Out of the Furnace is an understatedly powerful drama that’s almost impossible to resist and even more difficult to ignore. It is magnificently acted, especially by Bale, Affleck, Harrelson and Sam Shepard (playing the Baze boys’ uncle) and is filled with astonishing moments of barren beauty and visceral power that speaks to the story’s core elements, more often than not without any words at all.
This isn’t just the year’s best animated film, it’s one of 2013’s finest motion pictures period, and as someone who has already seen, and loved, it twice I cannot wait to head out to the theatre and see it again before happily adding it to my personal library when it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray a few months hence.
For all its over familiarity, as much as it gaily wades in the shallow end of the cinematic intellectual gene pool, Homefront is far more entertaining than it has any right to be, and I don’t have a problem with that whatsoever.
For all its imbalances, even with the absurd nature of the premise that compels events forward, their relationship is entirely real, the simple triumph of saying, “I love you,” a victory all of us can relate to, making Nebraska (2013) a father-son saga of perseverance and commitment worthy of celebration.
Philomena isn’t out to change the world or do something flashy, different and new; it doesn’t want to offer up a litany of unexpected surprises or shocking plot turns. What it is interested in doing, and what it does extremely well, is bring this simple story of redemption, discovery and, ultimately, triumph to life in a way that is emotionally affecting without feeling melodramatic or mawkish.
Vaughn’s performance and a handful of pleasing moments notwithstanding, Delivery Man doesn’t transport an entertainment package worth getting excited about, let alone one any potential audience member should be paying good money to see.
Even at nearly three hours, Blue is the Warmest Color is never out of sorts or unfocused, and while certain tangents have the initial aura of being inconsequential, the filmmaker continually connects all the dots, giving things a ruthless eloquence difficult to describe and even harder to dismiss.
Thing is, Lawrence doesn’t allow herself to go over the top into cartoonish histrionics, holding her own in every scene no matter what’s going on or who it is she’s sharing the frame with. The last image is all about her, the film closing on a fantastic transformative sight that showcases all who Katniss has been with all she is about to be become.
Between motion pictures, 14 years is admittedly a long time, so even with its original cast all returning there wasn’t any question that expectations for The Best Man Holiday were relatively low. That Lee’s sequel initially exceeds expectations is worthy of celebration. The fact it falls so incredibly flat and becomes a miserable melodramatic waste of time equally worthy of derision.