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The Railway Man (2013)
simply put, this is a classic film
Simply put, this is an instant classic. There has been many movies made about war, and this film now ranks among the greatest. And it is certainly a movie that anyone who has thought about the fact that some of the world's great countries participated in some of the worse atrocities. How are we to feel about those nations who destroyed so much, including those genocidal actions that continue to this day? This movie is one answer. And it is a journey that those who surrender to it, will never forget. If the movies are a collaborative art, then this is one of the greatest examples of it. And if truth and beauty matter to you, and if you can stand to watch scenes of horror and despair, you may experience which has to be a film of the deepest spiritual transformation and growth. I will never forget this, and I hope everyone who sees it can be transformed and healed.
American Hustle (2013)
the film of the year is a misunderstood work of genius!
I am on the road but outraged at the negativity toward a brilliant film. Not only does this movie nail the 70's in so many ways, but mirrors current events (New Jersey) in such perfect concordance, that it seems completely predictive of a thousand news stories circling the planet. How current does a movie have to be when it looks deep in the heart of darkness in American politics and then it all plays out right in front of us? As someone who lived in the middle of this kind of political world, I could not stop laughing at the perfect characterizations by a director who has assembled the best cast since Altman. Christian Bale and Amy Adams create a pair of con people that forever change the way you look the whole world of corruption. This is a classic work. And as I left the sold out theater, the audience seemed as astounded as they should have been. As far as the negative views on this site, you missed a film I will never forget.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
So this is why I dislike folk music?
Hate to be the one sour note, and it is great that so many people can enjoy this movie. But from a musical and musicians point of view, it is hopelessly out of tune. And it is the biggest miss for music fans since Scorcese completely ruined a very good idea of filming a story about the swing era, New York, New York. The problem with both films, is that the directors exhibited a tin ear to what was really behind an entire genre of music, and failed to capture almost all of the joy, sweat and tears that goes into musical creativity. If the Coen's wanted to capture the tragedy of musical losers, then they have not even done that. Because the whole reason music becomes an obsession in the first place is because there is so much that is positive about even very small roles in the musical universe. And what the Coen's really miss is the small fact that the folk era was not just the petty lives of secondary artists, but an entire country, even an entire world, singing there heart out about the liberation that was sweeping human consciousness. And there was one other small fact; folk musicians were known for more that silly tantrums and little minds. Many of them, to this day, were satisfied to be historians, mythologists, and keepers of the flame from many cultures and traditions. The shocking glory of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Dylan in that style and so many others was pure magic. All of a sudden there was music of such simplicity and beauty, that the world was stunned. If the Coen's had any inkling of this in the making of this movie, I missed it.
La vie d'Adèle (2013)
walked out, the film gave me the most intense claustrophobia
I almost never walk out of films. But this year is an exception. This movie had me thinking of watching an autopsy. It was cold, clinical, and so objectifying of the lead actress that I wanted to scream. Not only that but I could not think of sitting three hours to watch a plot which the director gave away in the first twenty minutes of the film. The problems with this film were so numerous, that I could never list them all. The subject matter seemed irrelevant right from the start. But one thing kept going through my head: romance without passion is like a day on the beach without the sun. Palm D'Or? A film with this lack of writing, thought, and drama is going to be cruel to an audience who has seen it all before.
Yi dai zong shi (2013)
A masterpiece that is not getting the recognition it deserves
When I see a movie like this I remember the joy and awe I experienced as a child. I would walk out of the theater with a feeling like I had a secret experience. I had seen into the soul of the film maker and I had captured a talisman that would be mine forever.
Such is the awe and joy at seeing this, one of the most stunning and beautiful films ever made, from my point of view. Each frame is poetry, art and loaded with meaning. The entire cinematography of the film is like a lightning bolt to the heart of the viewers.
It is certain that a film like this could never be made here or in any Western country. And the fact that this masterpiece will be ignored here in the US and even disparaged right here on IMDb, is a story that I do not have the time or patience to go into. Let's just say that all of those who are not going to this film because of this negativity are going to miss one of the most stunning movies of the last 25 years.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
If you want to see the movie script of the year, see this film
Making a comedy about a terrible disease takes guts. And writing a movie script this complex and funny is no mean feat. But as someone who lost my only brother to this terrible, tragic disease knows, this was a reach into the most amazing areas of the imagination. Point is, this movie, despite it's flaws, pulls it off. Take a cast of powerful and magical actors, throw in a wonderfully portrayed EAST coast city, borrow a few shots from the movie Rocky and various dance films, and voila, that's it. It looks oh so easy, but took a ton of imagination to make it work.There are a hundred ways to criticize the results, but I say, surrender to what has to be one of the most clever, healing and fantastic comedies in years.There are few films like this, and there will probably not be another movie so human, and so very true again any time soon.
Side Effects (2013)
A delicious dinner of a movie with the perfect dessert of betrayal and suspense
What a delicious surprise of a movie for this early in the year. As has been the case before, a few films of greatness end up playing just after the first of the year. I saw this movie with expecting a clichéd crime drama. What I saw was one of the most inventive and riotous versions of suspense in years. Despite signs that this genre is dead and buried (no pun intended)here is a very modern film that updates the themes and tones of film noir without a pause or hitch of any kind. And as usual in great movies of this type, the setting is a character as strong as any of the actors. New York City has never looked this depressing and cold. But what really works here is a cast so perfect, that you can hardly remember their names. Each actor fits so perfectly in the tapestry of the plot, that the film has a naturalism so real it is surreal. There is a an incredible attention to detail that is what you would expect from a Broadway play or a painting by Dali. One suggestion-DO NOT go by yourself. Having a fellow traveler to discuss this is very required. And I say this as someone who goes to the movies alone often.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
A film so awful that it defies the imagination
Not only is this one of the worst film of all time, but this film may be a real death blow to any last bit of interest in past joy boy Pitt. How in this day and age does someone of his stature sleep walk through a so called entertainment so vile, pointless and boring that it leaves the audience with one thought. Why did I not use the bathroom before sitting down for this film? Violence and thuggery on this level is not only uninteresting, but without any real acting, why would anyone want to watch it? Who really cares about a plot so dumb and pointless, that it makes Mickey Mouse cartoons look like War and Peace? Who thinks at this point that these so called petty mobsters would be of any interest to anyone, if they even exist? I could go on. But having wasted more than an hour with this drek, and walking out to plead for another movie ticket, I have spent too much time on this already. Let us pray, may the complete idiots behind this miserable garbage be sent to a foreign country or planet where they will not murder anyone's weekend ever again.
O-jik geu-dae-man (2011)
An amazing film that will keep you watching - I loved this
How many of you will see this? I am someone who now realizes that Korean movies are now worth paying attention to. On one level this movie is pure melodrama. But when you think about it, melodrama goes back to the beginning of film. And the plot of this movie, comes directly from Charley Chaplin's "City Lights". So the story works here precisely because this kind of film has disappeared from mainstream movies. I hope you remember how Steven Spielberg broke through by harnessing the power of the cinema to make us feel. I have no idea who this director is. But what I do know is that he is a master of a very old kind of storytelling and he is hip enough to kick the whole story up to modern times in a scene so violent, well, we won't go into it...but hide you eyes if you have to. The lead actors, indeed, all the actors, are so good that they make you feel things despite a language none of us hear very often. And they are not over doing it, in a story that could have been destroyed by their lack of subtlety. Seeing this movie with a crowd of young Asian Americans at their festival in San Francisco was a special treat. Do not miss this, it is one of the best films of the year for those of us who love pure cinema. Hats off to a culture and cinema production style that could allow this to be made. You will not see anything like this again anytime soon.
La guerre est déclarée (2011)
This film is better than you might expect-a wonder of intimacy
I saw this movie in a nearly completely empty theater on a Saturday night! Not good when you consider that there is so little else going on in the artistic desert of America. I just love the fact that this film is so intimate, so close yet the viewer is not left with a feeling of voyeurism. Rather it is a story of despair, hope, and almost surreal disconnections. The actors are the kind of people you know in advance. They are from a very naturalistic acting school that has a feeling of realism and joy that is affecting and not over done. The story is difficult to watch, but somehow drives along. I am sure an American company will re-make this and I am sure I will skip it. It is not that the French do this type of movie so well. It is that these actors are so much more interesting than the current crop of American standard bearers. I recommend this, but hurry, before it disappears.