Yet second tier Dardenne is still better than most other filmmakers’ best efforts, the level of intimate introspection stunning when everything is taken in total. Sandra’s journey is visceral, immediate, proceeding straight from the heart in a way that is timeless. There are no faked emotions, nothing that isn’t of the now, everything building to a realization of one’s potential for greatness that isn’t so much extra-ordinary as it is quietly cathartic.
But sadly, [Unbroken (2014)] just doesn’t cut it, reducing Zamperini’s story to its base, most basic elements, taking away from it all of the shading and color that inherently made it so powerful and inspiring.
Most of all, though, [Annie (2014)] is nothing less than mechanical and charmless, the hard knocks so calamitous the sun never gets a chance to shine and not even the thought of a brighter tomorrow is enough to make me ever want to sit through this particular little orphan’s fairy tale adventure ever again.
Using Andrew Hodges’ best-selling book Alan Turing: The Enigma as inspiration, screenwriter Graham Moore and director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) have put together an engrossing, thought-provoking procedural that never quite goes the way you expect it to, allowing the mathematician’s choices and actions to come to life with a rigid, almost anachronistically obtuse matter-of-factness that’s at times remarkable.
But this is Leigh’s show, start to finish, and one can’t watch Mr. Turner without coming away feeling as if it is the seven-time Oscar-nominee’s most personal effort in all his four-plus decades behind the camera.
What is most amazing about Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the director’s final flirtation with the writings of celebrated author J.R.R. Tolkien, is just how inconsequential all of this nonsense feels.
Comet isn’t without its faults, the ingeniously and imaginatively crafted delights far outweigh any overall apprehensions about the finished picture I otherwise might have had.
Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t have heart, has trouble establishing an emotional connection with the viewer. On top of that, it doesn’t care to tackle the central questions in regards to faith and religion in ways that could be considered profound or complex.
Force Majeure is a marvelous dissection of responsibility, communication and love, everything building to a stupendously ephemeral conclusion.