Movie Season: Winter 2014-15

My favourite time of the year for films is the winter beginning just before Christmas and ending in March. Most of the Oscar hopefuls are released and I typically have time and Cineplex gift cards to go see them. So, with the big awards night coming on tonight, I had better comment on some films before the moment passes. Plus, my movie blog has stagnated.

BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE): Easily the most enjoyable and unique film I’ve seen in a very long time. Cinematically. The unyielding dialogue. The twitchy acting. The incessant rhythm of the soundtrack. The tremendous grand theme of being loved vs. receiving recognition.

SELMA: The risk with portraying historical events is romanticizing one side and demonizing the other and I’m not sure this film accomplishes that, but I also think it is very difficult to do in this case. Dr. & Mrs. King, President Johnson, and the marchers all demonstrated hesitancy to varying degrees. The murderers, police wielding batons and releasing dogs are not the focus. What we get is a powerful display of the Gospel.

WHIPLASH: Character twists and turns and invigorating music simply clothe the majesty of this essentially 2 person play. Brilliant performances by both leads. You can’t help leaving the film saturated with multisyllabic beats and questions about genius.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: Wes Anderson delivers another raucous cacophony of characters and milieus for a look at legacy, friendship, and eccentricity. I had no choice but to enjoy this.

WILD: Based on the book by the main character played by Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon drives the entire film with her both her strength and fragility. While it’s not very plot driven, it does provide time into understanding the ache of loss and the Search.

FOXCATCHER: This is one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve watched in recent years. It is so rich in pathos and cringe factor. Steve Carrell plays a magnificent tyrant.

BOYHOOD: Yes, I appreciate that the film was shot over 12 years, but it would have been a great film if Richard Linklater had actually crafted a plot, dialogue, and more complex character development into his project. Amber and I were quite bored through most of the 2h45m film and did not find it inspiring, enlightening, or challenging.

GONE GIRL: I don’t watch many movies of this genre anymore. The 90s were shock full of thrillers and I saw my fill back then. This one is original because it is very self-aware. David Fincher leaves the end open-ended enough to cause perpetual tension for the viewer.

IMITATION GAME: The heartbreaking and harrowing story of a mathematical genius. Much of the film – especially the role of Alan Turing – I loved, but some seemed forced and poorly written. Some lines we hear too many times to take seriously.

INTERSTELLAR: It’s a fun ride and spectacular visually. The plot holes are huge and would take far too much energy to articulate, but they are irrelevant since the film is really there for entertainment.

Yet to be seen: Why I plan on seeing it?

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT: This is directed by the brothers who made L’enfant which won the Cannes prize 10 years ago. I think L’enfant is one of the greatest films I’ve seen, so I’m very keen to see what they are able to do with Marion Cotillard in focus.

MR. TURNER: Directed by one of my favourite directors: Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Secrets & Lies).

INHERENT VICE: Directed by on of my favourite directors: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood,  The Master, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love).

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING: It’s nominated for a lot so I should probably take a look.

Also quite keen to see:
FORCE MAJEURE, UNBROKENBIG EYES, TIMBUKTU, & LEVIATHAN. And all the documentary features which I never get to see before the Oscars.

I’m not really interested in seeing the last of the best picture nominees, American Sniper. Just seems like a flag waver and since it’s done so well at the box office, I’m even less inclined judging by who is likely going to see it. Plus, Clint Eastwood dropped several notches in my estimation when he did his little interview with Obama. I’ll probably see it anyway though.

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