Latest Tweets:

AMERICAN PSYCHO

A precursor to Fight Club (but so much better), wickedly satirical, and wonderfully 80s.

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS

Always Be Cursing.

*1

SOMM

Narrative structure could be clearer, but in spite of a few questions the topic is fascinating, whether you’re a wine lover or not.

*1

TIM’S VERMEER

Like a magic trick revealed, it’s fascinating and a bit of a let-down. But reassuring that real genius can’t be explained.

*1

The Year in Film: My Impressions from 2013

In lieu of picks and predictions for tonight’s Oscar winners, I give you my top 10 most notable films of the year. Not necessarily the 10 best or the 10 I’d be quickest to watch again, but these are the ones that are worth calling out in one last pre-Oscars blog post. Listed from most-to-least recently viewed.

12 Years a Slave: Beautiful and tragic, and never feels it has to conform to a Hollywood-ized vision. Except for Brad Pitt.

Captain Phillips: Entertaining without being exploitative. Hanks should have been nominated for the final scene alone.

Dallas Buyers Club: Sorry that much of this true story was fictionalized, but then there would have been no Rayon, the emotional center of the film.

The Square: A documentary in the classic sense (compare to The Act of Killing, which was more akin to a horror film). Grateful for the brave young people who took to the streets with their cameras and never pressed stop.

The Wolf of Wall StreetLeo DiCaprio’s best performance since Gilbert Grape. I wish so many people hadn’t taken this film at face value. 

Inside Llewyn Davis: The most overlooked film of the year, and as misunderstood as The Wolf of Wall Street.

Enough Said: One of the most authentic romantic comedies to come along in years. 

Blue Jasmine: Don’t hate it because it’s Woody Allen. Love it for two of the best performances by women in 2013. Blanchett and Hawkins are spectacular.

Upstream Color: Rivals The Act of Killing for the most unusual film of 2013. Experimental and trippy, it’s hard to look away.

The Place Beyond the Pines: When will Ryan Gosling get his due as one of the great actors of this generation?

Honorable mention: The Act of Killing, which is  harder to watch than 12 Years a Slave and unlike any film — fiction or nonfiction — I’ve ever seen. 

*1

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

This is one very suspenseful and scary tale, convincingly re-enacted. Would like to see Hanks do more roles like this.

*6

12 YEARS A SLAVE

McQueen challenges us to hold our gaze, pause, reflect, mourn. And we do. Ejiofor’s outstanding performance demands it.

THE SQUARE (2013)

A remarkable record of a revolution, it offers lessons on organizing, activism, and the slowness of meaningful change.

*1

THE ACT OF KILLING

The toughest lesson in empathy ever taught… and ever watched. Brutal in every sense.

*1

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Excellent. McConaughey & Leto bring a fervor to their roles that honors the passion Ron Woodruff brought to his mission.

*1

20 FEET FROM STARDOM

Shines a long overdue spotlight on the unsung heroes of rock ‘n roll history.

LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER

Forrest Whitaker’s the butler very good. Oprah Winfrey’s the butler’s wife is too. Watching them kiss? Not so much.

*3

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

This is Scorsese giving Wall St. the finger in the most darkly funny way possible. Well done, Marty. And Leo? Wow.

*1

HER

Please kill me now if a) this is what the future looks like, or b) I ever have to watch this trite Hallmark movie again.

*2

PRISONERS

However disturbing you might expect a movie about child abduction to be… this is worse.