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Like its housebound younger sibling, 2014 was a standout year for film specifically because it lacked a nucleus. Plaudits are settling on a handful of films to pin the year’s highest honors to, but no one movie was The movie of 2014. Instead, the last twelve months offered a stunning selection of terrific all-arounders, works not defined by one exceptional element, but that were capable of providing the full, satisfying viewing experiences needed to achieve timelessness, and not just an Oscar.
With new films from the likes of Mike Leigh and the Dardennes, 2014 had as much to offer from the old guard as it did the new, with folks like David Fincher, and Andersons Wes and Paul Thomas confidently navigating career midpoints. There was plenty new worth celebrating as well. Gareth Edwards and James Gunn delivered on the small budget promise of their early work by turning around two of the »
- Sam Woolf
2014 was a remarkable year for movies big and small, and in spirit, here are top 10 lists from Thompson on Hollywood staffers and contributors. Anne Thompson: 1. "Birdman" Alejandro González Iñárritu took on the most audacious cinematic feat of the year —and corralled a posse of actors with balls, lead by Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone, to nail his dissection of Hollywood and the fragile balance between ego and id—shot in exhilarating long takes. 2. "Boyhood" Richard Linklater dreamed up the story of a boy growing over 12 years, from six to 18, and cast Ellar Coltrane as the kid and Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents. No one else could have conceived, written and directed this daredevil feat. 3. "Mr. Turner" Mike Leigh took his genius method and applied it to his passion project about the great English painter Jmw Turner, channeled to perfection by Cannes Best Actor winner Timothy. »
Nearly a month after Sight & Sound posted the bare-bones results of its poll of 112 international film critics, we can now browse the individual ballots, many of which come with a paragraph or two of commentary on the selections or, in some cases, the state of things in general. This is one sleek interactive machine of an infographic—have fun! Otherwise, today's crop of year-end lists brings quite a variety of #1's: Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, Lav Diaz's Norte, the End of History, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan, Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, Tate Taylor's Get On Up, Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida and, of course, Richard Linklater's Boyhood. » - David Hudson »
The British have a wonderful term that describes my reaction to Mr. Turner: I was gobsmacked. I look forward to every new Mike Leigh film, but there was no way to prepare myself for this novel treatment of a great artist’s life. Stunning to behold, it’s almost indescribably powerful and nakedly emotional at times…yet it eschews all the conventions of a traditional biopic and focuses on a man who was a mass of contradictions, the esteemed painter J.M.W. Turner. Leigh says it all in the movie’s press notes: “He was a giant among artists, single-minded and uncompromising, extraordinarily prolific, revolutionary in his approach, consummate at his craft, clairvoyant in his vision. Yet Turner...
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- Leonard Maltin
[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Mr. Turner opens today in limited release.] Painter J.M.W. Turner, the eponymous subject of Mike Leigh’s new biopic Mr. Turner, was renowned for painting shipwrecks. A lazier film would condense Turner’s life around that simulacrum. Instead, Leigh chooses to look at the whole picture, and not just in showing a three-dimensional protagonist. Turner is part of a painting that includes a fascinating look at early-to-mid 19th century life in Europe. Leigh adds all the wonderful touches of the era’s dialect, vernacular, and linguistics along with a collection of other meticulous details to provide a vivid period piece. And it’s all built around an unforgettable performance from Timothy Spall who coughs, whistles, wheezes, and primarily grunts in his portrayal of an artist who personally and professionally defied easy categorization. The story follows Turner (Spall) along his professional and personal life, although we begin at the apex of his success. Instead of seeing »
- Matt Goldberg
Timothy Spall paints a fascinating portrait of J.M.W. Turner in the new biopic, Mr. Turner, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mike Leigh and beautifully lensed by cinematographer Dick Pope. The actor fully immerses himself in the role of the eccentric but brilliant English painter, water colorist and printmaker who elevated the art form of landscape painting in the 18th century. Mr. Turner premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where Spall took the award for Best Actor and marks the seventh time in his career that he has collaborated with Leigh. Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, and Paul Jesson also star. At a recent roundtable interview, Spall talked about the challenge of playing the artist, his preparation for the role, the directing process with Leigh, their organic approach to building up the characters through improvisation, his painting lessons with British portraitist Tim Wright that helped him portray Turner convincingly, »
- Sheila Roberts
With his incomparable Mr. Turner, Mike Leigh continues to make other directors look simpleminded. His frequent collaborator Timothy Spall embodies the great early-19th-century seascape painter J.M.W. Turner, a stout little Cockney in a top hat who strides purposefully along the majestic seacoast and from one end of Leigh’s wide screen to the other, pausing to scrutinize the light the way a dog sniffs the air. Spall’s Turner is a notably unmajestic figure: It’s as if a Hogarthian caricature had been plopped down amid heavenly spires. But Leigh doesn’t present this seeming disjunction between the artist and his art as ironic, the way Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus bludgeoned you with the contrast between Mozart’s coarse manner and supernal music. (Shaffer had to distort Mozart’s character to fit the dubious thesis that God gives genius to people who don’t deserve it.) In »
- David Edelstein
"Mr. Turner" (December 19) is a lushly mounted period biopic about a globally beloved painter, but it is also about art and commerce, creative integrity, institutional hypocrisy, damaged children, personal generosity, inspiration and love. At its center is a great romance. And all this from famously cranky Brit auteur Mike Leigh, who many tend to take for granted. (The film is now nominated for seven London Film Critics awards, including Best Picture.) We shouldn't, just because he always delivers. At 71 he's at the height of his powers. Labor of love "Mr. Turner" was not easy to get made. It's the apotheosis of the Leigh Method, the creative --and hugely influential--process he has honed and refined over decades, which allows his actors to collaborate for months--or a year even-- on building their characters and his screenplay. Think about the filmmakers, from Richard Linklater to Bennett Miller, to name two of his award-season rivals, »
- Anne Thompson
When a major filmmaker decides to tell a story about a renowned artist, one expects that the director is painting a kind of self-portrait. That is the case with Mike Leigh’s splendid, thrillingly acted Mr. Turner (also out this month), and that may also be true for Tim Burton’s latest film, Big Eyes. Take a glance at Margaret Keane’s sweet, painted children with their milky, enveloping, entrancing eyes, and you get a feeling of sadness and youthful wonder, as well as a bit of kitsch – all factors omnipresent in Burton’s offbeat fantasies, films like Beetlejuice and Big Fish.
However, Burton is no longer such a gauche visionary, his films more about the inventiveness of their atmosphere than the depth of the performances in them. Big Eyes’ opening credit sequence, which shows several of Keane’s paintings going through a press to make thousands of copies, could »
- Jordan Adler
Mike Leigh's latest offering lustfully tackles the life, work and loves of Joseph Mallord William Turner, the legendary 19th Century British artist whose landscape paintings are revered around the world. Mr. Turner is a carefully constructed film, part performance piece and part biopic, that continues Leigh's tradition of providing rich and complex characters drawn upon the canvas of a greater tale. For those versed in this period of art history, Turner was an iconoclast, a painter who often turned calamity (slave ships, burning parliament buildings, etc.) into ethereal images. Small details were often buried in his almost diaphanous imagery, usually with much of the canvas dedicated to the pitiless magnitude of nature; swirling clouds or the tempestuous waves of the sea dominate the human elements...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
This weekend, Bilbo and company fight Smaug and an array of combatants to save Middle-Earth in "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the political BBC mini-series "The Honorable Woman" starring Maggie Gyllenhaal comes to Netflix, and the annual special "A Home for the Holidays" airs this Friday at 9 p.m. on CBS with performances from Earth Wind & Fire, Train, Jennifer Hudson, and more.
Also in theaters this weekend: The musical "Annie" gets a modern-day twist with Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie, Jamie Foxx as the business tycoon, and Cameron Diaz as foster mother, Hannigan. Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale round out the All-Star cast. In "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," favorite and new characters are united as Larry (Ben Stiller) spans the globe to save the magic before it is gone forever. Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, the late Robin Williams, and many more star in supporting roles. »
- Jonny Black
You’d be hard pressed to find a company in the film industry that’s as beloved as The Criterion Collection. Pricey though they are, the boutique label remains as popular in the film-loving set as ever. One of those fans is director Mike Leigh (who has three films on the label: "Naked," "Life Is Sweet," and "Topsy-Turvy"), and as part of the press tour for his latest, “Mr. Turner,” the British filmmaker stopped by the Criterion offices and shot a video inside their hallowed closet. It would be easy for filmmakers to grow so hardened and cynical over a career that they lose sight of their love of the art form. That’s why it’s so great when someone retains their passion for cinema like Leigh does in this eight-minute-long video. Barring a reference to the recently released Blu-ray of “A Hard Day’s Night,” all of Leigh »
- Cain Rodriguez
Assembling a year-end top-10 list has always been a personal, even self-indulgent, ritual, a way of disguising a whimsical ranking of favorites as a carefully curated declaration of personal taste. At the risk of making things even more solipsistic than usual, let me begin by noting that the fraught relationship between artists and critics provided 2014 with one of its most compelling movie themes, with critics themselves — food critics, art critics, theater critics and, yes, film critics — figuring among the year’s most favored characters. And by favored, of course, I mean mocked, loathed and misunderstood at every turn.
In one of the most talked-about scenes in Alejandro G. Inarritu’s virtuoso backstage farce “Birdman,” a washed-up movie star named Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) comes face to face with a notoriously nasty New York Times theater critic, Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan), who calmly informs him that she’s going to eviscerate his new Broadway play, »
- Justin Chang
Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner biopic, "Mr. Turner," topped the nominations for the London Film Critics Circle. The film about the English Romantic landscape painter, water-colourist, and printmaker played by Timothy Spall received 7 nods followed by Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" with 6. We'll find out the winners on January 18.
Here's the complete list of London Film Critics Circle nominees:
Film of the Year
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Foreign Language Film of the Year
"Norte, The End of History"
"Two Days, One Night"
British Film of the Year
Documentary of the Year
"20,000 Days on Earth"
Actor of the Year
Mr. Turner (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Mike Leigh, and starring Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Karl Johnson, Ruth Sheen, Sandy Foster, Amy Dawson, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, and Richard Bremmer. Great movies steal away our attention and hold it hostage until the final [...]
Continue reading: Film Review: Mr. Turner (2014): A Man’s Life Painted In Broad Strokes »
- Victor Stiff
If you've ever loved a terrible person, Mike Leigh's quietly sensational Mr. Turner — a biopic, of sorts, covering the last 25 years of the life of the great 19th-century British painter J.M.W. Turner — is the movie for you. In his seascapes and landscapes, Turner found the perfect visual language for every possible combination of weather atmospherics, from soft swirls of ochre sunlight to the powdery whites and grays of treacherous ocean storms. Human beings don't figure largely in Turner's work, particularly in the later years of his career; when they appear at all, they're often small, blurred figures at the mercy of the sky above and the sea below. You can read that as a lack of interest in human nature, or as a kind of personal humility in the face of the vast ra »
I have been comically beset by obstacles this year so even though I'm roughly three weeks behind, I have to laugh a little at the strange stumbles and ouchy falls and just go... okay, well then. This is an interesting view of the floor! (apologiez: Oscar chart editing functions are somewhat on the fritz. trying for workarounds to fix)
One of the victims of this impossible season for me at least has been THR's roundtables. I literally haven't watched a single one of those sometimes highly enjoyable if aggravating celeb gatherings. Not even the Actress Roundtable! (I'm certain it was its vibe of "The Amy Adams Show: Episode 5" that killed my will to press play on the only day I had 50 minutes free on weeks ago. Important distinction: Amy Adams the actress is often very exciting to watch. »
- NATHANIEL R
Snubbed by SAG and the HFPA, Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner biopic leads the London Film Critics Circle nominations in seven categories. "Birdman" trails closely behind with six nominations, while Julianne Moore received double Best Actress kudos for her Golden Globe-nominated roles in "Still Alice" and "Maps to the Stars." (Despite a Golden Globe-qualifying quickie run, the Academy deemed "Maps" ineligible this year.) Back when "Mr. Turner" bowed at Cannes, where Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize, the film looked like a strong Oscar contender—but in a crowded field, this beautifully shot and acted film's chances have dwindled despite honors from the New York Film Critics Circle and the New York Film Critics Online. Here's the full list of London Film Critics noms. Winners will be announced January 18. Read More: The Genius of Mike Leigh's System: Leigh & Cast on Gorgeous "Mr. Turner" Film of the. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
I have a sneaking suspicion Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies is going to be added to the Criterion Collection very soon, if only because the film has disappeared from Netflix as of late and can hardly be purchased on Amazon unless you're willing to shell out $99.99 for the DVD. I only add this little introduction because 1.) I want it to happen and I'll read anything into Leigh being at the Criterion offices and 2.) it offers a little anecdote before introducing Leigh's time spent in the Criterion closet wherein he doesn't seem to actually take anything, but instead gives reason why you should consider buying titles such as Bicycle Thieves, Vivre sa Vie and The Late Spring, plus his personal connection to A Hard Day's Night and there's no surprise he loves Jules and Jim is therec Watch below. yt id="f31TXhdC-Ps" width="500" »
- Brad Brevet
The London Film Critics’ Circle has announced the nominations for the 35th annual awards ceremony, with Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner leading the field with seven nominations in total, including Film of the Year and British Film of the Year.
Mr Turner will contest the Film of the Year award against Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida, Leviathan, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything, Under the Skin and Whiplish, with The Imitation Game, Pride, The Theory of Everything and Under the Skin are also up for British Film of the Year.
Here’s the full list of nominations for the awards…
Film Of The Year
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Foreign Language Film Of The Year
Norte, The End of History
Two Days, One Night
British Film Of The Year
- Gary Collinson
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