[American Hustle] plays like some bizarre, retro 70s-style amalgam of Dog Day Afternoon, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Donnie Brasco and Ocean’s Eleven, Russell mashing up genres and styles with skillfully energetic enthusiasm. He and Singer use a real F.B.I. sting operation as basis to go hog wild, taking a gifted ensemble of actors and giving them complicated characters to inhabit where nothing is ever what it seems and anything can happen to the lot of them at any given time.
Embracing Vulnerability Lynn Shelton Finds Strength in Being Uncomfortable If you blinked this past September, you might have missed Seattle native writer/director Lynn Shelton’s latest drama-comedy hybrid Touchy Feely playing in theatres. If so, then you didn’t get to experience its odd, idiosyncratic emotional delights, the film a dexterous character study about a popular massage […]
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 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.
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.
[The] only reason Thor: The Dark World exists is to start putting in place the building blocks leading to both Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s the teaser leading to the epic conclusion, little things like character development and honest human emotions unimportant just as long as the seeds for coming chapters are cunningly sown.
This is one of those rare instances where I feel like [Dallas Buyers Club] is one of those movies that, do not just live up to the hype, but also exceed it, making Vallée’s based-on-fact stunner one of the best films I’ll watch this, or in any other, year.