What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #225

Got my fill of Zatoichi and watched some screeners

zatoichiOnce I saw the Zatoichi Blu-ray set from Criterion was on sale at Barnes & Noble it immediately became a hot item on my Christmas wish list. Thankfully, even at the ripe age of 36, my mother still asks what I would like for Christmas... Zatoichi it was and I couldn't be happier, the set is amazing!

I can't remember exactly, but I think I watched the first six Zatoichi films on Hulu Plus earlier this year, but once I received the set there was no chance I wasn't starting from the beginning and working my way through. I managed to watch the first three so far -- The Tale of Zatoichi, The Tale of Zatoichi Continues and New Tale of Zatoichi -- and I really can't wait to get to Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, but that's still 16 movies away.

Speaking of Yojimbo, or Toshiro Mifune to be more accurate, I also just received for review, Criterion's upcoming releases of Throne of Blood as well as Rififi. I started watching Throne of Blood already and will have reviews of both as soon as I can.

Additionally, I watched Frozen once again with the family over the holidays as well as Frances Ha and American Hustle, both for a second time. I also watched, for the first time, Riddick and my god what an awful film. Terrible in fact. I never would have thought it could be a bona fide contender for one of the worst films of 2013, but it most certainly is. Yikes.

Other than that, I am finishing up reading Sam Kashner and Jennifer MacNair's "The Bad and the Beautiful" and next up is Mark Harris' "Pictures at a Revolution" and I also picked up Dennis Lehane's "Live by Night" for only $1.99 on sale yesterday at Amazon. That's the one Ben Affleck is going to direct for 2015 once he finishes with Batman vs. Superman.

Now, it's your turn, what did you watch this weekend?

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    Very Good -
    Artifact(30 Seconds To Mars/Jared Leto Doc)
    30 For 30: Small Potatoes:Who Killed The USFL?
    The Institute (Social Experiment Doc)

    Good -
    The Pit (New York Stock Exchange Documentary)
    Made Of Stone (The Stone Roses Doc)

    Ok -
    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
    Burzynski-The Movie (Lawsuit/Cancer/Pharmaceutical Doc)
    30 For 30: King's Ransom (Wayne Gretzky Doc)

    Higher? Lower? Catching Fire.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      Artifact sounds like a good one to watch to go behind the scenes with the Oscar favorite.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

        It hasn't been nominated, or have i read your comment wrong?

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

          Yes I meant go behind the scenes with Oscar favorite Jared Letto. Most experts have him winning supporting actor.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

            Oh sorry, i'm wid ya. Artifact was a really interesting doc, even for a non-music fan like me.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Would move Desolation to very good.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

        If it wasn't for a few decent performances it would of been "Avoid", the CGI was dreadful in places and that barrel scene was straight out of Wacky Racers. Tolkien must be turning in his grave.

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      I'm interested in Artifact and The Institute, and none of the rest of those...

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

        Yeah, them and Catching Fire, your #1.

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          It's actually my only one. I haven't watched any other film this year, just that one over and over and over again ;)

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

            You do realize it's always the same ending?

            • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

              Sometimes Katniss loses! IT'S AWESOME!

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

                Don't say that, Ryan will get upset.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

                No I won't. It's no longer my #1 of the year.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

                Knew i would jimmy you out of your foxhole with that comment.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

    I'm hoping to catch Frozen as well today with my son. Hope you had a great time with your family during the holidays.

    Elysium

    A good visually stunning science fiction film. In Elysium, Oscar nominee Neill Blomkamp brings a good science fiction film that at the same time touches on issues like wealth distribution and the health care system. Even though the film does touch on interesting issues at times it is too conventional. Blomkamp does a good job of delivering emotion in Elysium. Oscar winner Matt Damon does a good job in the lead as Max, unhappy with the wealthy system and a man fighting to survive. Actors’ guild nominee Diego Luna does a fine job as Julio, loyal friend to Max, even if it is short. Weta does a phenomenal job
    with the visual effects as usual. Elysium is a good science fiction film, even if at times conventional.
    (7.9/10)

    World War Z (per Ashdurdin’s recommendation)

    An Intelligent horror/action film. Writers Carnahan, Goddard, and Lindelof do a
    good job in adapting this Zombie film while adding some biological and social
    intelligence to it. Oscar nominee Brad Pitt is having an amazing year with the success of two of his films, and delivers a good leading performance as Gerry Lane in World War Z. Pitt does a fine job delivering action and at the same time providing a determined character. The part of the score that is heard throughout the film, performed by Grammy winning Muse, is very fitting to the genre. Some of the emotion is not felt as much as it wants to but it’s still a good action/horror piece. Thanks Ashdurdin, I enjoyed watching it.
    (7/10)

    42

    In 42, Oscar winner Brian Helgeland brings an inspirational sport drama that’s at times a bit dull. The film does a good job of demonstrating the adversities that African American athletes faced during the forties. Some performances were good and some were average. The great Harrison Ford delivers some of his
    best work as Major League Executive Wesley Branch Rickey. Ford delivers some touching moments throughout. Chadwick Boseman does well
    as the courageous Jackie Robinson. Though inspirational, the film can sometimes be a bit boring and old fashioned.
    (6.5/10)

    Up in the Air (Clooney hit, per Bafta/Brittania award)

    Up in the Air is an intelligent look at a traveler’s life and commitment. Oscar nominated director Jason Reitman once again does a fine job analyzing a situation that is not considered the norm. Reitman also wrote, what is a very intelligent script for Up in the Air. Part of what made this film interesting was
    the performances by its great ensemble. The legend George Clooney delivers some of his best work as the charismatic traveler Ryan Bingham. Oscar
    nominees Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick also deliver some of their best work
    with their onscreen chemistry with Clooney. Some parts of film feel slow and could have used more excitement. The ending is very well crafted with a few
    surprises.
    (7.4/10)

    1) Do you agree? Disagree?
    2) What is your favorite Matt Damon work?
    Mine is his performance in the Departed.
    3) Favorite George Clooney work?
    Mine is his performance on the Ocean’s trilogy
    4) Favorite Brad Pitt work?
    Mine is his performance in Fight Club
    5) Favorite Harrison Ford Performance?
    6) Favorite all-time or recent action film(s)?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Liked Elysium and 42 more. Agree on World War Z, it's a good zombie movie.
      3. The Ides of March
      4. Moneyball
      5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
      6. Recently, Desolation of Smaug.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

        3. Agree demonstrated many of his talents on that film; Directing, writing, and acting.
        6. Yea as a Lord of the Rings Fan, I'm hoping to check it out. Glad to hear it sounds better than an Unexpected Journey.

        • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

          3. He did. It was a great movie.
          6. It is better. I did really enjoy Unexpected Journey though.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I haven't seen '42' but I'm a fan of 'Up In The Air' and 'World War Z' was pretty good. I have to say I found 'Elysium' fairly laughable though and not very good at all.
      2. At the time he was surprisingly effective in the Bourne films because he wasn't really known for that sort of film. Performance wise, though I don't actually have a favourite to point to.
      3. I quite like him in 'Solaris' and 'Micheal Clayton'. Also 'The Descendants' is a good performance as well.
      4. Maybe 'Fight Club', yep.
      5. He's quite good in 'Witness' and 'Blade Runner', but I also liked him in 'The Fugitive'.
      6. I wouldn't have just one but 'Twister' is still good for me. But then the more I think then there might be 'Die Hard', 'True Lies', etc and then some more would inevitably follow!

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

        3. Of the one's you mentioned, I've only seen the Descendants which I enjoyed as well.
        4. Yes I feel it was a bit underrated in it's time.
        5. He did deliver some good science fiction in Blade Runner.
        6. Good picks.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

          'Micheal Clayton' is pretty good if you like legal thrillers with a slightly 70s feel to them. 'Solaris' is interesting but depends on how you are with Sci-Fi.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

            Yea have heard great stuff about Michael Clayton. Cool, I do like science fiction.

    • ashdurdin

      1. Glad you liked WWZ, I am getting Elysium soon and am kind of questioning why I didn't see it in the theater
      2. The Adjustment Bureau
      3. Michael Clayton
      4. Burn After Reading
      5. Blade Runner
      6. Crank, and I sometimes count Tremors as an action film.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

        3. Your the second person to recommend Michael Clayton, gotta check that out.
        4. Yea that was a fun performance, demonstrated his versatility.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. I would certainly give Up in the Air a higher rating. I just love Reitman's style and all performances are great.
      2. The Talented Mr. Ripley
      3. Syriana. But I just love almost everything he does in front and behind the camera.
      4. Moneyball
      5. Aside from his blockbuster roles, my favorite is Presumed Innocent.
      6. Heat (Michael Mann, 1995). There is no substitute.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        Oh, I had unforgiveably forgotten 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' for the Matt Damon question. That was a nice performance as well in that film.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

        2. That one does sound like a good film guys, I see it also picked up 5 Oscars nominations.
        3. Same here guy is very talented.
        6. Been wanting to check that out for a while.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Solid watches for me this week. You can find me on Letterboxd at:

    http://letterboxd.com/gman/

    First Watches:

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

    All good things to those who wait...

    I've been very excited for The Wolf of Wall Street since I saw signs
    of it filming just outside my apartment in November 2012. Thankfully,
    even though it's been a long time since then, I'm pleased that The Wolf
    of Wall Street is one of my favorite movies (if not my favorite)
    of 2013.

    There are a lot of strengths for this film, but I'd like to focus on three in particular:

    (1) Leonardo DiCaprio - Wow, does this man give one hell of a
    performance. Every time he is on screen my eyes were glued and lips were
    waiting to hear what he would say next. What a fantastic job he did and
    it will be a big shame if he is not nominated for the leading
    actor Oscar.

    (2) Screenplay - Loaded with witty, funny, and engaging dialogue. I
    loved one scene early on between DiCaprio and McConaughey. Also, there
    was a monologue at one point featuring a motivational speech that had me
    psyched. Despite dealing with subjects that not everyone would
    necessarily understand (e.g. financial markets, insider trading) - the
    movie did a great job of getting to the point and making sure the
    audience understood the key message / theme.

    (3) Pacing - For a three-hour movie, this NEVER got slow to me. I
    could sense its length for sure, but I was never not engrossed in the
    characters or story. I also loved how it changed direction from comedic
    to dramatic with comedy sprinkled in. There is one very well put
    together scene towards the end of the movie that you could sense the
    audience was on the edge of their seats during.

    In total, The Wolf of Wall Street is a fantastically acted,
    well-directed, and smartly-written movie that I strongly recommend
    others to check out. I plan to re-watch this again in the future.

    9.0 / 10

    American Hustle (2013)

    From a well-crafted script to some of the year's best acting, it was
    hard for me not to love American Hustle. O. Russell's last two films
    (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) have been favorites of the year
    for me and I think the same will wind up true for this one.

    In terms of performances, the cast is solid all-around, but the two
    which stand out the most and definitely deserve Oscar attention are
    Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale. Every time these two are on
    screen, my eyes were glued. This has been a fantastic year for Bale
    performances after Out Of The Furnace. Renner, Cooper, and Adams were
    also great (how amazing does Amy Adams look!?). There was also a really
    nice cameo that I think would be a spoiler if I mentioned it, since the
    audience got a nice chuckle out of their scene and appearance.

    The script provides some witty dialogue and kept me wondering where
    it was going to go. I already praised the performances, but the writing
    definitely helped create some of these memorable characters. The film
    takes its time at first and may be criticized for being a little slow to
    get started, but it all worked for me.

    Overall, American Hustle is a well-written, directed, and acted film
    that I think many will wind up getting enjoyment out of. One of my
    favorites this year. Strong recommend.

    8.5 /10

    Re-watches:

    Christmas Vacation (1989)

    The past couple years I've watched Christmas Vacation, I realize that
    while it has its funny and enjoyable parts, this is not an overall
    "good" movie. Regardless, it's one I check out every holiday season for
    one reason or another, so there is something about it that keeps me
    coming back. A holiday classic for sure.

    7.5 / 10

    A Christmas Story (1983)

    Casually watched on TBS while opening gifts - it's a tradition. A Christmas classic.

    "Ohhhhhh FUDDDGGGGGGE!"

    8.0 / 10

    ***I missed re-watching It's A Wonderful Life this holiday season - couldn't convince the family to check it out (they wanted Man of Steel - which I fell asleep during so didn't include - I still like the movie though, albeit, not as much as the first time).

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      Thanks for the reviews, gets me pumped for American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street. Hoping to catch Hustle one of these days.

  • ashdurdin

    The Wolf of Wall Street: Had some great moments, but many scenes were overlong, as is the entire film.

    Insidious Chapter 2: Entertaining, twisty sequel, though not as good as the first film. I really like the characters and tone of these films.

    Not anything else worth mentioning really, I didn't realize what a slow week for films I had.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      Thanks for reviews. Still hoping to catch Wolf of Wall Street, though it does look a bit too wild.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    I've had a very busy movie watching week checking out a best foreign Oscar winner and catching up on a lot of 2013 films. I've watched too many to write reviews so just grades this week.

    Departures - B
    Blue is the Warmest Color - B
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - C+
    All is Lost - B
    Out of the Furnace - B-
    Fruitvale Station - B-
    Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - D
    The Spectacular Now - B-
    Don Jon - B
    Runner Runner - D+

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    I had a general good week and got back to the cinemas this week as well. Being off for the holidays helped get some things watched though.

    In Cinemas - PLEASE NOTE THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THOSE YET TO SEE IT FULLY SO BEWARE!!!

    All is Lost (2013) - I liked J.C Chandor's 'Margin Call' but I didn't love it in any particular way, but with his experimental follow up I think he is at least a director of interest for the future. 'All is Lost' is probably more satisfying from the perspective of that experimental nature - as we know, it's virtually dialogue free - but it is also satisfying on a cinematic level also. When Robert Redford's unnamed sailor is awoken by an adrift cargo container breaking the hull of his yacht the 'Virginia Jean' (conveniently destroying all his communication's equipment - the film's one major movie contrivance) he must use his wits and intelligence to repair the damage. But, whilst all at first appears fine, a foreshadowing voiceover at the beginning makes it clear something else must go very wrong. And it does, leading Redford into greater peril and greater trials of his abilities. Performance wise as the only actor in the film, Redford holds the screen entirely, reminding the audience of what 'star' power can be. His character is though, a little inscrutable sometimes and because I'm no sailor sometimes effort is expended having to work out what he's doing at times. It always becomes clear though. Storm sequences are well directed and choreographed but as the film develops it then becomes something else. And here I want to point out that I feel the ending of the film could be interpreted two ways (HERE COME THE MAJOR SPOILERS - LAST WARNING, ON YOUR OWN HEAD BE IT!!) in as much as I think it's left open just what sort of 'rescue' he gets at the end. I don't think it's a literal Earthly rescue but something else. That was my initial reading anyway and I think that being the case this is what differentiates 'All is Lost' from 'Gravity' and why I think it's moot to consider one better than the other. Because I don't believe that outwith the basic survival in extreme conditions plot outline the films end up saying the same thing. 'Gravity' is about facing death and choosing life, fighting to live and it's no coincidence that it's ending is almost like a primal rebirth of Bullock's character as she emerges tentatively onto land from the water and brings herself to her standing height. 'All is Lost' - I think - is about facing and reconciling yourself to your death. In the film Redford's character slowly is stripped of all he has, does everything he can to try and save himself but in the end based on the preceding events it seems unlikely that he would have found at the last minute rescue and I believe at the end of the film he's actually facing his own death and not rescue. Therefore, to me (and I could be wrong because my reading of the end may not be what anyone else got and therefore everything else is also invalid) one film is about life, and the other about death. Which is also why both are excellent films from this year and both will be in my Top Ten for the year when lists are being made up.

    At home -

    The Bishop's Wife (1947): DVD, first watch - Charming Christmassy film that was remade in 1996 as 'The Preacher's Wife' (which I've never seen) starring Cary Grant and David Niven. I watched it on Christmas Eve and it's a really good holiday festive drama. Great little story within and nice performances along the way.

    The Guns of Navarone (1961): TV airing, rewatch - I hadn't seen this in many, many years though I remembered a lot of it on rewatch. As WW2 films go, this one is in the vein of being simply an old fashioned boy's own adventure rather than something exposing the horrors of war. I didn't realise it was also one of 1961's Best Picture/Best Director Oscar contenders either but as it stands, it's a bit like 'The Dirty Dozen' (but much better all round) in as much it's just a thrill ride with a ticking clock mission to accomplish. Great oldie.

    Cool Hand Luke (1967): TV airing, first watch - Never seen this at all before and I thought it was OK. Gorgeously photographed however in the story of Paul Newman's Luke, sent to prison for vandalism and who's spirit finds itself at odds with the Prison Warden and it's guards. Thematically I thought it has some parallels to 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' in places but I quite enjoyed it and found it more than a little moving in places, especially as it's almost inevitable ending begins to loom large.

    The Remains of The Day (1993): Blu ray, rewatch - But first on Blu Ray which I got as a Christmas present and which looks beautiful. This is one of my all time personal favourite films and books and it's very faithful to the book generally in the tale of Steven's the Butler (Anthony Hopkins) whose life lived in the service of his Lord and Manor excludes all other options in his life, including the housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson). Hopkins and Thompson were both Oscar nominated for their work together here and the film is a richly shot and nuanced portrayal of it's characters. I've loved this film for twenty years now and still enjoy it every single time.

    Flawless (1999): DVD, first watch - I'm not the biggest fan of Joel Schumacher finding him too tasteless and garish most of the time but here in this film it actually seems to be him still being a little loud but also holding back his usual excess elsewhere in the story of a cop who has a stroke (Robert DeNiro) and the drag queen neighbour (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who he normally hates but is forced to turn to for therapy to help him. Although the plot is a little rough around the edges the script is utterly hilarious and also touching, with some one liners that hit their mark and two performances that complement each other well. A great little film.

    Big Fish (2003): TV airing, first watch - It's actually not quite finished yet but mostly is. A nice enough little story about storytelling and fathers and sons, with some great visuals. Ewan McGregor can't really do a southern accent very well though and that's a bit distracting.

    A Christmas Carol (2009): Blu Ray, rewatch - I also watched this on Christmas Eve as it seemed appropriate and while there's 1001 versions of this story which are basically all the same I like here the recreation via CGI of Dickensian London and the flashbacks and forwards within the story. The animation is superb and quite beautiful in places. The story is as timeless as ever though even though it's been told so many times.

    The Princess and the Frog (2009): TV airing, rewatch - Not my favourite Disney film as such but a healthy reminded that Disney's traditional hand drawn based animantion could still have a life if it suited folks to do so. Felt like old school Disney but it didn't quite have many memorable musical numbers as each of the best of Disney tends to.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010): TV airing, rewatch - I think this is the first time I've seen it since it was in cinems maybe. Maybe not, I'm not 10% sure. I kind of ended up watching it because there was nothing else on that night. It's OK, but Deathly Hallows in either separate parts or combined have never been my favourite of the HP film series anyway. It has one or two nice character moments though and I love the animation for the tale of the three brothers towards the end but that's about it with this one. It at least concentrates on it's character's over set pieces though I guess.

    Mud (2013): Blu Ray, rewatch - A rental this one. I liked 'Mud' when I first saw it earlier in the year and I still did this time around but I'm in two minds about having it in my Top Ten for the year. It's a well told coming of age drama with excellent performances and reminiscient of Mark Twain and Hucklberry Finn because of it's setting but I'm not sure how often I would revisit it again. I'm a bit on the fence on it just now, but it was a nice rewatch.

    In TV Land I also watched the complete fifth season DVD of 'True Blood' (2012) which was a mixed set of episodes I thought. The season overall is trying to say some interesting things about religion, religious fervor and radicalisation and abuse of religious beliefs in some quarters but as ever, the show is so kind of all over the place tonally that some of it fails to hit home as maybe it should. I was slightly surprised the sex and nudity was a trifle less this year or maybe it was just in season 4 that they realised it was a little too much of a crutch. I still like the show but knowing that season 7 will be it's last maybe that's for the best.
    That was all this week viewing wise.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      All is Lost sounds good, hope to catch it one of these days. Sounds like the legend Robert Redford delivers a heck of a performance.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        It's definitely worth a look. It's a good performance for sure.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

      I got the exact same understanding for the end of All is Lost. I actually felt it was one of the most interesting aspects of the film.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        If Chandor were to come out and say definitively that the end of the film is not that then it would probably lessen my interest in the film a bit, but I don't know whether he's happy with potentially different readings or has a specific choice in his head. Or if he even intended multiple reads.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/austinjoel/ austinjoel

    Martha Marcy May Marlene - B-
    American Hustle - B-
    Prince Avanalnche - B-
    Miller's Crossing - B+

  • Xarnis

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013; first watch) — Martin Scorsese taps into the deplorable cycle that runs our country in the best way possible. He examines it from a stylized and darkly comedic lens; satirizing and condemning the actions of Jordan Belfort. Portrayed perfectly by Leonardo DiCaprio, Belfort is a deplorable human being that tries to become more than the "pond scum" that he is when starting on Wall Street. And then he wants more. And more. And more. The cycle of greed; rise and downfall is what The Wolf of Wall Street is all about - and Scorsese nails it.

    The acting in the film is excellent. As stated, DiCaprio is brilliant as Belfort, never having a weak moment, and pulling off some incredible feats of physical characterization as well as emotion. The rest of the ensemble is terrific as well, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie being standouts - as Belfort's business partner/friend and wife respectively.

    The plot itself is wildy extravagant - a smart choice by Scorsese. The film is incredibly entertaining, but lacks nothing in subtext. The chronicle of Jordan Belfort is memorable and unique, and it never drags throughout its 3-hour runtime. The time flies.

    What Wolf does best is in its commentary on the economy of America - especially hammering the point home in the film's final scene. Part satire and part straight condemnation; Scorsese takes a stab at sleazy Wall Street moguls, who grow, crash, and still lead others on to follow their lifestyle. It's a cycle.

    As always, with a Scorsese film, the soundtrack is great and the editing is phenomenal. The cinematography is pristine, and the script is incredible. So many great lines of dialogue. So many scenes are so memorable. Tons of great stuff throughout.

    The year's best film is equally important and entertaining. Funny and cynical; The Wolf of Wall Street is truly brilliant.

    4.5/5

    Inside Llewyn Davis (2013; first watch) — "Y'know, they say if it's never new, and it never gets old it's a folk song."

    The much-anticipated new film from The Coen Brothers is a refreshingly unique and interesting piece of film. At times it feels too minor and too inconsequential yet, it comes around in the end and a bleak meditation on the cyclical nature of life and existence.

    The film is a type of "day(s) in the life" scenario, as it follows the titular Llewyn Davis - a talented folk singer, who desperately struggles financially - as he navigates life. The film has no concrete narrative structure; reflecting the state of the protagonist, and the Coens deserve credit for taking such a unique approach to something that could have been done in a more conventional and mundane way. We follow Llewyn as he moves around Greenwich Village, tries to get money, chases an escaped cat, takes a gig, gets beat up, and crashes on an acquaintance's couch. This is his life. Some situations are more entertaining and amusing than others, but that's the way life is. Despite some things seeming rather mundane on paper, the Coens are talented enough to make these instances engaging. The biggest dull spot is a road trip sequence about halfway into the film that, while it's never truly boring, goes on for a bit too long. Still, The Coens do an excellent job at capturing Llewyn's little slice of life. And a certain narrative decision that's "revealed" near the film's end raises some interesting points about the cyclical nature of existence.

    Naturally, the film is centered on Llewyn so a good lead performance is in order. Thankfully, Oscar Isaac is terrific and carries the film excellently. His character is realistic and relateable despite being a bit of a dick at times. The supporting cast is very good as well, despite their lack of actual screentime. Carey Mulligan probably receives the most, and is likely the best of the supporting characters. John Goodman is amusing in his small role, as is Justin Timberlake - who, along with Isaac, provides what is one of the film's best scenes when the two team up to record "Please Mr. Kennedy." It's an excellent ensemble, with each actor receiving some memorable moments, despite the film being centered around a single character.

    The film's biggest asset (in my mind) is the script. The dialogue in the film is absolutely phenomenal. It flows so naturally and feels so real; adding to the character and his plight. Some lines are absolute gold. In addition, the film is very well-crafted - especially the cinematography which is aptly bleak, yet altogether impressive. The scenes in the gaslight diner are particularly beautiful. And the songs, oh the songs. Melancholy and beautiful folk music is the perfect backdrop for a film like this - adding to the meditative nature and the bleak commentary. Probably the best use of music in a film all year.

    In places, Inside Llewyn Davis feels like too much of a lesser Coen film to be truly remarkable; but the more I dwell upon it, the more I really love this film. While it's not the Coen's best film, it really is a great piece of art; and one I will definitely be returning to - and it's rating has nowhere to go but up.

    4/5

    Rush (2013; first watch) — Interesting and very well-done. Always captivating, with some very good performances - turns out Chris Hemsworth can be more than Thor. Wisely strays from the hero/villain rivalry stereotypes. The race scenes are impeccable.

    3/5

    Post Tenebras Lux (2013; first watch) — The antithesis to narrative flow.

    Disjointed, muddled, and impenetrable, Post Tenebras Lux boasts a few interesting filmmaking techniques but fails as a whole in its inability to convey a desired message. A divisive one for sure. It's also pretty boring.

    2.5/5

    Fruitvale Station (2013; first watch) — A very solid directorial debut that hits a lot of good notes. It's most remarkable in the way it presents it's protagonist - as a flawed, realistic man. This approach only adds to the emotional weight of the ending, which is why many films of this ilk fail. In any case, I'll definitely be looking out for more of Ryan Coogler's films, and more of Michael B. Jordan's performances. Recommended.

    3/5

    Blackfish (2013; first watch) — Overtly manipulative, but not without good reason. Blackfish is a harrowing and informative documentary that sheds some light on a newly unearthed matter of debate. Well executed and constantly intriguing, despite it losing its focus every now and then. Recommended.

    (and yes, this has been incessantly spoken by probably everyone who has seen this, but I'm probably not going to Seaworld again).

    3.5/5

    Drug War (2013; first watch) — A very good police film with some nice stylish direction from Johnnie To. While it's engaging and interesting, it's also pretty standard-fare until the last 20 minutes. Some characters are severely lacking in motivational sequence. That shootout though... excellent.

    3/5

    Questions

    1. What's your favorite Coen Brothers film

    2. What's your favorite Martin Scorsese film

    3. What's the most enjoyable film of 2013 – doesn't necessarily need to be the best

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. Fargo
      2. Hugo
      3. Pain & Gain. I literally hate Michael Bay, but it was a miracle that came from him. It may be his one and only fully accomplished and fulfilled film with great sarcasm, style and performances. Biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) -- Watching Inside Llewyn Davis, I felt as though I was witnessing another Coen Brothers classic in the making. Many have accused the film as being a lesser film from the two renowned filmmakers, though I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, Inside Llewyn Davis is yet another extension of the many themes that they have dealt with all throughout their films.

    Oscar Isaac's central performance is absolutely stunning. Not only does he really embody Llewyn physically and emotionally, but he also really expresses a great deal about his character through the many songs he sings throughout the film.

    Supporting Isaac's excellent performance are Carey Mulligan and John Goodman, both great in their small run times as well.

    The Coens really deserve praise for their work here, forgoing traditional narrative instead for a film that is entirely character driven, sequence driven. The film plays out real, it plays out like life. There is nothing artificial about Inside Llewyn Davis in its narrative.

    Furthermore, the beautiful and gorgeous cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel. Delbonnel's cinematography is cold, winter-like, and icy, perfectly reflecting the mood and state of mind of Llewyn himself.

    What you have here is an absolutely gem of a film. An engaging character driven story line, perfectly set against the backdrop of the 1960s folk scene. Excellent.

    4/5

    Post Tenebras Lux (2012) -- Calling Post Tenebras Lux indescribable would be a bit of an understatement. Having started the film last night and finishing the final twenty minutes moments ago (I shamefully fell asleep), I really don't know how to best describe the film, or even form my opinion on it.

    This is the first film that I have seen by Carlos Reygadas, so I can't comment on his other works. The ambition he presents here is certainly evident, though I can't help but feel let down.

    The film completely forgoes traditional narrative, and while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the main issue arises as a result of the film's lack of cohesion. Scenes blend together from one to the next, often open-ended and not clearly defined.

    While the film predominantly focuses on a young family that has moved away to the countryside, digressions often involve scenes of a team of rugby players, a lengthy AA meeting, and other moments that simply do not gel together with what appears to be the main focus of the film.

    One's enjoyment for this type of film is often dependent upon how well he connects with the onscreen images. While I was able to acknowledge the beauty in the film's look and mood, the sequences themselves left me distant and perplexed. Reygadas unfortunately lost me with whatever he was trying to say.

    A large part of the film is photographed with an in-camera effect that distorts the image in a rather unique manner. That, combined with some beautiful cinematography, gives the film a real nightmarish tone that is arguably akin to experiencing a dream on celluloid.

    While it is ultimately a disappointment, at least there is one great scene in the film: a surrealistic bathhouse orgy that rivals the very best of a director like David Lynch. Brilliant.

    2.5/5

    Carlito's Way (1993) -- This film definitely gets overlooked quite a bit, probably a result of the majority of attention being received by Scarface, De Palma's other (and better) gangster film starring Al Pacino.

    At the film's heart is a rather interesting story about a ex-criminal looking to stay clean and start a new life, though this, of course, is obviously easier than it sounds.

    Al Pacino is great in the lead role, never entering the over-the-top territory that plagued many of his later roles, though the real standout of the film is Sean Penn. He's simply fucking fantastic, probably one of his best roles.

    Brian De Palma is generally hit or miss for me, and Carlito's Way combines both the best and the worst aspects of his directing. Some sequences are really well done, exhibiting the great shots and great suspense that have become a trademark of his films.

    On the other hand, the film's main romance between Carlito and Gail is rather shaky. I also had some problems with the handling of a climactic boat sequence, and one moment in the film basically serves as an opportunity for De Palma to engage in the sort of misogynistic imagery that many have criticized his films for.

    Nonetheless, a very good film, certainly a very entertaining one.

    3.5/5

    Much Ado About Nothing (2013) -- Decent film. It probably would've helped had I read the Shakespeare story beforehand, since for the first half hour or so, I was struggle to keep up with the dialogue and figure out the story on a basic, literal level.

    I do prefer the epic tragedies of Shakespeare (i.e. Julius Caesar) to the more light-hearted, romantic comedies (i.e. A Midsummer Night's Dream), but there is still plenty of fun to be had with this one, even though I was never entirely invested in it.

    The black and white cinematography is rather exquisite, and the performances are very good all around.

    3/5

    Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) -- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is a true hidden gem that has nearly faded away into obscurity, despite being an Oscar winner and Cannes sensation upon its original release.

    I originally thought that this would be nothing more than an entertaining thriller, but what plays out is a rather surrealistic odyssey that is truly engaging and unique, one that walks a fine line between surrealism and realism.

    I haven't heard much about director Elio Petri before, though he brings to the film a political edge that could be looked upon as being just as relevant today as it was back in the 1970s when the film was made.

    Themes and discussions in the film revolve around fascism, socialism, communism, revolution, and the corruption of the state. A closing quote by Kafka really hammers home the film's main thesis.

    As always, the Criterion Collection has to be thanked for restoring this film and giving it the proper treatment that it deserves. I cannot recommend this film, and this release for that matter, enough.

    4/5

    American Hustle (2013) -- Saying that American Hustle is David O. Russell's best film would be damning with faint praise, considering how little I have liked his prior films. I don't have any ill will against the man, nor do I even feel he is a terrible director for that matter, though I personally will never understand the excessive praise he receives from critics and audiences alike.

    American Hustle is a step in the right direction, though it still is a complete mess. O. Russell starts the film off with retro-style logos for the production companies that submerse the audience into the time and place that the film occurs in. His attention to detail throughout the film is brilliant. The costumes, the sets, the makeup are all done to perfection. The film is worth seeing alone for the nostalgia.

    O. Russell continues with his tradition of building a large ensemble cast, and as always, really manages to get the best out of his performances. Everyone from top to bottom is magnificent: Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, even a supporting role by Louis CK. The real standout though is Christian Bale who is absolutely magnificent. I hate to throw out such high praise almost immediately after seeing the film, but this easily ranks among the man's best work. The shots of his bloated belly alone represent the man's unique talent.

    Sadly, the actors are only able to embody their characters as much as the screenplay will allow them to, which is ultimately the film's biggest flaw.

    O. Russell and his co-writer Eric Singer seem to be more concerned with creating caricatures than actual real, breathing individuals. Sure, it's funny to see Jennifer Lawrence blow up a microwave, or Amy Adams fake an English accent, though these scenes, which become rather repetitive and tiresome for that matter, do not develop their characters in a way that makes us care for them.

    Even when the film does try to create a meaningful relationship through Christian Bale and Amy Adams, it's almost all done through voiceover, the characters telling the audience why they should care for them, as opposed to showing them. (I have no ill will against voiceover, many of my favorite films use the technique; but, it did not work here.)

    O. Russell allows these comedic scenes with the characters to run on, and on, and on, ultimately bogging down the pacing of the narrative, which, for that matter, is rather weak to begin with. I found the scam itself to be rather confusing, anti-climactic, and ultimately not adding up to very much. The ending is rushed, and the development is lacking in certain character motives that really should have been crucial.

    I knew I was in trouble very early on, within the first ten minutes or so. David O. Russell chooses to linger on the shot of Christian Bale fixing his hair for way too long, overstaying its welcome. Then, he follows with a rather silly and comedic sequence with what should be a tense one, where Cooper, Bale, and Adams argue over the arrangements of their upcoming scam. Then, part of the scam itself is shown, being as confusing and perplexing as it will continue to be throughout the rest of the film.

    Based on this logic, the first ten minutes of American Hustle are the perfect indicator of the flaws that are only going to be exacerbated in the film's remaining two hours.

    In the end, it is a shame though, because there are moments of greatness in American Hustle. I laughed at parts, I was entertained at others. But, for every moment that worked, for every scene that was memorable, there was simply too much wrong with the narrative that ultimately counteracted what could have been a very enjoyable picture. By the time the film ended, I felt rather unfulfilled.

    With American Hustle, O. Russell has tried to make his Goodfellas. Sadly, he wasn't even able to make his Casino.

    3/5

    Reality (2012) -- Reality shares a certain kinship with Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy. The biggest theme that both films deal with is the obsession of fame, and how detrimental this is to individuals and society as a whole.

    On its own terms, Reality is a fine, enjoyable feature that explores this previously stated theme. Though when compared with a film like The King of Comedy, Reality lacks severely.

    For me, I think a large part of the problem is that the story needed to be told in a more surreal, ridiculous manner to really nail its point across.

    Director Matteo Garrone does inject the film with a touch of surrealism, evident in the film's ugly, green-tinted cinematography and a memorable score that beautifully accompanies many scenes.

    I read a few comments about Reality, where one reviewer compared it to Fellini, another to Buñuel. The problem though is that the film never reaches the bold, carnivalesque style that a Fellini film might reach, nor does it reach the absurdity of a Buñuel film. To be honest, I thought that it played story rather safely.

    Much of the time is spent on minor occurrences that are interesting (Luciano at his job, slowly becoming more and more paranoid), but in the end, it doesn't really add up to all that much (although the film's final moments are rather well done).

    The film's greatest asset is a charismatic performance by Aniello Arena. Easily deserving of Awards attention.

    3/5

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) -- Wow... I don't even know where to begin.

    The Wolf of Wall Street is the perfect depiction of debauchery and excess that has only been exacerbated in America. The film doesn't have a whole lot to say about the subject other than the obvious, though fortunately this isn't a major flaw when the rest of the film works so well.

    Martin Scorsese doesn't just direct The Wolf of Wall Street -- he directs the hell out of it. This film is complete, bat shit, balls-to-the-wall insanity that really has to be seen in order to be believed. I kept thinking to myself throughout the film, "Goddamn, did it really go down this way? Was it really this off the wall"

    Scorsese's style is bold and brash. Music plays throughout the entirety of the film, and as always, Marty completely understands the manner in which sight should combine with sound, the manner in which the image should meet the music.

    On a side note, I was actually surprised at many of the song choices which seemed rather unorthodox, especially for a Scorsese film, yet they still worked perfectly.

    Though besides the wonderful, Fellini-esque depiction of excess and corruption, Scorsese manages to direct the film in a manner that never praises nor glorifies the main characters.

    The film is first and foremost a black comedy, and it is this pathos that allows the audience to laugh at the ridiculous nature of the characters and the hollow individuals that they are. Never did I feel emotionally attached to Jordan Belfort or any other of the other characters at the center of the film. Right from the beginning, I detested these immoral and soulless individuals.

    Sure, it is most definitely entertaining watching the insanity depicted on screen and the eventual downfall that results from it. But, that doesn't mean I approve of the debauchery, and Scorsese clearly understands this. As an audience member, it was almost as though I was looking on at the film as if it was a car crash, disgusted and appalled by the horrible individuals being depicted on screen, yet simply unable to look away.

    If one would want to witness a film that does glorify the actions of the monsters involved in their respective debauchery and excess, I would direct you towards Michael Bay's latest monstrosity, Pain & Gain.

    The performances all around are fantastic. A supporting performance by Jonah Hill is most definitely deserving of the praise that it has received, though the real standout is Leonardo DiCaprio.

    It is funny too, because I was just recently thinking how much I was really waiting for Leo to do a truly great role, something unique that with a little extra pizzazz that I felt was missing from his last few performances.

    And he did exactly that with The Wolf of Wall Street.

    Leo is fucking insane in this film. Totally turned all the way up to eleven. Emotional, crazy, comical, dramatic, and downright fantastic. I was truly blown away by his performance. It's brilliant.

    Scorsese reunites with his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker. The film may run a lengthy three hours, though it certainly doesn't feel this long. The time simply breezes by.

    Many have claimed that the film becomes rather repetitive with its frequent party sequences. Yes, there are a lot of such moments that are repeated throughout the film, though I think that this is necessary to depict the cyclical nature of the ongoing excess. The scenes themselves are also incredibly memorable and entertaining. I found myself laughing non-stop throughout the film (and I can say the same for the sold out audience that I saw the film with).

    Though there is more to The Wolf of Wall Street than it being just an endless barrage of excess. Scorsese does allow scenes to breathe, moments to develop, characters to have important conversations with one another (DiCaprio's first meeting with Kyle Chandler comes to mind).

    As I said in my opening, The Wolf of Wall Street doesn't have too much new too say about the excess and corruption of capitalism. It's more about the depiction of it, the experience of the excess and how each individual reacts to it.

    But, in the film's final moments, Scorsese does manage to hammer home a significant message about the excess that he has depicted for the past three hours. It's not very subtle, nor does it need to be. It simply serves as the perfect ending, the perfect coda to the debauchery that precedes it.

    I think that The Wolf of Wall Street will bare a major significance in later years. The film and its message are timeless and will probably be looked upon one day as being the representation of what America has become.

    Thank you, Marty. This was the best Christmas present I could have asked for.

    P.S. I was soo close to giving this a 4.5, but the only reason I didn't is because I know that everyone will accuse me of blasphemy if I assign such a rating to this film and then do not call it my favorite of the year. And considering I just finished the film a few hours ago, I'm just not ready to call it my favorite of the year.

    Moral of the Story: #FuckRatings

    4/5

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    I'm currently working on my Nebraska review. I'll have it done in 30-45 minutes, depending on how much I goof off, but I'll just post in when it's done.

  • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

    Haven't posted in 2 weeks and I have seen a lot

    In Theaters -

    The Hobbit : Desolation of Smaug - A fantastic sequel. It's a lot of fun, has fantastic and fun action, epic adventure and is beautifully shot. It is also well acted and has fantastic CGI including one of the best CGI creations of the year, Smaug. It's also better than the original.

    Saving Mr. Banks - A great fun well acted and scored touching movie. It was a pleasant suprise as my expectations were not that high. Thompson deserves an Oscar nomination.

    American Hustle - A fantastic fast paced and very funny movie. It also has a fantastic soundtrack and a great ensemble cast coupled with a great style of direction.

    At home -

    The Fast and The Furious (2001) - A big dumb fun action movie wiith cool and well done racing secnes and cool chases. It's a good start to the franchise.

    The Fast and The Furious : Tokyo Drift - Fun with cool races but that's about it. It's not as good as the original.

    Pacific Rim (rewatch) - I actually really enjoy this movie. It's dumb but it's fun and does a lot of things better than Transformers.

    Don Jon - A great directorial debut from JGL. It's a lot of fun,well acted,and makes relevant points about relationships and the expectations from various places.

    Shooter - A good but partially cliched thriller.The story is predictable but the action is fun.

    Books -
    Gone Girl - Finished it. Loved it and can't wait for the movie. The 1st still released this week is a good sign that Fincher will pull it off.

    The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero - Started this and it's very funny. For those who do not know what it is, it is about the making of The Room.

    Questions -
    1. Thoughts on what I watched over the past 2 weeks ?
    2. What's your favorite movie villan of the year ?
    3. What's your favorite movie about the making of another movie ?
    4. What's your favorite movie about con men or women ?
    5. What's your favorite Fast and the Furious movie ?
    6. What's your favorite directorial debut ?
    7. What's your favorite Mark Whalberg movie ?
    8. Have your read Gone Girl and if so, are you anticipatng the movie ?
    9. Thoughts on The Room ?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. Not seen your theatrical viewings and not a fan of the 'Fast and The Furious' films, I quite liked 'Pacific Rim' myself but not seen 'Don Jon' yet. 'Shooter' I've seen once.
      2. I don't think I have one. Does Benedict Cumberbatch's voice count?
      3. Pass
      4. Not a genre I tend to go to a lot.
      5. If I had to, probably the fifth one from 2011.
      6. 'American Beauty', 'Serenity' come to mind quickly but that would take a bit of checking out.
      7. The Lovely Bones probably or The Italian Job.
      8. I haven't read it.
      9. Pass.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. They are only good if in the same mindset. Suprised to see someone else who liked Pacific Rim on here. Don Jon is worth checking out.
        2. Yes.
        4. I only see them ocassionally as well.
        5. Haven't seen that one yet.
        6. Haven't seen either.
        7. Didn't know he was in Lovely Bones and want to see Italian Job.
        8. It's a very good book but if you want to go into the movie and be surpised, hold off.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

          1. Pacific Rim is pretty silly but it doesn't pretend to be trying to do a lot more than shower you with visuals and action that have been beautifully done in places.
          2. Then pending seeing Smaug I'll go with 'Star Trek Into Darkness' (not because he was particularly evil but he read his lines so seductively in places).
          8. I might read the book, I don't know. Sometimes having read the book and then seeing a translation to film doesn't cause problems and sometimes it does. I probably would have thought better of 'The Great Gatsby' this year if I hadn't re-read the book the week before.

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            1. It is and for me that was part of the reason I liked it. It was just a lot of fun.
            2. He was one of the bet things about Into Darkness.
            8. I actually re-read Gatsby a few weeks before seeing the movie and it caused some problems. Gone Girl is a different book than Gatbsy but the problems still could happen. If you read it sooner, you may not remember everything in October.

    • ashdurdin

      1. I really enjoyed American Hustle. I remember liking the original Fast film, but never have seen any of the others.
      2. I'll say Abalam from The Last Exorcism Part II, but looking at my favorite films it seems like there aren't that many clear cut villains.
      3. Don't know about one about a real movie, but I love Get Shorty.
      4. The Brothers Bloom
      5. The first one is the only one I've seen
      6. Rian Johnson with Brick
      7. The Fighter
      8. I've read it, and its probably my most anticipated film of next year
      9. Never seen it.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. Hustle was very fun and the original Fast is good.
        2. Haven't seen it.
        3. Haven't seen it.
        4. Want to see it.
        5. If you like dumb fun action movies, check the other ones out.
        6. Want to see it.
        7. Want to see it.
        8. It's high on my list as well.
        9. Haven't seen the full movie just clips but the book is good so far.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      2. Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang in "Only God Forgives". Though he's meant to represent God so I don't really know if one should consider his as a villain.
      3. Lost in La Mancha (2002). Great documentary about the making of Terry Gilliam's unfinished film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
      4. The Sting, Ocean's 11.
      5. Fast Five.
      6. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney, 2002)
      7. Boogie Nights.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        2. Haven't seen it but have heard that he is good in the movie.
        3. Haven't seen it.
        4. Haven't seen either.
        5. Haven't gotten to it yet.
        6. Another haven't seen.
        7. Haven't seen it.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      1. Thanks for the reviews, hoping to catch American Hustle one of these days.
      2. Benedict Cumberbatch for Star Trek: Into Darkness
      7. His performance in the Departed

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. You should definetley should check it out.
        2. Good choice.
        7. Haven't seen it.

  • m1

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

    Homeland: Season 2 (2012-2013)-It was always going to be hard for this show to live up to what I thought was a stellar first season, and the show doesn't. This second season is overall fine but the subplots are not that interesting, and there is a strong sense that the writers are dragging out the main storyline for far too long. The acting remains excellent, however, and I hope season three is an improvement. 7.5/10

    Epic (2013)-Beautiful animation and an incredible voice cast cannot save the bland, unfocused story that this film tells. Needless to say, Frozen remains the best of the American animated movies I've seen this year. 5/10

    Before Midnight (2013)-It's nice to return to the world of Jesse and Celine as this insightful third installment lives up to my high expectations. These characters strangely become more fascinating with each installment and I hope Delpy, Hawke, and Linklater continue making these movies for years to come. This is a lock for my "Best of 2013" for sure. 10/10

    The Conjuring (2013)-To think that the director behind Saw and Insidious could offer up something this expertly crafted and wonderfully old school is surprising in the best way. Vera Farmiga is the standout of the cast, although everyone turns in a great performance in this effective frightfest. 8/10

    The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (2013)-I actually kind of liked the first one, and this proves to me that Peter Jackson is beginning to understand how to make the most of his bloated running times. Martin Freeman is once again excellent as Bilbo Baggins, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Evangeline Lilly are strong additions to the cast as well. I have a feeling that the next installment is going to be great. 7/10

    American Hustle (2013)-What a blast this movie is. David O. Russell's critical and commercial comeback continues with this exciting, funny, at times bittersweet homage to the crime dramas of years' past. I had fun following the plot but also related to the characters as their pains and personal baggage resonates deeply. All of the performances are incredible, and while the ending could have been a bit tighter, that hardly takes away from the rest of the movie. I was a bit skeptical going in after hearing some mixed responses to the movie but all of that skepticism washed away pretty quickly. Sensational, from start to finish. 9.5/10

    The Heat (2013)-Despite gratuitous profanity and a script that seemed to throw in every joke the writer could think of, this action comedy mostly works thanks to some great interplay between Bullock and McCarthy. It's no Bridesmaids but it is still a pretty enjoyable movie and hopefully Bullock and McCarthy get to work together in another movie someday. 6/10

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)-Overlong, repetitive, and over-the-top, this movie in the end works thanks to some energetic direction from Scorsese and brilliantly zany work from DiCaprio. I don't think I will revisit it again but for a one-time viewing it works well. 8/10

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    I'll just provide grades for the films I watched this week because I watched A LOT.
    In fact, I think that I watched the most films I've ever watched in a week..

    A+
    We're The Millers (rewatch)
    The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (rewatch)
    This Is The End (rewatch)
    Before Sunset
    Prisoners
    Kick-Ass (rewatch)
    Kick-Ass 2 (rewatch)

    A
    Pain & Gain (rewatch)
    The Intermship (rewatch)
    Before Sunrise

    A-
    RIPD (rewatch)
    The Heat (rewatch)
    The Conjuring (rewatch)
    The Great Gatsby (2013) (rewatch)
    Iron Man 3 (rewatch)

    B+
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (rewatch)
    Evil Dead (2013) (rewatch)

    B
    The Wolverine
    Man Of Steel (rewatch)
    Grown Ups 2 (rewatch)
    Identity Thief (rewatch)
    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (rewatch)
    Gangster Squad (rewatch)

    C+
    Red 2

    What are your thoughts on the films I watched this week? Agree with my grade? Disagree?

    Until next week..

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. My grades for the movies I've watched that you watched -
      This is The End - A-
      Kick-Ass - A
      Kick-Ass 2 - B+
      The Internship - A-
      The Heat - B+
      THe Great Gatsby - B-
      Iron Man 3 - B+
      Wolverine - B+
      Man of Steel - A-
      Burt Wonderstone - B
      Red 2 - B+

    • m1

      Before Sunset-A+
      Before Sunrise-B+
      The Heat-B-
      The Conjuring-B+
      The Great Gatsby-C
      Iron Man 3-B
      Man of Steel-C
      Identity Thief-D+

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      Oh Ryan, you do make me chuckle.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      By the way, how did your December challenge go? Did you make it?
      I've finished with 65 this month so it's almost 2/3 of it.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

        I dropped out of the challenge becuase it became clear that I wasn't going to be able to finish it and it was taking up too much of my time.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    In Theaters:

    Saving Mr. Banks -

    A very good film about the creation of Mary Poppins. Yes, it's all formula, but it's executed so well that it's entirely forgivable. I was emotionally moved by the film and it's wonderful performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks as P.L. Travers and Walt Disney, respectively. Of course the rougher parts of their relationship has been smoothed out, (it is a Disney movie after all) but the movie makes sure that it's all about Travers and the difficult process of turning Mary Poppins into a feature film.

    While Hanks is an example of stunt casting, his impersonation of Walt Disney is remarkable, particularly the monologue he gives near the end of the film about his life and the power of movies. He captures the folksy wisdom of Disney perfectly and Hanks' celebrity status never gets in the way of his acting. He clearly did his homework. With this and his fantastic turn in Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks proves that he's still capable of truly great performances.

    Also enjoyable are the Sherman Brothers (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and Don DaGardi (Bradley Whitford). The three of them performing "Let's Go Fly a Kite", is easily the high point of the film. And Paul Giamatti is always reliable.

    Even the flashbacks are handled efficiently. Although it's greatly helped by Colin Farrell's performance, John Lee Hancock, the director, understands how long they should go on for and makes sure they never become repetitive or tedious. He may not be a great director, but he understands the strengths and weaknesses of these types of films and knows what works and what doesn't. He's a competent one, at the very least.

    If it isn't clear by now, I greatly enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks and would recommend it to everyone. It's accessible to all audiences and is dramatic without being pretentious. I appreciated that it didn't go the "dark and gritty" route because there's simply no need to. While the movie could've been a love letter to Disney from the studio itself, it's more about the artists and why they create their art. I salute the filmmakers for placing the majority of the film on the life of P.L. Travers and not on the wonderful world of Disney.

    The Wolf of Wall Street - A terrific piece of entertainment filled with great energy and one hell of an ensemble cast. At a massive length of three hours, I was never bored nor did I want the movie to end. In fact, a good argument could be made for a longer cut. I still wanted to follow Jordan Belfort and learn more about him.

    Leonardo DiCaprio, as expected from a Scorsese collaboration, is brilliant as a despicable man with no sense of morality. The only thing he has going for him is his charisma. Not since Catch Me If You Can has he played a character who is so smart, witty, and funny. It's good to see DiCaprio expand his range a bit. That lemmons sequence shows that he can do physical comedy.

    While Belfort is a terrible person, even worse is his sidekick, Donnie Azoff. Jonah Hill gives a great performance, but this character is creepy and has no redeeming qualities. It's been a while since I deeply hated a character to a point where I wanted to strangle him.

    The entire cast, particularly Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, Margot Robbie, and the little group that Belfort gathers up for Stratton Oakland, is terrific. A movie could be made from their perspectives and I would gladly see it.

    The commentary, while nothing new, is relevant and handled well in the film, especially in that last scene. The film is also a great character study of Belfort and I really loved that shot of Kyle Chandler in the subway. Just a little scene like that shows us why Belfort became who he was.

    I had high expectations for this walking in, and the movie delivered. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Even the trailers make me want to see the film again.

    This week, I plan to watch Frozen, Rush, Fruitvale Station, Out of the Furnace, and All Is Lost.

  • Carlos.

    Watched one film only: Frances Ha. Enjoyed it from beggining to end. Wouldn't mind spending another two hours just hanging out with the main character.
    Just a nice little character study. B+

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    Shane: I'm guessing Joey was gay. He obsessed over Shane so much that Shane had to tell him to grow up "smart and straight." But anyways, I really liked Shane. It had good performances and production design. I didn't like Joey because he wouldn't shut the Antoine Fuqua up, and the mother's voice was incredibly grating when she talked for long stretches of time. They also say Shane a lot, maybe on par as how often they say "Rose" and "Jack" inTitanic. But anyways, it's a very good western. See it.

    3.5/5

    B

    Catching Fire: Catching Fire isn't groundbreaking. It essentially repeats the first one in some instances. However, and this is a big however, Catching Fire is a lot of fun. It's exciting, it's fast-paced, and it feels like an event. I only felt the running time once, and that was near the end. It had me hooked, almost never leaving me thinking that I should check a watch or go to the bathroom for a break. It was a lot of fun.

    Going into more depth about Catching Fire, the performances were really good. Elizabeth Banks displays such a level of being beneath everyone of District 12, but when she has her subtly emotional scene, you believe it instantly. Stanley Tucci is also great as Caesar Flickman, as he tries to reign in the victors, even though he doesn't exactly know how, based on simple facial expressions. Woody Harrelson has to do the same old schtick again, because his character became an alcoholic again after seemingly fixing his problem in the last movie. Nevertheless, Harrelson's schtick is a good schtick. Jennifer Lawrence displays a strong-minded fragility to Katniss in this movie, that you can't forget about. The rest of the cast is very strong as well, and I would have little tidbits about all of them if there weren't so many.

    It is a technical step up, with a wide array of flashy costumes that work. I do really like the score of these films, as they are rousing and rather epic. The visual effects are great step up from the first film, even though they could've been even better. And the production design was very good, especially considering they transformed Atlanta into these desolate places. Also, shaky cam was non-existent, so that's worth a gold star right there.

    Of course, there are some flaws. One huge one is the fog scene. There is a poisonous fog that is apparently super deadly. Katniss is all like "LOL, Imma touch it." She gets infected, as well as the rest of her little posse. The fog is all like, "We're gonna get you suckas." However, when a dramatic moment happens, the fog is so nice that it decides to stop for 30 seconds in order for the dramatic moment to continue. After it's done, a huge level of convenience happens that I won't get into. District 12 looks completely different from how it looked on the first film. A bad actor in the film was actually Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He seemed so bored in this film.

    Another thing holding this film back is that I don't know how well it will hold up. I really liked the first film, but when it got out on DVD, it got significantly worse. Considering that this movie could be seen as somewhat of the same thing over again. I do hope it holds up better, though.

    All in all, it was a great theater experience. It was so fun, action-packed, and has good social commentary, some of which could be drawn back to Ancient China. Check it out, just don't expect it to be amazing. Just get the good time required out of it.

    Originally published HERE

    Cyberbully: So terrible. The acting is so wooden, and the film doesn't understand that the internet isn't the problem. It's the people. But this movie thinks that the internet is to blame. Cyberbully doesn't realize that it is the people who are in control. But that doesn't stop the movie saying that the internet is evil. Ugh.

    Also, no one in this film uses a delete button, a blocking system that could remove all of these hateful people, or maybe using the little x's right next to the posts.

    The characters are so bad in this film. They're so spoiled and hateful. One of these characters says that the main character can't have internet on her phone. I don't have internet on my phone, and I'm fine. Besides, if Cyberbully is so against the internet, why do people still consistently use the internet after this. Even the depressed main character who hates the internet wants to use the internet. Also, Cyberbully is portrays these teenagers as always talking about the internet. First, teenagers are normally on their phones, and second, people don't talk about the internet in real life. They talk about personal, but relevant topics.

    In the end, Cyberbully is stupid. Not recommended.

    2/5

    D+

    Nebraska: This was a very special experience for me. Nebraska was my first R-rated film that I saw in theaters. It was always going to have a special place in my heart, regardless of the quality. Nebraska was also my first Alexander Payne movie. I've heard great things about Payne, so that just set the expectations even higher. No film should've faced these expectations (Inside Llewyn Davis faces similar expectations), but I had them set. The question is, did Nebraska reach or fail the expectations?

    Without a doubt, Nebraska reached them. It was smart, witty, and touching. It was very funny. It also had such a depth to it. It explores the aspects of a relationship between a father and son very well. Even though Dave, the son, knows that the million dollars Woody, the father, supposedly won is a complete scam, but Dave cares about his father that much to give Woody his last hurrah. The comedy in this film was never over-the-top, rather exploiting the odd humor that can come out of life. One of the recurring jokes had me rolling, not based on how funny it was, but rather how it showed the accuracy of life, and presented it in a comedic fashion. 2 of the comedic standouts in this movie were Bart and Cole, who, while not being played by amazing actors, were accurate representations of the American Hillbilly stereotype, and were exploited for comedy. And yet, the drama never felt overbearing. It always felt real, and never clashed with the comedy. The film was really good in black and white. It fit the tone of the film really well, and I couldn't imagine it being in color.

    The performances were very good as well. Bruce Dern was incredibly good as Woody, as he showed the quiet sympathy that Woody imminently has. Will Forte wasn't incredibly showy, but it was the subtlety that really sold his performance. June Squibb was very good, although her character seemed a bit unbelievable. Would a character like Squibb's really be flashing a gravestone, considering how she thinks that the trip to Nebraska is ridiculous.

    All in all, Nebraska was a very special experience for me. If the film was bad, it would've been a problem. I would've been incredibly depressed. Luckily, it was very good. Great performances, comedy, and drama were all around. Highly recommended.

    4/5

    B+

    Originally published HERE

    I also watched other things that I didn't give reviews to:
    The Polar Express: A-
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas: C-
    The Royal Tenenbaums: A-

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DiscoPaco/ Disco Paco

    ROCKED:
    Nebraska
    her
    Hidden Fortress

    Good but disappointing:
    American Hustle

    God Awful:
    Braveheart

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

    DVD
    Inception (Re-Watch): Still IMO Nolan's best. A+
    Memento(Re-watch): Nolan's 3rd best. A-
    Following: Solid Debut for Nolan. B
    Primer: It was good but I didn't like it like most. B
    Greenberg: For me there's no reasons to hate it even though it's a hard film to like. Tip of the hat to Stiller and Gerwig's performances. B
    The Informat: So enjoyable. B
    The Great Gatsby (Re-watch): Still #2 for 2013 for me. A-
    Unbreakable: It's so sad to see Shymalan's career go downhill. B+

    Theaters
    Anchorman 2: Cast keeps it afloat, Ferrell struggles when he's on his own. B-
    Walter Mitty: Enjoy this film so much even though it wasn't perfect but Stiller going into more artistic and dramatic territory was lovely. B+
    Frozen: A few things hinder it from being great. A-

    I hope to see Wolf today, Nebraska maybe tomorrow, and Prisoners & Aint them Bodies Saints on DVD soon.

    Q's
    1. Thoughts on my reviews?
    2. What do you plan on going to see before the New Year begins?
    3. How many more performances will Leo get snubbed for until he wins?
    4. Is 2014 going to be the year of original sci-fi?
    5. Anyone excited for 'the One and Only'?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Loved Inception, liked Gatsby but not nowhere as much as you did, haven't seen the rest.
      2. Wolf of Wall Street in theaters and either 12 Angry Men, Anatomy of A Murder, Hot Fuzz at home.
      3. 2 more.
      4. Yes.
      5. What is "the One and Only" ?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

        'the One and Only' is an indie film coming this spring that is an interconnected anthology film w/ only 1 character.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I've only seen 'Inception'/'Memento'/'The Great Gatsby'/'Unbreakable'. The latter I've only ever seen once in 2000 when it was in cinemas. I don't remember disliking it, and finding the twist ending interesting but I've never been inclined to watch it again either. I did not think 'The Great Gatsby' was a good film at all, I don't particularly love 'Inception' myself and I've only seen 'Memento' once and figure it probably needs more than that to appreciate it properly.

      2. Depends on the weather. I'd like to try and catch 'The Hobbit' and '12 Years a Slave' before the year's out if I can.

      3. Depends on what one thinks he's been snubbed for in the past (I'd say only 'Revolutionary Road' personally but then that's also what Kate Winslet should have been nominated for that year) but each year there are more performances than slots and someone has to miss out. That's not necessarily a snub, just life. He may still get in this year for 'Wolf' but as I won't be able to see it for another few weeks I can't say whether I would or would not want him to be.

      4. Not based on what sci-fi films I see that are coming out in 2014, but I'd rather a film be good than original most of the time and what's coming out seems to mostly look good. Is there something specific you're referring to?

      5. No idea what that is, I'm afraid.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

        Go see 12 Years over Smaug, definitely. Interstellar and Transcendence are coming in 2014. 'the One and Only' is an interconnected anthology film w/ 1 character.

  • Ricky

    Caught up with my oscar films this week, along with a few others at home:
    American Hustle- Seeing it again tonight! I am a huge fan of David O'Russell, with my favorite film of last year being Silver Linings Playbook. I went in with very high expecations and came out so-so. It was a great film all in all with very smart dialogue and some of the most incredible acting since last year's Silver Linings Playbook. But during the first act of the film I kind of just sat there scratching my head. I just wasn't able to get a hold of the plot and what was going on for a bit, along with the tone.
    About 45 minutes in, I finally started to understand the film and really got into it. I'm seeing it again tonight to get a better hold of the film and may come out of it with a more confident view on it.
    The acting though, was absolutely outstanding. Jennifer Lawerence could definitely win another Oscar for this performance. With such limited screen time, she put every ounce of emotion into it as she could. Perfect performance. Her Silver Linings co-star, Bradley Cooper really needs to get a hold of his own Oscar. With Silver Linings Playbook, Place Beyond the Pines, and now this, Cooper is ready to become the next big screen star and really blew this performance out of the water. Christian Bale and Amy Adams did exceptional with their lead roles, but I couldn't keep by eyes off of Lawrence or Cooper. Amazing acting. O'Russell is building a cast of strong actors in his films and I can't wait to see what he does next.
    Nebraska- A new kind of family comedy. This movie has everything that you could expect from a traditional classic comedy. The performances were great especially from June Squibb and Will Forte. Squibb gave the most laughs as the sassy wife. With Will Forte from SNL finally branching out and giving a sweet performance that will break him out into so many other roles. Bruce Dern was phenomenal as the lead role. The plot and script were very strong and I love the choice they made to make this into black and white. This movie may not win all the oscars, but it will definitely be nominated for most of them. A very sweet film that will have strong legs for many years.
    Inside Llewyn Davis- This has to be my favorite film of the year (tied with The Way, Way Back). With phenomenal music, performances, script, and cinematography, the Coens have done it again. Oscar Isaac gave one of the best lead performances I've seen this year and will see a long career once people see him in this film. Me being a huge folk music fan, found the music to be the film's strongest part. Oscar Isaac has such a strong, soulful voice that you could feel his words through each song (especially through the hang me and fare thee well songs). John Goodman gave an oscar worthy supporting performance that should be getting more recognition. The movie had a very melancholy tone throughout that went well with the day in the life plot. This will go down as one of my favorite Coen Brothers films!
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty- Went in thinking this will be a casual movie, came out with my expectations blown away. The most beautiful movie of the year! Ben Stiller has proven himself as a great director. The story was average at first, but when it started going it got much stronger. The scenes in Greenland and Iceland were by far the most exciting parts of the film. The scenery was fantastic and the message of life really stuck with me outside of the theater. Recommending this film to everyone and will surely go down as one of my favorite movies of the year.
    A Christmas Story- It's not Christmas without my favorite movie! This always puts me in the christmas spirit and is on my tv from christmas eve to christmas night. Drives my family crazy, but I think that's what makes it even better!
    It's A Wonderful Life- The classic Christmas film. Usually watch it when we are wrapping presents. Definitely enjoy it, but it's one of those movies that get kind of old. But it's a holiday tradition so I watch it anyways.
    Elf- The new christmas classic. Hysterical and my favorite Will Ferrell film (besides Anchorman films).
    Home Alone- Another Christmas classic that basically plays in my room every nights while I fall asleep from November-January.
    Little Miss Sunshine- I remember loving this movie more a few years ago. I still love it, but the second half is still incredibly week compared to the first half. Alan Arkin is still the best and definitely deserved that Oscar.
    We're The Millers- Surprise sleeper hit of the year! Kathryn Hahn owned this movie from the second she appeared on screen. The whole cast was phenomenal and it was ten times better than the trash people were calling it when the trailers came out for it in the beginning of the year. Had my family laughing hysterically Christmas night, though slightly awkward during some scenes haha.
    Those were my movies this week! Let me know your opinions of them!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    Frozen - A pretty solid animated movie, but one that I'm not quite as enthused about as many critics and audiences seem to be. I liked it more than Monsters University, which is the only other animated feature I've seen this year, but I guess I am just a little more reserved in my praise. 3/5

    Movie 43 - Staggeringly awful. I can't think of a bigger waste of a (mostly) talented cast in recent memory. Easily one of the very worst movies I've had to endure. 0/5

    Beyond Tomorrow - This movie sounds like the kind of sweet, sentimental holiday story you'd expect around this time of year. It starts off decently but unfortunately drags on for the remainder of its running time. In the end, it's just not that well executed and gets less interesting as it goes along. A disappointment. 2.5/5

    Re-watches:

    Batman Returns - One of my favorite Christmas movies. I suppose if you look at it from the perspective of being a 'Batman movie', it's not very good. However it's obvious that Tim Burton had more creative freedom on this one and, as a result, I think it's an overall more interesting picture. It's rather cynical and downbeat for a Christmas feature, but there's a slight glimmer of hope at the end that keeps it from being a total downer. Unfortunately the script is somewhat incoherent at times and has some corny (and often sexual) puns littered throughout, but I think Burton was going more for a character study in this one. The performances and production design are also quite good and really set the darker mood it's going for. 4/5

    Batman (1989) - By comparison to the sequel, this feels much more like what you would expect from a Batman movie. This was a childhood favorite of mine, and it's still mostly entertaining but certainly not a great movie by any means (all of these older films pale in comparison to Nolan's trilogy). Anton Furst's production design is similarly excellent here, looking obviously influenced by Metropolis. The narrative doesn't always flow smoothly, and there's probably too much of the Joker (although Nicholson is a lot of fun here) and not enough Batman in his own movie, but the good outweighs the bad here. 3.5/5

    Licence to Kill - This is one of my favorite Bond movies, and one I've always found to be rather underrated. Similar to Batman Returns not feeling like a Batman movie, this one perhaps doesn't feel much like a Bond flick either. It's smaller in scale and ambition, and is more of a straight forward revenge thriller, but I think that's exactly why I like it so much. Bond is fun in his more extravagant plots as well, but I just find this one sort of refreshing. It's also amusing how audiences didn't respond to this kind of Bond at the time but now love Daniel Craig, even though he's a lot more like Dalton's Bond than Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan. 4/5

  • http://www.nothingbutfilm.blogspot.com Andrew S.

    In Theaters--

    Saving Mr. Banks...
    Overall a solid film, with lovely performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. I didn't quite care for the flashback sequences though. They seemed rather tiresome and were frankly, a bit of a bore. My review at http://nothingbutfilm.blogspot.com/2013/12/review-saving-mr-banks.html

    At Home--

    Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
    A funny little film from Francois Truffaut about a piano player who gets in deep with a group of mobsters. Entertaining throughout, even though the ending was played far to quickly.

    The Last Metro (1980)
    Another Truffaut, this one about a struggling theatre during the Nazi occupation of France. Wonderful performances from Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, and a solid script that remained interesting throughout, however it did lack a sense of tension that ought to have been ever present.

    Lady in the Water (2006)
    I saw Shyamalan's big flop when it first came out and loathed it, but decided to finally give it another chance. I still didn't think much of it in the end, but I suppose I respect it a little more. Paul Giamatti's performance is so sincere, and you can't help but admire Shyamalan's style. Yes, I think his script ultimately fails, but the way he crafts the story is almost affectionate, not like the impersonal junk he's released since.

    Questions...
    1) Has anyone revisited some of Shyamalan's flops (The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, etc.) and found them enjoyable?
    2) What films released in 2013 did you miss but are planning to see soon?
    3) If you've made a Top Ten, or are in the process of making one, what are your top Three?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Haven't.
      2. The Wolf of Wall Street
      3. In the process and don't have my top three yet.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. Was 'The Village' a flop? Didn't it make like over $100 million US? Either way, it's actually the only one of the three I've seen but just once in cinemas when it was first out. I tried watching 'The Happening' once and gave up after about thirty minutes.
      2. I'd like to see 'Her', 'Inside Lwellyn Davis', 'American Hustle', 'The Wolf of Wall Street', 'Philomena', 'Saving Mr. Banks', 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug', '12 Years a Slave', 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', 'The Conjuring', '42', 'Pain and Gain', 'Blue Jasmine', 'The Way, Way Back', Don Jon', 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'Fruitvale Station', 'Nebraska' and quite a few others and I would have liked to have seen them before having to do a Top Ten but it's just not possible.
      3. I cheat and list mine alphabetically but because of the issue above of having so many 2013 films to see (which is a problem I have every year to be fair) my Top Ten for the year will be a work in progress with more than a few placeholders.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      3. As of today, my top 3 of 2013 is:
      1) Nebraska
      2) Saving Mr. Banks
      3) Spring Breakers

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    I too got the Zatoichi set for Christmas. The packaging is gorgeous, and while I haven't jumped into the actual films yet, I really can't wait. As for watches this weak...

    In theaters:

    Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues- Had me rolling with laughter. This movie is not afraid to go into some really weird territory, and when it does, it fully commits to the joke. If you check out this link (http://www.paramountguilds.com), you'll even see that Paramount is pushing "Doby" in best original song, as well they should. 3.5/4

    Nebraska- Bruce Dern deserves all of the praise he has received. From the opening frames, as Woody lumbers towards the audience, he had me hooked. The rest of the performances are fine, though I don't quite understand the love Squibb is getting. She certainly plays the character well, and the graveyard scene was one of the film's funniest moments (the other being when the two brothers steal the wrong compressor), but she certainly doesn't do anything extraordinary. Finally, I'm not sure if the ending is the right one for the film. While watching it, I had a huge smile on my face, but walking out of the theater, it felt a little false. I'm starting to come back around to it though... Oh well it looks like I might need a second viewing to get my opinion on that matter straight. I certainly welcome the opportunity to watch Dern's masterful work again. 3.5/4

    American Hustle- One of the most fun theater-going experiences of the year. Cooper, Bale, Adams, Lawrence, CK- they are all fantastic. It doesn't have the emotional punch of Silver Linings or Fighter, but it has a fun pacing that helps the one scene move smoothly into the next. Can't wait to pick up the blu-ray when it finally comes out. 3.5/4

    The Wolf of Wall Street- A tragic, hilarious epic about American excess and greed as only the mast could do. Mr. Scorsese, I thank you. 3.5/4

    Saving Mr. Banks- Thompson is really good. The movie itself is fine. The highlights are the scenes with Giamatti. 3/4

    At home:

    Big Fish (rewatch)- Burton at his best. Quirky, without being overbearingly "look at me!" zany. 3.5/4

    Rushmore- Great stuff from Wes Anderson. Murray kills it. 3.5/4

    The Seventh Seal- My first Bergman, and wow was it fantastic. Some of the scenes practically had me in tears (I'd point to the one where the knight talks to death in the confessional as a standout.) 3.5/4

    Frances Ha- Ugh, after such a great week, I ended it on a sour note. So much of this felt like a student film. The black-and-white photography didn't add anything. The dialogue was alternately realistic, funny, and pointless. None of the characters were likeable or particularly engaging, and the whole thing just drags. Simply put, this was a film that never really clicked with me. 1.5/4

  • yao21

    Where The Wild Things Are (2009) : Beautiful movie, great message Grade: B+
    Rush (2013): Fantastic story, really like the 2nd hour Grade: B+

  • http://letterboxd.com/jchastained/ JessicaChastained

    Quiet week due to being busy with Christmas, but I still saw some great films! No rewatches either...

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/jchastained/

    White Reindeer: 3/5
    Bridget Jones's Diary: 4/5
    One Magic Christmas: 2.5/5
    Frozen: 4/5
    Nativity!: 3.5/5
    The Railway Man: 4/5 (thinking of bumping it up to a 4.5, I really loved it)
    Cloud Atlas: 4/5 (still thinking about this one though, a lot to sift through)

    Feel free to discuss with me!

    I'm reading Inherent Vice at the moment, and I got The Wes Anderson Collection for Christmas, which is such an incredible book :)

  • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

    Busy, busy, busy week filled with movies. I'm just gonna do a brief rundown this week by listing the films I watched in the order of my grades for them.

    You can check me out on Letterboxd for more: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/
    Or you can read all my reviews and other articles at: http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/

    NOTE: Grades are out of five stars (★★★★★).

    Frozen, ★★★★½
    Inside Llewyn Davis, ★★★★½
    Side Effects, ★★★★½
    The Spectacular Now, ★★★★½
    American Hustle, ★★★★
    Behind the Candelabra, ★★★★
    Capote, ★★★★
    Elf, ★★★★
    The World's End, ★★★★
    The Great Beauty, ★★★
    Man Of Steel, ★★★
    Anchorman 2, ★★
    The Bling Ring, ★★
    Saving Mr. Banks, ★★
    Spring Breakers, ★½

    Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

      My grades for the films you've watched-

      Side Effects- A-

      Elf- A

      The World's End- A

      Man Of Steel- B

      Anchorman 2- A

      Spring Breakers- D+

      Haven't seen anything else.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      From what of those I've seen -

      I'd knock at least two stars off of 'Side Effects', half a star off of 'Behind The Candelabra', add a full star to 'Capote', knock either a half or a full star off of 'Man of Steel' and probably match on 'Spring Breakers' (though if I were feeling really uncharitable I might knock off that half star).

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      My grades are
      Spectacular Now - A
      American Hustle - A
      The World's End - A
      Man of Steel - A-
      Saving Mr. Banks - A-

    • m1

      My grades are:
      Frozen-8/10
      Side Effects-7.5/10
      American Hustle-9.5/10
      Behind the Candelabra-8/10
      Capote-10/10
      Man of Steel-5/10
      The Bling Ring-6/10
      Spring Breakers-5.5/10

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

    RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie, 2008) 6/10
    Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, 1947) 5/10
    Jingle All the Way (Brian Levant, 1996) 4/10
    Small Time Crooks (Woody Allen, 2000) 8/10
    For a Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone, 1965) 9/10
    Metro (Thomas Carter, 1997) 6/10
    All Is Lost (J.C. Chandor, 2013) 9/10
    Sgt. Bilko (Jonathan Lynn, 1996) 3/10
    Mixed Nuts (Nora Ephron, 1994) 2/10
    Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams, 2013) 7/10

    Re-watches:

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney, 2002) 9/10
    Planes, Trains & Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987) 9/10
    Matchstick Men (Ridley Scott, 2003) 8/10
    The Flintstones (Brian Levant, 1994) 5/10

    Some questions:

    1. Any thoughts on the films I watched?
    2. What is your favorite Guy Ritchie film?
    3. What is your favorite Eddie Murphy role?
    4. Do you have any New Year's resolutions involving film-watching challenges?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I've only seen 'All is Lost' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness', and while I prattled on about 'All is Lost' above I feel I probably liked 'Star Trek Into Darkness' more than you did by a bit.
      2. Sherlock Holmes (mostly because I can't really be bothered with the whole London hard men thing he did before that).
      3. Pass.
      4. I have the Star Wars and LOTR Blu Ray boxsets sitting there each with about 6 months of extras that I'm wondering if I can go all the way through. I might tackle those in January. Aside from that I just play it relatively loose on that front.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. All is Lost is one of my favorite movies of the year and Star Trek : Into Darkness is a lot of fun.
      2. Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows
      3. Can't think of one right now.
      4. Watch more of my watchlist and more of the movies considered classics.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

      1. Am still looking forward to watching All is Lost.
      2. Sherlock Holmes
      3. Beverly Hills Cop

  • neofiles

    Antiviral (B): The excesses of celebrity worship is depicted in most unflinching way. Does not work great as a thriller. But a decent film. Good debut film by Brandon Cronenberg

    Mission to Mars (C) : Mostly watched because it came up on the screen. Not a good film and a not a bad film. It is just the film to watch for timepass.

    Breaking bad (A): Finally completed watching the entire series. Only one word. Mindblowing. Awesome script and terrific acting.