denis (Beau travail, Trouble Every Day, White Material) returns with this dazzling, labyrinthine story of sex, murder, and revenge. Les Salauds is full of striking imagery, right from its first shots of a young woman walking, naked, through the dim streets of Paris. The "why" is immediately invoked, and it is not long before we are locked in a labyrinthine plot of family and business, betrayal and vengeance. The head of a family business is dead, and evidence suggests that a malevolent tycoon is responsible. Into this fractured world comes the dead man's brother-in-law, who quits his job as a sailor on an oil tanker so he can get to the bottom of what has transpired. Marco would rather not get involved — he'd prefer to remain apart from everything — but despite his vacillating, he finds himself slowly dragged in, deeper and deeper. He also carries his own secret into the story. ” - sharmatt
 
66.
Paradise: Hope (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The final installment in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, 'Paradise: Hope' tells the story of overweight thirteen-year-old Melanie and her first love... (92 mins.)
Director: Ulrich Seidl
“ PARADISE: HOPE….AUSTRIA….ULRICH SEIDL IS PROBABLY THE MOST ORIGINAL AND UNUSUAL FILMMAKERS ON THE SCENE TODAY. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN HIS “DOG DAYS” YOU HAVE MISSED A REAL TREAT. HE EXPLORES THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE ON THE EDGES OF SOCIETY. THIS ONE HAS AS ITS PROTAGONISTS FAT 13 YEAR OLDS AT A DIET CAMP. WHAT IS AMAZING IS HIS DIRECTION OF THESE NON-ACTORS. A stunning conclusion to his Paradise trilogy, Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Hope is the latest offering from the Austrian auteur. With his roots in documentary, and his eyes firmly set on the less-attractive sides of the human animal and its psyche, Seidl is the perfect chronicler of our futile attempts to grasp at a "normal life." Following Paradise: Love's story of one woman's search for love on the white beaches of Kenya, and, in Paradise: Faith, another's self-inflicted punishment in the name of Jesus, this new film checks us into a weight-loss camp for overweight teens. ” - sharmatt
 
67.
Salinger (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An unprecedented look inside the private world of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. (120 mins.)
Director: Shane Salerno
“ SALINGER…MUCH OF THE MYSTIQUE OF JD SALINGER REVEALED IN THIS REVEALING DOCUMENTABOUT PROBABLY THE MOST INTERESTING NOVELIST IN MY LIFETIME. I TRULY ENJOYED THIS BIODOCU. Meticulously researched over nearly a decade by writer/director/producer Shane Salerno, and featuring interviews with literary giants Gore Vidal and Tom Wolfe as well as celebrity fans such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Martin Sheen, Salinger is an unprecedented look at an American icon. ” - sharmatt
 
68.
Bastardo (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
This is the story of Mohsen aka « Bastardo », a man with no origins or history, who's always been excluded... (106 mins.)
Director: Néjib Belkadhi
“ BASTARDO….THIS IS WHY I LOVE FILM FESTIVALS TO DISCOVER THIS GEM FROM TUNISIA…GYPSY FILM MAKING AT ITS FINEST…..SURREAL AND MYSTICAL. Bastardo is a contemporary allegory on the corruptive nature of power, set in a ruthless Tunisian ghetto and peppered with mysterious, larger-than-life characters — some of whom have supernatural powers. The combination of noir and magic realism elements is seamless, a testament to director Nejib Belkadhi's masterful ability. ” - sharmatt
 
69.
Watermark (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A documentary on how water shapes humanity. (92 mins.)
“ Edward Burtynsky was born in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is an award-winning photographer and has exhibited with the National Gallery of Canada, MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His work was the subject of Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes (06). Watermark (13) is his directorial debut. TO ME HIS PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE SINGLE BEST AT THIS TIME REFLECTING CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY AND THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR PLANET. APOLOGIES TO MY RIGHT WING PUNDITS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN SCIENCE. ” - sharmatt
 
70.
Nebesnye zheny lugovykh mari (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
23 short stories about the Mari women. Stories joyful and sad, ridiculous and terrible. It is the movie ornament, the movie calendar telling about philosophy, traditions and today of the Mari people. (106 mins.)
“ aka CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI.... Alexey Fedorchenko, FROM RUSSIA A GEM THAT IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER FILM YOU WILL SEE THIS YEAR. A TONGUE IN CHEEK EXPLORATION OF RUSSIAN COUNTRY LIFE DEVOID OF OUR LOCAL RELIGIOUS HANGUPS. Comprised of 23 vignettes illuminating the pagan-influenced mores of western Russia’s Meadow Mari, the latest film from director Alexey Fedorchenko (Silent Souls) is a beguiling, painterly portrait of a culture driven by a ritualistic appreciation of female beauty and feminine sexuality. ” - sharmatt
 
71.
Moebius (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A father driven into desire, a son coveting that of his father's, and the sorrowful maternity that hovers them into tragedy. (89 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
“ South Korea’s celebrated perennial provocateur Kim Ki-duk (Pieta) returns with this twisted family chronicle perched somewhere between psychological thriller, grotesque comedy, and perverse ode to the pleasures of sadomasochism. IN MY OPINION ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL AND TALENTED FILM MAKERS WORKING TODAY. HIS FILM, "THE ISLE" IS ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES....CHECK IT OUT AND YOU WILL BE WOWED. ” - sharmatt
 
72.
12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
All proceeds from the sale of this video featured on the page will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund... (96 mins.)
Director: Michael Dempsey
“ 12.12.12. A CONCERT FUNDRAISER FOR VICTIMS OF SANDY. THIS WAS THE BEST CONCERT FILM THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. With one of the greatest lineups ever assembled — Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Kanye West, Jon Bon Jovi, and Alicia Keys — this extraordinary concert film documents the event that would raise over 30 million dollars to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy. ” - sharmatt
 
73.
Oktober November (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Successful actress returns to her family home in rural Austria to visit her ailing father and her sister who spent her whole life taking care of him and her family. The reunion is marked by jealousy, introspection and a secret. (114 mins.)
Director: Götz Spielmann
“ OKTOBER NOVEMBER…AUSTRIA….GOTZ SPIELMAN IS THE REASON I ATTENDED THIS FILM WHO BROUGHT US REVANCHE, A 2008 PRODUCTION, WHICH WAS AN INCREDIBLE FILM ABOUT FORGIVENESS. THIS ONE AGAIN EXPLORES THE HUMAN CONDITION IN AN EXCELLENT REVEALING AND SENSITIVE MANNER. THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, CINEMATOGRAPHY, THE IN DEPTH PSYCOLOGIC PROFILES ARE MASTERFUL.
Director Gotz Spielmann follows his acclaimed thriller Revanche with this visually captivating character study, in which a family reunion at a mountainside inn lays bare old wounds and reveals long-held secrets. ” - sharmatt
 
74.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Told from the male perspective, the story of a couple trying to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone. (89 mins.)
Director: Ned Benson
“ THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, HIM AND HER……ANOTHER SUPERLATIVE PERFORMANCE BY JESSICA CHASTAIN IN A WONDERFUL EXPLORATION OF RELATIONSHIPS. I HOPE AN OSCAR NOD IS IN THE STARS, BUT UNLIKELY AS THIS IS A CANADIAN PRODUCTION. WOULD HAVE BEEN A 10 FOR ME IF NOT FOR THE ANOST….ESPECIALLY WITH THE ISABELLE HUPPERT SCENES. SO TAKE OFF 2 POINTS. It’s the interplay between Him and Her, though, where The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby finds its magic. Benson marks the film with subtle difference to show the varying perspectives that two people can glean from the same encounter. Memories change and interpretations blur with time and feeling. ” - sharmatt
 
75.
I'm the Same, I'm an Other (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
(109 mins.)
“ I'm the same I'm an other….IN THE WAVELENGTHS SECTION OF TIFF.. Daring, visionary and autonomous voices. Films that expand our notions of cinema. An unorthodox crime story. Portrait of an unlikely companionship. Belgian director Caroline Strubbe’s uniquely crafted second feature combines all of these to tell the moving story of a man and a child in mourning as they journey through Western Europe. ” - sharmatt
 
76.
R100 (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
An ordinary man with an ordinary life joins a mysterious club. The membership lasts for one year only... (99 mins.)
“ R100…JAPAN….WORDS FAIL ME TO DESCRIBE THIS MASTERFULLY CREATED FILM….THE PRODUCTION VALUES..SETS, CINEMATOGRAPHY, PERFS, MUSIC ARE ALL FIRST RATE WHICH MADE IT AN ENJOYABLE SEE FOR ME…THE LAST FILM ON THE LAST DAY FOR ME AT TIFF 2013. In R100, Nao Ohmori (star of Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer) plays Takafumi Katayama, a mild-mannered father who escapes the pressures of daily life by joining a mysterious S&M club, where the so-called Queens visit clients in real-life settings. While at first the rough treatment and humiliation he receives from leather-clad women in cafés and restaurants is enjoyable, Takafumi soon realizes that he's opened a door that cannot be closed. ” - sharmatt
 
77.
Prisoners (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family? (153 mins.)
“ THIS FILM WAS HARD FOR ME TO JUDGE. I CERTAINLY WANTED MORE FROM THE DIRECTOR WHO GAVE US INCENDIES. THERE WERE MANY MOMENTS THAT I FOUND OVERPLAYED AND SILLY, YET IT CAPTURED MY ATTENTION ENTIRELY FROM BEGINNING TO END. FOR THAT IT DESERVED A 9/10, YET MY OVERALL IMPRESSION DROPPED IT TO A 7. On an overcast Thanksgiving in suburban Pennsylvania, two neighbouring families gather for dinner. Food, drink, games, and stories are shared. But as the party begins to wind down, the youngest daughters from each household are nowhere to be found. Panic sets in as the parents remember the mysterious Winnebago that was parked on their street earlier in the day. What has happened to the children? ” - sharmatt
 
78.
Rush (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. (123 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
“ THE QUALITY OF PRODUCTION WAS MORE AT THE EXCELLENCE OF THE EUROPEAN TRADITION THAN THAT OF HOLLYWOOD DESPITE RON HOWARD BEING AT THE HELM. SETS, PHOTOGRAPHY, NARRATIVE AND PERFS WERE ALL OUTSTANDING. I FOUND THE STORY INVOLVING AND ENJOYABLE DESPITE MY PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF THE EVENTS. ” - sharmatt
 
79.
Inequality for All (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap. (89 mins.)
Director: Jacob Kornbluth
“ THIS SHOULD BE A PREREQUISITE OF ALL STUDENTS OF POLITICS, SOCIETY, GOVERNMENT, HISTORY AND HUMANITARIAN STUDIES OF ALL FORM. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IT IS MY OPINION THAT IT SHOULD BE SEEN BY EVERYONE LIVING OF THE PLANET. ” - sharmatt
 
80.
Don Jon (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. (90 mins.)
“ CONTRITE AND SILLY MUCH OF THE TIME IT EXPLORES THE SUBJECT OF MALE SEXUALITY IN DEPTH AND PROBABLY ACCURATELY. ” - sharmatt
 
81.
Gravity (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. (91 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
“ DID NOT LIKE THIS FILM.....LITTLE MORE THAN AN ANIMATED FEATURE WITH ALL OF THE DIGITAL CREATION. FELT IT WAS A WASTE OF MY TIME. ” - sharmatt
 
82.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed with the disease. (117 mins.)
“ THE GRITTY REALITY OF THIS AIDS FILM WILL MAKE YOU VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT THE 2 LEAD PERFORMANCES ARE SIMPLY AMAZING. CAN YOU IMAGINE LOSING 38 POUNDS FOR THIS ROLE AS DID MATTHEW Mc CAUGHEY. HE AND JARED LETO AS THE TRANSVESTITE IS THE REASON FOR MY 9/10 GRADE. SEE THIS FILM IF YOU APPRECIATE THE ART OF ACTING. Nearly 20 years after launching his career as a hayseed hunk in “Dazed and Confused” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation,” McConaughey subverts that same macho image by playing a redneck bigot who becomes the unlikely savior to a generation of gay men frightened by a disease they don’t yet understand. Woodroof was straight — which the film makes abundantly clear in his undiminished pursuit of any woman who crosses his path — and reprehensibly homophobic to boot, but his newfound outcast status inspired a sense of empathy toward his HIV-positive peers that not only motivated his actions but also serves as this exceptionally well-handled pic’s most valuable takeaway. ” - sharmatt
 
83.
42 (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. (128 mins.)
Director: Brian Helgeland
“ A FILM THAT SHOULD BE SEEN IF FOR NO OTHER REASON ITS HISTORICAL VALUE, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE UNDER 50. A moving, all-around terrific telling of Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and his breaking of baseball’s color line in 1947, “42” is an all-star drama that covers all the bases.
It’s a sports film nonsports fans can love; it’s a family film that never preaches; it’s a biopic that also takes in the world and people around its subject. ” - sharmatt
 
84.
Philomena (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent. (98 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
“ THIS IS A WONDERFUL FILM FOR ITS MESSAGE, NARRATIVE, CONSTRUCTION AND MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR THE AMAZING PERFORMANCE BY JUDI DENCH. TO ME IT IS THE WINNING BEST ACTRESS AWARD FOR 2013. DO NOT MISS THIS AMAZING FILM. NOBODY WILL DISLIKE UNLESS THOSE POSSIBLY BLINDED BY THEIR RELIGIOUS LOYALTY. REX REED: Philomena is not only my favorite film of 2013, but one of the most eloquent, powerful and perfect movies I have ever seen. A focused and triumphant performance by the miraculous Judi Dench keeps the harrowing aspects of a great story in flawless balance, and every other aspect of this film works like a hypnotic charm. Sensitively and carefully directed by Stephen Frears and brilliantly written by co-star Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that deserves genuflection. Ms. Dench gives a wrenching and deeply touching performance of feeling, wisdom and nuance without a trace of sentimental self-indulgence ” - sharmatt
 
85.
Nebraska (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize. (115 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ ALEXANDER PAYNE IS AT HIS BEST HERE IN THE METICULOUS CONSTRUCTION OF EVERY SCENE. THE STORY IS SLOW AND TO ME BORING BUT ITS APPRECIATION OF EXCELLENCE CANNOT BE IGNORED. BRUCE DERN HAS AT LEAST AN AUTOMATIC OSCAR NOMINATION. JOE MORGENSTERN: What makes a movie big or small? By one set of measurements Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," which was written by Bob Nelson, is on the small side—modest budget, black-and-white photography, a road movie played out across flat country at a leisurely pace, and nary a trace of special effects. Measured differently, though, this is a richly textured film about a half-cracked father and a nearly estranged son, a universal tale in which the father, dodging dementia—and his shrewish wife—with sporadic success, clings fiercely, heroically and often hilariously to his own reality. By the metrics of the heart, "Nebraska" is as big as it is beautiful. ” - sharmatt
 
86.
Oldboy (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason. (104 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
“ A HORRIBLE FILM NOT WORTH YOUR TIME OR MONEY. IF YOU HAVE ANY DESIRE TO SEE IT THEN GET THE ORIGINAL VERSION FROM KOREA MADE IN 2003. I SAW IT AT TIFF AND GAVE IT A 9/10 SCORE. TYPICAL OF AMERICAN COPYCATTING.....THEY DO IT IN A TERRIBLE FASHION. Spike Lee's superfluous duplication of Oldboy brings to mind Samuel Johnson's famous 18th-century witticism, likening a woman preaching to a dog walking on its hind legs: "It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." ” - sharmatt
 
87.
Frozen (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition. (102 mins.)
“ EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO 10 YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER AS SHARON AND I ARE LUCKY TO HAVE, THIS IS A WORTHWHILE FILM OUTING. DISNEY ANIMATION IS NOT USUALLY TO MY TASTE, BUT THIS ONE WAS AT TIMES INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL PLUS TO MUSIC AND THE MESSAGE NARRATIVE. BETSY SHARKEY: With a cool, contemporary spin on a fairy-tale classic, a dramatic Nordic landscape animated in splendid storybook style and Broadway vets belting out power ballads, "Frozen" is an icy blast of fun from the very first flake. A certain scene-stealing snowman named Olaf chief among them.
Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee create a magical 3-D winter wonderland in "Frozen." A sisterhood saga loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," it is filled with heart and heart-stopping action. ” - sharmatt
 
88.
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He's a romantic atheist, she's a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial. (111 mins.)
“ THIS BELGIUM FILM IS A 2013 OSCAR SUBMISSION AND SHOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE 2014 PSIFF. SO FAR THIS FALL/WINTER FILM SEASON THIS IS MY FAVORITE. THE MESSAGE IS LOUD AND CLEAR AND RINGS SO TRUE. THE NARRATIVE AND EXCELLENCE IN FILM MAKING IS SO EVIDENT. SURPRISINGLY, I ALSO LOVE THE AMERICAN HILL BILLY MUSIC. IT IS NOW OUT OF THEATRES LOCALLY UNFORTUNATELY. LIKE SO MANY EXCELLENT FOREIGN FILMS, THEY GET A VERY SHORT RELEASE IF AT ALL. AMERICANS PREFER THE HOLLYWOOD GARBAGE!! NEW YORK POST 10 RATING, It has the look of a hipster fever dream, with its banjo playing, bushy beards, copious body art and chicken homesteading. But this Belgian drama is the real deal, an alternately wrenching and ecstatic viewing experience, adapted from a play by lead actor Johan Heldenbergh. ” - sharmatt
 
89.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn't follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice. (116 mins.)
Director: Scott Cooper
“ TERRIFIC CAST, PRODUCTION CREDITS MAGNIFICENT, TOO BAD THERE WAS NOT A DECENT NARRATIVE, THUS MY LOW SCORE. WHAT A WASTE OF FIRST CLASS TALENT. SKIP THIS ONE. A crystal meth business and various other shady operations, not to mention a dozen slightly less intelligent evil hicks working for him. Their houses probably don't have plumbing, which accounts for the hygiene. Harrelson and his crew make up a colorful bunch, but they're not the focus of "Out of the Furnace." In fact, they seem to be part of a different movie, a dumb but lively sideshow in the midst of a long, grim exercise in garden-variety pointlessness, disguised as nihilism. Directed and co-written by Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart"), "Out of the Furnace" somehow drags in two distinct and almost contradictory ways. It shambles and ambles, seemingly without focus or pattern, from one thing to the next. Yet at the same time, it's predictable. ” - sharmatt
 
90.
The Great Beauty (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. (141 mins.)
“ TODAY 11 DEC 2013 SHARON AND I BOTH ENJOYED THIS MAGNIFICENT FILM. TRULY A GENIUS AT WORK HERE IN EVERY ASPECT OF FILM CREATION...CINEMATOGRAPHY, EDITING SETS, PERFS, MUSIC...VISUAL POETRY AT ITS FINEST. WE BOTH HATED TO SEE IT END AND DO STAY THROUGH THE ENTIRE CREDITS AS IT REFLECTS ROME AS YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE. INCREDIBLY IT SEEMS TO BE BUT A SINGLE TAKE, TWO AT THE MOST LASTING 10-15 MINUTES ACCOMPANIED BY A BEAUTIFUL SCORE. I GAVE THIS FILM MY HIGHEST RATING AND NOW REPRESENTS MY FAVORITE FILM OF THE YEAR SO FAR. DO HOPE ALL MY READERS SEE THIS FILM. METACRITIC AT 85 AND ROTTEN TOMATOES AT 92% ARE VERY HIGH CRITICAL APPRAISAL. I WAS SO SAD WITH THE LOSS OF FELLINI, BUT NOW FEEL HE IS REINCARNATED IN THE FORM OF PAOLO SORRENTINO. San Francisco Chronicle: If you know Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," you'll be unable to watch "The Great Beauty" without thinking about it. This gorgeous Italian movie, like its predecessor, balances pungent satire and a more melancholy mood in portraying the dissolute world of the upper crust in contemporary Rome. ” - sharmatt
 
91.
The Hunt (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie. (115 mins.)
“ Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his performance as an innocent man accused of child molestation in this ferociously powerful new film by Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration). Steve Gordon's all time favorite film. I think Mads' performance deserves Oscar consideration. Certain to be one of the year's defining and most controversial films, The Hunt is an intelligent and disturbing dissection of Danish society
Thomas Vinterberg was born in Copenhagen. He made his feature debut with The Biggest Heroes (96). His second feature, The Celebration (98), won numerous awards worldwide, including the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His other features are It's All About Love (03), Dear Wendy (05), When a Man Comes Home (07), Submarino (10) and The Hunt (12). Strongly associated with Dogme 95 film construction. ” - sharmatt
 
92.
Bethlehem (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Tells the story of the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant... (99 mins.)
Director: Yuval Adler
“ THIS FILM UNDERSCORES THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ISRAEL PALESTINIAN RELATIONS, A VERY COMMON FILM NARRATIVE. THIS ONE SHOWS A BALANCE OF COMPASSION FOR BOTH SIDES. IF ONLY THE STAKES WERE NOT SO HIGH. IN A SENTENCE IT DESCRIBES THE CONSEQUENCES OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN AN ISRAELI SECURITY OFFICER AND A PALESTINIAN INFORMANT. SAD NARRATIVE, BALANCED AND EXCELLENT PRODUCTION VALUES. VARIETY: Debuting Israeli writer-helmer Yuval Adler and Palestinian co-scripter Ali Waked combine forces and their own intimate knowledge of the contempo Arab-Israeli conflict to impressive effect in “Bethlehem,” a tightly wound clock-ticking thriller. Centered around the fraught relationship between an Israeli intelligence officer and his conflicted Palestinian informant, the plot sifts through the moral complexities of the situation in such a way as to seem admirably evenhanded, although there are bound to be partisan viewers from both camps who will strive to find offense somewhere. ” - sharmatt
 
93.
Those Happy Years (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A narcissistic artist finds his self-satisfied world turned upside down in the wake of a disastrous exhibition and his previously devoted wife's extra-marital inclinations. (106 mins.)
 
94.
Spieltrieb (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
A tangled drama of cruelty and manipulation, attraction and love. (102 mins.)
 
95.
Two Lives (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
As the Berlin Wall crumbles, Katrine, the daughter of a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier, finds her idyllic life disrupted as she refuses to testify a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of her fellow "war children." (97 mins.)
 
96.
Heart of a Lion (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Neo-Nazi falls in love with a woman who has a black son and finds himself fighting with conflicting feelings. (104 mins.)
Director: Dome Karukoski
 
97.
The Nightingale (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The story of an elderly man and his granddaughter who walk together through China with a bird in a cage. (100 mins.)
Director: Philippe Muyl
 
98.
The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Police inspector Carl Mørck is put in charge of a department of cold cases, joined only by his assistant, Assad. They dig into a case about a disappeared woman. (97 mins.)
 
99.
Blind Dates (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Fortysomething Sandro still lives at home with his parents. He and his best friend seem to have no luck at finding true love during their misadventures of meeting and date various women. (99 mins.)
 
100.
Walking with the Enemy (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A young man, separated from his family in WWII, disguises himself as a Nazi SS Officer and uncovers more than just his family whereabouts. (124 mins.)
Director: Mark Schmidt